Interview: Timothy B. Schmit from The Eagles

day by day album cover.TIMOTHY B. SCHMIT of the Eagles today (May 6) celebrates the release of his solo album DAY BY DAY by sharing the video for its third single “I Come Alive.” Anchored by an infectious ska rhythm, it’s a joyously soulful SCHMIT original lit up with his unmistakable tender voice and lyrics about romantic harmony and being in tune with the world. Watch the video here and listen to the song and album here.

“I was feeling really good about things in general when I started this song,” says the icon of American music since the early 1970s who’s spent the past half-century in a creative whirl, blurring the lines between rock & roll, blue-eyed soul, California country, and folk.   “I decided it wasn’t necessary to try and go particularly deep, so I let it sort of roll out of me without too much second-guessing. It’s a simple love song intended to express my feelings right from the surface.” TIMOTHY adds: “I am a fan of reggae and its cousin, ska. This song is definitely driven by the opening guitar chords, which are played on the upbeats and remain throughout. The rest was a matter of keeping the instrumentation equally uncomplicated so as to have a lot of air.”

The song’s easygoing charm is reflected in the relaxed feel of the video, which focuses on the camaraderie between TIMOTHY, the musicians, and the backing singers. Filmed at a Los Angeles rehearsal studio, it begins with them arriving to the studio and then working out parts for the song before performing it.

“Shooting the video was a blast,” says TIMOTHY. “I was reunited with most of my touring band, including the three lady singers who play a large part in the choruses.  We very much have a family vibe when we’re together, and the song lent itself to having some fun. I think it translates on camera.”

The “I Come Alive” video was directed by Ava Warbrick, who also lensed the clip for Simple Man,” the album’s lead single, which was followed by a lyric video for Heartbeat.”

DAY BY DAY, produced by TIMOTHY and Jeff Peters, highlights the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee’s enduring appetite for new sounds and timeless melodies. He recorded the album’s 12 songs during breaks in the Eagles’ busy schedule, utilizing his home studio known as Mooselodge–nestled into a rural pocket of Los Angeles County, with the Santa Monica Mountains looming outside–to capture a sound that’s as eclectic as its creator. On DAY BY DAY, his third consecutive self-penned album, guests like Jackson Browne, Lindsey Buckingham, John Fogerty, Benmont Tench, Jim Keltner, John McFee and Kenny Wayne Sheppard all make appearances, as well as many other fine musicians and singers.

As noted by Gary Graff in Ultimate Classic Rock, the album “…ranges from the rich harmonics of ‘Simple Man’ to the rocking ‘Mr. X.’ Elsewhere, the Band-like Americana of ‘Grinding Stone,’ the Caribbean flavor of ‘I Come Alive and the rich orchestrations of ‘Taste Like Candy” boast further sonic ventures” (3/18/22).

Early praise for singles from the album has also come from Martine Ehrenclou of ROCK AND BLUES MUSE who noted–“One word about ‘Simple Man’ by Timothy B. Schmit–gorgeous” (3/18/22)–while Markos Papadatos of DIGITAL JOURNAL praised “Heartbeat” by noting: “Schmit allows his rich, crisp vocals to shine on this haunting ballad, which proves to be timeless. This tune stands out sonically, lyrically, and vocally” (4/11/22).

I was lucky enough recently to be able to soar with this particular Eagle through his diverse musical legacy.  

ANTIHERO: You’ve just released another solo album. I just wondered if you have to adopt a different creative mindset when composing songs for yourself rather than in a band situation 

Timothy B. Schmit: Well, in a way, yes. But it’s not it’s not really like you have to switch gears. It’s more like there’s nobody you don’t have to compromise. You don’t have to please anybody else. I only have to please myself when I’m doing that. 

ANTIHERO: How has your approach to songwriting changed since you first started out in music? 

Timothy B. Schmit: Oh, yeah. I’ve gotten a lot better at it. I was writing songs in my early twenties. But I really was. Uh, really trying to figure out how to do it in some ways. And still, that’s still the case. But I’ve got a lot more years under my belt. And since this is my third solo album, this one is called Day by Day, where it’s all self-penned. Well, I didn’t. I didn’t collaborate with anybody else on the writing. So, um, I just. I can pretty much do whatever I want. It doesn’t matter. I don’t have to please. You know, I’m a member of the band or anything like that or any record company. Yeah, I don’t have to. I just do what I want, which is really nice.

ANTIHERO: You mentioned that your father was a musician. That is your first introduction to music. Did you play with your father? Maybe you may have created music in the house. When did you actually take up playing music yourself? 

Timothy B. Schmit: Um. Well, no, my dad didn’t really play with me. I’m sure I asked him questions here and there, but it wasn’t a big deal. And he never, uh. He never encouraged me or discouraged me from being a musician because he had a hard life. He, you know, was living in a trailer house. He played clubs. You make a lot of money. Um, but he did provide for us and, and he was a great dad and all that. And when I did start taking up some instruments in early grade school, maybe eight years old or so, I mean, I started playing, I started on the violin, I quit that. And there was a, my brother had a trombone in his closet that he gave up playing. And I took that up. And, you know, eventually, shortly thereafter, I had some friends who had ukuleles and banjos and stuff, and we started messing around and learning ourselves and singing together. And it was quite a lot of fun.

ANTIHERO:  What about your first introduction to the music of the Eagles? Was that something you grew up with, listening to on the radio?

Timothy B. Schmit: Well, there are two different things there. I was growing up listening to the radio way before the Eagles. But my first introduction to the Eagles was when I heard them on the radio. But I knew those guys. I knew Don and Glenn before the Eagles. I remember we were playing and Poco was playing in London once, and they came in. I said hi to me backstage. I remember they were there. Recording their first album. And then I heard and then I heard them all over the radio and, you know, and I was very envious. No, not jealous. I was envious because that’s going to be on the radio, you know. 

ANTIHERO: And then years later, you got to perform all those classic songs many, many times. 

Timothy B. Schmit: Yeah. Eventually, I joined the band and got to do all that plus more. So, yeah. 

ANTIHERO: Did you feel any real pressure going into that? Obviously, you said you knew some of the guys. Going back to the band’s early days. Was there any weight or pressure when you joined? Did you feel any? 

Timothy B. Schmit: Well, you know, they thought as they did that I was like a perfect match. And I’m not saying that to be cocky. It just seemed logical to me. And they actually asked me if I wanted to be part of their band before we ever played a note together. And so there was, I could not wait to, um, uh, to, to have that first rehearsal under my belt just to seal it, you know. So there was a little pressure that way. But I felt good. I felt confident, and, uh, I seemed to fit right in. And it was, you know, pretty smooth. 

ANTIHERO: Talking of musical influences, is there one particular song that you can pick out that still moves you emotionally every single time you hear it? Which song? 

Timothy B. Schmit: But there’s a bunch of songs. That would fit that. But some of the first time was probably. When I was very young, it was probably all this stuff that was starting to become rock and roll and radio, some doo-wop and Elvis. The first record I ever bought was an Elvis record when I was ten years old. And. I just heard I saw an Elvis song in a movie the other night. It was called I Want You, I Need You. I Love You. And yeah, it just I just went right back to when he first heard it and, you know, kind of swooned inside. 

ANTIHERO:  Is music your entire life or do you step away from music and have some spare time? Or do you pursue some interests or hobbies?

Timothy B. Schmit: I used to say that my hobby was music as well, but I have some other interests. Like behind me, you can see some American Indian stuff. I’m a small collector of American Indian artifacts. Mostly. Mostly been working with their work. But it really always takes a backseat. I love to have it all around me here. I love to be surrounded by it. It’s very beautiful. And I’ve learned a lot about it. Uh, but. But it’s. It most of the time takes a backseat to my first interest. 


ANTIHERO: They are indeed. Returning to the new album Could you maybe pick out one or two songs and tell me how they came to be created? 

Timothy B. Schmit: Well, the first song, which was sort of the first single and there’s a video too called Simple Man, um, was when I started writing it, I guess I was feeling pretty introspective about life in general and, you know, the eternal questions about what is this all about? Uh, I started writing that shortly after I got maybe halfway through the first verse for maybe, maybe all the way through the first verse. I knew how I wanted it to be done. I wanted to say, I kind of said to myself, this could be like this, this could be done sort of like the season. And I just took it from there and I thought, why not? You know, why not embrace that? You know, it’s not that I’m not copying. I’m just, you know, it’s inspiration. And I know all those guys worked with it before I sang with them. Uh, and so it’s, it’s, it’s turned out to be sort of an homage to, to, to, uh, to, to them. And I pursued it that way. I had two other guys come in, both people who had some with the Beach Boys before. And I said, no, we’re not going to sing here. I can just sing in the background. We’re going to sing every word together in harmony. And it was a bit of work, but it was a lot of fun, and it came off pretty good. 

ANTIHERO: What about I mean, obviously the events of the last couple of years have had a profound effect on everybody. I just wondered if that outside, environmental, global, what was going on in the world around you and parts or influenced the writing of these songs. 

Timothy B. Schmit: Well, I guess the most blatant when I could say that it influenced me was during COVID time and I heard a bunch of songs. Well, I heard songs come out on the radio and. On the Internet that was, you know, they were calling COVID shots. Mm-hmm. Uh uh. And I said I’m not. I’m not going to do that. Everybody’s doing that. Uh, my favorite one was called Fuck 2020. I love that one. Uh, if you haven’t heard it, you should. 

ANTIHERO: I will go and check it out then. 

Timothy B. Schmit: And, uh, what? I see. Well, I was so during COVID, I couldn’t. There was nothing else to do but to come to my studio and write. Yeah. Which suited me fine. So, I was really on it. And one day I started. I started thinking, I started writing. These things came out of my mouth obviously with the first sign of the idea of the song, The Next Rainbow is my world is getting smaller. They don’t bother me. And I thought in my writing of the COVID song, and I thought, why not? I’ll just pursue it. It’s not directly that, but it’s talking about being contained and wanting to be free. So that’s in one respect what you asked about. Yes.

ANTIHERO: I touched on earlier all the musicians that contributed to the album. Was it difficult phoning them parts to send you files or was it physically possible to get together with these people in the studio? 

Timothy B. Schmit: Well, I mean, in being asked that a lot. I’m no fan at all. Yeah, I. I have done that. I have sung in my studio and sent files away for other people. But I don’t do that. Yeah, I don’t like to do that. It takes away, it takes away in the immediate interaction.  I mean it, I guess in my case a musician, producer and, and artist who’s here, you know, there’s no back and forth into it. It’s time-consuming and then you lose that flow. So does most anybody who’s been on my last three albums that come through my studio here. 

ANTIHERO: I’m thinking more in terms of what was happening globally. And travel between countries was difficult. It was difficult for people to get together. And that’s why I asked that question. 

Timothy B. Schmit: Well, I’m sure during COVID, I didn’t sleep for a long time. I didn’t see anybody, including the guy, my engineer, and co-producer. We didn’t think it was safe. And then when things started to calm down, e he agreed to come over and we stayed masked for weeks, even together. And then by the time I had some other people come in, we were just all really careful as we could be. Yeah. And we were aware of it and it was difficult, but we pulled it off. 

ANTIHERO: But as you say, obviously, I mean, creatively, creatively, you can work better when you’re face to face. There’s more spontaneity, a free-flowing interaction between people rather than sending music through the internet. So, it was better. 

Timothy B. Schmit: But yeah, yeah. It’s like there’s a difference between talking to somebody on the phone and talking face to face. Yeah, yeah. The same thing. It’s better. Always better face to face. You don’t even get facial expressions otherwise. 

ANTIHERO: In terms of playing live, obviously I feel personally that music and songs only come up, and come alive when they’re being performed in front of an audience. Do you have any plans to tour the album Day by Day? I mean to play those songs for an audience. 

Timothy B. Schmit:  I want to. I’m waiting to see if the Eagles are going to do any more shows after we do Europe, in June. I mean, tomorrow night, for instance, I’m going off to do a show. Yeah. We’re still. We’re still doing a couple of shows here in the States. Uh. It’s kind of up in the air whether we will or not. As soon as I find that out. If we’re going to do shows, I’m probably not going to be able to do it and go out on my own as soon as I want to. But if we’re not going to, I’m going to. And I’ve already started looking into that. I can’t give you a timeframe yet, but I’m working on that. 

ANTIHERO: Sure, just a couple of general ones then to wrap up. Do you still have dreams and ambitions? 

Timothy B. Schmit: I do. I wanted to do this. I wanted to do this as long as possible, as long as my body and mind will let me. But I also hope to keep growing, because I think I’ve been growing more creatively in my older age as I grow older than I did when I was younger. And I hope that that keeps going and that that’s all I really want. I would love to. Uh, I would love to just keep improving my craft. That’s it.

ANTIHERO: What in your life would you be most proud of? Both professionally and personally? 

Timothy B. Schmit: Oh, that’s a big question. I mean, there’s tons at first there’s tons of, uh, both personal and professional stuff. I mean, I, I mean, I. I met, played things and hung out with people. I used to only hear on the radio when I was living in Sacramento, you know?  I never, never dream of that. I would never even say hello to some of these people, you know. So that’s ah, that’s kind of that, that’s ongoing, you know, that might show it. It’s been great. And then, you know, all the accolades are really great, but I really want to grow more as a. As a parent, it sounds corny, but as a person and professionally, I just want to be, you know, do better and better things while I still have the abilities personally, you know? I mean, there are so many things, you know, my children, my wife, my, my life, which is and the way that I get to live, which is a direct result of my profession or my professional success, is I guess they see there’s a lot of stuff. 

ANTIHERO: Just a final one. Who would you like to interview if the roles were reversed, who would you personally like to sit down and interview? 

Timothy B. Schmit:  That’s a question I’ve never been asked. Um. And I’m not sure if I’m going to come up with anything. I, I, I wouldn’t like to sit and grill anybody. I would maybe like to hang out with certain people. But I’ve already done that. Not that there are more people than that. I, uh. I wouldn’t like to, um. Sometimes I just like just shaking John Lennon’s hand. Really great. You know, and that was the only interaction we had, you know? Yeah. Yeah. You know what I mean? Or. That’s a tough question. I don’t really want to interview anybody.

ANTIHERO: Who would you like to chat to? And then rather than grill or interview, you sit down with a cold or hot drink and just have a chat with them?

Timothy B. Schmit: Um. You know, any of my good friends. It’s really my answer. 

ANTIHERO: Okay, that’s great. Thank you very much. My time is up. Thank you very much for chatting. 

Timothy B. Schmit: Thanks a lot. Take care.


Mark Dean

I'm a 40+ music fan. Fond mostly of rock and metal - my staple musical food delights. Originally from Northern Ireland, I am now based in the UK-Manchester. I have a hectic musical existence with regular shows and interviews. Been writing freelance for five years now with several international websites. Passionate about what I do, I have been fortunate already to interview many of my all-time musical heroes. My music passion was first created by seeing Status Quo at the tender age of 15. While I still am passionate about my rock and metal, I have found that with age my taste has diversified so that now I am actually dipping into different musical genres and styles for the first time.

Related Articles

Back to top button