Having been a member of Poco in the late 60s, followed by his long-standing tenure with the Eagles that continues to this day, singer/songwriter/bassist Timothy B Schmit has spent a 50-plus-year career immersed in the diverse sounds of California.
His seventh solo studio album, Day By Dayhis first since 2016, is a wide-ranging set of existential treasures that feature cameos from A-list chums including Jackson Browne, Lindsey Buckingham, John Fogerty, Benmont Tench and Kenny Wayne Shepherd.
It’s been six years since your last solo album. What brought this one on?
Maybe a third of it was done during the first big covid lockdown. Recording became the crux of my day. There were no other distractions, so I went to the studio and just rolled up my sleeves.
This record seems to be an amalgam of much of the music that’s inspired you over the years.
My tastes have always been very eclectic. I go from classical to jazz, to reggae to anything that sounds good to me. For instance, at high school – I’m talking fifteen years old – my friends and I played surf music. At the same time, we were being inundated with Motown and other stuff on the radio, so it all went in there. This album is a combination of everything that goes through me.
You have some famous friends on it. Before you started recording, did you have a wish list?
No. Basically, when a song gets to a certain point and needs something else, I try to think of who might be good on it. You called Lindsey [Buckingham] and John Fogerty, the same with Jackson [Browne]. And they all said yes. They were aiming to please me. In the past I’ve sung for lots of different projects, so I know that feeling.
One of those projects was backing vocals for Steely Dan in the seventies.
Working with them is a real feather in my cap. One time I was in the studio singing a high part, and Donald [Fagen] was listening in the control room. I did it a bunch of times, then finally I really nailed it. But he gets on the talk-back and says: “That was really good. Can we do one more?” Those guys were super-perfectionist, which I loved.
Is there likely to be any new music from the Eagles?
I sincerely doubt it. We toured behind our last album, Long Road Out Of Eden , and put in five to seven of those songs. But we don’t do them any more because there wasn’t a big reaction. When people come to see the Eagles they want to hear Best Of My Love, One Of These Nights, all these things. So we give it to them.
As a songwriter, you say you’re only just starting to hit your stride now, in your early seventies.
I tend to get things a little later than other people. I didn’t have a heyday solo career when I was younger, like many friends of mine. I didn’t have the tools, I didn’t have the knowledge. But three solo albums ago I started to write everything myself and produce, or co-produce, my own songs. I love the process. It gives me some sort of meaning.
So you feel like you’re on a roll?
Oh yeah. And I hope to keep rolling. I have every intention to.
Day By Day is out now.