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Timothy B. Schmit interview

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This Friday, Eagles bassist Timothy B. Schmit will play a concert at the Crest Theatre. Please read this article for background on Schmit and details on the show.

The following includes excerpts of an email interview with Schmit:

You grew up in Sacramento. Do you have fond memories here, and how did the city, if it did at all, affect your decision to play music? Or was it purely a personal choice?

I’ve always looked at Sacramento as having been a great place for me to grow up. That, coupled with a good family life, seemed to be a good recipe for my eventual trek out into the rest of the world. The reasons I left were numerous, but it mainly had to do with trying to further my musical interests. I, along with my other musician friends, had big aspirations and dreamed of continuing for as long as possible. In the late 60’s I received a great offer that required me to leave my home town, so naturally, I accepted. Music has always been a big part of my life, starting with my father, who made his living by playing in clubs pretty much all his life.

Your album, Expando is named after a mobile trailer that you used to live in. Which neighborhood in Sacramento was your Expando?

Our Expando resided in what used to be called the Casa Grande Trailer Village, which was on Auburn Blvd just east of Bell. The trailer park is still there under a different name. It was there before we first arrived in the late 50’s. Sometimes when I’m up there visiting my family, I take a little cruise through it, and I’m always amazed at what I would now consider my humble beginnings. By the way, there was a second Expando at the trailer park, and it’s still there!

Early on, you were in a surf music band and then another band that was more folk influenced. What was your musical direction based on back then?

Actually, it’s the other way around. I started playing and singing folk songs. The surf band evolved out of that (we found a drummer and rounded up some electric instruments). I think my friends and I were a group of musical sponges. We listened to everything.

Did you have a mentor early on that helped you develop your career, someone who encouraged you to follow through with a career in music? Was it your father?

My father just happened to be a musician. He never forced me to take it up, but I really liked the concept of what he was doing.

You’ve said this is your most personal record. You even worked with your son on one of the songs. What was that experience like?

The experience of working with my son was what any parent might expect. It was part elation, part struggle, and everything in between. Anyone who’s raised a teenager knows what I’m talking about. When it was all said and done, I was very proud to add his name to the list of very accomplished musicians who appeared on this project.

What would you say is your favorite moment in your musical career?

Too many to pick just one. My career has far exceeded my wildest expectations. I’ve worked with Poco, Eagles, CS&N, Ringo Starr, members of The Byrds, The Beach Boys, Elton John, Steely Dan, and on and on. The greatest part is that it’s still going strong for me. I try not to take any of it for granted.

Your new album, Expando, is amazing, and it’s got some amazing guests — I was especially impressed by the Kenny Wayne Sheppard solo on "Parachute." Was it intimidating to call up any artist in particular, maybe one who you’d never worked with before?

I figured it was all worth a try. A "no thanks" was the only worst case scenario. I’d say 95% of everyone I called accepted my invitation.

If you could collaborate with anyone on a future record, who would be your first choice? Alison Krauss?

She almost sang on this project. She wanted to, but at the time she was very busy touring with a certain British rock star. Hopefully, next time.

Do you spend a lot of time in Sacramento these days, and is there anything in particular you’re excited about for the show here on Friday?

I’d say I get up there to visit my mother and family every couple of months or so. I can’t wait to come back and play as a solo artist. It will mean so much to me.

For this tour will you be playing everything from Expando, other solo records, Eagles and Poco too, or is there a more specific focus on this tour?

I’m playing mostly new songs from the album. They are all songs that came totally from me. I will sprinkle the set with some Poco and Eagles material as well.

Obviously, music is a big part of your life. But what else do you have a passion for besides music?

I like being at home doing normal things. I also like to travel with my wife. We enjoy being able to be more spontaneous again after raising children.

After this tour, what’s next for you? Do you have any other plans musically, perhaps some work with the Eagles before the April shows at the Hollywood Bowl?

I’ll keep writing for the next record. And I’ll continue being an Eagle for as long as it lasts.

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Jonathan Mendick

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