When Timothy B. Schmit joined the Eagles during the latter part of 1977, it was a case of them needing him more than he needing them. Still, according to Schmit, the decision to join one of the biggest bands in music was a no-brainer.
“I really couldn’t believe my good fortune,” said Schmit, who is performing Tuesday at 7:30 p.m. at the Cohoes Music Hall to help promote his new album, “Leap of Faith.” “I knew I could do it, they obviously knew I could do it. It was great. I felt like I was a good fit.”
Schmit was replacing original band member Randy Meisner, who was quarreling with other band members, in particular Glenn Frey. With strong personalities such as Frey, Don Henley and Joe Walsh, the band did have its share of conflicting viewpoints. On Schmit’s talents, however, they were all in agreement.
A Oakland native, Schmit formed his own garage band at the age of 15 and that group evolved into the New Breed, which managed to make the charts with “Green Eyed Woman” in 1965. Then Schmit joined Poco in 1970, also replacing Meisner who had quit to join the Eagles. A bass player and strong vocalist, Schmit wrote and was the lead singer on one of Poco’s biggest hits, “Keep on Tryin’,” in 1975, and at the same time he was working with other musicians, including Steely Dan, Firefall and Andrew Gold. While he wasn’t with the Eagles when they made “Hotel California,” he did finish the tour after Meisner suddenly quit due to health problems and his issues with Henley.
“I kind of missed all that,” Schmit says of the group’s infighting. “I was just trying to do my part and fit in. I felt some tension, but it didn’t really feel different from any other band I was in.”
The Eagles broke up in 1980, and didn’t reform until 1994. In those years in between Schmit remained a busy musician, performing with Crosby, Stills & Nash, Toto, Ringo Starr’s All-Star Band, Vince Gill and Jimmy Buffett’s Coral Reefer band. It was Schmit who coined the phrase, “Parrotheads,” to describe Buffett’s fans.
His new album is a mixture of rock, country, R&B and some reggae. It’s his first album in seven years.
“It’s a pretty eclectic album, with a lot of different genres on it,” he said. “It seems to work as a unit. I know I’m being interviewed but it is hard to express the music in words. To me it’s a feeling, well I can’t give it it’s due, and people interpret things differently. There’s quite a lot going on musically, even a little folky thing.”
Schmit’s album is a reflection of his entire music experience, from before the New Breed up through the Eagles.
“I played various instruments growing up, and I started singing and strumming in my early teenage years,” he said. “I listened to everything on the radio, even Motown.”
Schmit, who turns 70 this year, says he continues to enjoy touring.
“My lifestyle is different, obviously, but that’s not a bad thing,” he said. “My life is good. I’m having fun. When people ask me for any advice about a music career, I tell them to remember why they started doing this. It’s fun. No matter where it takes you, if it stays fun there’s no reason to stop.”
Schmit and the Eagles had been touring together again as recently as July of 2015 before Frey finally succumbed to various health problems in January of 2016 following intestinal surgery.
While there have been rumors of the Eagles reforming again for a tour - possibly with Jackson Browne replacing Frey - Schmit can't offer any confirmation, joking that he's "sworn to secrecy" and that he simply "can't tell you."
Timothy B. Schmit
WHERE: Cohoes Music Hall, 58 Remsen St., Cohoes
WHEN: 7:30 p.m. Tuesday
HOW MUCH: $69.50-$45.50
MORE INFO: 465-4663, www.palacealbany.gov