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‘It’s amazing how it all worked out/I am living like a king’: Tim only sees bright sides.

It’s hard to believe some people find Timothy B. Schmit’s ‘rambling’ at his solo gigs annoying. I read a pretty negative review of one of his live shows on the Poconut[1] forum website but can’t find it again now.

If you want to hear someone really ramble, go see Fleetwood Mac. Lindsey Buckingham should by rights be togged up in a gilet and walking boots, with his trousers tucked securely into some sensible socks and a laminated map nestled next to the pac-a-mac in his pocket.

fleetwood

‘Thinking on the days of old’: Lindsey Buckingham just can’t say goodbye graciously.

Lindsey has a tendency to deliver self-aggrandising mini-lectures between numbers, which only really serve to prove that he has not let anything go or matured significantly over the years. Stevie Nicks was only once guilty of an overlong song introduction but at least it had a point. Other than to prove that she’d been right along, which was the gist of all of her bandmate’s diatribes. Honestly, why is he trying to justify Tusk now? As Don Henley might advise: ‘Get over it.’

But you put up with it for the music. They tell their stories better in song and, apart from the odd self-indulgence, the shows are amazing.

Some folks’ onstage patter almost rivals their musical ability. The late and so much more than great Jackie Leven was a supreme storyteller of often hilarious anecdotes. About a visit to a chip shop with no food in Bethesda, Wales. Or people at gigs in the Midlands able to dispense helpful advice on furthering his career, such as

Why don’t you get on Jools Holland’s programme? They have all sorts of crap on there. You should be able to get on there.[2]

jackie

‘You might love me for what I’ve sung’: always and forever, Jackie.

Or

Why don’t you make a single with Shania Twain? Some of your stuff’s just like hers.[3]

Jackie was truly one of a kind. He could as easily have been a comedian as a singer-songwriter. I guess it calls for the same observational skills to some degree but the Scotsman was uncannily adept at gleaning the most humour and absurdity from his everyday experiences.

Now back to that Schmit fellow. Here he is introducing a Poco song called ‘What Am I Gonna Do’ at a solo concert in Sacramento in 2009. I find his talking voice so listenable and appealing that I have to admit some bias. But I reckon this is a charming set-up of just the right length. He paints a picture of the past in a few simple words, leading you into the song smoothly, but with a better idea of its age, history and significance.

This next song was written by my good friend and mentor Richie Furay … Richie came, for those of you who don’t know, came from the Buffalo Springfield and then he got me into the band that was to be Poco

[I learnt] a lot about singing, about the whole scene. I first went on the road, went to New York City for the first time, with Richie and the band.

This song was originally written for the From the Inside album, in the early 70s, and he wanted me to sing it. But we went on the road before we recorded it and he, during that period of time, he actually, he was prophetic, because he actually started living the scenario of this song and I had reluctantly said you gotta sing this on the album. And he agreed.

And I was pretty sad in some ways. I really wanted to do it. So. Now I can do it.

I like the album version but this may be even better. And he tells jokes. What’s not to like?

Described by Glenn Frey as ‘a total sweetheart’, on Twitter TBS is relentlessly upbeat and positive, downplaying his throat cancer as a ‘setback’. Everything is ‘fun’, ‘all is good’, ‘well’. He’s ‘excited’ and ‘busy’, rather than terrified and exhausted.

He says of the cancer:

Although my issues were disheartening, and I went through what the doctors called, ‘major surgery’, the truth is I was only bedridden during my three night stay in the hospital. I was up and about right after, starting with daily walks on the streets of Manhattan. After another week I received a clean bill of health and headed for home on the west coast. My voice is coming along nicely … So … All is good.

timandothersmoody

‘A dream of how good it all can be’: Tim thought it ‘a great fit for everybody’.

Much as he’s presented in Jason Hare’s hilariously realised scenario in Mellow Gold Theatre, Timothy’s a look on the bright side person. After all, as he confesses in ‘Secular Praise,

I don’t know
Why some have less and some have more
All my sorrow could all fit in a bedroom drawer.

Mellow Gold envisions Don (‘Mr Don Henley’ as he insists on being addressed) as laconic, gruff, materialistic, demanding and cosseted, attended by a bevy of naked Korean girls. Glenn appears as an overgrown schoolyard bully delighted to be confronted with his favourite prey, the perfect victim and Tim suffers his assaults with a nervous mixture of terror and delight, dubbing Glenn ‘playful’ as he’s tackled to the floor. Joe Walsh is unconscious somewhere under the sofa.

Don, referring to the inflated price of Eagles tickets, points out that fans at a gig oughta stay in their seats the whole time because ‘Every time you turn your head away from the stage, you’ve wasted approximately 27 dollars.’

He reminds the blithely optimistic Tim of the torture involved in making the last album:

How Azoff had to ply us with $100 bills in a trail from our houses to the studio?’ to which Tim responds, ‘I didn’t get any $100 bills. He just had his assistant call me and say, “Be there at 8 AM.” And you guys didn’t show up until 2.[4]

The spoof is of course a comic visualisation of how such a scene could play out, exaggerated greatly for maximum humorous effect but it wouldn’t work if we couldn’t all imagine Timothy behaving somewhat similarly to this and hear him uttering those lines in his instantly recognisable dulcet tones. And it does fit in with what we know of his personality.

tim with poco

‘I don’t know why fortune smiles on some/And lets the rest go free’: Poco never achieved the massive mainstream success they deserved while the Eagles went stratospheric.

I don’t think Tim would sell himself short, however. He knows his value to the band. When he was invited to join them with no need for any kind of audition, he recollects:

I thought it was a great fit for everybody. I had no hesitation about that. It was perfect for me, obviously, and I was thrilled. I was actually getting a little disenchanted with the whole Poco thing around that time. I thought: This is so great for me, and I thought: It’s a good fit for them, too. And then “they” became “we”.

Main picture from Eagles fan forum, the Border.

Here’s a blog post comparing the Eagles and Poco.


[1] That is such a cool fan name, Poconut. See the forum here.

[2] I have to agree that a lot of the stuff on Later with …  is rubbish. But perhaps that wasn’t the best way to sell the recommendation.

[3] It’s really not.

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