Timothy B. Schmit is best known for his work with Poco and the Eagles, but the musician also performs as a solo artist and just released new album “Leap of Faith.” Schmit recently attended the Kennedy Center Honors, where he and other members of the Eagles were acknowledged for their influence on American culture.
Schmit talked to CBS News about the death of his bandmate Glenn Frey and the possibility of an Eagles reunion, his solo work and what he’s looking forward to in his career.
What was it like for you to be at the Kennedy Center Honors?
Well, that would take up a lot of time. It was a lot of things. To try and sum it up, it was indeed a big honor, a once in a lifetime thing. I got to meet the president and go to four events over the weekend. The one on TV was the last of four events so there was a lot going on. It’s not every day people get to go to the White House and have these tributes to you. It was kind of a Cinderella weekend.
What’s the difference between working solo and working with a band?
Well, working solo means you don’t have to account for anybody else. You do it yourself so you’re not trying to please others as well as yourself, you’re just trying to do the best you can. It’s kind of freeing in a way because you don’t have to run it past anybody else unless you want to and that’s the way I’ve been doing my solo albums the last couple times.
Do you miss the camaraderie of working with a band at all?
Yeah, I do. Lately I’ve been missing “the big stage.” I guess because it was part of my life for many years and I do miss it, but I try not to dwell in the past too much. You gotta move forward. This is what I’m doing now and I’m happy to do it.
What inspired your new album “Leap of Faith”?
Well, I try to write songs at any given time, when the mood strikes and whenever I have the one or two songs ready to record, then I start that process. I never really know how it’s going to come out but I have sort of a vague idea in my head and the process is basically me singing with an acoustic guitar and then I do the work afterward. “Leap of Faith” was recorded in layers.
Tell me about the track “Red Dirt Road.”
That song was written quite a while ago -- quite a few years ago, actually. It’s kind of about -- there’s even a line in there about sowing seeds -- we do our work before we do our play. The work, really probably at the time, alluded to raising kids and doing the stuff that really matters before you have some time to goof off. It’s about doing your work so you can have the freedom to enjoy doing something other than your work.
You just talked about raising kids. How did fatherhood change your life?
Oh jeez, I’ve been a dad for two thirds of my life. I had a baby when I was 22 years old and that was a long time ago and then I had two others later on and now they’re completely out of the house. My youngest is 26 and so I hardly remember life not being a father but my wife and I were hands on-parents. I traveled a lot but we didn’t hire nannies to take care of our kids. We were both very hands-on. My wife did the lion’s share because I traveled a lot, but it was important to us to do our best. Being a parent is one of the hardest jobs there is. It’s one of the greatest things, too, but it’s also probably the hardest thing anybody ever does.
Tell me about how your work and life changed since Glenn Frey’s passing.
Well, it affected everything. Everything changed with his passing and even before that because he was very sick for quite a long time before he passed away. I try not to dwell on the past too much because it’s very important to try and stay aware of what’s going on today and look forward to the future, so we all do the best we can. That was a big deal. It was a big event.
What are your fondest memories of him?
Oh, I’ll just say that he was a very intense personality in every direction, that I really enjoyed him the most when he -- he had a great laugh and he could be extremely funny. Those are the times I think I’ll remember the most.
You were so young when you were starting in Poco and the Eagles. How has your outlook changed on being a performer?
Well, I’m older so I’ve learned a lot, but there’s still so much to learn. I think I’m happier about my songwriting in general and the discipline it takes to do that. I try and work every day, you know, a songwriter is self-motivation. You don’t have a boss and you’re not punching a clock or anything so you have to keep doing it yourself on your own terms and I’m happy that I’m able to in some ways take it more seriously.
In some ways it’s still a lot of fun and a lot of hard work but I think I’m actually getting better at it and still learning. I think I’m starting to come into my own as a songwriter. At least that’s how I feel personally and that’s nice because a lot of people hit their peak when they’re way younger and I feel like I haven’t really gotten there yet. Makes me look forward to the next day.
What are your goals and dreams at this point?
I love to perform, sing, write songs. That’s what I do and that’s what I hope to continue to do. I hope every day I’m able to keep my eyes open to everything, even not just professionally. There’s less time in front of me than there is behind me and I hope to sort of hone down the art of enjoying it and appreciation and gratitude.
Is there any hope for an Eagles reunion?
No. Certainly not as the Eagles. The Eagles without Glenn -- it’s over. What happens in the future, if anything with Don and Joe and I -- I have no clue. Nothing’s been talked about and I think we’re still processing this huge change in our lives, so I don’t know. The real answer is we don’t know. We’ll see what happens.