Depending how you look at it, singer-songwriter Timothy B. Schmit, 64, either has a gift for being in the right place at the right time or a knack for just missing out on wider acclaim and bigger fame and fortune.
Calling from California on Monday as he drove to a solo show promoting his 2009 — yes, 2009 — album, “Expando,” the humble and affable Schmit made it plenty clear he views his glass as half full.
Your glass — make that flute — might be a little more full if you decide to go see this legendary champagne-rock musician Thursday at the Tower Theatre in Bend (see “If you go”).
Before we get to that, though, let’s climb in our time machine and travel back to the late 1960s, when the Sacramento, Calif., native was a young bass player who’d spent much of the decade cutting his teeth playing everything from folk to surf to Beatles-inspired rock.
In 1968, according to his bio at www.timothybschmitonline.com, Schmit auditioned for the country-rock band Poco, which was forming from the ashes of Buffalo Springfield.
However, a certain bass player by the name of Randy Meisner got the gig. In 1969, Schmit was invited to audition for Poco again, and the second time proved to be the charm.
Meanwhile, Meisner departed for The Eagles, which went on to become the biggest American band of the 1970s. In fact, as “The New Rolling Stone Encyclopedia of Rock & Roll” puts it, “During these years, the Eagles dominated the field that Poco was expected to mine.”
Several years later, as luck would have it, Schmit would again replace Meisner in a band. In 1977, Meisner and The Eagles parted company. Schmit got the call up, via invitation from Glenn Frey, to join The Eagles at the height of its soaring popularity.
Schmit would tour with the group, even getting to perform his Poco staple, “Keep on Tryin’,” at concerts. He also performed on The Eagles’ 1979 studio album, “The Long Run,” singing lead on the ballad “I Can’t Tell You Why.”
By then, in spite of its peaceful, easy, yacht-rockin’ image, the band was also becoming known for infighting among its members.
Hostilities mounting, The Eagles called it quits in 1982. Schmit says he was “pretty much” outside of the squabbles.
“The seeds of the unrest were already planted by the time I got there, unbeknownst to me,” he said. “I actually didn’t even pay much attention to it. It didn’t seem any different than any other band I had been in, in those respects.”
Post-Eagles, Schmit would need to keep on tryin’ for himself. He released a few solo albums — his song “Boys Night Out” was a hit in 1987 — and he also worked as a session man, his fine voice and bass skills put to use by the likes of Crosby, Stills and Nash, Steely Dan, Toto and a slew of others.
Schmit also spent a few years touring with Jimmy Buffett as a member of the Coral Reefer Band. Legend has it he coined the term “Parrotheads” to describe Buffett’s ardent, colorfully attired fans.
“Yep, that’s correct,” he confirmed.
But being a Coral Reefer, even temporarily, “was a big change for me,” Schmit added.
“(Buffett) is a friend of mine ... and he just asked me to go out for a couple of weeks,” he said. “He wanted to know if I wanted to go out, play some music, have a little fun. I ended up doing it, I don’t know, on and off for a couple of years.
“The main difference is that I was used to being one of the main people,” Schmit said. With Buffett, “I was definitely just a bass player in that band, and a background singer. It was humbling, but it was fun. And honestly, I like to work, and I’m no different than anybody. I need to work.”
Then along came “Hell Freezes Over,” as The Eagles called their 1994 reunion, which Schmit said was a “godsend.”
Coincidentally, it occurred just as Schmit was making his personal peace with his career.
“Really, my whole lifestyle had really humbled me,” he said. “Just about the time I changed from being a little bit angry about my lifestyle change, and I started to accept it and look at all the great things in my life — because I have many great things in my life — about that same time is when we got back together.”
Schmit sang lead on the gorgeous ballad “Love Will Keep us Alive,” The Eagles embarked on a hugely successful tour, and in 2007, they even released a new studio album, “Long Road out of Eden,” which sold more than 7 million copies.
Suddenly Schmit — who drops a solo album every several years — was as busy as ever with The Eagles. (Bandmate Don Henley has referred to The Eagles as “The Mothership,” meaning the band is the larger entity that calls its members back from their solo careers every now and then.)
“I’ve been very busy with The Eagles in the last couple of years. We went to Australia, mainland China, Europe, did some more shows in the U.S.,” said Schmit. And that activity made promoting “Expando” difficult — for a while. Now, he said, there’s not much going on with The Mothership.
“Expando” is two years old, “but not a lot of people heard it, so I’m talking about it again,” Schmit said. “I think it’s worth listening to.”
For his Tower show, he’ll bring along a talented bunch of seasoned musicians “to make it something more special than if I was just sitting there with a guitar,” he said.
“It’s more like a revue. It’s more like ‘An Evening with Timothy and his Friends,’” he said. “Everybody gets a little something to do.”
Schmit said he’ll do several “Expando” songs but fans of The Eagles and Poco can also expect to hear familiar tunes.
“There’s some history in there,” he said. “My job is to, I suppose, take them away from their day to day (lives) for a little while and lift their spirits, and hopefully do a good job at that.”