An Eagle Lands in the Hawk's Nest
Author: Andy Irvin and Jake Robinson
Publication: School News (Hembree Springs Elementary)
Date: May 2003
Abstract: Interview with Schmit done for a school newspaper.
I've always been a huge fan of The Eagles, primarily of bass player Timothy B. Schmit. I'm constantly trying to find different ways to bring the positive music/message of various artists, like Timothy B. Schmit, into my classroom, as a way to motivate and inspire students when it comes to learning, particularly during educational games and class discussions.
On any given day, the kids will hear the music of everyone from R.E.M. to U2 to The Beatles to The Eagles. I guess I'm a little bit selfish with what my students get to hear. I'm a music fanatic, so when I get the opportunity, during, for example, the teaching of my big "History of Pop/Rock/Country Music" Unit, I jump at the chance to pull in certain songs (always appropriate) that have affected me in a positive way, into the classroom, to share with the kids.
It was an absolute privilege to interview Timothy B. Schmit for our school paper. What a great guy-what an incredibly humble individual. Thanks to Timothy, Larry Solters, Richard Bowden and everyone at Scoop Marketing for making this happen. Enjoy reading the following excerpt.
Q: Your son is about the same age as the kids I teach. Do you and your wife try to steer him clear of negative influences?
A: I guess I do steer him away in the sense that he has his own life. To him, I'm Dad-I'm not an Eagle. What he has to battle, and what my other children have had to battle, are the few people who are impressed with who his dad is. Sometimes he gets a little discouraged, regarding these people maybe not wanting to talk to him for who he is. I keep telling him that the natural process of making and finding out who your real friends are will shine through.
Q: Is there any teacher from your past schooling that still stands out today, in 2003, as having had a positive effect on you? Do you have any names to give me?
A: Hmmm…a couple are popping out, but not necessarily for positive reasons! I remember my sixth-grade teacher, Mr. Rasmussen. He was a feared fellow. I shook in my shoes when I found out I had to have him, because he was known to be a disciplinarian. He was that indeed, but if you took the straight and narrow, he was very helpful. I remember we had a class Christmas party, and anybody who wanted to do some sort of performance was invited to do so. I found an old guitar, and rehearsed (for the show) with these two girls. I pantomimed some song that was popular at the time. To make this (story) even more positive, here he (Mr. Rasmussen) was, this stern sort of fellow, and he lent me his jacket for the performance, which was a mile too long. So I rolled up the sleeves, and that was part of my costume. I thought he was pretty cool after that.
Q: What do you think about the free downloading of music-music that you've helped to create?
A: I have mixed feelings about it. The music-lover part of me says, "Hey, this is great." But this is my business-it's taking away money from the artists. However, it doesn't affect me or the band, as much as the younger people who are just starting out, because we're already established-we already have a following. It's much harder on them. It's thievery of a sort. The record companies are trying to figure out how to deal with this. When it first started, they paid absolutely no attention to it. They were hoping it would just work itself out. They were wrong. I have mixed feelings about it. My son has a CD burner. He can do it (copy music), and I've allowed him to do it. I'm conflicted-a big part of me says it's wrong. But there's really nothing I can do about it-I'm fairly helpless until the business gets a handle on it to make it lucrative for those who deserve it.
Q: When did you start playing the bass?
A: I started playing the bass when I was about fifteen years old. I wasn't able to afford my first bass until I was, I think, sixteen. I did some work for my dad, and I was able to buy my first bass.
Q: Do you play any other instruments besides the bass?
A: I also play guitar, and that's usually how I write songs. I like to fool around with the drums, but you couldn't call me a drummer. I'm not that good, but I like to play them. I have a little studio in my house. I have a drum set, and pretty much everything is in there (the studio). I look at myself first as a singer, then as a bass player, and then as a guitar player.
Q: Do you actually play the drums, or just kinda play around with them?
A: I just play around with them. My son plays bass, but he's also a great drummer, so I'll get to go down there (his studio in his house), and I'll play guitar, he'll play drums, and we'll get to play music together.
Q: Did you have a favorite book as a child?
A: I didn't really get into reading, which was a very big handicap for me in school, until I was actually out of school, and going out on the road. Then I really started to appreciate reading. I love to read now, but it was a chore for me in school. My mind was always wandering, and because of that I really don't think that my reading skills developed until I was out of school, quite frankly. I discovered later, because of long trips in the car, or on a plane, that "Oh, this (reading) is what it's all about." To this day, I still feel like I'm honing my reading skills. I've actually gone back and have read some of the classics.
Q: Are you and your son into the Harry Potter books?
A: I love those books. We read those together. Those were our bedtime books when he was younger. Sometimes he'd read ahead because he couldn't wait.
Q: Speaking of your son, what's it like raising an almost teen in this day and age?
A: Well, I'm not into censoring, but things have gotten way out of hand. There's too much information (on TV.) that can't be processed by young children. I despise it.
Q: I agree. I have young children myself, and we'll be watching American Idol as a family, and we can't even let the commercials play through because the content is horrible.
A: Here's what we do-when my son is watching TV., we mute the commercials. That's how we deal with it.
Q: Do you ever stop and think about the fact that your music and talent has seeped into all these little nooks and crannies worldwide, bringing joy to the masses? How does that make you feel?
A: I am one of the most fortunate people I know. I count my blessings. My life is really good. To be middle-aged, and to still be doing it at this level, and to have people really enjoying it…. .It just couldn't be any better.