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ning to latch.

onto a bit of success while burning up the Whisky stage;


across town a band aptly called The Poor was barely surviving,
A one-bedroom apartment served as home for the five members who, collectivelv, were earning barely enor:gb

!-\ I I I I I I I I I I l,f

thtoes of the late '60s. this cil) n.u.,rreo more nruslcrans rl^. it rewarded. The situation

I]RINC THE

FRANTIC

g,,t back in Ib67. when the Bu{ulo Springtield was just begir-

1"..'t chansed much

since,

Ex-Eagle

numerous live shows and the first five Eagles albums, And now that Meisner's burgdoning solo career is tirking an upward swing with the release of One More Sang (his second solo LP, but first for Epic), it's clear that ihis scenic mdsical sojourn is far from over. As a late October evening begins. inside LA's Le Seur restautant on a surprisinglv busy Monday, Randy Meisner is seated and enioying a glass of wine while.light from:a table candle illuminates his boyish face and clear blue eyes. Fie smiles and reflects, "It feels

with The Eagles, one or two of


songs

his

would appoar per album, and he Ielt good about his role as lrackup vocalist and bassist, But by 1977, Meisner reached a point where he realized it was time for a change,

"l'd been singing mostly background. my whole lifel' he explain!. "And I figured I was missing something by not singing out more. Listening to Don
lHenlevl and.Glenn [Frey], I knew I could do just as well ttr better. That's the poirit when I .tarted thinking about quitting The Eagles' I was 31*a time in your iife when you want to make a decision if you uant to really go for something. I wasn't gojng to

MNDY
e{fi[$NilH
PLffi$

discovered that "on vour orvn. there's no one covering for vou. lf it rvorks, it's rronderful. I{ it doesn"t. \'ou can't cr) .on somrone else's shoulder. Rantlq Meisner. releasccl on Aslium in 78. had some high points. including

wait until I u as 401' So Meisner left The Eagles following the band's summer '77 tciur and, urged on bv musician friend trrrned producer Alan Brackett, he immediatel,v plunged into a solo projcct, Richie Constanza also helped orrt with some initial recording in Brackett's smali studio, rrhere. Randt recall<. "l sanq some songs and thel' got a nice sound out of ml voice." But Meisner had little idea of uhat clirection to takc and quie*l1

a cover of "Corvbor'"' Scott


''Please Be

Boler's

ol "Take It to the Linitl' But the bulk o{ the albLrm. nade up of matcrial songivriter Bill Lamb. clidn't hang together as a cohesire qhole, "lt'ras just s('att('r gun.' Randv adnrits. "\\'e tried to corer all areas and didn t hare nruch of a c'onctlt, I cl ner't,r been responsiblc for an album s rrorth of songs belore. and had never

\\'ith Nlel' and a.reu,orking

uritten bl Alarr Brackett and

Seattle

sung so nlan\'leadsl so I realll sasnt sure rvhat las going to be invoht'd. I

Ilfill
S 0L0

t'arn

ecl

lum (shich N'leisner felt had put little effort behind his solo album)r tried, rrnsuccesslulll, to nranage himself fot a 'qhiler then headed baek to his home-

l\leisqer also prt together a live bancl for a .hort torrr of clrrh< tancl r4rcninq spots on a cotrple of shous). and. ugain. this was a brand new experience. "It proved something to mei' he sa1's. "l sas able to get ul) onstage sith ail acolstic gritar. sing rrithr'ut a ltass itt nr1'hand, and hang in s'ith the band. So this las another learning processi' After this mini.tour. l\{eisner solered ties lith manager Irving Azolf (rrho \leisner sa1's still had ideas of getting Randy back into The Eagles); left Asr'-

i'

toqn. Scottsbluff. 'At thai point, I

acn't sure if I u'a-< eoing to do another solo alhrtm." Rand1 sa1s. "l jrrst uanted to get a\\al and

Nebraska.

to pa]' the rent. lvhether staring at the apartment rvalls, singing tunes on bar

like mv career, mt solo careet, is start"


ing ane\\', One More Song reminds me

By Dave Zimmer Flrotos hV l{enry


26
NOVEI\,,IBER7

standing on street corners selling copies of the IA Free Pras, lhe band's bass plaver, Rand.v Meisner,, could not have conceived of rvhat lay ahead. In the ]ears that {ollowed, Nleisner \1ent on to become a part of the initial Foco grouping, uas largell responsible for the creation of Rick Nelson's Stone Can.von Band (r'hich, as it happens, s as made up mostly of former nrembers of The Poor), was a {ounding member ol The Eagles, and contributed his unmistakable highranging r ocals and loping bass lines to
stages.

ol

of the first Eagles alhum. rvhen therc vas all of ihis fresh spirit and ever1" thing was just beginningl'
Even though tbe parallel seems aPpropriate front an energl standpoint and because Meisner's neu' album has fiequent flashes of Eagles high flfing sound. never before has Randl'sung so manr' lead vocals l ith such sensitivit\'" rtrength and rarjance of tone And

be with m| famih. I thought I might retire." Randl parises and smiles, "I collect antique cars and thought I'd tinker u ith them. ride ml Harlev and just have a good time for a rvhile, "But most of m1' friends had jobs dur"

Diltzf,

never before has Melsner written this much material on on album. Collab-Love Has No Pride" oratins u ith Eric Kaz and Wcndv Waldman. Fandr had a hand in the cofnposing of six o{ the album's nine songs,

Throughout Meisner's

five

lng the da\'. he conilnttes. i nere \1 as no one there to cbum around *'ith. So after atiout six ol seven months, I was going nutsl' Around this time. Meisner received a phone call {rom Steve Edu ards, a guitarist n'ho had played on Randy Meisner, "He rvantecl to get iogether and start writing;'Randl recalls. "But I' rvasn't readl to go back to LA, I'd iusi bought a little house in Nebraska, so Steve moved orlt here and we ended up rvriting about 26 songs. Thel' rveie real R&B-oriented. because we both liked that stvle. but the songs just w'eren't
me'.'

.u-ears

198OIMM

accoltntant and lawver were cheking out-record companv interest in Meisnei and beqan nagging Randy to return to I.A and record another album. Even_ trrallr. Meisner did return and smure a ,record deal with portrait Records, - -

me jlrst express ml.thouehis. "Eric ended rrp u orkin! a lot on the mrrsic. hecause J don't Dla-v guitar verv rr ell and ca n't read or ri.riie music. Bui I cl hrrm a melody to Eric, spit out ideas. and hed condense it downl,
''Hearts On Fire'and "Deen

_- \l hen Val introduced me to him,.. Randv savs, "I was frightened to death_ Steve [Eduards] uai the onlv other qelo;r t uritren closell. with, Doing that lirst {helped mc break down a feri barriers. But Eric's such a pro. he made me feel comfortable right awav and let

songqriter Eric Kaz.

approach the alhum thu -r.i"iuni "nd I should uork qith:'Caray's firrt;;;geslion \ as that Meisner team rrp wii-h

me,for a u-hile," Rand;- iays.'..So, he hacl a lol of ideas about how I should

lev and I in particular really got offl. high voice . , . like minej' Meisner reThroughout,One More Son!, Meis_ members, "The band had ren me play ner s vocal perlormane dips into pure and f guess that was t'ti"y Eagles and rereals a richer, lower "nougt. joini' asked me to range as u.ell..'l tried to work past any Randy saw this as a chane to leave preconceived limitations I'd previouslv behind the rather staid Nebraska musi, set for nrlselfl' Randv says. ..On th! cal enlironment. and no sooner had \\'hen uord got out that Randy tirst solo album. I hadn't had a lot of Nleiisner ., ioined the Soul Survivors than l\leisner r4s back in town, recordini experience as a lead slnger. .o I olavJ the qroup headed for Los Angeles. enginrer.Val Garav came calling. Gai it real safe. On One Mire Sone. I iir_ "For musicians growing up in the ral had known Rand1. since the'poco corrred. I could sing quite a bii lower l\lidwestl' Meisner says.,'California and still go up to m\: real high loice u da_rs. and had since worked with peter as the onla place 1.ou dreamed about that- I guess. has become mi trade- being." Asher in th-e strdio r"cording Jamii mark:' Tarlor and Linda Ronstadt, H"e ialked Brit the realization of this dream was to Randr.aborrt prodrrcing his next ai,btrm and Meisner q.as ai for it. "Val had been uanting to produce
Meisner.s
.

Meanwhile. back

in LA.

Driting. emotional sonqs like


ln-"side

(larnes) resrrlled. and thenrrhen Garar called in ,one*.riterrrl.calist \1endr \\'aldnran. she"added her the best
ideas and voice to several

br Kim

Heart' {fcatrrring a hackgrcund vocal

Mr.

nlntes

hatrnting melodl. and stinqlne lvrics.


and \4 endr'.'l\leisn"r ta1.,].. I was able to ptrt a lot of real feeling into the compositio,ns. as opposed to just collecting

al an enqaging

"n.poriiion, of shich. "Trouble Aheadl' pace with a

ir

''81 rrritinq. thse songs"l.ith'Eric

Mid:70s Eagles: t L-R ) Frey, Feltlzr. M?isner t rear), L""i;,;;. phrasing and range variation, Veisner
aqrees
.

i""l"u

lll

namelr' fiichie Fura.'s ..Anru.a.l Br? Bve'ruhich Randy relearned fiom-a tape of h.imself sinqine the song with Poco at the Trorrbadorrr in 6e). and a corple of Jack Te n,p"hin ,"ngs. :.w'hlti Shoes" and the ritle track. Jackson Broune. recording in the room ncxl to \lqiqn.t at Rccord One, Itt{qest.d Randt record "One More Song. The composition s k.rics paint a
(the name Randr.has since given to his solo band), "Jackson thought_the song war right . nte. so for uc sat down at the piano, made a demo of it and adrled one lvric. Instead of packin' awal m, guitir.r i sang l)ackin awa]. m]. bass gultar. .' For the actual recording of tie song. " tbrme-r Eagles mates Glenn Frey an"d Don Henlev sang background vocalr. Meisner had just added some vocal tracks to "Take It to the Limitl.the lersion. recorded initiall! at the Forum and set to appear. along with other tintage Eagles live materiai. on the banct s llpcoming in-concert album. Th,ese, .sessions iu hich Val Gmf helped bring abour; were the first time that Randr. Clenn and Don had sung together in almost three r.ears.

songs. lt's reallv hard. as I forrnd out. to collect sonqs hr other people and enJ rrp rr ith a good alhuml' Nteisner did, however, include some orrtside material on ()ne More Song.

initialh not a pleasant experienc. As the band attempted to attmct some ininfluences dustr! attention (wilh help from man_ arc coming full circle. agers Charlie Stone and Biian Creene. rtho were also handline Buffalo Sprinqfield and Sonny & Ch-er), all the Soul Srrrtir or: endcd up doing'was los_ ing money. Consequently, t"he band changed their name to The poor. Soon ther didn't have enough money to sufport their road manager, who went on to_uork for the Buffalo Springfield, I r in Caye. Mary Vt ells, ^. .l Berrv and . In'68. when the Bulfalo Spririgfield Chrrck James Brown filled disbanded and Richie Furay'andJlm_ Mejsner's rereptive ears. 'I .mY ;.;;; Messina were putting together po"r", co. Randl Meisner got a call. The road !o {o a James Brown imitation,.. Randr reveals. manager had remmmended Meisner to l\leisner's grandfather
vocal

Br exploring this type of


that his carlr. R&B

I[tn**ffi
hbd heen
a

'llt wasn't easy lgaving The Eagtes because we had become tike a real family,,a se:t unit,,'

touching portrail of a plaveis last niqht uith his band. The $;1y"rr6o,

gered. Brrt u e've patched Ihinis up. It u as qreat singing together againr Hen_

..,,"lt.ua.s a eo.od feelingl"Ranjy says. "We.hadn't talked to eich other in a corrple of 1ears. I_itile srudces iin_

violiniit and, Randv "\l hen I arrived at their house for renrembers. "mr molher *.as alwaw an auditionl' Randy recalls, .-Tim singing arorrnd the house, I think the Schmit was playing. So, I auditioned first song I eyer learndd -".i.Hnr.r_ right after him, A couple of days later, comb' bi' Jimml. Deanl' Wiih the ;A- ther called tent of Ellis Presley and Conway q ant youl " me back and said. '.We T$ itt\. Meisner picked up lhe suitar . Meisner was in Poco for about a and. he sar.s. "l learned a lot of"their lear. during which he plaved numer_ -memorable sonq.. because thev all had onl1. three ous live.shms lthe most t'hordsl' At the irrging of his high w-ere at_ the Trou badour) and was a part school slital teacher. Randv switched of Poco s first LP, Pickin' Iln the piices. to bass. ''There rvere some real good times -lt jrrst felt naluml.. Meisnersat.s. ..And I "The bas u.as something I lell secrrre dilring that vear,'Meisner sivs. sau tlre potential there,.but'we could u ith and I was able to ge1 a lot of feel_ nev-er get heard by the right people." ing o[t of it." What made Meisner's stay in poco a The Thunderbirds and The Dvnam- short one was a direct resull of an ,.u]ics rere the bands Rand1. loinei as a ljnratum'he gave. principallv to Mes_ teenager. "We played whalever people sina and Fura1,. "l told them I u.antid wanted to hear." he rccalls, .'We r ent to bc in the studio when thev were through a Beatles phase, did some nrixinel'Rand) says, 'l said, .IfI.m ln ventures. some soul and R&B stuff,'. tho group. I feel I should be able to The Dvnamics eventually made a trip come dow.n therei They said.No'; out of Nebraska to Denver for a talent that< uhen I rlrrit.' contest. shere a Denver_based band Brrt Meisner wasn't unemployed called the Soul Survivors spoiled Meis- . long. Rick Nelson, who had reen Ranclv ner. "Thq Soul Survivors had just lost plaving bass their bhss player. and he had a real dour, rvantedwith Poco at the Trouba'. him to play bass in the
Russian classical
NOVEMBER7198O/BAM 27

Furar'.

'

ne\r band he rvas forming. Meisner tosether." ' ;;.:i;r" rrith nlans now to build this took the job and also recommended that Nelson recruit what was left ol "srrpcrgrorrp. contacted quitarist Bernie Leadon. who had recently partThe Poor. Along with steel guitarist Tom Brrrmley, this combination be- ed ways with the Flying Burrito Brotheame knou'n as the Stone Canyon ers. Once a line-up was set, David GefBand. Randy stayed with Rick Nelson {en stepped in" financing the band and & the Stone Canyon Band for two al- 'inking a record deal'ivith the freshly bums, a tour of Army bases in Europe, formed Asvlum label. But before doing and selected club gigs in California. anl recoiding or Iive shows in LA, th; "Rick's a very sincere person, but, nwlv named "Eagles:'took off for As when I was with him, he was trying to pen. Colorado- to hone their music.
write for the media, it seemed, instead of just diing.his own thing;' Randy

Easy Feeling' and the like; we gave them lhat and a lot more.' This more concerted turn into rock and roll uas not a direction countryoriented Bernie Leadon was interested in prrrsuing. \A hen Leadon left The Eagles in 1976. Joe Walsh filled the vacancr-. Besides his obvious hard:edged

temporarill'playing as house band at a club in the resort tdwn. Clvii Johns, an Engiish producer chosen to mastcrmaiden. altrum, wa$.inftially not impressed with what he heard, "We were a little hard for himi' Meisner recdlls,

instrimental and vocal contributi;ns to.The Eagles, Meisner says, "'Joe was the only girl, I could get crazy with anvmore. Bi then, Clenn had settled doun a lot and he and Don were getting real .szrious about everything. \4'alsh'came. in and we started doi4g
the duck-talk acirjss the stage. Henley u as on pins and nrdles. thinking we

-itla tUi iecording of The

Eagles''

were going to

trip over the cords or


was.

"Too mrrch, rock and rolll' But Ecgles, tecorded at


Olt'mpic Studios in

blow it. "Whether

.London's

1972'.displayed a

balanced blend of rock, folk and country'. And uhen,.the album hit the airuares and record stores that summer, led hv the Clenn Frey-J ackson Browne collaboration "Take It Easy;'it flew up

60O00 or T.people; it made no difference to nie. I.Iilost Eagles concerts at this iunctrire were in huge arenas or basoball stadiums.] They"re all just pedple. lf 1'ou blot it, they under* stand. If rorr do u ell, thel understand.
loo

playing in front of

the charts. Frel and Henlev handled most of tn" ttiiti"g, and, ii4"irner rumembets; "Glenn arid Don werc aird still are a team-and a good leam, But it $ as hard to get inside that team. I vasn't t'xperidnced drough s'ith u riting songs dt that point. Don and Cldnn, living l ith JacksonIBrow4e]and J.D. ISodtherl'frr a while, had quite a head startl'
Fir en hefore The Eagles rsere formed. this sonquriting ieam had conceived a rock and roll outlaw con-

Plaiing to ihe greatest numbers for the most dollars is obviousll' not a moti\ ating lactor hehind Randr Meisner's nrrrsic. Otheru ise. he netcr u c,uld havc left The Eugles. Brrl a lear after the release of Hofel CaliJornia and following a sumnler'?7 torrr. Meisnel leftl Tim Schmit. tho eight vears eailier had takcn over for Meisner in Poco. became The Eagles' neu bass plaver and high harmonr'.inger.

"lt

$ asn't easv leaving The Eagles,"

'ern-day' "despetados."

eept album, depieting.iockers as mod-

In

Raridl adnrits, "because rve had be. coire like a real famill, a set unit' But
for nre to have stal ed anl longer would have been going against a feeling I had trr go rtith)' \\'hat does Me'isner think of The Eaqles crrrrent nrrrsic? "I can:t hear mj' high end,' he says n ith a, smile, "l)ut it's coming together. rrYhen torr lose a bass plaler vcu'v6 been plaling u ith for vears, it's hard to imnrediatell establish a tight connmtion $ ith someone ne*,. It's a rnatter of iearning u,hen f)on is going to kick down on the bass drum, and when to fill in. But Tinr's a great bass pla.rei and has a iealll strong loice. Iin look-

1973, this

bum

ka drrring that periodi' Randl' sa.vs. "\{'hen I came back,tbeDesperado al. las all pl4nned urt.'I'd t1v to rvork in a song about something and hear.'Well, this one ue've got alread;kind o{ covers ihat: 'Certain Kind o{ !'ool' l as u ritten in England while we rrcre recnrding. \\ r'rtaled rrp all night and brrrned it out. and that \\'a\ m\ song on the albrtm.'

concept berame rr rcalitl on vin1l. ' "1 went to visit mv famill in Nebras-

tr []il]l] fflllii,{il: llll


r
sals of his tenure with. the band,

ing fonlard to hearing their next alHour about Randv Meisner's next
venture?

'.9! ygul oy.!:


tnefe'S nO One

in

After'brieflt, returning to Nebraska l!.)71, Meisner ivent back to the

r'a hear a song someone grorrp wrote that sounded too much

I l-lI
I

" ^t

verv consciotrs of'songs

;'.'n'::"1:r

u;lJ'i:;:t; in the

finished One More Song I was all set to stafi another album right au,at," he says. ':I was buzzing so mnch from rvorking on
last Augtrst.

"\\'hen

*[iln::",hi";;"fi':## il:;r*:mfiillxii"-:,s.:*rifi i:T'';iilitllJ,,Ti:f*ilrilb iiou l'm qetting sei to go on the road lisrened. sometimei thev ciidn't]
erenruall also pla'ed *itf. nrg"r [,lqCrrinn and the New tiiders). Randr AsthesessionsforOnlheBorderlte- inacoupleofmrrnthc.rrithThesilrersomeone who

covering for you. j;;.1'::*l'l*;l*,1l,li*"Ujli * i#;iili.l";:lh, ,;X.#; ,;";th';[;, '- - i*"a. u;;' *""i*a

wonderruiiiit: *lxffiriliitlri*:*! doesn't you can't :1,:,$:l;i:,fl"gi,ffn:x1il,*,{ll;: cry on tomeone i:llii.,lit:liiffi:f,:"i;,?fi.1::


li

lf it WOfkS fftS

lh:",",,,",i:.i:t l::;J1l.i;,Hil?;,li'iXXlltil,! could H,irr. g.iitu" ";J ;;;i ,i""rr c'uid

ni".iilr,*'";1{*,:*';ili;}{ Hffi"l1}}iyilfff:*';l1;

etde's shou,lder," togetiier ''ro:1.H,:t*iffti*." with nnriit"dt't" guitarisi, pov'eriul brand of'rock and roll.

a ioi of resistance, it usualll, doesn't Glenn Frev. and her drummer, Don The next albtrm. One oJ Thete work irut. But u,hen I let things flow, Henlerr.Frev,accordingtoMeisner,re- Mghfs (released in '75), included a it's like I have no control over uhat membered hitching a ride on Sunset I{eisner-Felder original, the churning happens, I'm a believer in predestin.v, BoulevardfromRandyduringthePoco "Too Manv Handsj' and the soaring I was given a voice. gifted with par. da.u."s. Meisner stiil doesn't iemember Nteisner-Henley-Frey song. "Take It To ents rvho brought it orrt of me, and I have no idea what makes certain the incident. brrt he'll never forget this the Limitl' "This uas the first tlme we really things happen. When I went back to Sig. i'Ronstadt lrated mv bass plavingl' stepped outl'Melsns sals. "The way Nebraska the last time, I realized I
that could kill, It mav not havd worked that point. a lot,of listeners came to ex- to be here. My nrusic is what I do, This out *ith her, but it sure got The Eagles pect drostly nraterial like 'Peaceful is where I should be''' tr

l],1'.1;,?Ti[",'i:l:i:',,*l!";"'*:ii [:'u,il,l";"jjT,ll"lh",';l;;':j:; is evorving l::,:i,"i"il'Hl'il5-?illil.l,:"-?i:i:,: ;:':;';i:i,,lli,T,l"ii"ln* R""du :,1';:,;'J:'1,1,";"X T,;:'"" ii:"U fJ; ,';i;ti?il,11i'-1:illliyr"x3:'#;

Randrrecal).."shegavenr.somclooks ThcEaqleslradheenPresentedupto

couldntlivethatlife.lrealizedlhad

28

NOVEMBERTOSO/BAM