In Their Own Words: Impressions of Randy

A variation on my In His Own Words series.


“Randy Meisner was a very gentle soul. Pisces. A quiet and friendly guy. No aggressive vibe at all. Very sweet. He was so there and open.”
-Henry Diltz, 2008

L-R: Jim Foreman, Randy (inside his vintage red pickup), and Henry Diltz (taking selfie), Studio City, c.1995

“When I saw Randy my tongue just fell right out on the table. I just couldn’t believe that anybody could look, sing, and play cool all at the same time. It was too much for me.” 
-Glenn Frey on the first time he saw Randy with Poco at the Troubadour​​, 1995

I’ve always been a fan of Randy Meisner, ever since I first heard him sing and play back in Colorado. I don’t think Poco or the Eagles were the same without him.
-Rusty Young, 2000

As for Randy, he was a very important component as well. It would never have been the same band without him. His singing on the high end is unlike any other sound. He also helped define a style of songwriter-rooted bass playing, not unlike Paul McCartney. He always managed to make a nice melody under what the others were doing. And he could play light, with the tips of his fingers. The only other person I’d ever heard do that was Stephen Stills.
-J.D. Souther, 1997

Eagles, 1974
© Henry Diltz

“Randy Meisner, of Nebraskan farming stock, was the nicest guy I have ever played with in a band. No matter what went down, you could hang with ‘Meis’ and have a laugh…Naturally shy and quiet, he hated it when the attention was focused on him or his playing, but there were few occasions when I saw him unhappy or not putting a bright face on a situation. He looked very young and continually attracted the ladies with his cute looks. Randy’s sole purpose in life was to have a few drinks, roll a few joints, and make everybody laugh. He was a wonderful midwestern guy with a great heart and a loving soul.
-Don Felder, 2007

I love Randy and he’s probably one of the best people in the world, but he never knows what he’s going to do next.
-Pat Shanahan (The Poor, Stone Canyon Band) on Randy’s restlessness, 2000

“Meisner hit some notes only dogs can hear.”
-Don Henley on “One Of These Nights,” 2003

Randy, Cary Park, and Rick Roberts, Bozeman, MT, 1987

Randy is one of the nicest, gentlest men I have ever had the pleasure of working with in the industry, as well as a truly great high tenor with a natural sense of harmony, but I believe he had never completely gotten over walking away from the Eagles…It was his decision to leave, but I think he felt he had been backed into a corner where he really had no other choice, if he wanted to maintain his self-respect.
-Rick Roberts, 2015

Poco had Randy Meisner in the band and they were just killer.
-Jim Bickhart (music critic/journalist), 2000

“He’s kind of a quiet, shy guy with a family, and he’s also been doing longer than we have. He was in a band called The Poor out here in 1968 and then in Poco, and he doesn’t care about interviews and so forth. As far as he’s concerned he’ll just let Glenn and me shoot off our mouths and make fools of ourselves. He does his job and goes home to Nebraska when it’s done.”
-Don Henley, 1976

L-R: Augie Meyers, Charlie Rich, Jr, Randy, and Billy Swan, Las Vegas, 2005

Randy was great in the studio, particularly when it came to vocal arrangements. He came up with all these cool little parts that just “made” the song come together. He called it putting the glue on it. He was right. It just welded all the parts of the song together…When we started getting the live show together, one thing Randy was a stickler for was having the band well rehearsed. Hey, when an ex-Eagle says rehearsal is important, you best listen. We had a great time doing it too. Randy would usually bring some donuts and coffee. Maple donuts, by the way. Then we would rehearse all morning, take a lunch break, grab a falafel, and right back for more rehearsals. 
-Charlie Rich, Jr (Meisner, Swan & Rich)

Randy never knew how great he was.
-Joe Walsh, 2013


Sources:
Canyon Of Dreams: The Magic & Music Of Laurel Canyon by Harvey Kubernik, 2009
Conversations With Don Henley & Glenn Frey by Cameron Crowe, August 2003
Charlie Rich, Jr.
Desperados: The Roots Of Country Rock by John Einarson, 2000
Heaven And Hell: My Life With The Eagles by Don Felder, 2007
History Of The Eagles (documentary, Dir. Alison Ellwood), 2013
Lame Brain: My Journey Back To Real Life by Rick Roberts, 2015
Melody Maker, December 11, 1976
The Story Of The Eagles: The Long Run by Marc Shapiro, 1995
To The Limit: The Untold Story Of The Eagles by Marc Eliot, 1997


15 comments

  1. Wonderful! Thanks for this collection of “In Their Own Words”. Randy is so admired and loved by other musicians and his fans. Joe Walsh’s own words say it all really. Randy never knew. I hope he knows now.

    • Thanks, Leah, it was my pleasure.

      I thought Joe’s words would be a fitting coda. So many of us feel this way.

  2. Awesome! I sure hope Randy has read all these great post about himself. He is an amazing person from all I have read. I was surprised and disappointed however at what Don and Glenn posted then would never let Randy come back to the Eagles even for a “sit in” jam! That was the Eagle band’s loss.

    • Actually, Randy was invited to do the History of The Eagles Tour, but he was not well enough to participate, whereas Bernie Leadon came along. On the other hand, Don Felder was never asked to rejoin, because of ongoing lawsuits.

    • I don’t think we’ll ever know that, but we’ll keep documenting his career as best we can. He deserves that.

  3. Thank you Jessica for another interesting page. Randy is obviously very well-liked by his fellow musicians as being a very kind and gentle person with a much respected ability as a wonderful singer and bass player.

    • You’re welcome, Judy. Thanks for your comment. One of the things I admire about Randy is that he is so well-liked & respected by his peers. It says a lot about his character.

  4. Loved reading these and appreciate you sharing these wonderful words about such a fine man. My friends and I had the pleasure of meeting him and Eagles, in 1975 (One of These Nights Tour). And, we were front row ($5 tickets).. Randy was very kind and shy. He was very soft spoken, as well. He was wearing a blue California t-shirt with a denim shirt over it. My friends and I talk about those precious memories often. We were very happy and lucky to meet such a talented man.

    • Hi Cindy! I remember you and your story from the Meisnettes group. In particular, Randy’s soft denim shirt, which he said was “well worn.” What a great memory for you. Thanks so much for sharing it here.

  5. I love all these wonderful comments from his peers and fans. I hope and pray one day he will read all these posts and realize how amazing and loved he still is. I do wish the Eagles had treated him better with letting him “sit in on jam sessions” and allowing him, Bernie and Don Felder be a part of the Kennedy Arts awards . I love that Joe and Timothy were there with Don but the others deserved to be there as they were the founding members of the Eagles. I feel they were hard on Randy because he had a wife and children he had to support and go home to. I wonder if when Don and Glenn got married and had children they ever remembered what they did to Randy! Sorry for my long post!

    • Hi Peggy, thanks so much for your comment. Randy wasn’t always treated well, but he took the high road and never held a grudge. I commend him for that.

      • To your point: Yes, he did take the high road and never held a grudge, that is a lot more than Don and Glenn did for him because he wanted to see his wife and children. He is amazing, gentle, kind, shy, funny, loving, smart. I just can’t say enough great things about him. I wish he had never started with drugs and alcohol but he is still precious and I pray everyday for him. Thanks Jessica for allowing me to comment.

  6. he was a founding member of the eagles and he should have been treated alot better than he was.. That being said he did not run down his band teamates in the band. He just walked away. as joe walsh would say

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