After a two-and-a-half year absence, Randy Meisner returned to the stage on February 12th, 1981 as a warm-up act for the Beach Boys. His last appearance in front of an audience was on September 8th, 1978 at the Universal Ampitheater in Los Angeles. This was also his first major tour since he left the Eagles in 1977.1

Randy backstage at the Summit with local Houston rock photographer, Larry Lent. (via Rockin Houston)

Randy’s hiatus from the music business followed the commercial failure of his solo debut, the self-titled, Randy Meisner, in 1978. It was an album he refers to below, with bitterness, as a “desk album.” (He’ll explain what that means). He left Los Angeles and returned to his home state of Nebraska to figure out what to do next. He reemerged two years later with a new producer, Val Garay, and with the help of two songwriters Eric Kaz and Wendy Waldman, put out his second solo album, One More Song, in October 1980. To support that album, he set off on a tour opening for The Beach Boys, with the first date kicking off at the The Summit in Houston, Texas, a venue he last played, to a sold-out crowd, with the Eagles in 1976. He admits that he was slightly unprepared for the show:

“I couldn’t make rehearsals for the whole last three or four days before we came out. I didn’t get all of my guitar parts down, so tonight on some of the songs, I didn’t play my acoustic because I didn’t know the songs well enough. But tomorrow, I’ll know.” 2

Nevertheless, he still gave a memorable performance, as witnessed by Dale Adamson, from the Houston Chronicle, who felt Randy’s set was the “bright spot” of the whole evening:

“The only real bright spot to Thursday’s show was ex-Eagle Randy Meisner’s opening set. Although he hasn’t quite developed into a forceful bandleader yet, his group’s tight harmonies and bright country rock sound–particularly on tunes like ‘Heart’s On Fire’ and ‘Trouble Ahead’–provided the only fully satisfying musical moments in an otherwise altogether forgettable evening.” (Houston Chronicle, February 14, 1981)

After the show, Adamson sat down with Randy backstage for an interview, where he opened up about leaving the Eagles at the height of their success, the failure of his first album, and getting back on his feet again. He’s open, honest, and extremely candid, not only about himself as a musician and songwriter (“I was paranoid about how I pronounced a word or if I spelled it right”), but also as a father (“I can’t be one of those TV-everything-turns-out-right-fathers.”) He’s also confident about his future, although hesitant to make too many plans. He just wants to have fun and play music. “That’s what I do.”

Read the full interview below as it appeared in the Houston Chronicle, March 1st, 1981 (click to enlarge):

1 Coincidentally, Randy’s last concert with the Eagles was also in Houston at Jeppesen Stadium on July 9th, 1977.

2 When Randy began performing as a solo act, he switched from playing bass to playing acoustic guitar. He explained the switch to the New York Daily News: “You can’t play bass and sing at the same time. Too many counterparts. Rhythm guitar gives me more freedom.” (New York Daily News, March 10, 1981)

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