The following interview with Randy Meisner and Jim Messina was included in the January 1991 issue of the Japanese music magazine, Adlib. The interview took place during Poco’s tour of Japan in October 1990. I have included the translated text of the article below. Many thanks to my friend, Yu Murakami Mikuni, for her assistance with the translation. The piece also includes some new (at least to me) photos of Randy. The interview was part of a section of Adlib called “World Music In Edwin,” which featured interviews, usually with American artists. This section was sponsored by Edwin jeans, which were manufactured in Japan. It’s unclear whether Jim and Randy are wearing Edwin jeans in the photos.
Adlib, January 1991
RANDY MEISNER & JIM MESSINA
We Had So Much Left To Do As Poco.
Poco, one of the trendsetters of West Coast rock in the 1970s, reunited with its original members and made their first visit to Japan. Randy Meisner and Jim Messina, who confirmed their friendship through the tour, will talk about the flavorful rock music they have cultivated over the past 20 years.
There is probably no one with even a passing interest in rock who does not know the name Poco. Formed in 1968, the group has been highly regarded as a pioneer of country-rock, which was one of the rock trends of that era, and as an influence on the Los Angeles artists who achieved great success in the 1970s. However, the group’s commercial success was in stark contrast to their elevated reputation, and they are now recorded in rock history as a group that lost most of its members within a few short years. It was not until the late ‘70s that they had their first hit in the U.S., and at that time there was only one original member left (Rusty Young). That’s why, as a fan, I had mixed feelings when I heard the news that they would be returning with the original members last Fall. However, the reunion album Legacy, that arrived a short time later, was full of great rock that put those fears to rest. I got the impression that the group, which had been separated due to various circumstances, had once again begun to sing gently and powerfully for today’s times. Unfortunately, Richie Furay was not able to attend, but the sight of Jim Messina, Randy Meisner, Rusty Young, and George Grantham all together was still a moving sight. The next day, after enjoying a more powerful performance than I had expected, I had the pleasure of meeting Jim and Randy.
Question: Who was the reason behind this reunion?
Jim: About two years ago, Rusty, the steel guitar player, called and said let’s do Poco again and create the sound we envisioned. Rusty was the last man standing after all of us had quit. But I told him there was no point in doing it without the original members. So he called everyone and I think we started recording around the spring of last year.
Question: Did you keep in touch with each other before then?
Jim: Not really. When we first met, I was surprised to see how much everyone had changed.
Randy: I hadn’t been in touch with anyone or seen anyone for almost 20 years.
Question: Didn’t Randy quit right after making the first album?
Randy: I was young at the time. There was a bit of a misunderstanding on the phone, and I left the band. I then joined the Eagles and just kept busy. So I feel like I’ve finally become real friends with Jim and the others.
Question: What were you doing before the reunion?
Jim: After Loggins & Messina broke up, I did solo albums for a while, but I felt like the time was not right for my music, so I stopped touring in 1983. Since then, I’ve been building a recording studio in Santa Barbara and training young people and doing things like that.
Randy: Since I left the Eagles, I’ve been making solo albums and touring. But like Jim, I’ve been away from music for a while. But about two years ago, I formed a new band with Rick Roberts, (ex-Firefall), and we were doing some club touring.
Jim and Randy are not only original members of Poco, but also the very heart of the West Coast sound of the ‘70s with bands like the Eagles and Loggins & Messina. On stage, the band played mainly Poco’s newer numbers, but to add to the nostalgic atmosphere, they also played some numbers from the early days, with Jim singing “Your Mama Don’t Dance” from the Loggins & Messina era, and Randy performed songs such as “Take It to the Limit,” which he co-wrote and sang during his time with the Eagles, and “Hearts on Fire,” which he wrote (with Eric Kaz) after going solo. For those who have continued to love West Coast rock, it was a concert they will never forget.
Question: Going back a bit, what kind of sound did you have in mind when you started Poco in 1968? We simply call it country rock.
Jim: I think in a sense it’s called country rock. That was one of the trends in rock at that time. But we also liked the blues, we liked jazz and Latin-ish music, and we tried to mix things together in a country and rock way.
Question: With Legacy were you trying to revisit some of those ideas?’
Randy: In a way. We had so much left to do as Poco. I guess we took that idea and created it with a modern sound so that young people can enjoy it as well. We didn’t want to go backwards.
Question: You said on stage, “This is a song that will be on the new album.” Do you have any plans for that yet?
Jim: When I get back from Japan, I’ll start writing songs in earnest and start recording in the new year. I’m hoping to have it out next spring.
Randy: When we did Legacy, I didn’t have much time, so I sang a song that Richard Marx wrote, but this time I’m thinking of writing about three songs as well. I’m sure it will be a good album.
Their reunion album Legacy includes a song called “Follow Your Dreams” written by Jim Messina. This is a wonderful song about the feelings of a man who continues on the path he believes in without giving up on his dreams. Having reaffirmed their friendship through the tour, they will continue to chase their dreams, never forget the ideals of their youth, and deliver great rock without any pretension, just like in this song. I look forward to the completion of the next work.
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