“I’ve lived in San Diego all my life,” says singer-songwriter Jack Tempchin, “and I consider it my city — although I don’t mind sharing it with a few million people.”
Before writing songs for the Eagles and others, Tempchin lived in Banker’s Hill in 1970-’71. He often performed at a Mission Beach watering hole called the Heritage (where, for a time, Tom Waits manned the door).
In 1971, Tempchin managed SDSU’s Backdoor theater. While eating lunch one day at Der Wienerschnitzel on Washington and First in Hillcrest, inspired by “two pretty girls walking by,” he began writing the lyrics to “Peaceful Easy Feeling” on the back of a concert flyer. Friend and fellow musician Glenn Frey brought the song to his band the Eagles in 1972. The group recorded Tempchin’s “Already Gone” in 1973.
Every time the Eagles rerelease either song, Tempchin receives songwriter royalties. The Eagles’ album Their Greatest Hits (1971–1975), featuring both tunes, has sold 27 million copies, making it one of the ten best-selling albums ever, according to the Recording Industry Association of America.
Tempchin’s songs have been covered by locals the Paladins and Chris Hillman, as well as by George Jones, Glen Campbell, Tanya Tucker, Emmylou Harris, and Trisha Yearwood. Now living in Encinitas, Tempchin recently released a solo CD, Songs, which includes his new version of “Smuggler’s Blues,” cowritten with Glenn Frey and featured prominently in the TV show Miami Vice in the ’80s.
WHAT ARE YOU LISTENING TO?
1. “My friend Meiko was the bartender at the Hotel Cafe in Hollywood, where I hang out. I didn’t know she was such a great songwriter and performer until I got her new album Meiko, which is a hit on the iTunes store.”
2. “Fishtank Ensemble is a band with a gypsy violinist. They’re an amazing group, unlike most anything I’ve ever heard. I’ve been playing their Samurai over Serbia album.”
3. “The Phantom Blues Band, featuring the incredible Mike Finnigan on vocals, recorded one of my songs on their album Out of the Shadows, which is great. They’re also the backup band for Taj Mahal.”
4. “Joe Sublett’s new solo album, Subtones, is instrumental and perfect for when you want to set a mood. He plays saxophone with the Rolling Stones and everybody else.”
5. “My longtime friend J.D. Souther has a new album called If the World Was You, and I can’t get enough of the song ‘I’ll Be Here at Closing Time.’ ”
WHAT ARE YOU READING?
1. “The Shock Doctrine by Naomi Klein is a fantastic book. It tells how to recognize the three prongs of the corporate-devil’s pitchfork. One, eliminate all public services, like parks, beaches, [and] health care. Two, deregulate all business. Three, privatize everything, from toll roads to the water supply. This leads to people being either very rich or very poor and the end of democracy and freedom.”
2. “A Princess of Mars is a great pulp fantasy by Edgar Rice Burroughs, the writer of the Tarzan books. If you have an iPhone, you can download it and thousands of other books free and read them on your iPhone with the free Stanza program.”
3. “The Dumarest of Terra series is perhaps my favorite pulp science-fiction books of all time. The series consists of 32 books by E.C. Tubb that almost no one knows about. The more you read them, the better they get!”
4. “The Outfit by Richard Stark is part of the Parker book series. The movie Payback and five other films have been made from the Parker books. The main character is a very bad person. You wouldn’t want to meet him, but he’s great to read about.”
5. “The Golden Section: Nature’s Greatest Secret by Scott Olsen is about a mathematical relationship known to everyone from Pythagoras to Leonardo da Vinci. This relationship appears everywhere in nature, and the book claims that it’s the secret of everything. It contains the ultimate mumbo and jumbo, except it’s all math, and it’s all true.”
LENNON OR McCARTNEY?
“Lennon credited McCartney with writing almost all the songs. They were both great on their own, but neither they nor anyone else ever achieved anything close to what they did together.”
DRINK OF CHOICE?
“PG Tips tea with heavy cream.”
SOMETHING ABOUT YOU FEW KNOW ABOUT?
“When no one is around and I straighten up, I am very tall. When people are around, I slouch down, to make them more comfortable.”