The Eagles Interview
The Eagles Interview
Watching the documentary and seeing how far you’ve come from Peaceful Easy Feeling to Life in the Fast Lane, made me wonder if you knew how far you were going to go. Did you have a vision of how huge the Eagles could become at that point in 1972?

Don Henley

We need to do some corrections in that book [Laughter]. No, the answer is no. We had no idea. How could we? Most rock bands don’t last more than… I mean, it’s getting shorter and shorter every year, isn’t it?

Glenn Frey

We had a sort of collective idea of where we wanted to go, but we were living in the moment: song to song; show to show, record to record. One thing I found interesting when watching the documentary, I felt a little bit more objective than I could have at other times. I was surprised at how many obstacles we had to overcome in the short nine year period from 1971 to 1980, and it included changing producers, changing band members, changing managers, changing business managers, changing agents, changing record companies.

There was always something standing in our way challenging us to overcome it, to get beyond it. I think that’s what we were caught up in everyday and you know, it wasn’t like, ‘We’re going to be a long band that’s going to last for a lifetime’. Nothing like that, but we certainly wanted to be a band that was good band and a band that was respected by its peers. We wanted to have hit records and pure respect and I think we were actually able to achieve both.

Don Henley

It was actually more difficult to get work done because there were so many other issues that came up all the time: management issues, record label issues and things that Glenn just spoke about. There were so many business issues that came up and interpersonal band issues that I’m surprised we found time to write any songs at all, but somehow we got it done through youthful enthusiasm or whatever you want to call it. But there were a great many obstacles, as Glenn said, and we were learning as we went. You know, we started out knowing very little about the music business and we learned so much as the hard way. Although we didn’t have so many disasters as some other groups, we did have some difficulties.
How can you advise other bands on how to survive the length of time that you’ve been going?

Glenn Frey

You know, I don’t have a lot of advice for other people. I only know what works for me and every band has its own road to follow. I just know that when things get difficult, it helps to take a couple of deep breaths [Laughs].

Don Henley

Yeah. Have a publishing company. Try to hang onto your own publishing rights.

Joe Walsh

Sleep is good too [Laughter].
What do you think of the rise of the X Factor and American Idol in terms of being a band that rehearsed hard, worked hard and built it up? You mentioned that the longevity of bands is getting shorter and shorter, do you think that the rise of reality TV shows have an impact on music and bands?

Glenn Frey

OK, this doesn’t have a lot to do with our DVD, but I want to deal with this quickly. Can you have it? Can you call it art? Can you have a contest? That’s the first thing I want to ask. The second thing is, and I’ve watched all these shows with sort of a morbid curiosity, I have found that the most interesting people are the people that don’t over sing. I have found that the nature of these shows, as such, is it makes everybody want to be big and big for the camera and big for the audience. For myself, I would just assume that somebody just stands there and sing the damn song, but…

Don Henley

They’ve turned it into Glee.

Glenn Frey

Yeah. You know, they’ve kind of ‘Glee’d’ it up. But on the other hand, everybody’s musical journey is different. I don’t think there’s a tremendous pot of gold at the end of the rainbow that these shows might promise to people, I’m not sure that’s a reality. But some people have got to do that and that’s a year in their life. This is what they do for a year. It doesn’t make it wrong by any means, but like I said, I do think it encourages people to overplay it.

Joe Walsh

What those poor kids have to sign… basically, they don’t stand a chance.
Joe, the films features scenes with you looking very worse for wear back in the day. How do you feel seeing those now? Can you remember them happening in the first place? If so, what do you think of those sequences now?

Joe Walsh

Well, you’re looking at me. Are you talking to me? [Laughter] You know, it’s uncomfortable seeing me when I was a mess, but I think it’s very important that that be in the documentary. When we stopped, I didn’t really have a life and I didn’t know what to do and I was sad, and so I pretended that we didn’t stop and I kept going. Basically, I ended up an alcoholic and dependent on substances and those things can gradually convince you that you can’t do anything without them. And that’s how I wound up - just speaking for me.

Don and Glenn came to me in 1993 and said, ‘we’re thinking about trying it again. We can’t really do it without you and we can’t do it unless you’re sober.’ And I was at the bottom right then, I really took it as far as I could go. That was the reason I’d been waiting for all those years and so it was pretty much of a no brainer. You know, there was a point when we could do pretty much anything we wanted, and so we did. And that’s part of the documentary. There was a period of time there in the early 1970s that the whole load was different. I’m not really ashamed of anything, you know, we had an amazing journey and that was part of it.

Don Henley

I’m sure you all know that at that time in history, everybody was behaving like that: doctors, lawyers, Wall Street types, you know… They were all doing it. It was that kind of a time. I think the lesson to take away from this is that we all survived, we’re all alive and well, we’ve been through the fire. A great many people didn’t make it, both in the States and here in Britain, we lost a lot of people in the business. But for one reason or another, through good genetics or willpower or good fortune or whatever, we’re all fine and we intend to stay that way. And we’re grateful for that.

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Content updated: 22/07/2019 00:15

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