Every single rock band that's broken up and got back together seems to think that it's legitimate only if they put out some new material. That if they just get back for nostalgia they're nothing more than a traveling Greatest Hits package. As if they have to say something new to rationalize the whole thing. Which is why the Police will more than likely try to throw a few "new" songs (read: Songs that Sting has been working on for a solo project but never completed) when they FINALLY come back in less than two weeks (raise your hand if you're holding your breath for February 11th...OK, that's ONE). Oh, they'll open up the Grammys with "Roxanne", then hope you'll like a new twist on one of Sting's solo hits, and then shell out over $100 to see them this summer. It's an old system that Irving Azoff created back in early 1994.
Which is the time Irving finally got his wet dream and put the Eagles back together. It was when Kurt Cobain was still alive (for a few more months), and Azoff finally convinced his boys that there was an opening to go on tour and make a shitload of dimes. That Cobain and Nirvana and Eddie Vedder and Pearl Jam and Billy Corgan and the Smashing Pumpkins had cornered one market, but another one that had nothing left of "old" school rock was wide open. Nobody would take a chance on anything that wasn't grunge, unless of course hell froze over and Henley would forgive Glenn Frey for going all Miami Vice in the '80's and agree to be in the same room.
All of a sudden, April 5, 1994 happened, Courtney Love killed -- err, I mean, Cobain offed himself -- and there was an even bigger opening. Not so coincidentally, MTV agreed to have their Unplugged crew tape the first "reunion" shows of Azoff's reunited Eagles in less than 3 weeks in California. The telecast would be one of the first recorded in 5.1 Surround Sound, a still best selling DVD would be released, most of the concerts would be recorded on CD as "Hell Freezes Over"...but would include studio versions of...
....wait for it, wait for it....
FOUR BRAND NEW SONGS!
Only one of which was written by Henley/Frey ("Get Over It", which was a minor hit). The others were leftovers from Henley and Frey solo sessions, and one song which was co-written by the late Jim Capraldi of Traffic fame and Pete Vale and Paul Carrack, and supposedly went #1 on the AC charts, whatever that means). In other words, the DVD (or at the time Video Cassette) and CD (and I reckon cassette) were packaged to get folks to buy an alleged "new" project that was in essence an overdubbed live album with four half-assed tracks nobody remembers.
So forgive me if I, unlike the rest of the modern media, doesn't get excited about an alleged bombshell that frankly I've known about for three years. Why have I known about this damn thing for three years? Because that's how long they've been working on the fucking thing, and only now -- since Henley was at the MGM Grand, where Mackenzie and BSmoked Turkey were at as recently as October, 2006 (I was nowhere in sight) -- is it making the rounds of news. Fuck, Walmart packaged together a CD of three of the new songs to go with their latest DVD over Christmas. And yes, all three songs would count as B-sides in anyone's world (read: They suck). And I got the DVD with the CD of new material from two different people over the holidays. Why on earth, based on those three songs and the knowledge in knowing that NO reunited band has done anything NEW since reformatting, would I rub my hands with glee over news of a new "album"???
Don't get me wrong. The Eagles, like the Stones and even U2 I guess, are still incredible in concert. That's because all bands have a huge well of old material to choose from and play for over three hours. And the Eagles have a small advantage over the Stones and U2 in that they can play some of Henley's solo stuff (at LEAST four songs if you count "Boys of Summer", "Dirty Laundry", "Sunset Grill" and "All She Wants to Do is Dance") and Joe Walsh's outside material ("Funk #49", "Life's Been Good", "Life of Illusion", Rocky Mountain Way"), to put together a killer show.
Who CARES if there's nothing new to offer? A long time ago, a program director for an oldies station told me that there was nothing they could do to change the music, but rather it was what they DID around the music that made the format and radio station relevant. I hope Sting and the boys take this advice. And that David Lee Roth convinces Eddie Van Halen and his small tongue that they don't need to throw out two new songs in every show. And I hope Henley's right. I hope that the "...if they don't kill each other first..." line somehow prevents a new album from happening.
Unless, of course, hell truly freezes over and it becomes the Eagles' Time out of Mind.