We'll give credit to the UK Publication Times Online for this one. They could only print a little excerpt, of course, but they got a little good stuff out there as a tease. I'm sure EVERYTHING'S not included (because that's what lawsuits can do), but I think we might have something to give that Motley Crue book a run for the money. Book excerpt:
There was considerable rivalry between bands over which of us was having the most fun on the road. Led Zeppelin were considered to be the masters, with bands like the Rolling Stones and The Who close behind. By comparison, we were Little League, but the one area we did excel was in attracting women. We were young, famous, good-looking and rich. We were right up there on the list of rock-star scalps the groupies wanted to add to their belts.
Glenn [Frey] once publicly described our life on the road as: “Got crazy, got drunk, got high, had girls, played music and made money.” He challenged Led Zeppelin to the claim of supreme party animals, maintaining: “We threw the greatest travelling party of the Seventies.” He was right.
As a band, we had a policy of only ever doing two two-song encores, and after we released the album One of These Nights (1975) that was used to our advantage. While we were onstage, the road crew would scout the audience for willing participants and offer them backstage passes for what became known as the Third Encore – the party after the show.
Later, Don [Henley] and Glenn took the system to a higher level of sophistication. Laminated passes were done away with – too indiscreet – and little buttons, with “3E” written on them in yellow English Gothic print on a black background were passed out by the handful. The message was that the Eagles were having a party and would like to invite these women back to their hotel suite. No boyfriends were invited.
Despite the “relief” on offer, the tensions within the band continued to deepen. Everything from facial expressions to talking too much became an issue, and nerves were frayed. Don and Glenn decided they were going to take control of every aspect of the Eagles, and a lot of emotion was vented – in between the drug-taking.
In March 1976 our record company, Asylum, released a greatest-hits album. None of us had a say in the decision. A week after its release, Eagles – Their Greatest Hits 1971-1975 had sold a million copies on its way to becoming one of the biggest albums of all time (41 million sold worldwide, and counting).
The trappings of success were ours by now, especially when we went on the road again for a 26-city tour. We took Lear jets the way other people took taxis. We drank champagne and snorted cocaine. Groupies were a common feature of the early parties, but Don Henley’s discrimination and discretion increased with his wealth. He began dating high-class, high-profile women and would arrange to have them come out on the road one after another, because the quality of groupies for the 3E parties was very inconsistent from town to town. During what he considered the weakest part of the tour he’d import girls from LA. Glenn did this too.
After two serious relationships ended with the woman leaving him, Don began a two-year on-off relationship with Stevie Nicks of Fleetwood Mac, who were on the road as much as we were. He began paying for her to be flown between Eagles and Fleetwood Mac gigs, engendering the band’s new catchphrase: “Love ’em and Lear ’em.”
I blame the drugs more than anything for what happened with the Eagles. We went from a bunch of young guys hanging out together to five men who couldn’t stand each other. Not that I was going to complain at the time. I honestly didn’t know how much I had in the bank back then. I was a rock’n’roll star, and the business managers could see to the cash flow.
The final recording and editing of the Hotel California album took place at Criteria Studios, Miami. Fresh rifts began to open up. In the words of Glenn Frey, “No one can suck the fun out of a room faster than Don Henley.” But his perfectionism undoubtedly worked; thanks to Don and his insistence on doing everything just so, we produced probably our most brilliant studio album. But the process was sometimes difficult to live with.
In between takes, Don had become a prolific letter-writer. In one he composed to the studio maid, he insisted that the floral toilet paper be put on the roll the other way around so it rolled off the top, pointing out that if it was meant to come off the bottom, the little pink flowers would have been printed on the undersides of the sheets. Where you would see them.
We endured seven quarrelsome months in Miami, broken only by a concert tour. After what seemed like an eternity, we finally delivered an album that continues to dominate the hearts of America. On January 14, 1977, three weeks after its release, we kicked off a world tour. Aside from snatched moments of happiness, however, the gruelling nature of what we were doing took its toll. In Montreal, when there was a screw-up on a hotel reservation, Don blamed our long-time road manager, Richie Fernandez, and ordered him to be fired. This led the rest of the crew, already unhappy with the atmosphere, to dub it the Prison California tour. “The Gods”, as Glenn and Don were called behind their backs, were taking the reins, and those that opposed them were either expelled or driven out. In 18 months I’d lost my two best friends in the band – Bernie [Leadon], that fiery streak of brilliance [who left after One of These Nights], and gentle Randy Meisner, the sweetest man in the music business [who quit after the release of Hotel California].
In the summer of 1979 we were back to the grindstone in Miami. In September our album The Long Run was released. It took 18 months to record, almost a year longer than Hotel California, and it nearly killed us. It debuted at No 1, but the critics savaged it. Instead of resting, as we should have done, we played Japan, Hawaii, the East Coast and the Southern states, before embarking on another world tour. In Japan, I bought my wife Susan a beautiful kimono, hand-embroidered, in heavy material. Don Henley bought 20.
The new decade began with us at the top of the charts. But nonstop touring was getting us all down. After each show, we’d head off to our individual hotel rooms. Only when the stage lights came on were we a unified rock’n’roll band.
Then Glenn committed us to playing a benefit gig at the Long Beach Arena on July 31, 1980, for the reelection of the liberal California senator Alan Cranston, a night that would become known as “Long Night at Wrong Beach”.
Glenn knew I wasn’t comfortable with a rock band doing a show for politicians. His hostility was compounded when Mrs [Norma] Cranston walked up to me backstage to say hello just before we went onstage. “Hello,” I replied. “Nice to meet you . . .” As she walked away, I added, under my breath: “I guess.”
Glenn heard this. He found me in the dressing room and started yelling at me. I don’t know if it was the drugs, or the fact that we’d been on tour for so long, but he just blew up. Just before we stepped onstage I turned to him and said: “You know, Glenn, what you just did back there? You’re an asshole for doing that.”
He replied: “That’s an honour, coming from you.”
We walked onstage, and he came over while we were playing The Best of my Love and said: “Fuck you. I’m gonna kick your ass when we get off the stage.” Neither of us really wanted to be there that night, and for me it was one gig too many. As the night progressed, we both grew angrier and began hissing at each other under our breath. The sound technicians feared the audience might hear our outbursts, so they lowered Glenn’s microphone until he had to sing. He approached me after every song to rant, rave, curse – and let me know how many songs remained before our fight.
When we came offstage and were waiting to be called back for the first encore I stayed by myself, trying to calm down. Then I remembered something [the Eagles’ multi-instrumentalist] Joe Walsh would do to release tension. I told my guitar tech, Jimmy Collins: “Take that shit acoustic guitar I play on Lyin’ Eyes and put it by the back door.”
When the gig finished, most of the band took off in their limos – anything to get away from the atmosphere between Glenn and me. I thought I’d be the last to leave the building. I towelled myself down and headed for the back door. Seeing the guitar Jimmy had put out for me, I took a deep breath, picked it up – and smashed it as hard as I could against a concrete column.
By the time I’d finished it was kindling on the floor. I turned and saw the Cranstons standing right behind me, their mouths agape. A few feet away stood a stony-faced Glenn. This had had little or nothing to do with the Cranstons, but Glenn thought I did that right in front of them to drive it up his butt.
“Typical of you to break your cheapest guitar,” Glenn told me after the Cranstons had hurried off to their car. Afraid of what I might do if I opened my mouth to respond, I jumped into my limo and sped off.
Within a few days, I’d cooled down. The phone rang. It was our producer, Bill Szymczyk. “What’s the schedule for the band?” I asked.
A small silence fell. “There is no band at this time,” he said. It was 1980, and the Eagles were history.