Thursday, November 01, 2007
Let's just pretend for a minute that John Lennon never met that bullet in 1980, or at least lived say another 15 years or more thereafter. And let's say the inevitable happened. That somebody came up with a shitload of dimes to get the Beatles back together, for either a tour, an album, an appearance, whatever. And John became more of who John was: a tortured but brilliant artist who insisted on having Yoko Ono around all the time. And Paul was still Paul, writing "Silly Love Songs" and "My Love" and growing further and further a part from John. Oh and then there's George, who wound up having maybe the best solo career of any of them in terms of quality of music (just ask Martin Scorsese), and Ringo's just sitting in the corner by some snare drum wanting everyone to just get along, saying, "Now, you're paying me in CASH for this, right?"
That's pretty much what we have here with the new Eagles album, "Long Road Out Of Eden." During the 1980's, co-founders Don Henley and Glenn Frey both had successful solo careers, but with different results. Henley wound up doing some of his best work away from Frey and Company, putting out great songs that are still played everywhere today ("Dirty Laundry" and "Boys of Summer" come immediately to mind). Frey hitched his star to things like Miami Vice and Beverly Hills Cop, having hit songs that you never even WANT to hear again ("The Heat Is On" anyone?). Eventually, Henley became regarded as a decent singer-songwriter. Oh he certainly never was John Lennon, but he still has his moments (evident on this album). And Frey basically just wanted to play golf and appear in small roles in the occasional movie or TV show. All the while, they still had a manager (Irving Azoff, known in the music industry like Scott Boras is in Major League Baseball) and some other band members who wanted a nice pay day, not to mention some exposure that might kick-start a solo career or two.
Which is why this album took well over six years to make.
"Yeah, It's a pretty good album", Henley told the Rocky Mountain News, but "It could have been better. I was willing to continue but the powers that be said you gotta give it to us now. There were three or four songs that weren't finished. I'm frankly of the opinion it should have been a single album, a single disc. Some of the songs on there should have been removed. But I lost that battle."
Hmmm. So why put out a double disc with eight songs I would say should never have been released?
"I guess so everybody could have his say, everybody could get his licks in. Some of the other band members had a lot of songs and wanted them all on there. There are three or four songs on there that shouldn't be on there, but there was nothing I could do about it."
Really? "I basically produced my stuff," Henley continued, "and Glenn basically produced his stuff."
So you've got your album now, with no real tour to speak of, which everyone says is OK because all of the new songs (well, the good ones anyway), need time to "breathe", and oh by the way, says Henley, "Glenn's stepping into the George Hamilton role in some musical in New York City."
So you can go get the good instead of the bad at eaglesband.com or some stupid chain of stores I've never heard of, but at $.94 a song, it's CHEAPER to download the whole thing, and just keep the 12 good songs while deleting the 8 shitting ones.
DOWNLOAD: No More Walks In The Wood (very CSN), How Long (been out a while, already a hit), Waiting in the Weeds (the one I recently called a Henley masterpiece, should be a hit somewhere down the road), Long Road Out of Eden (Which many are already dubbing a classic, but I'm not there yet), Center of the Universe (Henley's "Across the Universe), Fast Company, No More Cloudy Days, Do Something, Busy Being Fabulous (set to be the 2nd single), Frail Grasp on the Big Picture, Business as Usual, Somebody.
The Eagles most definitely were not the Beatles. As Henley continues, "We're lucky to be alive. Most people were just along for the ride. We didn't change much of anything. The world went right back into the hands of the people who have always run it. So maybe it was just about the sex and drugs and music."
Now, on to that other thing that Henley and Company don't want you to know about. Former band member Don Felder has his book, "Heaven & Hell: My Life as An Eagle" out and published overseas at least (oh, it'll find distribution here). This is the book that mentions "the barrage of pussy" thrown at the band in it's hey day, and how they had to get "their coke on" to perform any gig.
Mostly, Felder let's Frey have it:
"Bernie Leadon, responsible for the country sound of the first two records, quit in 1975 after a band meeting got out of hand and he poured a beer over Glenn Frey's head. Bassist Randy Meisner was the next to leave; Felder says that Meisner and Frey began brawling during the intermission of a show in 1977. Felder had his own run-ins with Frey, whom he says had a need to humiliate others in order to make himself feel superior. One day, feeling pushed too far, Felder followed Frey into the bathroom, threw him up against the wall and threatened to break his nose."
The best is when Felder goes into detail about a concert that officially marked the end of the band, July 31, 1980. During the performance, Frey would constantly yell at Felder between songs. "Fuck you" he'd say. "I'm gonna kick your ass when we get off-stage" - and counting down how many songs were left until their fight.
Ultimately, Felder's not so much bitter at Henley and Frey as he is eager to reach out to them, but lawyers and lawsuits have made that "impossible."