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Saturday, April 1, 2017

The Eagles No More




    This day of the year aside, this story is no joke. The Eagles, one year after the death of founder/frontman Glenn Frey, are performing for the Classic East and Classic West music festivals this Summer. Ostensibly, this could pave the way for future tour dates with a replacement on hand, which could mean that this band soon goes the way of the Drifters and the Temptations in having NO original members performing the classic songs(one or both of those groups just announced new tour dates). For those in shock, I will give a reminder that this is the same avenue which is being undertaken by such Classic Rock luminaries as Boston, Foreigner, Lynyrd Skynyrd, and REO Speedwagon. Almost no original members comprise those bands' ranks, to the extent that many even survive to this day.


    More will be written on this matter by people more eloquent than myself, but I'll give my own thoughts: What a small, pitiful move by small, pitiful men. All we ever heard for months after Glenn Frey's death was how the Eagles were finished, and now this. Sounds as though Azoff & Henley just want a big, final payoff before they ride away into the sunset. The thought of the band's legacy seems to have not occurred to these men. By this logic, my long-held(prior to last year) desire for an Emerson, Lake, & Palmer re-union can now take place without either Keith Emerson or Greg Lake. Mind blowing, and not in a good way

    To divulge the ridiculousness, let me frame it thusly: Stephen Stills dies, Crosby & Nash get back together and replace him with Bruno Mars, and continue touring as 'Crosby, Stills, & Nash.' Can you just imagine a concert where Crosby plays, say, "Hero" from the 1992 "Thousand Roads" album, only to be interrupted by Mars and his DJ buddy Mark Ronson jumping up onstage and launching into the song "Uptown Funk"? Crosby & Nash mindlessly shake their bums and point awkwardly at the crowd('Croz Daddy's comin' to ya!') as Neil Young lays down some funky, mechanized guitar tones. Or how about this: The Charlie Daniels Band tries getting away with doing "Devil Went Down to Georgia" at the Georgia State Fair down in Hampton without Daniels--Put Marky Mark in his stead. Disturbing enough? That's the basic scope of Eagles, sans Frey.

    Frankly, I cannot respect the surviving Eagles any longer. The music they did as a band and solo from 1971—2016 will always be timeless and a sound that holds a special place in my heart, but they're all pretty much musically dead to me now. Any future music from them as a band or solo will be encased in that corporatistic, greedy sheen that turns me off to so much of modern pop music. Opportunistic money-grabbers, or pretty much the way Don Felder presented them in his book. They're no better than Elvis Impersonators at this point. Then again, at least the impostors do their routine with heart and soul. This is just a charade designed to keep those money-printing presses oiled and operating.
    
    Furthermore, I don't have any patience for Eagles band partisans who think this is in any way all right, as opposed to those who have simply accepted the reality of this taking place. How do you justify white-outing the founding member from the picture in the name of money? Are you really this hard-up for good music from this band? As good as the Eagles were(and I do mean WERE), you do hopefully know there are other bands out there. Maybe not as good as the Eagles, but they do exist--I listen to the Doors and Neil Young these days. The Drifters/Temptations route will not do wonders for this band's legacy, something which I'd once thought was important to Azoff/Henley.

    I'd hope one of the other members has the fortitude and presence of mind to sue the other members and Irving Azoff for the wrongful usage of the name, in much the same way Doors drummer John Densmore(curious what he'd make of all this) did when Ray Manzarek and Robby Krieger tried to re-form that band in the early 2000's under the name “THE DOORS(of the 21st Century).” This was done an attempt to preserve the legacy of Jim Morrison, who had in 1968 gone as far as to veto the usage of the Krieger-penned song "Light My Fire" in a commercial for Buick('Come on, Buick, Light my fire'). I know Schmit and Walsh generally will do as they're told without much fuss, Meisner's probably too ill and taken up in legal matters these days, and Felder might want in on the whole thing, so perhaps Bernie Leadon could emerge as a hero in all this. Don't know, but perhaps hope springs eternal.


    Finishing this article, since I am sure Azoff and Henley will never give the fans consideration over their money and release archival live concerts, as opposed to putting on aniseptic future concerts as 'Eagles,' I do encourage people to buy the stray live CD's you find on Amazon. Suspicious origins, yes, but at least the money you spend is going to average guy eking out a living as opposed to buying the next Lear Jet for some quarter-billionaire financial iconoclast. And the quality of both sound and performance has been surprisingly good on those I've given a listen, or at least as good as one would expect of something billed as a 'radio performance.' Like with most things, though, the product does warrant some close examination before determining whether or not it is worthwhile. As these re-union concerts will no doubt show, not everything with the 'Eagles' name is worthy.

    “For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs.”—1 Timothy 6:10 NIV







     (PS, this print take was brought to you by Golden Flakes, Mello Yello, and "Real Time with Bill Maher.")

3 comments:

  1. I agree with you about bands like Foreigner and Boston, who were down to the one founding member for years, and now Mick Jones only comes out as a "guest star" for a few Foreigner songs if he shows up at all.

    I'm more on the fence about REO: That band's sound is largely identified with Kevin Cronin's voice and songwriting, and last I checked Bruce Palmer and the keyboard guy (can't think of his name) are still there. That example sorta works for the Eagles, but it's a harder sell for me. Don Henley floated the idea last year that Glenn Frey's son might make it possible for there to be more Eagles shows. If that's where this is headed then you have everyone else an original member - maybe even adding Leadon back in - with the kid upholding his dad's legacy. I'm not sure I would buy this as a regular touring band, but realistically these guys aren't getting any younger. If they want to do a couple big events with the kid, I'll probably let it slide.

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  2. Here's a band (not really the band) story: I saw something called Starship with Mickey Thomas in Tahoe; which was really Mickey Thomas and some session guys doing a bunch of Starship songs, Fooled Around and Fell In Love from The Elvin Bishop Band, and some new stuff nobody cared about. I knew what I was getting and the price was right. The best part was a drunk guy kept shouting for White Rabbit, and Mickey said, "Man, you gotta let it go..this is not the band." Not only wasn't it not the original Starship, but Mickey had to explain it wasn't Jefferson Airplane. That was awesome ;-)

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  3. Put another way, at you get older, your standards drop.

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