Walsh Only Eagle Still Flying in Fast Lane; Henley and Frey Have Peaceful, Easy Feeling
Author: Peter Howell
Publication: The Toronto Star
Date: July 7, 1994
Abstract: Joe keeps a reporter waiting on the set of RoboCop (the series), then gives him a few sentences on working with Lita Ford before being hustled off. The interview with Glenn and Don works better. They talk about how the reunion came about and how much they're enjoying it. Things turn sour for a bit when ticket prices are mentioned - Don feels like they're calling him greedy. He rattles off a list of charities to demonstrate how completely selfless he is when it comes to money. (Perhaps he feels that if we know that they give money to charities, we will rejoice in the opportunity to help them out by forking over more of our money for tickets. Too bad we can't write off these "donations" on our tax forms!)
Joe Walsh's manager, David Spero, is giving me the eagle eye.
"No questions to Joe about the Eagles!" he snaps.
Aw, c'mon. It's already an hour past the time that guitarist Walsh, in Toronto last week for a quickie video shoot for the RoboCop TV series, agreed to talk to The Star.
We've been patient. And nobody put any restrictions on the interview when they invited us on the RoboCop set.
How about just a couple of Eagles questions? About how much Joe is enjoying being back with Don Henley, Glenn Frey, Don Felder and Timothy B. Schmit, after 14 long years apart.
And about how Walsh, 46, just can't wait to hit the stage with them Monday at CNE Stadium, for the only Canadian stop on the Eagles reunion tour.
"Just keep 'em short," Spero commands. "Joe has a deal with Henley and Frey: He doesn't talk about the Eagles; they don't talk about RoboCop."
You can imagine how Henley and Frey must be biting their tongues, to be denied free expression about Walsh's duet with ex-Runaways blondeshell Lita Ford, on the RoboCop theme song, "A Future To This Life."
Problem is, Walsh doesn't seem to want to talk about it, either. You'd think he would, after taking time out from the Eagles' busy tour to make this solo trip to Toronto .
He professes to be a RoboCop fan, but he sleepwalks through a fast stand- up interview with U.S. infotainment show Entertainment Tonight, and then Spero announces Walsh has to finish eating his late lunch before doing any more press.
THE CLOCK TICKS ON
A half-hour later, Spero returns to say Walsh is busy in his trailer with "an old friend. He's known her since she was a child."
Walsh decides to get to know her a whole lot better and the clock ticks on. At 6 p.m. , 2 1/2 hours after the scheduled 3:30 interview time, Spero returns again to say that Joe is ready to meet the press. But it must be done at Walsh's Winnebago, because he doesn't feel like returning to the set.
The rock star is standing outside the trailer, wearing a red leather jacket and green-tinted sunglasses.
He smiles a knowing smile. He doesn't want to move.
Walsh doesn't have much to say about RoboCop, Lita Ford or the song they're working on.
"I really like it," he drawls in that heavy-smoking way of his. "I like the song. I like things that nobody would think of or put together."
He's just starting to mumble about how he might play a character in a future RoboCop episode when a makeup man interrupts to say Walsh must have his pancake and powder put on right this second.
The interview has lasted exactly four minutes. And as Walsh ambles toward the Winnebago, the truth suddenly dawns: Joe Walsh really is enjoying being an Eagle again.
The man who co-wrote "Life In The Fast Lane" is living full-throttle once more, doing what the Eagles used to loved to do: sticking it to the press.
Loathed by rock critics in the 1970s because they were too country for rock, they used to have a hit-list of scribes they hated, with every name in Rolling Stone topping it.
Joe Walsh, the man whose slide guitar sounds like a punchline to a great joke, is keeping the Eagles flame burning brightly, scorching press butt just like the old days.
God bless him. Everybody's so different; Joe hasn't changed.
DON HENLEY and Glenn Frey have changed, and they're happier men for it.
The songwriting and singing partners at the heart of the Eagles are enjoying writing together again, for what Henley estimates is the first time since the fabled '75 Hotel California sessions.
They're also happy to talk to the press (as is bassist/vocalist Schmit) a few minutes after performing the first Eagles show in 14 years, at an invitation-only Los Angeles taping a few weeks back for an MTV/MuchMusic special for likely broadcast in the fall.
Frey, Henley and Schmit are sitting around a table backstage at a Warner Brothers soundstage in Burbank , sipping Diet Coke and talking to a small group of journalists about how it was that hell finally froze over.
Frey and Henley had long said it would take that to bring the fractious Eagles back together.
"This project probably has a beginning, a middle and an end, but this is so close to the beginning that I really don't see the end yet," says Frey, 45, grinning a grin that suggests the end is a long way off.
"Anything's possible. We have a huge tour that will probably last us through October, and then we'll probably talk about playing in Asia - December is usually a good time to go over there - and from there, you just don't know. It's hard to say.
"But band morale is high. Everybody's upbeat, we're having a good time, we're dedicated. I think we're wise enough not to get too kooky about everything. So we'll just see how it goes. But I couldn't be happier."
Henley seconds that emotion. The two had tried to get back together in 1990, to write new Eagles' songs for what was supposed to be a 10-years-after band reunion, but "we weren't ready," says the Texas-drawling Henley, who turns 47 this month.
"That's probably the truth, we probably weren't ready," chips in the Detroit-born Frey, who adds that he was the biggest holdout against a reunion.
"I said in 1990 that anything was possible in the '90s, but timing is everything in life, and the timing wasn't right in 1990. But it's right this year."
After waiting so long to reconvene, turning down numerous big-money offers while Henley, Frey and Walsh plied their solo careers, the decision to re-fly the Eagles came with surprising speed last December, and from a surprising direction.
The push came from country star Travis Tritt, one of many Eagles-influenced new country artists who contributed a cover of one of the band's hits for Common Thread, an Eagles tribute record Henley helped organize last year to raise money for one of the many charities he supports, the restoration of Thoreau's Walden Pond reserve in Massachusetts . (It was a big success, raising more than $2 million U.S. , Henley says proudly.)
Tritt's cover-song choice was "Take It Easy" and, while preparing for the video, he asked the Eagles if they'd reunite as his backing band, for an uncredited cameo appearance.
The Eagles did it, just as a lark, and in singing their old hit - plus a version of Walsh's solo hit, " Rocky Mountain Way " - they discovered how easy it was to slip back into the old groove.
"We just sort of decided, 'Yeah, this is the time,' Frey says. "We're not getting any younger, I think the Common Thread album gave us an indication of how popular our music still is. And it's this summer - there's no waiting any longer."
The summer tour puts them on the road at the same time as Pink Floyd and the Rolling Stones, major competitors for discretionary entertainment dollars. And the Eagles made it harder for themselves by charging record-high prices for a rock concert. Top seats go for $85.50 in Toronto , a bargain compared with the $100-plus U.S. in some major American markets.
Henley and Frey scowl when ticket prices are mentioned. They waffle about how their high-tech stage ("kind of a Blade Runner kind of thing") is costing them a bundle, how they refused beer and soda pop sponsorships, how they're taking their wives and kids on the road with them (no more of the legendary "Third Encore" parties) and how - as Frey succinctly puts it - "We're worth it! Once every 14 years, I guess."
But Henley in particular seems stung by the suggestion that he's lining his pockets at the expense of the common dude, and he talks at length about the various charities that will realize an Eagles payday once the tour ends.
"You want the list of charities?" Henley glares.
That's not necessary, I assure him, but he starts rhyming off names of cancer research groups, California earthquake relief funds, inner-city kid programs, environmental groups and other worthy causes.
Point made, Henley and Frey then talk about how exciting it was to write the four new songs that will be part of their three-hour show, along with such timeless hits as "Peaceful Easy Feeling," "Tequila Sunrise," "Lyin' Eyes" and "I Can't Tell You Why," plus some of the better-known solo tunes by Henley, Frey and Walsh.
PUMPED UP BY REUNION
One of the new songs, a rocking anti-political-correctness rant called "Get Over It," could be released as a single as early as this month. It also is likely to show up on a combination live/studio album expected out in the fall, once the Eagles untangle their various record company legalities.
To hear them talk, it's surprising how much Henley - of all people - is pumped up by the reunion. His solo career was the most successful of all the Eagles, and he seemed the most weary of it all when the band collapsed from the strains of ego and star excess at the dawn of the '80s.
Can it possibly be more fun for him now than it was in the 1970s?
"Absolutely," Henley says.
"It will be more fun because there won't be so much drama. We've grown up some, and it's fun being in a band. Doing the solo thing was nice, but there's something about being in a band that's magic."
Throughout the 45-minute interview, Henley and Frey keep to their word and say not a thing about RoboCop.
BUT WE can't just leave Joe Walsh dangling. He did answer a couple of questions about the Eagles, just before being dragged into his trailer by the makeup guy.
How's he finding being out on tour again with the Eagles?
"I'm very happy," Walsh allows.
Can he see the band continuing on, doing new albums and tours?
Life in the fast lane, surely makes you lose your mind.