Glenn Frey checks out. So do the Eagles.

What can you say about the death of Glenn Frey?

A founder, guitarist and singer in the Eagles, Frey died Monday at age 67. I didn’t know until after Frey died, from complications of rheumatoid arthritis, ulcerative colitis and pneumonia, that so many people hated the Eagles. It seems as if most people in my world, at least most that matter, loved or at least, liked, the band’s music. At the very least, the songs Frey and the Eagles produced was background music for most of the 1970s and 80s.

It is very difficult talking about Frey — no matter that he did better than okay as a solo musician — without talking about the Eagles. Often times the band seemed more like a modern version of a soap opera. Something like a reality show, even though I imagine during their more drug-fueled days their lives  were more of an “unreality” show.

"Glenn Frey" by Steve Alexander - originally posted to Flickr as Glenn Frey. Licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0 via Commons . Thanks
“Glenn Frey” photo by Steve Alexander – Courtesy Creative Commons

I rediscovered the Eagles last year after seeing some You Tube videos from a concert the Eagles did in 1977, promoting their “Hotel California” album.

I don’t know how many people see music concerts today. I certainly don’t but then I am 60-freakin’ years old.

I’d say from high school up until I got out of the Navy, I went to as many concerts as I could. While stationed on the Mississippi Coast there were several prime venues nearby. I saw concerts at the Superdome, City Park and at Loyola University in New Orleans. I went to several concerts in Mobile. I saw three separate shows which were excellent at the University of Southern Mississippi in Hattiesburg that were excellent: Bob Dylan and the Rolling Thunder Review during which he was joined by Joan Baez, Roger McGuinn, Mick Ronson and Kinky Friedman and the Texas Jewboys. Later, I watched Jimmy Buffett, fresh from “Margaritaville” come back to the college he attended, USM. Buffet was, he told the audience, a hippie who’d hang out in the Commons with his guitar playing songs such as “Why Don’t We Get Drunk And Screw” as all the school teachers from the outback of Mississippi walked by on their way to continuing education classes.

Yes, concerts, I’ve seen a few.

I’m sure those who have seen many performances of any kind have seen musicians or bands, “phone-in” what is just another gig. These videos that I found that includes “Hotel California,” “Take It To The Limit,” and “New Kid In Town{” are incredible. That is not so much the songs are exceptional — well, “Hotel California” is — but the performances were nothing one heard on the radio, much less the AM radio I mostly had to hear during this time, nor is there much one can tell about quality listening to these songs on a bar room jukebox.

I have a couple Eagles albums on my computer and phone including “Hotel California” from the album. They are good but great Graham Crackers these videos are outstanding.

These songs also provide a soundtrack to our lives, as trite as that line sounds these days. But f**k it if you think it’s trite, or whatever you may think. There is no denying that music forms memories of the portions of our lives we choose to remember. “Johnny come lately, there’s a new kid in town,” “New Kid In Town” hit No. 1 on Billboard in January 1977. It was just one of the singles that were a hit on “Hotel.” Following were “Hotel California” and “Life In The Fast Lane.” The songs became more meaningful for me when I transferred from Gulfport, Miss., to a ship out of San Diego, by way of Long Beach.

I never went to “Hotel California” but I spent the night in some motel in San Clemente, not to see my former commander-in-chief, President Nixon, but to stay near a military town in order to get my whites cleaned. The laundry was outside what is now called Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton and the cleaners had no trouble getting my dress whites ready, so I could report on my ship which was in drydock in San Pedro. I did think about “Life In The Fast Lane” as well, both the mundane of  navigating the California freeways and later that life that so many people seemed eager to find.

Regretfully, I never saw the Eagles either. And I guess with Frey gone, the group is officially kaput. I thought the group kind of gradually split up, first with bassist and group founder Randy Meisner and later lead guitarist Don Felder. The band’s inner workings are one of the most written-about for a rock group. Glenn Frey, some would say, was an arrogant bastard. Well, so aren’t a lot of folks, even some of your friends?

We close a chapter in rock history. But a family loses their loved one, and one might say a public both old and young lose a favorite band. And the band was also like a family with all its fighting and drama. Hopefully though, not now for, Glenn Frey. May he rest in peace.


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