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Another Eagle Has Landed

Should they soar on the wings of change?


by Dendy Jarrett



On June 5  2017, the Eagles announced they were adding a new member (supposedly to replace the late, great Glenn Frey) with Vince Gill and Frey’s son, Deacon Frey. The question is this: can they do that? Well, of course they can - and DID!  Therefore, it might be better to ask…should they do that?


Most die-hard musicians and band fans understand that band members come and go, but then there are  those who are so invested in the music with which they fell in love that the thought of a replacement like this is sacrilege. As musicians and music fans, we hate it when bands move our cheese - even if an  unfortunate death prompts the move.


There are certainly fans who will already know this, but most musicians will certainly remember that Vince Gill started his professional musical flight with Pure Prairie League. He played mandolin, guitar,  and sang most of the high harmonies. He’s also been a long member of The Time Jumpers out of Nashville.


And the truth is that Don Henley and Glenn Frey have always run The Eagles like a business, so they can hire and/or fire whomever they please. Shortly before announcing the addition of Vince, they announced that Deacon Frey, Glenn Frey’s 24-year-old son, would also be added.


Personally, I think adding Vince as a new member is a great ‘fit’ for the band, but,  better than that, a brilliant marketing move. I mean, Vince is a great musician and vocalist and many will want to come to see him…with them…possibly introducing the Eagles to an entirely new legion of fans.


The band has come so far from getting their start in 1971  (a little trivia for you) as the backing musicians for Linda Ronstadt. They released their first album in 1972, Eagles, with the number 1 hit "Take it Easy." The rest has been rock 'n' roll history.


Despite rumors after Frey’s death that the band was done, they seem to be pulling things back together and currently have four large shows scheduled – July 15 and 16 at Dodger Stadium, and July 29 and 30 at Citi Field in New York. And while this is all that's scheduled, Henley was overheard to say, “Who knows where this will lead us!” Both Gill and Frey said that it was the prospect of keeping Frey’s songs alive that motivated the decision to move forward with the band.


We all know there are some comeback tours that are all about cashing in while it's still possible, before a band loses all its cachet. Sure, they go through the hits, but sometimes all you get is one or two original members (if that), and sidemen who looks suspiciously like they may have been hired because they were cheap. But then you also have bands that re-invent themselves, add new members who increase the band's vitality, and carry on - sometimes to even greater heights. Consider all the people who thought Pink Floyd had no future without Syd Barrett. Yet, despite the loss of Barrett's unquestioned genius,  the band forged a new identity that reached new benchmarks. Or consider the Little River Band, which has none of the original members...but the current lineup has been together for far longer than the original lineup. They have re-invented themselves while remaining true to what made the band popular in the first place.


And it's not just about live bands, but recorded bands, as well. Think of the back-and-forth about the 50th Anniversary Sgt. Pepper's stereo mix - some consider it a fitting and long-overdue tribute to a ground-breaking album, while others consider it a travesty.


Ultimately, it all boils down to the music...and I expect Vince Gill will help the Eagles fly again. But what do you think? Should the Eagles carry on, or should they have let the memories of the music they made with Glenn Frey live on untouched?  -HC-

Join the discussion here!  





Dendy Jarrett is the Publisher and Director of Harmony Central. He has been heavily involved at the executive level in many aspects of the drum and percussion industry for over 25 years and has been a professional player since he was 16. His articles and product reviews have been featured in InTune Monthly, Gig Magazine, DRUM! and Modern Drummer Magazines.


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krholt  |  June 23, 2017 at 7:03 pm
Glenn is smiling about this one.  Capt. Karl
kbeaumont  |  June 19, 2017 at 11:59 am
Why not? The Eagles has always had talented members who were quite capable and accomplished solo musicians.   Glenn Frey, Don Henley,  Randy Meisner, Joe Walsh Timothy B. Schmit,  all were outstanding solo.  With the Eagles it was always the whole being greater than the sum of its parts kind of thing. So I hope they continue and produced new hits. I would only hope they just don't fall into the trap of only playing the hits from their extensive back catalog. New members brings new inspiration.
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