Glenn Frey says the Eagles aren’t planning to commemorate their 40th anniversary with a tour, with only a handful of key dates scheduled for this year — including a stop at the Jazz and Heritage Festival in New Orleans.
Meanwhile, Frey’s in the midst of a series of interviews promoting his forthcoming album, After Hours. Due May 8, it’s his first solo project since Strange Weather, more than 20 years ago. Frey focuses on a series of classic love songs, from 1940s standards like “Sentimental Reasons” and “My Buddy” to more contemporary sides like the Beach Boy’s “Caroline, No” and “Same Girl” by Randy Newman.
Frey has announced several stops for a promotional tour behind After Hours. There will also be a few more dates with the Eagles, including stops in South Africa and Dubai in 2012. The group is at work on a two-DVD historical documentary with director Alex Gibney, who won the Academy award for the Guantanamo film Taxi to the Dark Side. Other than that, however, he said the band has no real plans for to commemorate the anniversary.
“This is more of planning year for us,” Frey says. “As far as touring goes, we haven’t decided to do that yet. We might wait until this documentary come out and then do a tour we can call ‘History of the Eagles.’ … Maybe when September comes around we can sort of look and say, ‘OK. Let’s go out next year’ … That’s my idea, but whether it happens or not we gotta just wait and see.”
Some fans have suggested that this anniversary might also be a good time to bring back original members Randy Meisner and Bernie Leadon as guests, though Frey was noncommittal on that issue, as well.
“Well, I think … I don’t know. I don’t know,” he told Rolling Stone. “I don’t want to say that’s hard for me to envision right now but, like I said, I don’t know yet. I have to think about all of this stuff but, obviously, my head is somewhere else for the next couple of months. Like we usually do, the four of us will sit down some place on the road and we’ll get in a dressing room or get into somebody’s hotel room and we’ll go, ‘Well, here’s what I think we should be doing’ or, ‘Here’s what are options are this year. What do you think?’ and we’ll talk about it. That conversation will probably take place sometime this year.”
In some ways, Frey says, the Eagles were less inclined to join a concert season that already includes signature anniversary tours by the likes of the Beach Boys and, perhaps, the Rolling Stones.
“It just didn’t fall that we were going to be doing some big 40th anniversary tour -– it may be better to sweep that 40 number under the carpet,” Frey says. “People will look at the map and they’ll figure out that we’re really, really old. The Stones are doing the 50th, and the Beach Boys. So maybe we should stay out of that.”
Here’s a look back at our recent thoughts on the Eagles. Click through the titles for complete reviews …
FRANK OCEAN ON POSSIBLE LAWSUIT BY EAGLES’ DON HENLEY: AIN’T THIS GUY RICH AS FUCK?: In the wake of a rumored threat from Don Henley to sue over sampling the Eagles’ “Hotel California,” R&B singer Frank Ocean took to the Internet to plead his case: “Shit’s weird. Ain’t this guy rich as fuck? Why sue the new guy?” The Eagles have accused the Odd Future rapper of lifting “the whole master track” for Ocean’s new tune “American Wedding” from their original hit 1976 song. “This is not creative … it’s illegal,” an Eagles spokesman said in a statement. “American Wedding” was included on a free mixtape called Nostalgia. Ocean said that because he never sold the track, it could be seen as a way of paying tribute to the band: “I didn’t make a dime off that song,” Ocean said. “I released it for free. If anything I’m paying homage.”
GIMME FIVE: SONGS WHERE THE EAGLES, WELL, SUCKED: The Eagles have been rightly praised for their canny combining of Glenn Frey’s city-slicker R&B with Don Henley’s country-fried rockabilly. Fans responded by sending every one of their albums to platinum status, including the 16-times smash Hotel California in 1976 and its seven-times platinum follow ups The Long Run and Long Road Out of Eden, from 1979 and 2007 respectively. That said, some of their work simply can’t be received with the best of our love. Over time, the Eagles seemed to settle into imitating their past successes, even as they slowly erased much of their rootsier early sound — not to mention Bernie Leadon. Then there was Henley’s growing voice in the band, if only because he’s always had a tendency toward pedantic, blissfully unaware fingerpointing. Which compelled us to start a list of the five worst offenders.
ONE TRACK MIND: TIMOTHY B. SCHMIT, “FRIDAY NIGHT” (2011): It’s like we never left Laurel Canyon. “Friday Night,” a newly issued single from Timothy B. Schmit’s most recent solo release Expando, is deliriously retro, with a welcome warbly assist from special guest Garth Hudson of the Band and a mellow-gold lyric about lighting candles and snuggling up for the weekend. As much as it might feel like a cliche — as much as it very much is a cliche — there’s a sweet melancholy to Schmit’s voice that sells it right past your initial objections. He’s the mediator, the whoa-man in a maelstrom of trouble — a role he’s been playing for years amidst the ever-tumultuous Eagles. Free of all of that, Schmit finally settles into a comfy Americana vibe again.
J.D. SOUTHER – NATURAL HISTORY (2011): Natural History was just the the second J.D. Souther solo effort in 25 years — following 2008’s If The World Was You. That curious quietude from such a talented creative voice has only deepened Souther’s essential anonymity. It also makes the choice to revisit his most notable compositions all the more important for those unfamiliar with his work. Well, it turns out you know the work — even if you don’t know the name. By the end of Natural History, it becomes clear that Souther did more than sketch out the emotional landscape for the introspective West Coast country-rock sound of the 1970s. He set the template. In keeping, he lovingly reshapes songs he wrote or co-wrote that have become closely associated with more well-known artists — including, of course, the Eagles.
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Here are the newly announced Glenn Frey tour dates:
5/9 — New York, NY, The Town Hall
5/14 — Washington, D.C., Warner Theatre
5/17 — Englewood, NJ, Bergen Performing Arts Center
5/18 — Bethlehem, PA, Sand Bethlehem Event Center
5/20 — Mashantucket, CT, MGM Grand at Foxwoods Casino