‘We didn’t have any robot masks or giant mouse heads’: Don Henley on the Eagles’ recipe for success

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For Don Henley, the Eagles’ success was related not to gimmickry but to a focused attempt to blend bed-rock music styles without any of the artifice that’s associated with more modern acts.

Touring now with former member Bernie Leadon, as well as the band’s core quartet of members, on a tour dubbed “The History of The Eagles.” As with the documentary of the same name, it’s given Henley — along with Glenn Frey, Joe Walsh and Timothy B. Schmit — a chance to take stock.

Leadon, the last member to join the Eagles’ original lineup, and later split in 1975 as the band grew away from its original country-rock roots into a more diverse, rock-focused sound.

The arrival of Joe Walsh, a former member of the James Gang, solidified that harder-edged sound.

The new shows begin with Henley and Frey on stage together, then a segment with Leadon, and then a full-band show — with comments and memories from everyone throughout the set. The film, and this tour, have served as a rallying point for the Eagles, a moment for introspection about how they got to this place.

“We never let any of the ‘cult of fashion’ or ‘cult of personality’ crap overshadow the music,” Henley tells MSN. “We didn’t have any robot masks or giant mouse heads, but for a long time we managed to stay relatively low-profile or incognito as individuals, letting the music do the talking. It was a different world, back then, in terms of media; artists were able to cultivate a little mystique. This was before “celebrity news” became a genre, before so-called “entertainment media” and tabloid reporting merged and tramped into the field of proctology.

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