Okkervil River should have paid closer attention to the saga between the Eagles’ Don Henley and Frank Ocean a few years ago. Back then, Henley so frustrated the R&B singer’s efforts to give away an updated version of “Hotel California” that Ocean was moved to exclaim: “Ain’t this guy rich as fuck?”
See, Henley really, really … REALLY … doesn’t like it when somebody makes an unauthorized cover of his music, whether they are selling their version or not.
Enter Okkervil River, who have been releasing interpretive sessions for free via their website since 2007 — in a series the Austin-based indie band has dubbed the Golden Opportunities Mixtape. The latest, which once included their take on Henley’s 1989 smash “The End of the Innocence,” was released to coincide with Silver Gymnasium. That 2013 studio effort, Okkervil River’s seventh, focused on frontman Will Scheff’s 1980s-era adolescence in New Hampshire, so the accompanying online-only free mixtape featured relevant covers from the period — including Wang Chung, Cyndi Lauper and … well, you know.
Not anymore. As with Ocean, who said he was contacted by the Eagles’ legal team, Okkervil River say they quickly became the focus of Henley’s wrath. Talk about the end of the innocence, right?
“Don Henley made me take down a cover of ‘The End of the Innocence’ that I’d had on there,” Sheff tells TheMusic.com.au. “I really love ‘The End of the Innocence’ sincerely, and it’s a real dick move, man. I guess he’s an old-fashioned guy who doesn’t understand. I mean the fucking thing was free! I don’t really get what his issue with it was, it’s not like I was making money: I figure that’s all he fucking cares about anyway, know what I mean? It’s not like I was making money off it, but he still made me take it down.”
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