As the Eagles gear up for a busy 2019 with major tours of both Down Under and Europe, Don Henley spoke frankly to Classic Rock magazine about what the band’s music means in this day and age. Henley, who wrote the bulk of the band’s catalogue with his late-partner Glenn Frey, is known as one of rock’s most critical thinkers, and admitted, “We used to think that rock n’ roll was going to save the world. But it didn’t. It hasn’t. It was done some good things. It’s brought people together. But in terms of the culture at large or anything political, I’m not sure how much difference it’s made.”
Today, Henley, along with fellow Eagles Joe Walsh and Timothy B. Schmit tours with Frey’s son Deacon and country star Vince Gill, performing the group’s songbook across the globe. Henley said about the band’s body of work, “The songs have taken on a life of their own. We’re only curating them. We’re just the vehicle for presenting these songs to the people. We’ve come to realize what these songs mean to people, and how they’re a part of their lives. You could call it nostalgia, and there’s nothing terrible about that, especially in times like these, when things are so unhinged and crazy. I think (our shows) give people two-and-a-half hours of relief from the crazy, chaotic world. Especially in America.”
Henley, who formed the Eagles with Glenn Frey in 1971, spoke about the presence Frey still holds in the band: “He’s still in our heads and he’s still in those songs. His spirit is there. And his flesh and blood is there. He’s very much a part of the show and always will be. And I think it provides a healing not just for us, but for Deacon, too.”
During a chat with Australia’s The Sunday Project, Don Henley revealed the moment that he realized the Eagles could find a way to go on without Glenn Frey through his son: “I saw him get up and sing by himself at his father’s memorial service. I’m sure it was very difficult for him, but he was very composed and he sang well. Later on the idea, sort of, germinated in my head and I thought, ‘Deacon could probably do this if he wanted to.'”
The Eagles kick off their 2019 dates on February 26th and 27th in Auckland, New Zealand.
Photo Courtesy of Danny Clinch