Tuesday, January 19, 2016

And The Hits Just Keep On Coming...

Dale Griffin, drummer for Mott The Hoople, passed away. Not quite as shocking as hearing the news about David Bowie, as Griffin, AKA Buffin, had been battling Alzheimer's for some time. The news is still upsetting, even if Buffin hadn't quite touched the masses the way Bowie had.

Glenn Frey, co-founder of The Eagles, passed away yesterday at the age of 67 after a weekslong battle with rheumatoid arthritis, colitis and pneumonia. This is particularly shocking as I don't think anyone outside of The Eagles world knew he was sick. Or maybe everyone did but me.

I won't pretend that I am affected by the loss of these two musicians the way I was affected this past week. Mott The Hoople has been a favorite for as long as David Bowie has been a favorite, but on a different level. And while I like The Eagles, it's mostly just songs and not albums and quite frankly, not Don Henley nor Glenn Frey.

As expected, social media is a veritable feast of opinions. I was thanked by a friend for "making a tough week a bit better. You guided the way last week." He was no doubt referring to my posts about David Bowie, as well as the music I shared. I was deeply touched by his words. It was as unexpected as the news itself and I am very happy anything I say or do can mean something to anyone.

There were also comments from people who had no connection at all to David Bowie. Some were respectful, others not so much. Though, one person who felt nothing over Bowie's passing, posted a few paragraphs about how devastated he is over Glenn Frey's death, while another said, "What's the proper way to react when a member of your all-time least favorite band dies?" Well you could take a cue from Will Rogers who said, "Never miss a good chance to shut up."

I took a different approach regarding the death of Glenn Frey. My post read, "Mixed Feelings: see Don Felder." I guess I could learn from Will Rogers, as well.

I think some of my least favorite music came from mouths of Don Henley & Glenn Frey. Songs like "Life In The Fast Lane," "The Greeks Don't Want No Freaks," "Dirty Laundry," "Smuggler's Blues," "Those Shoes,""The Heat Is On." I react poorly when I hear these tunes. I almost can't stop myself from groaning and making a retching sound when I hear--

Kick 'em when they're up
Kick 'em when they're down
Kick 'em when they're up
Kick 'em when they're down

But there is plenty I do love about The Eagles, regardless of how smug and shitty Henley and Frey have been for the last 40 years, especially "New Kid In Town," which is simply gorgeous in every way. And no matter how much you despise The Eagles, no one should get sick and die at the age of 67.

I imagine many more of my favorite and not-so-favorite musicians will pass sooner than later. Just give it a break for a while. It's been on overload since November of 2015. Do something else, like make a good record, or play golf. I don't care. Just give dying a rest for a couple of weeks.


Rob said...

"Never miss a good chance to shut up."
Now there's sterling advice that a lot of us could benefit from now and then. It is not always good to be a smartass.

Can I just add the name of Dallas Taylor to the roll call of the recently departed? He was a big part of the Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young set up and Manassas and it's sad to see him gone aged just 66.

William Repsher said...

Well, I didn't know any of these people and can't place their passing into full, proper context, which to me is grieving people you actually know and extending condolences for those you don't, but always appreciated their work in some respect. Who's to say that if you actually knew Glenn Frey that you'd see through a lot of the bluster and recognize he was a decent human being who will be missed. From what I gather, so long as you didn't get on his bad side in terms of band issues, he seemed like someone you'd be glad to know. (And a tip of the cap to Don Felder, if you haven't already seen his condolences.)

His music? Man, let's not talk about his 80's output! But it doesn't change that he did some profoundly good work with The Eagles that has stood the test of time, and I'll never get the "hate the Eagles" mentality so many people have. Usually when you ask them exactly why, the reasoning is either flimsy or non-existent. It usually comes down to "I don't like The Eagles because I'm cool and they're not." Which is utter bs.

I can't help but think that if I'd actually known The Eagles in some capacity that I'd have liked Frey the best. Henley strikes me as aloof (even though clearly the most talented), Walsh, too wacky, Felder too quiet for his own good, Schmitt too yes man, Leadon and Meisner, who knows. Frey did the dirty work, enforced the hard decisions that Azoff and Henley were clearly in collusion with, and he dared to be honest about himself in a game where absolute charlatans and jackals are often portrayed as supreme beings. There's something thorny and human about Glenn Frey that I always respected.

buzzbabyjesus said...

I've never been an Eagles fan, in fact I've mostly been a hater. Because of they're legitimate so-cal country rock pedigree, I watched the lengthy doc on Netflix, and came away with at least some respect for Henley, Frey, and The Eagles in general. Don Felder and Randy Meisner not so much.

jeff said...

I was one of the people who left a disrespectful comment about Frey, and I don't regret it. As my friend Bill said to me from his hospital bed just before his 90th birthday, "no one gets out of here alive." It's what happens to all of us; there's no heroism in dying. Sometimes there in how you die though.

Bill was a writer, and his words meant something to literally millions of people at one time. He wrote them to change the way the world was spinning during the McCarthy period, and it worked. But he also walked the talk. He was wounded in the Battle of the Bulge, and twice he was famous in New York, the last time a few years before he died, for being the last hold out in a building that a landlord was in some cases taking down all around him. Rockefeller Center had to be delayed until he left. He could be irascible, but he was also generous and helpful, a true rebel in the best way.

Glen Frey in my view wrote hits and had the ability to write a great melody. I love melody, catchy melodies are great to hum, but I don't see melody coming from any great character. They wanted to make a buck, and they were entitled to it. But every book I read about the SO. Cal. music scene paints him and Henley in extremely unflattering light, nor did they treat their bandmates who they kept on salary for decades, very well, this after being one of the biggest selling American bands of the decades. He was a commercial guy, the leader of a commercial band. Maybe he wasn't the total sourpuss that Henley is, but at least Henley tries to address some of the issues of the world in the music, even if he does it through his own grumpy, everyone's-out-to-get-me world view.

So he died. That's sad. As I get older, it jars me as I see the people my age or close to it dropping away. But forgive me if I don't see any great loss to humanity here. I mourn the people who set out to make the world a better place and do, not only in their political lives but in their personal relations as well. Those who don't, and especially those who could have and didn't. Yeah, I got better things to worry about.dying isn't a challenge, living is.

Shriner said...

And, the lead singer of the American Breed died as well (had no idea he was the engineer on Styx records too...)

Something is definitely in the air these days. And it's not good!

Anonymous said...

In my place, The Eagles were and still huge.

Seinfeld episode about Desperado is something to see.



David said...

last night i learned Mic Gillette, renowned trumpet and trombone player and founding member of the legendary Oakland funky soul band Tower of Power, died suddenly of a heart attack over the weekend. He was 64. By many he was known for what some would say the 4 most famous notes by a trumpet in the history of rock n roll, the opening of Your Still a Young Man. RIP

Noam Sane said...

Nice to see Dallas Taylor mentioned; a really fine musician in his day. (Tim Drummond passed on January 10th, by the way. Ugh.)

The Eagles were a band I grew up with, they were all over the radio and inescapable. I never really dug them until Hotel California. I was a doper senior in High School, what wasn't to like? Played the crap out of side 1 during that time. In college I flipped it over and realized side 2 was even better. When Long Run came out, I had bailed out and was working as an overnight top 40 DJ - man, I was so disappointed in that record. And I had to play the title track over and over for months. That's some horrible shit. Looking back, they peaked on that 2nd side of HC and got bad real fast. I couldn't get through the 3 hr documentary, tl/dw.

But back when I was looking for an easy-to-play songbook when I first picked up the guitar around 16, I found the Eagles Greatest Hits book - same cover as the record. G, C, D. Repeat. Ooh, here comes an Am. It was perfect, as I already knew what the songs should sound like, and they were simple. This put me on the road to being the bitter failed musician I am today. Thanks, Frey-dude.

p.s. Sal, thanks for all the Bowie. I wasn't chiming in because - what can you say? But I wallowed in it and even heard a couple of things I didn't know, that now - I'm glad I do.

Anonymous said...

Hello all...no, please remain seated,

Rest In Peace, Mr. Frey.

Me? Back in the 70's, I loved the Eagles in real time. Their songs were melodic, well-played, well-arranged, well sung and most of their albums happened while I was in HS and College. Imprinted like a duckling.

As much as I liked them, I've never counted them as one of my favorite bands. Probably, because the one time I saw them in the late 70's, down in North Carolina, they sounded just like their records only louder. I mean exactly like the records, just really loud. But, ok...minor quibble.

New Kid in Town, Lyin' Eyes, Desperado. Man...three killer songs, at least in my view.

Have no idea what kind of dude he was, but the work was pretty damn good.


peabody nobis said...

Hey, Sal. Allow me to second the feelings of the fan who said you "guided" us through the passing of the great David Bowie. I was hurting last week, and needed a place to turn to, and you were there. The ones we're closest to don't always understand.
And now, it's Glenn Frey's turn. Unexpected and regrettable, sure. But they were never the touchstone band the way LedZep or The Who was. They just seemed like a really good bar band that made good.
And i've been listening to,and singing along, with the Eagles for as long as I can remember. Their "Greatest Hits" record, coupled with "Hotel California", were the can't-miss of chick-bait back in the '70's. Just enough guitar to keep us guys interested, and romantic lyrics for the girls...
Maybe I'm a little blase, but I'm still grieving Bowie. Sorry.

big bad wolf said...

never miss a good opportunity to shut up is good advice. it is particularly good advice when a person dies and you want only to say negative things about her or him. shush, at least for awhile. we all die. we all die alone. we all leave behind a few who care. there is no reason to hurt those folks in their time of grief. the dead person either was or wasn't all the things you might want to say. if it matters at all, it can wait a bit. let the mourners have their time.

Sal, i add my thanks to those of others for the bowie posts you put up last week.

dogbreath said...

I'm happy to admit like countless other folks I neither feel guilt nor shame in confessing to The Eagles being a favourite band from the 1970s right through. After first clocking the cool California lifestyle vibe (compared to my living on a cold, wet, windy rock) their music is ingrained in the blood after 40 plus years. Excellent song craft, musicianship, production, performance, humour - what's not to like on the showbiz front? Yesterday played a couple of Glenn Frey boots which I've neglected for some time and what good kickass stuff they are too, for much the same reasons already given. And, finally btw, love the Will Rogers quote which I will plagiarize unashamedly today.

William Repsher said...

I'm much more comfortable with how people are "paying respects" to Glenn Frey than they did with Bowie. In the past few days I've seen everything from people pulling up a hair short of "He must have been an asshole and I'm glad he's dead" ... to damning with faint praise ... to throwing a quiet, appreciative nod his way ... to fully acknowledged they loved the band, their music and are grateful for what he did in his lifetime. There's a comfort level there that I like, that people feel free to be honest about this guy, that band.

I used to be of the mind that you should never say anything about someone recently departed that you wouldn't say at a funeral service in front of his friends and family, but let's face it, I've been there too many times the past decade, anyone causing a scene in that scenario is going to get pitched out of the ceremony. Frey's passing has been more like an Irish wake, and I guess the older I get and more familiar with death, I can see that we need to get comfortable with the process, put it in human terms, good and bad. And I have to say, I'm getting a pretty positive picture of Frey, warts and all, after the past two days.

Bill said...

Thought this was an interesting take on the passing of the rock era:

Anonymous said...

Eagles, like Blondie, put out well-written/arranged/produced pop music that I like in doses but still leave me kinda cold for their sterility. I don't seek them out to play, but neither do I turn them off. I have "Eat To The Beat" and a handful of Blondie songs, and I have the Eagles hits collection plus a handful of songs. I've given little thought to each bands' members as people, so have no thought one way or t'other about their lives or deaths. But I will say that the song Hotel California is one of the finest singles of the entire 70s, and Boys Of Summer is one of the finest singles of the entire 80s (and with a video that ranks with the all-time best, to boot), so the Eagles and their members are/were capable of greatness. I didn't realize, until the stories of the last couple days, how much Frey's hands were involved in the Eagles hits I'm familiar with, and they're good songs mostly (I too loathe Life In The Fast Lane).
C in California