You remember the Eagles right? They were/are that country rock band from California that was so big in the 70’s. OK, ya they are still big and just had a 3-hour “History of The Eagles” documentary on Showtime.
Members of the band now include Don Henley, Glenn Frey, Joe Walsh, and Timothy B. Schmidt. Don Felder was their long-time guitarist who got kicked out of the band a few years ago. And Randy Meisner and Bernie Leadon were the original bass and lead guitarist in the first incarnation of the band.
Now they did have some good songs. You remember “Take It Easy“, “Life In The Fast Lane“, and “Hotel California“… all classics. And many of the members had successful solo careers. They’ve written some great songs over the years.
And you can’t argue with their musicianship. They all can play well, and honestly I’ve been a big fan of Joe Walsh from his James Gang days.
And I suppose “hate” is a bit extreme. I don’t really hate them. I’m just very disappointed in them.
Every time I watch a live show I’m left flat.
And it all comes down to their lack of spontaneity. Every song they play live is perfect. Not a note out of place. Not a chord change missed.
The songs sound exactly the same as on the record.
Why would a band ever want to do that? What’s the point?
OK, I guess maybe the point is they don’t want to disappoint their fans. They know who butters their bread and they want to deliver. I guess I can understand that.
Personally I think it comes down to money. They think they will keep their careers going by pleasing their audience. They don’t want to risk losing them… and all that money they are making. OK maybe it’s not that calculating. Maybe they are just afraid to screw up.
And that’s the main reason I don’t like them. They never take any chances. They just do what’s expected of them. No more.
The music never creates any tension. There’s no danger. No surprises.
It’s all so safe.
And that’s why I love The Blues.
The blues is based on taking chances. The great bands are always trying new things, and changing arrangements. It’s spontaneous and improvisational. It’s exciting!
And the great guitar players never play a lead exactly the same way twice. They are always reaching for something new. Trying new things. And trying to shift into higher and higher gears.
That’s what makes great music to me. It’s that interplay between tension and resolution. It’s the feeling that anything might happen.
And it’s the interplay between band members.
By that I mean everyone’s parts are always changing. If the lead instrument is soaring to new heights, then the rhythm section, and all the band members, have to support that lead and come up with new parts to play to help them get there. They improvise their parts on the spot to make it all work. I think of it as “shifting through gears.”
The Eagles never do this. They never change the arrangements… or stretch out a lead… or try and shift into a higher gear. Maybe they can’t. They can only play the parts they created a long time ago. They can’t create something new on the spot. No that would be too risky. And maybe they would fail.
And the song would not be perfect anymore.
Sorry Don, Glenn, Timothy, and Joe… it’s not perfect now.