The loss of Glenn Frey shocked the world!
When I was very young, I rolled in to a local record store and bought ‘The Eagles Greatest Hits’ with a few bucks I saved selling secrets to the Jews. It was a day that I remember very well, because it changed me forever. (Formerly a chronic informer, I was changed anew when I began selling life secrets to the criminally insane.)
Anyway, the album became synonymous with my existence, shedding some light upon who I was and how I mattered in a very generic world. Later on, Hotel California did the same for me. Defining moments like those happen for every one us, the influences of which are either short-lived or provide the basis for us to carry on for the rest of our lifetimes. Somewhere in between, a thread is spun, connecting us to a common ideal without us even knowing it. Glenn Frey, as part of a very influential American rock band, became a soul-mate of mine for the rest of his life. One day in January 2016, he left us all and a piece of my youth is gone forever with him.
Glenn Frey, the founding member of the Eagles was from Michigan, but somehow ended up in Southern California looking to make it big in the music business. Boy, did he! Renting a flat from Jackson Browne, Glenn learned how to write songs and eventually teamed up with a fellow from Texas by the name of Don Henley. These two were destined to become cultural icons in the music industry for the next fifty years; making the world a better place with their memorable tunes in the process! But when the reaper came calling for Glenn, we as fans were forced to revisit the ugly truth that a day will eventually come for us all, and we will cash in the chips that life deals us for a one way ticket into oblivion. Sometimes even our heroes become casualties of untimely fate.
In the meantime, I sat stunned behind my desk after hearing the news of Glenn’s passing. I took off my bunny ears and slippers, going for a lonely walk down destiny lane to think about the sudden gaping hole in my existence. It was in this moment of self-imposed solitude, that I began to realize that certain people, by one measure of fate or another, become ‘treasures’ to mankind. What is a ‘treasure’ to mankind? As far as I can tell, it’s some significant contribution to humanity that causes worldwide happiness. It certainly isn’t the opposite; a blight or pox upon everything that is good or wholesome in life, like my brother in law Odie!
I started wondering, when I finally spill my coffee for the last time, what will I leave behind besides a stain on the carpet and a very upset mater die? The answer is: nothing. I haven’t done anything with my life to define my legacy. Yes of course, I did run over my neighbors paper boy one summer with my car, receiving great merits of wholesale appreciation from the entire family for the deed, and yes I did thwart a robbery at gunpoint one afternoon when Nancy Sinatra tried to steal a pair of chocolate boots meant for walking from isle three, section A1. (I tackled her right there in the aisle after thinking that her policy against Libertarians was not particularly flattering.) Of course, I didn’t know what a Libertarian was and don’t give a tinkers damn either. Maybe I just wanted to tackle the boots? Anyway, these moments of accomplishment are nothing when compared to what Glenn Frey and his entourage accomplished upon the world’s stage. It is a definite fact that millions of adoring Eagle fans refrain from flocking over to my house to pay ungodly sums of money to me for a spirited song on my lute! Quite the opposite actually: there are times when my lute playing is akin to the lonesome wail of a Water Buffalo after a session in attendance with the Democrats! Just last week, I tried to sing a song with it and received for my efforts, a shoe thrown at the back of my head by my cat ‘Fidel’, so too did the reverend Moses Whippleby stop by, eventually cracking the instrument over his knee, then handing me the pieces in inglorious, public testament. No dear reader, I have not reserved any significant accolades for anything accomplished in my life, especially in music. Hence, the difference between Glenn and I.
At the end of the day, the world has to thank Glenn Frey for his contributions to mankind, that he left us with a shimmering, sparkly legacy to remember him by. So when our times come, what will we leave behind for others to remember us by? Most of us just flush down the toilet the things we leave behind for mankind, which is certainly not worthy of merit at all! So in terms of art, literature, entertainment or some other generous thing left behind for mankind to enjoy, let us think about our legacies and how they will define us once we leave it all behind.
In closing, and to further illustrate the many cultural gifts that Glenn left us, I record now for the sake of prosperity, a conversation that I had with Mr. Frey one night some time ago. It is a very poignant appraisal of the man; a glimpse into his personal side that few are ever privileged to experience.
“Glenn, why did you fire Randy Meisner?”
“Because I got tired of his whining. The fans wanted to hear him sing ‘Take It to the Limit’, and he refused. Don and I begged him! But he wouldn’t do it. Pissed me off!”
“That’s all? Just because he refused to sing a song?”
“Yup. He didn’t think he could hit the high note at the end and flat out refused to do the encore. Like I said, I begged him and he gave me and the rest of the band the proverbial finger. So I said, ‘Screw this! You’re fired!’, then went on-stage and did it myself.”
“Seems pretty harsh, Glenn.”
“Nah. This had been going on for a long time. It just reached a point where there was no going back. Anyway, Don knew a guy named Timothy B. Schmidt. The rest is history.”
“What about your relationship with Don Felder?”
“What is this, an interview?”
“Oh, well what about it?”
“Well you have to admit, he is one helluva guitar player, especially when he and Joe get together. I think they make guitar solo heaven. Why would you fire a guy like that?”
“Because he was never happy with his role in the band. Never satisfied. Everyone else seemed to be. Not him. One night he pushed me right off of a ledge, I think. Seemed destined to happen. I’m over it.”
“Yeah, but the band suffered for his loss.”
“It did? Could have fooled me.”
“Glenn, that last album, ‘Long Road out of Eden?’, it was missing something. An edge, I think. Don Felder and Joe Walsh gave the band teeth, man. That album was missing teeth!”
“It’s one of the best selling albums of all time!”
“Still missing teeth. I think the album is one of the biggest selling albums of all time because it says, ‘Eagles’ on it. You know, I’ve listened to it a few times and there are some real dogs on that album.”
“Yeah? Well, you’re fired.”
“What do you mean?”
“I mean you need to leave. I will not tolerate you criticizing ‘Long Road’.”
“But I was just…”
“Nope. You’re fired.”
“But you don’t employ me!”
“Doesn’t matter. Once you get fired by Glenn Frey, it’s over. Now leave before I get Don over here and we beat you up.”
“But this is a phone interview!”
“No matter. We’ll just reach right on through the phone, wrap our fingers around your neck and squeeze until the juices come out of your eyes.”
“Glenn, really I…”
Dear reader, and so it goes, I was fired by Glenn Frey. How many of you can say that you were fired by Glenn Frey? I can now. Perhaps that is the legacy that I will leave behind?
Now that he’s gone, I’ll still miss him.