So yeh, Glenn has died…another of the Greats now gone.
I’m not the one to eulogize him. I worked with him for several years and of course that means I got to know him to some small degree, but of course I also knew him in only one segment of his long and amazing career, and I can hardly say that I *KNEW* him. That’s for his family, of course the other Eagles, his long time business partners, and all the other musicians who all knew him longer, better, and deeper than I ever would have or did. The guys that I worked with when I was with him had almost all worked with him as the Eagles band as well, so there’s lots of other people who can speak about him much better than I.
But of course it affects me, and a lot of people know I worked with him and they’re concerned and interested, so I’ll say a couple things….
First of all, I liked Glenn.
He was always cool with me, was generous with me and others when I was working with him, and although of course rock lore is full of all kinda stories, MY experience of him was good. There were times he would be in the same restaurant that some of us might be eating in, and our waiter would come over and say something like “the gentleman that was sitting over there has picked up your check”, and it would be a pretty big tab, but I always thought that was very classy. He didn’t have to do that, he just did. We often rode with him in his jet, (yeh I know, tough life!!), and sometimes he would just wander from chair to chair talking with different guys and just kinda hanging…he did that with me once and it seemed that for a bit he was enjoying just doing what we do, playing music and then hanging about after the gig talking…
He knew a lot about what he did of course, and I learned a few things from him, which at this point is teaching an old dog some tricks, but was he was very good at this thing and he had good thoughts about how it should be done….and yes of course, if he wanted something done a certain way, that’s how it was to be, NO question. And that was fine, he knew how to be Glenn Frey better than anyone else did for damn sure. And he was a REALLY good Glenn Frey, he could really sing, he could really play in the groove, and he knew how to run a show like a CEO….but maybe most of all, I think he actually still really LIKED it…like the part of him that made him get into it in the first place was STILL in him after all those years, and he would sing himself hoarse, get covered in sweat, and leave it all out there….I thought that was awesome, it made me like him more for it.
With him I got to do some things I’d never done before, and to play with an amazing group of musicians playing some of the best popular music that has ever been made. And yes, I’d look over singing harmony with him on like “Lyin’ Eyes” or another song where I’d be singing with just him and me on one of the verses and think, “Holy Shit, this is actually happening!!”, and feel validated for my life choices in a way that most people who do what I do never get a chance to be. If you get to play with some someone like Glenn, it makes some of the downsides of this musician life seem not quite so silly, so irresponsible and childish. There’s not many people who will pooh-pooh doing THAT, and for a guy who grew up a bit on the iffy side in Alaska, it was powerful for me.
Playing with Glenn I also got a chance to get to know and play with Joe Walsh a bit, who was one of my serious idols as a young musician growing up in Alaska, and I can’t say enough good about that experience for me, he’s a sweet guy and one of the greats in Rock music, it was thrilling and an honor.
My time with Glenn came at a time in my life that was very tough for me on a personal level, a difficult and very low period that made the work with him all the better for me, and it helped balance things out, and I’m grateful to him and others that I worked with during that time, it really mattered. The guys in the band were wonderful to me, very supportive and helpful both on and off stage, I made good friends and had some great times.
Today I was sitting at a table in Starbucks when my phone started blowing up and I saw what I was being told was true….I was almost surprised how bad I felt about it, but I did; he was a Big Deal guy, but also someone that I worked with quite a bit and did a lot with, it matters.
I want to mention my good buddy Jonathan Clark. Without Jonathan I wouldn’t have had many of the good gigs I’ve had in my life…yes…WE have to carry our weight when we get in the room, but someone has to get us INTO the room, and a number of times for me that was Jonathan, and definitely so in the case of Glenn. Thank you for that!
I really enjoyed my time with Glenn, and it was truly an honor to have been involved with even my little small bit of that great story.
Wade and Glenn Frey