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Stereoboard Speak To Founding Member Of The Eagles Glenn Frey About His New Album 'After Hours'

Monday, 25 June 2012 Written by Heather McDaid
Stereoboard Speak To Founding Member Of The Eagles Glenn Frey About His New Album 'After Hours'

With so much contrast in all aspects of music today, it's refreshing to find someone with a career spanning four decades who still appreciates it as something wonderful. Founding member of The Eagles, Glenn Frey has had his share of solo successes outside the band, yet his latest offering 'After Hours' feels a much more personal affair. A string of love songs, each track that made the cut seems to have an added relevance to either his own or his parents respective eras, so much so he notes, "It's more about the music than it is about me, I'm just the messenger for this project."

ImageWith there being a notable gap between this and his last album, why did now feel the right time for this release? "I'm very lucky, my mom and dad are both still alive," he explains. "I wanted to get this record while they were still around so they could enjoy it because in a lot of ways it is a homage to some of the music they loved when they were growing up. Also, there's some of the music that I listened to when I was growing up. My parents were young parents, so this music means a lot to them and it meant a lot to me to be able to finish this record and present it to them while they're still here.

"Also, in the early nineties two big things happened. The first is that I got married and started a family. By 1994, I had two small children and then in '94 the Eagles got back together. So, the Eagles took precedence over my solo stuff as at the time I was much more interested in my time with the Eagles and how perpetuate the band and keep working now that we were back together. So, family and the Eagles kind of took my focus away. I didn't really feel like I wanted to do anything solo; I felt like my attention was elsewhere. There was just other stuff to do, so that's why it took so long."

"The record isn't long enough for as many songs as I would have liked to record,"
he admits. "I think, at some point in the next year or two, I'll probably make another record like this because there were a lot of songs and a lot of artists that I admire that I didn't get to do some of their material. I love a singer named Peggy Lee, Louis Armstrong, Ella Fitzgerald and Diana Washington - a woman who I did two of her songs on this record, but there were so many more that she did that I just absolutely adore. I'll probably try to do this again in the next year or two."

"We put this record together kind of like you would if you had a thousand piece jigsaw puzzle - you wouldn't be able to do it all in one day or one week,"
explains Glenn. "So, we worked on this record off and on for about two and a half years. I think it was great that we did it this way because you're able to get away from your work then come back and look at it; there's a little bit of clarity that comes with distance. That's the way we put this record together and we would really just start out in a room with myself and my two friends - Richard Davis and Michael Thompson - and we'd be in the control room at my studio where there's a little piano. We'd be talking about songs that I wanted to sing and we'd throw a title out there, go over to the piano and find a key and give it a whirl there; then if it sounded good we'd take it to the studio with just the piano and voice. It was just to get an idea of what the core of the song and recording would be. Then if we liked that, we brought in a band and recorded tracks with live musicians for the first part.

"There were a couple of songs that we built very slowly, a couple of songs that didn't have drums... It was really fun going to work every day, because every day I was getting to work on some great songs. One day I'm working on 'The Look Of Love' which is a Bacharach/David song, the next I'm working on 'Caroline, No', a Brian Wilson song. As I said, it was always fun because we were always working on a pretty good song."

While these songs all seem to hold a personal reverence from Frey, the style is notably different to his normal work. "I think one of the things that really interested me was that it was a different kind of singing and different kind of material. What I usually do with The Eagles and by myself is what I call "guitar singing" because that's the basic instrument of a rock band. This is more piano singing - it's a little more sophisticated, it's a little more nuanced and it was really a challenge, but also really fun to practice these songs and get ready to do lead vocals.

"Usually when I'm doing songs with The Eagles or by myself I've written or co-written a song and by the time it comes to sing, I know exactly what I'm going to do. This was very different preparation, as I said I was having to practice before my lead vocals and I found myself comparing my voice to other instruments in the orchestra. With 'The Look of Love' I thought, 'Hey, I'm singing like a trumpet here', or with another song I'd be like 'You know, this sounds more like a clarinet', it was a little more lyrical and a little more melancholy. I went to places I hadn't been before and that was certainly exciting."

'After Hours' debuted in a live capacity recently across a few State-side dates, proving to go down well with those in attendance. "This music - it touches a place, a place that I think everybody has; it's a romantic, melancholy, sentimental kind of place," he adds. "I noticed when we were playing these songs live, I'd start out playing 'Sentimental Reasons' and you'd see people looking at their girlfriends or husbands, wives and saying 'Oh, yeah, that song - I like that song'. Then the next song, they'll go 'Oh!' - I do 'Shadow of Your Smile' and they're like 'Oh, that's a really beautiful song'. Then all of a sudden they're all holding hands, they're slumped down in the chairs, they're just a little bit more relaxed. The shows that I did in the States... It was a gas! I really haven't had that much fun on stage by myself in a long time. It was really fun."

"A lot more people show up when the Eagles are on tour than when I'm on tour!"
he laughs. "That's the first thing I notice. I'm playing in much smaller places, which is just fine. And, you know, for the music on 'After Hours', it's really suited to more intimate settings - it's not stadium music of 15,000 seater type music. It's really good in the smaller halls and that's what I was playing in the United States. Hopefully if I can sell just even three or four records, I'll try to come here and do some shows in Europe. Hopefully some of them I'll do with the orchestra like I did in New York and Los Angeles. I really want to make that happen."

With the Eagles marking their 40th anniversary this year, and the musical climate completely different nowadays, how has he seen the industry change over his career? "To explain it quickly: people don't buy as many records now because there's other ways to get your music," he says succinctly. "It can be more difficult to find the music that you want to listen to - you have to go out and look for it. The other thing, of course, is that I don't see as many long careers over the last 15-20 years. It seems it's like fast food: people buy it, eat it then throw it away. I think it's more challenging for artists to try and offer a long career but these are chaotic times, there's a lot of distractions and there's a lot of stuff going on.

"Obviously, I think for the music business television and the internet have become two major players now, it's not just radio. That's a big difference as well. Hey, you know, it is what it is - you play music for fun and yourself; if it's good enough for other people to listen to and enjoy then that's good too. I work in a business where art meets commerce and sometimes they don't meet for very long and sometimes there's magnificent collisions and millions of records are sold.

"But I play music because it's fun and I like it; I did this record because I really love the music. It's more about the music than it is about me, I'm just the messenger on this project. I figured, you know, with the millions of Eagles fans out there, if even a small portion of them were to be curious and wonder what this record was all about, then I think they'd be in for a nice surprise."

As for what to expect from Glenn Frey in the last half of 2012, he says, "I'd like to come back and play some shows and play the 'After Hours' songs. I have this show worked out that I played in the States last month and I'd love the opportunity before the end of the year to come back, maybe in the Fall, and play some small halls and some music from 'After Hours'. That would be fun. I'm also trying to get down to Australia and visit with some people down there as well. It's kind of a quiet year other than the fact I'm promoting my record. The Eagles aren't doing too much, we're just playing a few shows but we have big plans for next year..."

'After Hours' is release today, Monday 25th June, on Polydor Records.


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