Hiya! This is ‘Superjock’ Larry Lujack! Sitting with me right here in the Super CFL Studios – straight from California – are everybody’s favorite hitmakers . . . those darn Eagles!” In town for two concerts at the Arie Crown Theater, the band is visiting one of Chicago’s top jocks to play, for the first time, the title track and single from One of These Nights.
“How ya doin’ guys?” Lujack winks. It is guitarist/vocalist Glenn Frey, a long-time Johnny Carson aficionado whose streetwise L.A. drawl stands out from the groggy “okays” and “alrights” of the other four Eagles. “Doin’ real fine, Larry,” he says from behind reflector shades. “It’s nice to be here at WCFL this morning.”
Lujack, a world-weary Jack Nicholson lookalike, doesn’t miss a beat: “Let’s talk a little bit, guys, about how you got together.”
“Glenn and I used to play for Linda Ronstadt and . . .”
Lujack cuts drummer Don Henley short. “Linda Ronstadt.” The name rolls off his lips with lecherous abandon. “She’s probably my favorite chick singer, heh-heh. Say, I remember reading somewhere that the Eagles do the best ‘ooo’s in the business. What do you say to that?”
“‘Oooo’s for bucks, Larry. That’s our motto.” Frey flashes a sly grin. “The only difference between boring and laid back is a million dollars.”
Lujack chortles mirthlessly. “You rock & rollers are all alike, aren’t you? Hey, is it true you guys want to sound like Al Green? What’s the matter, you tired of being cowboys?”
“That’s actually very true,” Henley deadpans. “We almost called this record Black in the Saddle. . . .”
Lujack throws a hand signal to his engineer. “Okay. For the first time ever, let’s listen to that new Eagles record – ‘One of These Nights!’ Alllriiiiiight!!!” Safely off mike, “Superjock” heaves a booming sigh. “That was a fuckin’ great interview,” he snickers. “Now who’s got the drugs?” A few courtesy chuckles later – heh-heh and all that – the Eagles have eased out the building.
It had been an anticlimax, to be sure, but this was still a prize moment for Frey, Henley, bassist Randy Meisner and guitarists Bernie Leadon and Don Felder. After six months of work and anguish, their fourth album, One of These Nights, was finally public.
If only for perfectly capturing the feel of L.A., the Eagles are the one band that’s carried on the spirit of the Buffalo Springfield. – Neil Young ’75
The view from the Los Angeles hills offers a romantic and soul-searching look at Hollywood’s neon glow. It’s not surprising that much of One of These Nights was written under its influence. The picture is hypnotic. In the few months Don Henley and Glenn Frey have lived here – strictly for proximity’s sake, they say – the two have spent many nights staring out at the “million dollar view” from their living room table and jotting down bursts of songs. Now, just one week before the band will reenter Criteria Sound Studios to record vocals and finish the album, the entire house is littered with yellow legal tablets–all of them scribbled black with abandoned or half-finished verses. “It’s finals week,” says Frey. “We’re cramming.”
The Eagles have always approached their albums cautiously. Every word and melody is considered and reconsidered before a song is deemed recordable. In the studio, the process repeats itself. “Sometimes I wonder if we don’t take ourselves too seriously,” Henley muses after hearing the Beatles’ nonsense song “You Know My Name (Look Up My Number)” on his car radio. “Who knows, maybe Art is just a dog on Neil Young’s porch. Every time I start writing one of these wonderfully sensitive songs that we write, I start wondering, ‘Who really gives a shit?’ Do I really give a shit? I want to do something semihumorous on one of these records someday. Something that doesn’t demand so much fuckin’ time and energy. We’ve never had an easy time making Eagles albums.” This one, the followup to On the Border (which included “Best of My Love”), has been no reprieve. Bernie Leadon complains, “It seems to take more time and effort every year to forget the whole trip of touring and recording and get loose enough so that the creative juices flow naturally.” Frey and Henley, in fact, already have a suggestion for a title for a story on the Eagles: “The Hardening of the Artistry.”
Don Henley sits alone at the table tonight. He looks like he could be a better-looking younger brother of Mac Davis. Headphones clamped over his curls, he’s sworn himself to finish the lyric to a basic track titled “After the Thrill Is Gone,” or as he’d named it earlier, “Here’s Another Hidden Commentary on the Music Business Disguised as a Love Song.” On a cluttered oak slab before him lie all the accumulated vestiges of life as an Eagle: cassettes of outtakes, guitar picks, songbooks, gold record receipts, an Elektra/Asylum yo-yo, a copy of Time magazine’s Cher cover with a SO WHAT sticker pasted over the banner and, of course, stacks of legal tablets.
In the next room, Frey is absorbed in a basketball game on TV. Chain-smoking and chugging Dos Equis, he rumbles the house with beery cries of “Willya stop the son-of-a-bitch??” and “Turg-o-vitch!!” After a while, Henley rips off the headphones and heads for the TV room in disgust, adding a new tablet to the heap. This one is blank except for two lines.
What can you do when your dreams come true
And it’s not quite like you planned