One of the two new kids in town on going from fan to friend to member of the Eagles.
Can you remember when you heard the Eagles for the first time? Oh sure. I was a young kid in Oklahoma, just trying to figure out how to play the guitar, and those were the guys who were doing exactly what I loved. That first record had a huge impact on me, because the songs were so good. To me, that’s what’s stood the test of time – their songs. There are very few people in life that accomplish that kind of body of work. Where were you when you got the call to join? I was home. I’ve crossed paths with those guys lots of times, so it was out of the blue but it wasn’t out of the blue, if you know what I mean. I was beyond flattered that I was somebody they thought could step up and sing and play songs. It was an easy thing to say yes to. In a way, the only apprehension I had was the acceptance I thought I might or might not have. How long did it take for that feeling to disappear? It dissolved after the first chorus of Take It To The Limit. That was the first song I sang with them, first gig. I felt everybody relax, me included. Did anyone in the band have any advice for you? Oh, absolutely. I’m different in the way I approach things on stage. I like to fly by the seat of my pants, play or sing something a different way from the way I played it the previous night. That’s not the gig here. But there’s no black and white with these guys: “It’s this way.” It makes it easy and fun. Did you have any advice to pass onto Deacon Frey as the other new guy in the band? I knew his dad really well, but I had never met Deacon until the first rehearsal. I walked up behind him and put my arms around him and said: “Dude, are you as scared as I am?” He was laughing, and went: “Oh yeah, I am actually.” I said: “I got your back, have you got mine? let’s have some fun.” What’s the one Eagles deep cut you’d like to play live with them? Oh, man. I was always drawn to
The Sad Café [from 1979’s The
Long Run]. It just spoke to me. They never missed, but that one was always pretty to me. I did talk them into doing Ol’ 55, the old Tom Waits song. I asked about that song and they said: “Well we haven’t done that one in years.” It worked up nice. What makes the Eagles such a great American band? It starts with the songs, it really does. But also the fact that you’ve had so many iconic voices be a part what of the Eagles are. Whether it’s Don singing or Glenn singing or Timothy singing or Joe Walsh singing, or you had Randy singing, it was: ‘Next guy up’, and it was, like, ‘Holy smoke!’ And then you put them all together, and it’s unique. Right now there are no plans to carry on beyond the summer of 2019. If they called you to do something, would you? Any time I would have the opportunity to stand up with those guys and sing these songs and play these songs, as long as they want, I’m in.
Vince Gill and Don Henley with the Eagles at LA’s Dodger Stadium, July 15, 2017.