Don Henley Says Eagles Couldn’t Continue Without Frey ‘Family Blood’
Don Henley said it would have been impossible for the Eagles to keep going after the death of Glenn Frey if they hadn’t recruited “family blood” in the form of Frey’s son Deacon.
He also heaped praise on fellow newcomer Vince Gill, just after the band announced a run of tour dates for 2018. “It was a no-brainer for us to get Vince. Nobody else, other than Deacon, we even discussed,” Henley told Rolling Stone. “He fit like a glove. And his personality is great. He’s just glad to be there. He’s probably the happiest guy onstage."
Henley noted that Gill "has struck a nice balance between honoring what Glenn did, then putting his own little spin on it. In the beginning he was trying to sing the songs exactly as Glenn sang them, in phrasing and emphasis. But over the past few shows, he’s put his own twist and interpretation on the songs. It makes it more authentic to him.”
When Deacon performed “Peaceful Easy Feeling” at his father’s memorial service, Henley recalled being impressed with what he heard. “As difficult as that might have been, he was so brave and composed,” the singer and drummer said. “I’m sure, on the inside, he was churning. After a few months went by I thought, ‘Why not see if he would like to be in the band?”
Henley admitted wondering at first whether it would be right to continue without Glenn Frey. “The only way it felt justified to me was to have family blood in the band,” he said, recalling the younger man’s first Eagles appearance at the Dodger Stadium in July. “And I have to hand it to Deacon. He had don some gigs with his father – private parties, in front of maybe 200 people. To go from that to 50,000 people is extraordinary. I don’t know many people who could have done that without freaking out.”
As far as how long Deacon might want to stay with the Eagles -- the “wonderful part of it and the sadness that goes with it" -- Henley said, “I’ve told him that he doesn’t need to feel obligated to do this indefinitely. … If he wants to start his own band and write his own music, he should do that. He can do this as long as we all agree that we want to do it. He may want to carve out his own future, and that’s just fine.”