Take It Easy Glenn
I got the news of Glenn Frey of the "Eagles" passing away last night about 7, and for some reason, it really hit me. I spent over 10 years as a musician, traveling with groups and on my own, playing dive bars to concerts with thousands of people. I got to play with some of the greatest musicians of the late 70's early 80's as some sort of backup, or in one really cool case, just jammin' on stage.
It was the summer of 1978, I was in California opening shows for different people (I had connections at the time). I got to be at Disneyland for their opening summer kickoff bash when the Beach Boys played their concert theater. I saw Boston/Journey and a new band Van Halen at Anaheim Stadium, and about a week later ELO, from the owner's booth. Talk about a summer of incredible concerts, and yes, the Eagles were a part of it.
There was a dive bar near Pomona, California out in the middle of nowhere, or so it seemed. It has a dirt parking lot and at about 2:15 to 2:30 every morning came alive. I don't even remember the name of the place, but it was an after hours joint where pretty much every musician would go after they were done playing. It was there I got to be onstage with the best musicians of the 70's.
You either had to be a musician or be with one to get in. I got in the first time with a buddy who was an incredible guitar player. The place smelled of beer and smoke, back then just about everyone smoked except me, and when I say smoked, I mean smoked. We were some of the first ones in that night so finding a seat was easy. We both had our guitars with us, so we got tuned up and took the stage, just the two of us.
The music style didn't matter since it was musicians in the place not just anyone. Within about 15 minutes we found ourselves surrounded by two other guitar players, a drummer, bass player, two backup singers and a keyboard player. It was one of the most surreal moments I've ever had. By the time we had done about a half hour set, the place was packed and others were waiting to take the stage.
We faded to the background as part of the band and then finally left the stage to enjoy the night. I listened to musicians that night who would blow you away. There were maybe a couple guys who played together on stage at the same time. It was just musicians who were so good they could not only back up anyone, but could front their own tour.
Brenda and I have had some really magical things happen in our lives over the years, and as I sit here remembering that night, I wish she could have been there (OK, she would have been 12 and couldn't get in), but there are only a couple hundred people who remember the night Glenn Frey took the stage and the whole place sang along. Just imagine two hundred voices singing, "Peaceful Easy Feeling" and "Take It To The Limit."
I went to that bar at least a dozen times that summer, saw just about everyone in the rock and country rock world, got to be on stage backing them sometimes too. Bryan Adams has a song "The Summer of 69," mine would be the "Summer of 78."
Goodbye Glenn Frey, maybe "One of These Nights" we'll get a "Peaceful Easy Feeling" as we "Take it to the limit." We all have a "Heartache Tonight" 'cause you're "Already Gone." "Take it Easy" my friend. By the way "Tequila Sunrise" was the first guitar riff I taught my boys.