Transcript:

Speaker I met David through Jackson Browne, and Jackson was the first of our of our little group of of rebel musicians to to meet David and after he met David, you know, he came back to myself and JDSU and Jackson said, you know, I got to you got to meet David. I'm working on it. You know, when when the time's right. I want him to meet you guys because you guys are good and he should know about you. And, you know, he's starting a record company. These were, you know, the things Jackson told the Jackson was great and Jackson did indeed, you know, introduce JD and I did, David.

Speaker And, you know, first impression of well.

Speaker See, we used to read that, we used to read the back of. Album covers and David's name kept coming up on all these records that we all liked, Joni Mitchell, Laura Nyro, Crosby, Stills and Nash. You know, it's always special thanks to David Geffen or, you know, something of that of that sort. You know, David, David was real intense. He had a lot of nervous energy. You know, you could sort of get in a room with him and you could feel the gears turning highly motivated, more so than maybe anybody I'd met up until that point. You know, I hadn't met a lot of people in the music business. But, you know, he definitely impressed me with his, you know, with his energy. And he was you know, he was like he was like the savior for country rock guys. You know, everybody wanted to be with him. And, you know, David, David's not very musical, but he always knew a great song, you know, which I thought was interesting, meant you didn't have to be, you know, the world's best singer to be able to recognize, you know, a good piece of work.

Speaker Oh, there's no way. That's right. Oh, or your time's up.

Speaker What do you mean not very musical? I mean, I don't think he is musical either. But if you could describe what you mean when you say that.

Speaker Well, David's not a very good singer, but he would always sing to me, oh, Johnny's got this new song. It goes like this down. And and, you know, he he always knew when there was a great song around. And like I said, he was sort of the he was the guy that everybody wanted to be with. He was the most powerful. And he was when I met him, he was still a manager.

Speaker He had stopped being an agent. And he had he had, you know, become a manager. He and Elliot Roberts had started a company together. And that's where everybody was. So.

Speaker You know, I meant I meant David and JD meant David, and we all hung out together a little bit up and up at his house in Truesdale, and then Don Henley and I went on the road with Linda Ronstadt.

Speaker And I called David up and I asked him if I could spend some money making a demo, so we went we were in Muscle Shoals on the roster tour and I went into the studio. I think David said I could have five hundred dollars to go make a couple of demos. Well, I got in the studio down there in Muscle Shoals and I didn't want to leave. And we had two days off and we almost went around the clock. I think the bill was closer, like 3000 bucks. So I came back from the road and I had this demo for David. And to be honest with you, it wasn't really very good. And, you know, David heard the first he was he was really mad that I had spent, you know, way more money than he had said I should spend. But he gave me one of the best pieces of advice I ever got in my career. He said, Glenn, you're not a solo artist. You should be in a band. And why did he say that, because my because the demo I brought back was his shirt certainly wasn't three new Jackson Browne songs.

Speaker I wasn't nearly as evolved as a as a writer at the time. That would that would come a little bit later. But like I said, he gave me the best advice I ever got, which was you should be in a band.

Speaker You know, so, you know, I said, OK. And so I talked to Don Henley and Don Henley, and we wanted to be in a band, we wanted to have a band together, so we were still working with Linda Ronstadt.

Speaker So with Linda's help and John Boylan, her manager. So we were able to attract Randy Meisner to come and play bass with Linda for a show in Northern California. So we got to meet Randy and tell him, you know, we wanted to have a band and we'd like you to be the bass player. And then Linda knew Bernie Leadon from the Burrito Brothers. So we lured him out to some. We were playing grad nights at Disneyland. And Bernie came out and sat in with us out there and we were able to talk to Bernie and tell him that we were starting a band and, you know, would you be interested in stuff? So at that point, you know, and I kept saying to him, I know David Geffen, you know, and he told me to do this. And, you know, I think we're going to be on his new label. And, you know, none of this was really for sure. So then I called David up and I said, David, I've been talking to Randy Meisner from Pocho and Bernie Leadon from the Burrito Brothers. And I told him, I know you and, you know, you need to, like, come to one of our rehearsals or, you know, we need to start doing something.

Speaker Now, I, I can't talk pie in the sky with these guys. You know, it's you know, they're they were a lot more successful than myself or Don Henley at the time. And so we finally got David out. And, you know, David came out to a rehearsal. I think him and Elliot Roberts and John Hartman came to a little place in the valley where we were rehearsing and came out and saw us play a few songs and.

Speaker We we we sort of went on from there, he decided he wanted us as a band.

Speaker Were there some complications in terms of putting the group together? Was there another record label, Amos Records wasn't there?

Speaker Yeah, we had we had to we had to straighten out some messes. Don Henley and I were both signed to Amos Records and we had to clean that up. And I think, David.

Speaker I think David made a phone call to somebody and said, you need to let these guys out of their contracts.

Speaker I think he actually paid for it.

Speaker He made that, you know, that it's it's quite possible. I don't know what David paid for early, early in my career, but I think he paid five thousand dollars.

Speaker I don't think it was a lot of money.

Speaker But I think to get me out. To get me out of my deal. Yeah, I believe it. I believe it. Well.

Speaker We didn't have a producer and everybody was going to the Troubadour just about every night and hanging out in the bar, and we were looking for a producer for our first album.

Speaker And I didn't really I didn't really like what I had heard on in terms of the production on a couple of other country rock records, the first pocho record. I just didn't like the production. So I was thinking that maybe we should get, you know, like a like a record producer from England, somebody who's more rock and roll and kind of make a tougher sounding record, not not a wimpy little country record.

Speaker So we're sitting in the Troubadour and I saw Glyn Johns and I and I ran over to David and I said, David Glyn Johns is here. You got to go talk to him. He's the guy I want to produce us, go over and talk to him. And he said, OK, I will. I will.

Speaker So he went over and talked to Glyn Johns and pitched him on.

Speaker You know, producing the Eagles, he said, well, I have to hear them, so Glyn Johns went up to two lodges in Boulder and heard us and passed. He said, no, I don't want them. And then I think I may I asked David to ask him again to come and hear us. And he came and heard us in a living room situation, just sitting around singing with acoustic guitars.

Speaker And then he really liked us and said he would produce us, you know. The thing about David, when he wanted something.

Speaker He was going to get it and nothing was going to stop him if it took his charm, he'd turn on his charm. If it took money, he'd use money. If it took a ruthless approach, you know, if he had to use muscle and and grit and, you know, then he would do it. But one thing about David, if he set his mind on wanting, you know, if he wanted something, he was going to get it.

Speaker Nothing and no one was going to stop him.

Speaker Is that why everyone wanted to be with him?

Speaker Well, if you're an artist, you know, to have somebody who's, you know, in your corner and, you know, willing to really go fight for you and fight with the record company and fight with the producers and, you know, the concert promoters, all that stuff, David was that guy. I think I think when when David decided to start asylum records, you know, I think Ahmet and Jerry Wexler all breathed a sigh of relief saying, OK, now he's a record company.

Speaker We don't have to negotiate with him anymore.

Speaker He's not coming in or busting our chops all the time. I think they they were, you know, the happiest of all to see him start a record company.

Speaker What was Olmert suggested? Yeah, yeah. And I thought about it that way.

Speaker That's right.

Speaker Well, again, they said, you know, get him on the other side of the negotiating line, you know, but I don't think anybody at that time had any idea about where David was really going.

Speaker You know, David, but David did say to me, he says, you know, don't worry, Glenn, you're going to be rich, I'm going to be richer, but you're going to be rich. And that's exactly what happened.

Speaker That's exactly what happened.

Speaker So he was pretty straightforward about the money part from the very beginning, right?

Speaker Oh, yeah, absolutely.

Speaker You know, it was. David was very busy, even from the very beginning, he had a million things going on, but like I said, we never really envisioned that he was going to become, you know, this giant.

Speaker Entity with museums and, you know, theaters and movie production and hospitals and, you know, all the other things that, you know, he's accomplished.

Speaker I think he even did. I think he wanted to make money, but I don't think he even he didn't see that down the road. That was a series of very good deals and well managed, you know, managing money.

Speaker Well, yeah, but if you don't want more, you can't get more. And David always wanted more. You know, I think and I think that's that's very true. He was very motivated and.

Speaker Tell us about the start of asylum, is the Sona story a totally apocryphal where you in the saga?

Speaker Yeah, there was there was one night we went up to David to hang out and it was JDSU, myself, Jackson and Ned Doheny. And he said to us that night. I never want asylum records to get much bigger than this group we have right here now, you know, that was you know, I'm going, yeah, sounds great, but of course, it got a lot bigger.

Speaker Do you think he meant it when he said it?

Speaker Oh, you know. I don't know. I don't know, maybe maybe he did, I think we'd have to ask him about that, but.

Speaker You know, we were with David at a time when, you know, it was it was kind of Camelot in the music business, the people who were the heads of the record companies were all music fans. They signed people that they liked, whether they were going to sell records or not. Sometimes, you know, they just fell in love with their music. You know, it was it was a very different than the way things are now. And it's funny now when I run into David and I see him at Laker games and on occasion we're always like, you know, kind of nostalgic about the good old days and how, you know, how much fun it was to hang out and go to the Troubadour and go to the forum and see concerts and meet at Dan Thomas for dinner and do all the things we did when we were young.

Speaker The truth is, when you look back on it like I wasn't in the middle of it, but I think it's probably true. But David says the truth is that there was this incredible amount of talent, man, that nobody was signing them. I mean, he kind of filled a gap is I mean, signing them in in an important way. I mean, asylum fill the gap, didn't it?

Speaker Oh, it was you know, certainly in the early days it was the label, you know, it was the label to be had, you know, because you knew that you were going to get to do your thing and you were going to get a little positive input, but you weren't going to be, you know, interfered with. It wasn't like a record company was going to steer you and try to make you something that you weren't.

Speaker You know, David, let everybody be themselves, which that was that was the basis of the company. Wasn't creative freedom for the artist. Yeah. If you could say that. I mean, yeah, you know, it was true.

Speaker You know, asylum's sort of represented creative freedom.

Speaker And, you know, you could be yourself, you could make records the way the records you wanted to make. Now, the record somebody else wanted you to make. And David would work with that. I remember we came home. We came home with the first Eagles album. We went to London. We we finally landed Glyn Johns and we went to London. We made the first Eagles album in two and a half weeks. It cost 17000 dollars to make. And we came back and we played it for David. But there was only one song that Don Henley sang, and David insisted that we needed to have more songs with Golden Throat. That's what he called Henley. He loved Don's voice, what we all did. And so he made us go back in the studio and rework and record another song. We actually recorded a Jackson Browne song called Nightingale. So, you know, again, David knew even on our first album, you know. We had to keep an important voice, you know, we couldn't just have one song from somebody who was as good a singer as Don. So he you know, he knew he had good instincts about those sort of things.

Speaker Did you hang out together in those days? I mean, you said you were up at his house. You were in the song. I mean, we friends.

Speaker You know, in the first couple of years of asylum, in the first couple of years of the Eagles, we were and we saw, you know, a lot of each other.

Speaker And he had a you know, he really had a hand in our development, you know, including getting take it easy on the radio and getting Glyn Johns to be our producer and.

Speaker You know, I remember another time he he just attracted all of these talented people to the people who were on asylum in the beginning, where, you know, Jackson Browne, Judy Cill, the Eagles, Ned Doheny, David Blue, you know, there were some really some some talented people. In fact, I remember when we came back with our first album, you know, Don Henley, and I sort of looked at each other and said, we better start writing some good songs or we're not going to be around here for very long. So we started writing songs during the Desperado period and David was still, you know, was still there.

Speaker And then but, you know, David was David had his eye on the on the horizon. You know, he might have been standing there holding hands with all the young country rockers, but he had a vision that ultimately would take him far, far away from us.

Speaker What do you think that vision was?

Speaker Well, I think he saw himself, you know, becoming one of the most powerful people in Hollywood, one of the most powerful people in the entertainment business. But, you know, we never imagined that he would become a record. I mean, that he would become a movie producer.

Speaker All the other things. When?

Speaker I've just got a question here that we're kind of slipping past it. I don't know. I don't know whether it's important to not let me say this. I don't know either. I hope I'm helping you out. You are very much so.

Speaker But in those early years, I think it's important to say this. I mean, David, he was Routhier artistic development and he signed you. But didn't he also sort of take care of you and pay your living expenses and get fixed and all that kind of stuff? Was that. Is that. Am I making that up?

Speaker Oh, no. He you know, David was just worry about the music. I'll take care of everything else and got coffee. What was. No, Dave, you know. David said, Just worry about the music, I'll take care of everything else. He put me on a small salary so I could pay my rent and get a car. He turned me on to Dennis to get a couple of bad teeth fixed. You know, he really did. He really did help a lot of people at that level to.

Speaker How did all the other musicians feel about David, I'm trying to get a sense of how David, besides having the vision to start this company and really.

Speaker Signing the best talent about how people feel about it personally when he was a little unusual in that he was in a position and he was the same age as all the artists he was citing, very different from all the other guys.

Speaker How did that affect relationships?

Speaker Well, in the beginning, I think we really felt David was one of us. He was our age when we did have, you know, similar interests and and he was a big music fan that was, you know, the other thing that came across was how much he really loved a good song. And he liked he liked being in the music business. I think, you know, for a while anyway, till we all drove him nuts. How did everybody drive? Well, you know, I mean, you know, you become successful and, you know, you want more things and you need more things, I think. I think David once said to Irving Azoff, you know, this is a great this would be a great business if we didn't have artists. So I don't know if he meant it or not.

Speaker Do you have any anecdotes from that period that would be revealing about David?

Speaker Well, you have to at that time, Joni Mitchell, Crosby, Stills and Nash and Neil Young, whether whether he was with accent or by himself, they were the big name acts at their management company. And they got all the attention. And I always felt like we weren't you know, we weren't getting enough attention. And America, they signed America at the same time. And America had had a couple of big hits and they were driving around, you know, in limousines and headlining in small theaters and stuff. And it was really where I wish the Eagles could go. And I remember once and I loved limousines, and I always I always felt that that was, you know, that meant you arrived. So I remember calling John Hartmann in the management company office and going, hey, you know, I mean, you know, I really want a limousine to take me to the airport on such and such a date to start this tour.

Speaker And Hartman said to David, Hey, David, Glenn Frey wants he's bugging me. He wants a limousine to take him to the airport. He said, you tell Glenn Frey to get a yellow cab and a hippie.

Speaker OK, so, you know, I don't know if I've you know, I mean, maybe I pestered him a little bit, but he but David, you know, it's like getting to see the pope.

Speaker You only had a few minutes.

Speaker You know, maybe you only had a few minutes with him and you had to make sure you got all your you know, all your questions asked and, you know, all your wishes fulfilled, hopefully because David was you know, the phone was ringing off the hook in that office. And I was just like a puppy dog hanging around in the in the lobby.

Speaker Everybody was hanging around, right?

Speaker Oh, yeah. Oh, yeah. Right there. Well, even before asylum, the management company, when when they were up in 91 to sunset, that place was happening. You could walk in there any day and see any number of music stars or music stars on the rise. Being there is what you did. We didn't have anything else to do till the Troubadour opened.

Speaker Describe the troubador scene in those days.

Speaker The Troubadour was great, it was the Troubadour was our rebel cafe, that was it was the home of jazz beans and hopefuls, and we all hung out in the bar and you could sort of hear the music on the inside, you know, through the wall. But that bar every night was filled with. Everybody, everybody who was anybody in the music business and I used to go in there and. You know, there'd be Gene Clark and I'd sit down and I'd talk to him and ask him a bunch of questions about the music business, and then there'd be Dicky Davis, the manager of Pocho. I used to road manage the Buffalo Springfield. And I go and I'd ask him a bunch of questions. And, you know, there were a lot of people that I was able to, you know, sort of pick their brains while we just sat there and drank dosages and, you know, waited for our time.

Speaker But it was it was a pretty.

Speaker It was exceptional, actually, it was very magical. I mean, you know, on any given night, around midnight or 12, 30 after everybody was. All loosened up and liquored up, you know, somebody like Doug Dillard would stand up in the middle of the bar and start singing Amazing Grace and then everybody would start singing with it. All of a sudden, you're in this giant sort of drunken sing along with all these incredible people is really cool.

Speaker That was beautiful music. With that, I felt that I wish I'd been there. We both felt like you were part of a really, really special group of people. Lucky.

Speaker You know, I think we knew at the time that that there was something unique going on, you know, and it just took a couple of years and then it seems like in the early and mid 70s, California. California music, San Francisco and L.A. music was sort of the big deal, so we were very lucky. The timing was good.

Speaker Is there a way to describe what California music was for member of people going to be seeing this film? Some of them are young. They're not going to what that means, a sense of what the L.A. sound was, what California music mean.

Speaker Why don't you kind of call them the the Melo gang or the avocado gang or whatever?

Speaker Well, we were.

Speaker You know, we weren't as angry as some of the New York fans, we weren't as theatrical as some of the British bands, you know. It was definitely more laid back thing. It was blue jeans and t shirts and Heineken sitting on your amplifier.

Speaker And, you know, it was a little bit casual.

Speaker But, you know, we were also we had our own anxiety. We had our own, you know, look on everything. I think the summer, you know, the summer of 68 and all the things that happened in Golden Gate Park and just that whole Summer of love thing had a lot to do with the California mystique. But, you know, we were really everybody's still fascinated by California. Everybody, you know, I mean, that's why everybody buys People magazine. And, you know, watching SHOWBIZ Tonight, you know, people are still fascinated. I know.

Speaker I was I remember we used to play the Eagles in the early 70s. We went back and played the the Capitol Theater in Passaic, New Jersey. And kids from would yell out from the audience, tell us about the desert. You know, I grew up in Detroit and we used to watch the Detroit Lions play football and they were out at Keyssar Stadium or at the Los Angeles Coliseum. It was December and it was 75 degrees. You know, I'm freezing my butt off going, God, I got to get to California. You know, we were so, you know, it's funny. The Eagles, we weren't we weren't pioneers. We were settlers.

Speaker You know, the pioneers were really the Beach Boys, Buffalo Springfield, The Byrds. Those bands from the late 60s, that's what really, you know, made all of us want to move to California and then we just sort of did our thing. But it's really it's funny. It's really not I don't think it's really California music. It's just music made in California by people who moved there from all over the country because it was they were all very, very different.

Speaker You'll find each other at the Troubadour.

Speaker The Troubadour was really the place where everybody went. That's where I met every guy in the Eagles, Bernie Leadon there. I met Randy Meisner. There I met I saw Don Henley's band play on Monday night. The Hoot night at Troubadour was a big deal. Monday night had an open stage. You stand out in line in front of the Troubadour, starting about four o'clock and about six o'clock. They'd open the window. And whoever was on the list, you you got, you know, 15 minutes of stage time. So I saw everybody play there. I saw Henley's band Shiloh play there and noticed that that was a good singing drummer. And that's sort of where we all met.

Speaker Who whose idea was it for? I mean, I know you said this before, but I think I kind of want it a little bit more clearly stated. David said there'll be a solo, I get a band. But how did this particular band come together? Who was responsible for that? For putting you in? What? You asked Emily to join the band, right?

Speaker Just a second. My stomach was stuck or gurgling. And I'll tell you this.

Speaker There's a guy named John Boylen and John was managing Linda Ronstadt at the time, Linda was leaving her manager, Herb Cohen, and they needed to go on the road and generate some income. And also they wanted to get Linda out of L.A. So in the spring of 71, John Boylan approached me about being the rhythm guitar player in Linda's band.

Speaker He saw Don play with Shiloh. He suggested that we get Don Henley to be the drummer. He wanted guys that could sing background vocals as well because she had a lot of songs that required that. So John Boilen put Henley and I together and Linda's band, and we went on the road together. And John and Linda were actually talking about putting together a country rock super group to back up Linda. And they were talking about, you know, maybe we get Bernie Leadon, maybe we get Randy Meisner, we keep you, we keep Don and Don. And I said to John and Linda, well, you know, that sounds great. But, you know, we'd really like to have our own band.

Speaker And.

Speaker Rather than being upset about that, you know, Linda said, I understand, you know, those guys would be great with you. And so Linda really helped us recruit the other two members of the Eagles by having them sit in with her band while Don and I were playing. And then we would go off after the show and tell them about our plans to put a band together.

Speaker Sort of a happy accident, in a way. Yeah, yeah, it really was felt like Linda was a very generous person, that things like that I used to friendly you know, I haven't seen much of Linda for a long, long time.

Speaker I know she lives in San Francisco now.

Speaker But at the time, you know, that was sort of the spirit.

Speaker Of the time in Southern California and what was going around at the Troubadour was singing with people and writing with people and jamming with people and singing on other people's records together and doing things like that, that was very much what was going on. And Linda was always.

Speaker She was always willing to nurture, you know, somebody who she thought was good, find a good songwriter, record a song of his, find a singer she likes, get the person to do a duet with her. She was very instrumental in putting the Eagles together, and she was really nice to a lot of people.

Speaker So you've got England, you make your first record. It's a huge hit, right? You have three number one songs.

Speaker Well, we had three we had three hit singles on our first album.

Speaker I think I stepped on that. Could you say that again?

Speaker We had three hit singles on our first album.

Speaker So what did David do? He did he get you more limousine's? I mean, how do you respond to that?

Speaker Well, in the beginning, David introduced us to Frank Barcelona, who was a booking agent. And when we went on the road for the first Eagles tour, they booked us with all of the heavy metal bands that premiere talent had represented. So, I mean, we we went out on the road and took a beating for the first year and a half. We opened for Jethro Tull and Edgar Winter. And, you know, you know, a lot of loud bands, you know, and we were we were in an opening act with one hit record and half empty houses. It wasn't exactly compatible booking, but it did toughen us up a little bit. And, you know, like I said, we had three. You know, the greatest thing about having hit records is, you know, you're doing something right and you can focus on trying to do something better. If you don't have hit records, you start thinking, what did I do wrong? What do I have to change? So we were very lucky that, you know, we had we had hit records. And I think David exercised a lot of influence to get take it easy on the radio. I never really asked him exactly what that what what record promotion entailed at that at that particular juncture. But I know he wanted hits for his record label, which again, was very fortunate for us because we were one of his artists.

Speaker So he was you know, he was making sure that, you know, his you know, our records got played. And, you know, at the time, most of us. Guys, Jackson, myself, Don, you know, we were all like 23, 24 years old, and we would do anything to be with David Geffen. We didn't even ask any questions. Here, sign this. It's going to be fine here. I'm going to get you a publishing deal signed this year. You're going to record for me. You know you're going to be my manager. I didn't care. I wanted David Geffen to be as involved in as many aspects of my career as possible. Then in 1975. Unannounced to any of us, David. Sold his record company, sold his management company and moved into this other phase of his life, and of course, he never really brought everybody in for a meeting and said, here's what I'm going to do. So.

Speaker We sued David for ten million dollars to give the basis. Well, you know, basically it was that there was a conflict of interest there. David was the Eagles manager. David was the Eagles publisher. David was the Eagles record company. So there was like nobody negotiating with anybody. It was just us talking to David and David, doing whatever he wanted. So he was able to sell everything. And so, you know, without even knowing where our publishing has gone to Warner Brothers, this has been sold, you know, so we wanted to shake free from that. So we sued him for 10 million bucks. And there was a big, you know, front page article in. And radio and Records and Eagles sued David Sue Geffen for, you know, 10 million bucks and, you know, nobody likes negative publicity. And, you know, we we straightened out our lawsuit rather quickly, things got fixed, Irving is off and David hammered something out and it was all fixed because, like I said, nobody likes to have bad ink.

Speaker I don't think David liked having that reading that headline.

Speaker So, you know, was that an unusual arrangement at the time?

Speaker Whatever you mean, somebody being manager, publisher, no, I don't I don't think it was unusual at all. In fact, record companies used to take artists publishing as sort of an insurance policy.

Speaker So if you go and make a record and it's a crummy record or it doesn't do very well, we still on the songs and we always believed in the songs. You know, when you come out like I came out from Detroit as a songwriter, you know, you just got a guitar case and a satchel full of dreams and you come out to California and all you really have to offer is your songs. So. They take your publishing, but it all, you know, it's then that goes on to this day to some degree, but it was definitely conflict of interest. We should have had a manager negotiating with the record company. But David was everything, you know, he was and he was everything to us. So we had no problem just signing on the dotted line and saying, tell us what to do. Can we make our music?

Speaker Well, I can certainly understand why that would be perceived as a conflict of interest, because it does sound like it, but hadn't he actually officially left management when he started asylum?

Speaker Yes, yes, he had yeah, he left he left it to Elliott, and then they had a couple more people hired at the company to do them to handle the management in. I don't I think I could be wrong about this, but I don't think I am. I think David got tired of all the handholding and coddling that had to happen with all of his artists, everybody was neede calling for calling him up, you know, for the most trivial of things, you know, I need this. I need that. And I think he got tired of that part of it having to be with all these fragile fame seeking singer songwriters. I think, you know, I think he got tired of that.

Speaker I can understand that, too. Yeah. You know, particularly if you've got your eyes set on something else. But you talk about Elliott and David. That's an interesting relationship.

Speaker Well.

Speaker David was the businessman in L.A. It was sort of the he was the friend to all the artists, you know, David would be. You know, arguing with AMA and putting two hours together and doing this in L.A., it would be hanging out with Neil Young, you know, getting high, you know, saying, you know, being Neil's friend and Joanie's friend. And actually L.A. was you know, it was nice to be with Elliot. It was good to have that sort of person. And I'm sure David. You know, I appreciated that, too, because Eliot could spend more time with the people, what David did, what he needed to do, but they were they were an interesting combination. But David was the deal maker.

Speaker So when when I mean, I'm just just putting this together, actually, in my own head, so David Fisher leaves management so that because there is kind of a conflict of interest, but his former partner continues to be the manager, look at management and they have been partners and friends for a long time. So Elliott wasn't negotiating as a manager with David.

Speaker Well, that was the other problem was that Elliott was not going to be going in there and, you know, going toe to toe with David, trying to change or improve somebody's record deal. So that wasn't going to happen either.

Speaker So when did Irving Azoff enter this picture?

Speaker David and Eliot. They hired Irving to put together all the tours, the nuts and bolts, Irving was an agent and he knew all about doing that sort of thing. So Irving came into into the Giffin Robert's management. Firm and started doing everybody's tour. And that's where we met him and again, that would sort of friedly it up to hang out with Neil and Joni and Crosby, Stills and Nash and even the Eagles, too. You know, Elliott would come on the road and, you know, see us as well. And Irving started did a lot of the nuts and bolts work.

Speaker And so, I mean, so after you the lawsuit, what was the upshot of the lawsuit? I mean, it sort of went away, but presumably you got you know, did you get your publishing back?

Speaker Yes. Could you say yeah.

Speaker We got our publishing back. We got our freedom, we were able to change management.

Speaker You know, we stayed with asylum was a good label, but at least we had, you know, we were able to negotiate with them now.

Speaker Serving as I became commissioner, Irving Azoff became my manager.

Speaker We were, you know, like I said, the Eagles. We sort of felt that we were kind of we were second tier. Type act at at Giffin Roberts. We never felt that we were going to get up to the, you know, up to the top tier with them and, you know, I so I started talking with Irving about, you know, I'm not I'm not really happy here.

Speaker And I said, well, I'm not really happy here either. You know, they hired me. They said they were going to give me a piece of the company and now they're changing the deal and done it. And we kept talking about it.

Speaker And finally we just said, let's leave, you know, let's do our own thing. And, you know, it's funny, I I sensed in Irving Azoff the same the same thing I sensed in David and ambitious, driven guy focused going places and not going to be stopped, you know. And so we went with Irving was really he became what David used to be when David left, which was, you know, this.

Speaker Artist oriented, you know, Dot Bulldog.

Speaker Where he is in the interview we did with him, he described you and Don as being very savvy businessmen, very savvy about the business and knowing what you wanted and, you know. Given the scenario you've described.

Speaker You remind me a little bit, David, because we can't figure out how David was so sure of himself coming out of Brooklyn and, you know, not knowing anything. How could you be so sure of yourself?

Speaker What were the comfort? Well.

Speaker Easy, big fella.

Speaker I think I will be joining you soon.

Speaker I knew I should have had that glazed donut to sort of absorb look to absorb the coffee. No, no, no, it's OK. A couple of my best friends in the early days of the Eagles were people in the music business. One was a promotion man named Paul Hearn, a guy named Bob Bosniac who ran Capitol Records. And we used to hang out with these guys, Donna and I, all the time, and just talk about the music business, who's got the hit records, who's got hit records, but their tours aren't doing good. What tours are doing? Great Hall records move up the charts.

Speaker What what stations play early FM, AM, everything about the record business and the music business. I was you know, I just had a voracious appetite. I couldn't learn enough. So when I met Irving, you know, I was pretty, you know, well versed in what was going on in the music business. And, you know, that's sort of, I guess, why I was unhappy with where we were at the time.

Speaker I don't blame you, it's surprising that more more of the group didn't do the same, didn't follow suit.

Speaker Well, I was sort of the unofficial leader of the Eagles. I was you know, that was we were all leaders, but I was kind of unofficial leader on that business side. So I was I was the one that was always.

Speaker Pushing. Did David own the publishing for Crosby, Stills and Nash as well?

Speaker Yeah, yeah, I think I you know, I'm not sure, I'm not sure, but I remember him saying there was at one point where. Where?

Speaker I got to get this right, I'm going to get this right.

Speaker In the very beginning, David had just he I got to figure out how I'm going to say this, this is something I didn't even think about till now. I don't want to get it wrong, though.

Speaker David told the guys in the Eagles that we should just all have a publishing company and just whoever wrote what, we just publish it with that company.

Speaker And I think this was because Crosby, Stills and Nash had argued over how many songs each person was going to get on an album. And he felt that, you know, if everybody had shared the publishing, then there wouldn't be so much arguing about that he was wrong.

Speaker You know, we still argued about who got what songs on what albums, and then we changed a couple of years later and divide it so that everybody had their own publishing. But that was not the case in the beginning.

Speaker But I'm just trying to understand something.

Speaker Yeah, you know, when I interviewed Carl Stills Nash, they started by saying, you know, we love him and we hate him. You know, he sold us as an asset and he's one who got everything out of it. And he didn't get anything out of it, did he? Did he actually fully, outright own their publishing? I don't know. You know, it's hard for me to imagine that. It's hard for me to imagine that everybody there then followed suit and, you know, and sued him for their publishing. And I give Jackson back his publishing, which he talks about. As you know, he felt that Jackson had really operated as an archive for him, you know, and that's that's that is the truth.

Speaker Jackson brought to David all this other talent, people that the Jackson knew from are hanging around the folk clubs in Southern California. So Jackson introduced him to Judy Cill, Ned Doheny, Judy S or Don Henley, Glenn Frey, all of us were, you know, Jackson, where he really was. But, you know, I guess that begs the question, well, why not give everybody their publishing back? So, you know, we you know, it's funny, the music, the music business is the only business I know of where people will go at each other tooth and nail. Dagres, no hold bars. Texas Deathmatch every day.

Speaker And then go out to dinner at night and see each other at a concert, you know, three hours later and go, hey, how are you doing?

Speaker It's crazy, it's a creative business, you know, and that's it's not unusual, I think I don't think it happens as much in the movie business, I think. But I think that musicians are a different breed of musicians, by and large, are really very gentle people.

Speaker Would you say I love musicians like that of family musicians?

Speaker So I'm inclined to think that we may be a little more laid back, but not much. You know, maybe there's just a little you know, our anxiety is more hidden.

Speaker So talk about Desperado, your second record. I mean, that was that was some sort of an answer to everything that was going on, right. Or some kind of statement about it all.

Speaker Yeah, we. He said after we came back from England and we had three hit singles on our first album.

Speaker But there really weren't any other really good songs, much on the first Eagles album, and like I said, Don Henley and I sort of looked at each other and said, we better start really writing some good songs if we want to continue to be at the company with all these other great songwriters.

Speaker So Don and I started a songwriting endeavor together the first week where we tried to write songs together. We wrote Tequila, Sunrise and Desperado.

Speaker We had been jammin with Jackson and Jackson had a song called James Dean and and.

Speaker He had another song that he had started about the Doland Dalton gang, and we decided, you know, we were talking about, you know, doing an album that was all about rebels.

Speaker And, you know, we would, you know, pick and choose from, you know, different things, whether it was, you know, Jesse James or, you know, whoever.

Speaker And then that sort of got shelved. But the Dulan Dalton, Desperado, Tequila, Sunrise, that trio of songs led us to do a concept album.

Speaker And we sort of felt that it was, first of all, a reaction in some ways to our own early success. And it was also us wanting to do something that was thematic and something that was important. And we went back to England with Glyn Johns and did that album there, it took about a week longer and cost us about 3000 dollars more.

Speaker But I do remember that we came back from we came back from London with Desperado. And we were very proud of it. We thought we'd we thought we'd done something right. And I remember Jerry Greenberg, who was the vice president of Atlantic Records at the time. You know, he got the record and he listened to and he goes, God, they made.

Speaker Boy, record, you know, that was that was his reaction and Desperado did not sell as much as the first Eagles album, Desperado didn't produce the sort of hit singles that the first Eagles album produced. But over time, it became a very important album and and we did the right thing.

Speaker How it was David supportive of it.

Speaker Yes, I think David I think David like the Desperado album, and he loved singing, so he loved the title track and he loved dancing and Doland on at the beginning of the record.

Speaker He liked it. I read somewhere particularly attracted to the Dalton Gang because it all started off as peace officers before they became outlaws.

Speaker You know, that's that's that's funny. Is that true? They all kind of turned well. Ned Doheny had this book called The Book of Guns, this time Lifebook of Gunfighters. And that's what we were looking through when we, you know, came across the Doland Dalton gang.

Speaker And there were other people in there as well that describe that whole wonderful photo shoot out in the desert. Of course, we interviewed Henry and we interviewed Gary.

Speaker Oh, you did? Yeah. Oh, yeah. Oh, yeah. Boy. And you know, that's. Oh, David used to fight with the art department. You know, Gary Burden, always late, always over budget. You know, there was a driving business. But again, just like David, we saw Gary Burton and Henry Diltz, his name, on the back of all of these really cool albums. And so we wanted them to be our photographer and our director. So for Desperado, we went out to the Paramount Ranch out in the valley and we just played cowboys for two days. We had horses. I mean, actually think looking back on, it was a very dangerous, you know, sort of wild and crazy thing. We were doing guns, horses, you know, but we had a blast. We just rode around.

Speaker We just kind of restaged, you know, a few things shoot out and restaged the arrest that the the picture of all the dead Daltons on the on the ground, you know, we did that.

Speaker Were your guns loaded? Blanks.

Speaker But, you know, but still dangerous, I mean, we weren't exactly the masters of gun safety at that particular time, you know, we were out there, you know, having a good time drinking beers, getting high, shooting guns, riding horses.

Speaker Sounds like every kid, you know. What does it mean? We all played cowboys and Indians. I mean, our age group did it anyway.

Speaker The Desperately while the Desperado album shoot was was a two day blast. We had so much fun.

Speaker I'm just I get my timings off a little bit. Sergeant Pepper's already come out, right? Oh, yeah. Oh yeah. Way before. Yeah, but would have there been any American concept albums.

Speaker Hmm. Have they done it already?

Speaker That sounds.

Speaker I guess they had obviously, you know, yeah, I mean, I don't know if Pet Sounds was a concept album, I didn't really have a did it have a storyline through it? I'm you know, I'm not sure, but.

Speaker I don't know, I don't I wouldn't have thought of it as a concept album, actually, so this might have been the first American concept album.

Speaker Crosby, Stills and Nash and the concept of mother, I don't know. Yeah, interesting. So talk a little bit more about how you feel that the sale of asylum affected desperado.

Speaker When did it happen after that? I think it happened after that and before. Yeah, that's exactly right. It happened after that.

Speaker In the beginning, I think we felt abandoned. You know, I think that we sort of felt like David sold everything and left town. You know, but I mean, he didn't really leave town. But I think I think we felt like he'd sort of, you know. Made the money and turned his back on all of us with not what was not very much of a goodbye.

Speaker It seems peculiar and certainly questionable that he wouldn't have sat down with all of his artists or called each one individually or whatever and said, look, this is what I'm planning to do, considering that he created this place that was a safe haven, supposedly for everyone. Do you think he just was afraid everybody be pissed off at him? I mean, why do you think he avoided that?

Speaker I don't know.

Speaker I don't know. Did he ever say anything about that in the interview yet with him?

Speaker No, I'm not not that directly. I mean, I will. I will.

Speaker Maybe it was going to be too painful for him, maybe there was too much history involved with all of these people and he just didn't want to face the the difficult conversations that we're going to have to be had.

Speaker So have you learn about it? God, I don't even know, I can't remember.

Speaker But later, you must have really felt that, you know, some kind of.

Speaker I mean, he sold it for the largest figure he could think of, seven million dollars, and didn't you go on to make significantly more money in one year than that?

Speaker Yeah, it wasn't. But, you know, it was a lot of money at the time, you know, and, you know, in the end, it turned out not to be that big a deal for David, though, right.

Speaker Considering the huge success of the Eagles. Well, surpassed it.

Speaker Yeah, we, you know, are you know, we our story, as far as it relates to David, is really about the first three years of the band. He was instrumental in putting the band together, helping us put the band together, signing the band, grooming the band. You know, he he helped us do all of that. And then it was up to us to do anything, you know, we did we did the rest. But he was right. You know, he picked you know, he knew that we were the right we were the right group and the right group for asylum.

Speaker He made a lot of good choices and he gave me a lot of good advice.

Speaker I'm just curious about this after he sold.

Speaker Did you stay in touch?

Speaker No, definitely, you know, didn't see much, David, for many years after that, it wasn't on purpose, you know, but David was moving on into the movie business and Geffen Records and, you know, a lot a whole lot of other stuff. And I was we were rock and roll stars by then. Our band was a very successful and, you know, so we were off and running and doing the eagle thing.

Speaker How did how did the other artists on the label feel about the sale? Did everyone feel abandoned?

Speaker We you know, I didn't talk too much, I didn't talk about that too much with everybody else, you know, it's funny. Bye bye bye, 1974. All of us who were sort of this close knit community of troubador going, you know, singer songwriters, we all our lives all sort of took their own forms in our journey. The road split and our journeys went in a lot of different directions. So we didn't see a lot of anybody after 74, 75. But, you know, but. You know, I was I was never mad at David, you know, I never felt any anger. I just figured he was doing what he had to do and I was doing what I had to do and.

Speaker You know, and everything turned out.

Speaker I get the chronology sometimes a little bit mixed up into that with Jessica and Emma have it down pat. So after the sale you guys came back with with on the border. Were you still with asylum at that time? Yes. You were OK. What did David have any part? What role do you think he played in the success of that album, which was huge?

Speaker I don't think he I don't think he had a lot to do with that record by then we were with Irving Azoff. We were unhappy with Glyn Johns as a record producer. We went to England to try to do our third album and kind of fell on his face. We only got a couple tracks cut, went back to Irving and said, we want to change producers. He suggested Bill Simsek builded Edgar Winter and Giles and you know, he had done The Thrill is Gone by B.B. King. He was a very soulful guy. So we switched and finished the album with with Bill. And actually that album came out and we released James Dean and another song already gone.

Speaker Already Gone did OK. But that album was actually starting to fall off the charts. And we were in the middle of working on one of these nights, our fourth album, when somebody pulled Best of My Love as an album track off of On the Border and started playing in Grand Rapids, Michigan, and the phones lit up with requests. So they asylum decided that maybe we should release this as a single.

Speaker So it was really best of my love that pushed the on the border the album over the top.

Speaker And then you put out a greatest hits album kind of early on.

Speaker But the Davis idea, I mean, relatively early in the band's history to put out a greatest hits album we put out.

Speaker I think we had just finished one of these nights when we put out a greatest hits album and one of these nights I think at the same time and we just had a big string of hit records and.

Speaker You know, one time we sold a million records a month for 18 months. With which was huge numbers, especially at that time.

Speaker Yes, pretty good.

Speaker That's amazing. I didn't go that.

Speaker I didn't I mean, putting I knew that you were huge, one of the most successful bands in history, but putting it that way kind of kind of makes you visualize it a different way.

Speaker Anyway, it wasn't David's idea to put out this greatest hits album. I mean, I don't know. I think it was I think a lot of people say, what are you doing? He said, no, I want to capitalize on this moment, which was pretty good for you guys.

Speaker Well, I remember they wanted to put out a greatest hits album, and I think we were probably resistant to it.

Speaker And they you know, they told me, well, they have the right to do this. If they want to put it out, they can put it out. So with that in mind, we put an EP, we put an eagle skull on the front of the Greatest Hits album, which was sort of bad karma, actually, you know, and of course, in it's sitting there in a field of glistening white powder of something.

Speaker It was an interesting cover that we put with that Greatest Hits album, but it went, you know, went crazy. It's the biggest selling album in the history of American music. It's still ahead. A thriller, I think maybe maybe Thriller caught up this after Michael's most recent publicity stunt.

Speaker I think we heard a statistic that says, obviously, it went platinum in its first week of platinum and remain on Billboard's top 200 for two and a half years. Wow.

Speaker Did you know when we had a lot we had a deep catalog. Yeah, I knew it was it was always in there. You know, we don't we don't just look at say, oh, look, there's greatest hits, number 14 still hanging in there. These albums that come and go and come and go. And we just sort of sit there in the middle of the hot 100, keep selling every, you know, every week.

Speaker I want to go back to Desperado for a minute, because you're talking about the skull in the middle of all this reminds me, but I know almost a lot of hidden messages in Desperado. What would you say was the primary message about the music business that that album represented?

Speaker Well.

Speaker The fame is short lived. They're going to get you in the end.

Speaker You know, fame is fickle. It doesn't last forever.

Speaker Um. Emma Jessica. Anything that you.

Speaker You know, I think they I think you should talk to Don, I guess he didn't want to be interviewed for this be though should, but he was asking people to only say nice things about David and how easy it is a real portrait of I mean, we don't just make Valentines. We deal with the pictures, you know?

Speaker Well, there's ups and downs and good bad in everybody's life, you know? Don't you feel free to talk about it? I mean, we really would like you to. Are you still in touch?

Speaker Oh, we're you know, we're very good friends. But that would be, you know, if you wanted somebody to sort of.

Speaker Pushed on in your direction, that would be Irving, I think you'd call Irving and say we'd really like to get done for the David Geffen piece. And I think and then. And he didn't want to do it. Well, then he didn't want to do it.

Speaker Why do you think he doesn't want to do. Well.

Speaker I don't know, you know, I know you know, Don and David have a rich history of kind of going like this at each other during Don's time at Geffen Records, but I don't know a lot of the details. I think.

Speaker How do I say a.

Speaker Well, well, David had a record company called Geffen Records, but David really wasn't there.

Speaker And so Don said David's label, but Don can't find David and David's not really interested in doing much at the record company anymore. And I think Don didn't appreciate that.

Glenn Frey
Interview Date:
2009-12-09
Runtime:
1:03:40
Keywords:
American Archive of Public Broadcasting GUID:
cpb-aacip-504-1n7xk8529x, cpb-aacip-504-xg9f47hn9d, cpb-aacip-504-mk6542k08s
MLA CITATIONS:
"Glenn Frey, Inventing David Geffen." American Masters Digital Archive (WNET). 09 Dec. 2009, https://www.pbs.org/wnet/americanmasters/archive/interviews/676
APA CITATIONS:
(2009, December 09). Glenn Frey, Inventing David Geffen. [Video]. American Masters Digital Archive (WNET). https://www.pbs.org/wnet/americanmasters/archive/interviews/676
CHICAGO CITATIONS:
"Glenn Frey, Inventing David Geffen." American Masters Digital Archive (WNET). December 09, 2009. Accessed January 20, 2022 https://www.pbs.org/wnet/americanmasters/archive/interviews/676

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