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Glenn Lewis Frey was born November 6, 1948 in Detroit, Michigan. He is an American musician, singer, songwriter, and actor. He can also golf, cook, sew, style hair, twist balloons into animal shapes, and do calculus while standing on his head and humming "Take It to the Limit" (in its new key, of course). He is best known as one of the founding members of the band the Eagles. He currently resides in the Arizona desert, where the Glen Canyon meets the Fry Canyon.
Frey was born in 1948 in Royal Oak, Michigan, a suburb of Detroit (but NOT part of the Royal Oak Charter Township, and don’t you forget it!) He was a handsome kid, but too short to compete with the local football players when it came to getting women. Desperate, he looked around for a solution. It came to him in a dream. In this dream, a guitar floated towards him with a pair of black lace panties dangling from its neck. “Take the guitar. Learn how to play,” the voice intoned, “And one day, black lace panties will be dangling from YOUR neck.” Frey woke up and got a guitar that day.
He also decided to parlay the piano lessons he couldn’t get out of into part of his schtick for the girls. “Yeah, I play guitars, and I play rock piano too... not the wussy piano music, the cool kind, really!” It started to work. Soon Frey was scoring with the ladies. He decided to get a band together called the Hideout, hoping that the owner of the Hideout club would be flattered enough to hire them to play... and it actually worked!
Mission accomplished, he moved on to the Subterraneans, thinking their name was cooler, then the Mushrooms. Contrary to popular belief, this name had NOTHING to do with drugs at all. The boys simply enjoyed mushroom pizza. They cut a single entitled “Such a Lovely Child” in which Frey attempted to fake a British accent. He realized this was a mistake when even his own mother ran from the room screaming when he played the 45. He became depressed and joined bands with such horribly uncool names as The Four of Us, The Heavy Metal Kids, and The Yellow Polka-Dot Bikinis.
But one good thing that came from this was Frey’s new friendship with Bob Seger. He followed Seger around relentlessly, begging Seger to please, please, please, please, please let him appear on one of his albums. Finally, after Frey broke down sobbing at Seger’s 128,523rd refusal, he took pity on the pathetic boy and allowed him to sing backup on "Ramblin’ Gamblin’ Man." After Seger threw him this crumb, Frey was convinced that he was destined to be a big rock star and decided to head to L.A. It helped that he knew there was a hot babe there who would let him crash with her, because, amazingly enough, he had no money or job to support himself. He was also encouraged to go by Seger, who told him he could have all the free drugs and sex he wanted if he would just go to California. Frey had no way of knowing Seger just wanted the annoying kid out of his hair.
Once in Los Angeles, Frey’s girlfriend hooked him up with JD Souther. After both men were dumped by their respective women, they decided to form a band called Longbranch Pennywhistle. They hoped the phallic implications of such a name would get them new women willing to "play" their “pennywhistles.” They also decided that they might as well record some songs, too. To everyone's astonishment, the label collapsed, despite its ability to sign acts that could put out masterful pieces of art such as Longbranch Pennywhistle's “Bring Back Funky Women” and “The Star-Spangled Bus.”
Tenure with the Eagles
Souther and Frey wound up at David Geffen’s new label. Once Geffen stopped laughing at the duo’s name, he told Souther “I’ll sign you, but this Frey guy... um, let’s just say I think he would do good to get a band. And please make sure the people in this band know how to write songs of higher quality than ‘Chug All Night.’” While Frey attempted to make this happen, Souther hooked him up with Linda Ronstadt by promising her a taste of the 'Souther Sugar' if she'd put Frey in her backing band.
Frey had taken to visiting a club called the Troubadour in the hopes of finding talented people he could attach himself to if they were male, and sleep with if they were female. While he was at it, he found Don Henley, getting drunk in a corner and sobbing “I don’t want to go back to tipping cows in Texas!” Turns out Henley’s music had been sucking, too, but somehow, once he met Frey, the magic happened. They realized that together, they would suck less than they did apart. After playing as part of Ronstadt’s backup band for a while, they got Bernie Leadon and Randy Meisner, formed the Eagles, and the rest is history. (Trivia: Frey had wanted to call the band Kool and The Gang, with himself as Kool, but that name was taken).
Frey and Henley co-wrote most of the band’s hits, either with each other, or with other more talented people like Jackson Browne. Frey sung lead on hits like “Pretty Easy Female,” "Cheating Slut Drives Me to Drinking Tequila Sunrises," “I’m Already Gone, So Bite Me, Bee-yotch,” “Gold-Digging Whores Have Lying Eyes,” and "My Ex Is Knocking Boots with the New Kid in Town.” Amazingly, hateful critics attempted to call the Eagles’ music sexist.
Their biggest album was Hotel California, which many people mistakenly believed was about Satanism. Really, it was about Frey and Henley’s anger at the Holiday Inn chain. Apparently the manager of the Phoenix Holiday Inn would not let them leave before paying for the broken mirrors on the ceiling and the carpet ruined by pink champagne. Their drunken swordfight with knives, which ended badly for the room-service-dinner of roast beef, had also caused an expensive mess. This experience was terribly scarring for Frey and Henley. Their attempts to blame band member Joe Walsh failed because fifteen groupies were able to testify to the manager that Walsh had been “tied up” at the time. They immediately began writing "Hotel California" on their return to L.A. (Frey felt that "Hotel Arizona" didn't sound cool enough).
Unfortunately, after people praised Henley’s vocals on "Hotel California", Henley enjoyed the smell of his own farts so much that being in the same room with him was unendurable due to the stench of his ego. Frey, for the sake of his health, was forced to discontinue the Eagles. Too late, Henley tried to make up by calling Frey and begging him to give their relationship just one more try, that they were soulmates destined to be together forever. Frey hung up on his sobbing pleas and refused to take any more calls. Even Henley’s letter – “Glenn + Don = <3 4ever” – was disregarded.
How could he have known that, years later, fate would once again find them together...
Frey decided to get as far away as possible from his image as a cool Californian. He moved to Aspen, Colorado, dressed up in white suits and sneakers, and made his album title a pun: No Fun Aloud. It worked. He now looked totally uncool. Still, girls liked him enough to make "The Stud You Love" a hit single. It was also a hit with geeks, many of whom could relate to the lyrics: "Are you gonna stay with the dork who loves you, or are you going back to the stud you love?"
By 1984, he had decided it was safe for him to once again look cool and made an album entitled I’m Gonna Sex You Up All Night. He then appeared on trendy shows like Miami Vice, which garnered the hit songs "Smuggler’s Blues (But Only If You Get Caught)" and "You Belong to the City (But in a Good Way, Not Like Wards of the State Do)." "The Heat Is On" was from another soundtrack, Beverly Hills Cop. This song has become an immortal hit that will live on in sports games and weather forecast clips until the end of time.
Frey also released two other albums that met with less success: Searchin’ for a Soul Sound (1988) and Bring Back Funky Weather (1992). Searchin' for a Soul Sound's most lauded song was "Livin' Right," which enabled Frey to win the Presidential Physical Fitness Award. He considered briefly a career as a motivational speaker at fat camps, but decided he would find more personal fulfillment if he remained true to his original career goal: attracting as many hot women as possible.
By contrast, Bring Back Funky Weather was marked by more political themes than past albums, as Frey would tell anyone who asked, and some who didn’t. Frey expressed his feelings eloquently in this quote from an interview with Barbara Walters: “Just in case you didn't notice, this album is WAY more topical than my other albums. It has tons of important messages and deep, meaningful songs about important and deep, meaningful things. There's a song about what a huge bummer global warming is 'cause it makes it way too hot in the summer, and another about the way rich people are really selfish and greedy (just the jerky ones, though, not the awesome rich guys like me). And that's just a couple examples! See! I can be serious, too! No, really!”
- No Fun Aloud
- I'm Gonna Sex You Up All Night
- Searchin' for a Soul Sound
- Bring Back Funky Weather
Upon discovering that one actually has to work hard to put out successful solo albums, Frey explored what he hoped were less work-intensive avenues. Inspired by the very little he had to do on Miami Vice’s episode based on "Smuggler’s Blues", he signed up for the film Let’s Get Harry. He discovered acting was more work than he had thought, and was beginning to have second thoughts, but agreed to do a few episodes of the TV show Wiseguy anyway. He decided that even though it was hard to memorize lines, at least he didn’t have to write anything (he found writing songs to be, in his words, "a total drag" ). Once he determined that acting was indeed easier, he said yes to a starring role in the TV show South of Sunset. The network, however, said no – it was canceled after one episode. Network executives are rumored to have told a furious Frey, "It seems that Americans would rather stab cocktail forks into their eyeballs than watch your show." He showed up later in bit parts on Jerry Maguire, Nash Bridges, and Arli$$ (that's not a typo, the HBO series actually uses dollar signs instead of "s"'s in its name. It should be apparent how lame the show is from that alone).
In 1994, Frey let everyone in on the secret that when he had said “The Eagles will never, ever, ever, ever, ever in a billion trillion years get back together” he was only kidding. The tour was even named after that big joke, “Hell Freezes Over, Suckers” – “as if I’d ever REALLY give up such a mammoth moneymaker for good!” Frey snorted at the press conference announcing the reunion (oops, "RESUMPTION." Frey believed using the word "resumption" instead of "reunion" made the band appear cooler, and instructed the press accordingly). Henley stood next to him at the press conference chuckling, keeping quiet his secret resentment that Frey hadn’t let HIM in on the joke.
In 2000, Frey made the controversial move of firing guitarist Don Felder. When asked about the reasons behind this move, Frey said, "Felder wanted more money, despite the fact that he sucked in every way except as a guitarist. I mean, have you heard him sing? At least with his song 'Visions' from 'One Of These Nights,' we could cover his vocal suckage with our harmonies. If you really want to hear how bad he is, put on his solo album 'Airborne'... but have Kleenex at hand to sop up the blood that will be seeping from your ears. If it weren't for the Eagles, the biggest professional concern he would have would be whether or not people wanted fries with their burgers. The appropriate behavior would have been for him to daily express his gratitude for whatever money we threw his way, perhaps get on his knees and lick our boots every now and then. But NO, he dared to presume to ask for an EQUAL share with myself and Henley, despite how much more vastly awesome we are. It was really disgusting."
Long Road Out of Eden
On October 30, 2007, the Eagles released "Long Road Out of Eden." Thanks in part to a buying drive initiated by Christina Aguilera in order to destroy the life of Britney Spears, the Eagles debuted at #1 over Spears' album "I Blacked Out and Woke Up Married to K-Fed." Asked to comment, Spears stated, "I don't think it's fair that albums by birds are allowed to compete with albums by people."
The album is a two-disc set only available at Wal*Mart. Some mean-spirited critics believed that the Eagles were total losers for making an exclusivity deal with such a lame store. In response, Frey stated that the deal would help humanity because the taxes alone on the immense mountain of money he's going to make would undoubtedly give the economy a huge boost. "And let's not forget all the jobs that will be created when I spend my money. I'm employing 700 construction workers to build my new resort home in the Hamptons, and that's just one example."
Long Road Out of Eden contains several love songs by Frey and political polemics by Henley, as well as two token songs by Joe Walsh and Timothy B. Schmit. "We had to throw them a bone," Henley admitted in a promotional interview. "Yeah, their songs sucked, but what are you gonna do? Band politics." He continued, "There's someone else in the band whose songs suck too, but I'm not going to say who it is because it might cause trouble." When asked to comment on the apparent band tensions in a separate interview, Frey replied, "Hey, we all really love each other. It's like a family... a family where one of the members is an arrogant, self-important asshole."
Realizing that these band tensions could endanger a high-revenue tour, band manager Irving Azoff had Henley and Frey locked in a small dark room without food, water, or personal masseuses until they both signed a contract agreeing to a ten-year world tour starting in 2008. To speed the process, Paris Hilton's 2006 eponymous album 'Waste of Space' was piped through loudspeakers into the room at top-volume. Three days later, Azoff had the contracts in hand. At a press conference a few hours after his release, a pale and shaking Frey managed to rasp, "I swear, I want nothing more than to tour," before collapsing to the floor, unconscious. He and a delirious Henley were then transported to a hospital where they both could be treated for dehydration. "All they needed was a little time alone together to sort out their differences and realize how much they mean to each other," Azoff assured the press after the ambulance sirens had faded away. "Tickets for the tour will cost between $650-$950. VIP packages are also available for $5000 - guaranteed to be in the first 50 rows!"
- ↑ Henley's 1981 interview with Rolling Stone entitled: "Henley's Heartache: Why Don Says 'Glenn is no longer my BFF'"
- ↑ Frey's 1985 interview with Performing Songwriter Magazine
- ↑ Les Moonves' confidential memo entitled: "Glenn Frey is a Presumptuous Asshole"
- ↑ Every Frey interview from 1981-1993
- ↑ Don Henley's diary, pg. 352