Don Henley must die.
So sang rockabilly punk-rocker Mojo Nixon on the 1990 album Otis, released during the height of Henley’s popularity as a solo artist. I don’t quite agree with the sentiment (I’m too much of a pussy and would probably have written a song called “Don Henley Must Retire” if I were a rockabilly punk-rocker), but I appreciate the spirit in which it was intended.
It turns out that Henley has done neither in the intervening 23 years. Good for him on the not dying part. I don’t know how I feel about this Eagles Greatest Hits tour that commenced this weekend in Louisville, though.
Actually, I do know how I feel about it.
Joining long-time cohorts Glen Frey and Joe Walsh, Henley and gang will be performing live throughout the U.S. and Canada this summer, no doubt playing his solo classics like End of the Innocence and Boys of Summer, as well as Eagles favorites such as Hotel California, Desperado, Take it… take it… ta…
By the way, I hate all you Eagles fans who think the Eagles are a rock band. If your music only offends those who despise being bored, you are not a rock band. I’m sure the Eagles sound “just like the record” live and play for hours and give you your money’s worth, but that doesn’t make it rock. Equally bland James Taylor does all that stuff too, but I’m sure he’d be the first to admit what he does is not rock and roll. He’s still alive, right?
There’s really only one test to determine if something is rock and roll or not: Do anyone’s parents not want them to listen to it? It’s entirely possible that some dad somewhere, this very day, does not want his kid to hear Mick Jagger discuss the delectability of Brown Sugar or sing “You make a dead man come” during the fade-out of Start Me Up. For all their current boring-old-fartiness, the Stones are still a rock band.
Hell, the best rock band of the ‘90s was the Wu-Tang Clan, and they didn’t even play rock music. Suburban white kids poured into record stores in droves in the 1990s to buy Wu-Tang’s profanity-laden Enter the Wu-tang: 36 Chambers, NWA’s Niggaz4Life, and Nas’s Illmatic, infuriating their Eagles-loving parents who apparently forgot how repulsed their parents were in the early 1970s when the androgyny of David Bowie and Robert Plant was all the rage. David Bowie shoved his crotch in your face and made you wonder what exactly was under those skin-tight pants. 20 years later, Ice T was telling you exactly what was stuffed in his pants: A stolen Glock he was going to use to kill a cop.
You don’t have to like hip-hop to appreciate that people stopped buying REO Speedwagon albums after rap hit big. I once played drums in a band that did a couple of REO Speedwagon covers, and I can promise you those were the single most boring 4-minute snippets of my entire 30-year music experience. In fact, if it weren’t for hip-hop, this story would probably be about REO Speedwagon instead of the Eagles. Aren’t you at least grateful for that?
The reason I bring all of this up is because Lemmy Kilmister from Motörhead has once again taken ill, thus forcing the world’s least fake rock band to cancel more tour dates. He has a hematoma, which sounds fatal.
At 67 years old, Lemmy should have died a long time ago. He is unapologetically a drinker and drug user, he sings like sandpaper, and he’s not even pissed off that he gets no credit for inventing speed metal in 1975. Not sure how that last thing would kill somebody, but don’t stop me. I’m on a roll.
Lemmy Kilmister is the closest thing to a “bloke” you’ll find in the music biz. He could be a rock star, or he could be a guy in a pub knocking back pints with the lads and playing darts. I bet he’d be fine either way, though I’m glad he went with the music thing. I recall attending an Iron Maiden show for which Motörhead was the opening act, and the guys I went with gave me a weird look when I announced my intention to be there on time. They were like, “Dude, nobody watches the opening act.” And I said, “It’s fucking Motörhead. Show some respect.” They shrugged, and then I said, “Lemmy could kick your fucking asses. All three of you at once,” which was admittedly lame; I can never think of clever things in those situations. Needless to say, I never talked to any of them again.
So anyway, if Lemmy dies and the entire tour is cancelled, I hope the promoters, instead of offering refunds, give all those hardcore Motörhead fans Eagles tickets instead. THAT would be entertainment.