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Don Henley: A Desperado Comes to His Senses

Don Henley: A Desperado Comes to His Senses

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Published by Lisa Mielke
BAM Magazine
February 15, 1985
BAM Magazine
February 15, 1985

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Published by: Lisa Mielke on Jun 23, 2013
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial

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06/23/2013

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Available
at:
l$"iLt=ti5+n[Us
,.
Location
s
Ihr-oughoutSouthern
Cahforni
a
abJuther
career
as
she
tries
tobalance
themirror
/
tazor
UlJe,
tequita,
sunglasses,
etc'
Intooverdrive'
ontothe
pacific
Coast
Flighlway,
1rP
to
Malibu,the
sun
dyingoff
the
coast
and
seagullsscreaming
overhead...
Sorry,
wrong
decade.
CONTENTS
o
I'm
speeding
down
the
Santa
Monica{reeway'
o
I'mSpeeolngqowrltrtc
'Jdlrta
rvruruLsrrLv
"
qJ
/
watching
unoi-hutsmogset
burn
acrossthe
wind-
shield.
fhe
radio
playi
an
hourofnothingbut
Eagles,
andthe
womanln
n
the
passenger
seattalks
"Thosedays
are
gone
forever,"
says
Don
Hen-
lev
in"BovsOf
Summer."
Diive
by
ihe
Troubador-rr
-
none
of
the
old
faces.
Turnon
theradio
-
no
Californiasound.
Check
the
mirror
-
no
cocaine.
The
former
Eagle
hasuP-
dated
both
the
sound
and
vision
of
thatquintes-
sentialCalifornia
band,
leavingbehind
a
life
irr
the
fastlane
that
now
amounts
to
nostalgia.
In
this
issue's
cover'storY,
^l.lhandmates- child-
Henlev's
views
-
on
LA,old
bandmates'
chrld-n"oa
i"
Texas,
adult
tife
on
theroad,and
a
career
of
hisown
-
convey
the
same
conflicting
emotions
,r-
-.r-:--^Li- a,rvronl-efprialitq dpnth,-BF
DEPARTMENTS
LETTERS
NrwsnEnrs
REvrsws
Vrsuntsr
DrREcroR
MARK
RYDELL
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101842434447
NIGHTBEAT
oN
THE
RISE"'FIsHBoNE".
'
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58
Contentsand
Couer
Photos:Robert
M|theu
A
1985
Next Issue:
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FE8RUARYI5,I985/BAM
 
A
DesperadoComes
To
His
Senses
By
Bill
Forman
A
familiariW
with
three
American
mvths
is
helbfulin
attemPtingtoun-
ddrstand
Don
HenleY.
First
there's
the
California
Dream,
its
neon
stars
and
(smog-induced)flaming
sunsets
enough
to
make
a
Young
drumerIeavihis
Texas
farmtown
behind'
Thenthe
CowboY
MYth,its
desP-er-
adoes
and
cheatin'women
trailing
The
Eagles
longafter
the
grouPabandon"ed
thern-asimages.
And
fi-
nallvthe
adolescent
fantasy
itself,Roci<
andRoll,
its
impersonal
stadi-
umsand
trashed
hotellooms
offering
a
stranqerendition
of etemal
youth'
Heniev'sphenomenal
success
with
The
Eagies
canbe
attributed
to
the
in-
teractio-n
of
these
threemyths,
but
other
parts
of
thepicture
resist
easy
analvsis.
As
singei,
songwriter
and
druirmer,
Henleyalways
seemedto
reDresent
the dirker
side
of
TheEa'gles,
unwilling
to
settle
for
thelaid
baik
congenialityof"TakeIt
Easy"
oi
the
break-neck
sliallowness
of
"Life
In
The
Fast
Lane." Though
he became
a
millionaire
before age
30,he
also
earnedanulcer
in tfie
Process,
and
it's
anyone's
guess
which
he
Prides
*ore.
i.
person,
HenleY's
eyes
aren't
as
haunted
as. say,
LindsayBucking-ham's
in
the
"Go
Insane"video,
but
thepiercing
gaze
under
the
ever-fur-
ro*^ed
bro*
conveys
an
agitatedsense
of
disbelief
nonetheless.That
almosteerie,fixed
stare
is
captured
well
bv
the
Pre-teen
who
PlaYsthe
young'Don
HenleY
in
the
"BoYs
Of
Su-me."
video,
a
detailtypicalof
the
artist's
arid,
frequently
overlooked
senseof
humor.Henley's30thbhthdaY
coincided
with
theheight andimminentPlum-
met ofThe
Eagles'
career,following
the
release
of
Hotel
Califomia.The
familv
olavedtogetherfor
the
sake
of
ot
*
iuit
itrita,Tn"
less
gifted
Lorrg
Run,
which
had
its
moments,butnot
enouqh
of
them.
The
final
break-uP
left
Fenley
disoriented,
divorced
From
longtime
songwriting
partner
Glenn
Friy,
and
uncertain
of
his
abilities
asa
solo
artist.
"It
was
a
very
lonely
feeling,"admitsthe
37-year'
old
irtist,
dressedcomfortablY
in
black
sweatshirt,blackieans
andhand-stitchedboots,
seated
less
com-
fortably
on
theedge
of
a couch
in
a
small
ilffice at
theWamer
Brothers
comolex
in
Burbank."There
was
a
certa'in
securitvin
the
band,
even
withtheconflict.
Vouhad
five
otherguys
to
bouncethings
offof,
and GIemand
I
werepartners. tthought,well,
I'd
better
get myselfanother
Partner
whoplays guitar.
"So,vouknow,
I
drank
a lot
ofscotchand
stuff
for
a couple
of
years
there,"he
says
with a
laugh
You
wouldn't
call
ioyous,
"trying
to sort
it
all
out."
Henley's
post-Eaglesdepres-
sion
was deepened
bY
a
drug
anest
under
circumitances
that
would
have
made
a
USA
TodaY
editor's
daY,
had
thev
beenaroundbackthen.
"Obvi-ouslvl've
used
drugsoff
and
on
for
a
long timenow,"
he
saYs
when
the
topicshifts
to
Phamacology.
"But
l've
never
allowed
themtomake
me
non-productive
or
counter-productive
or
anv
of that stuff.
Ikncuwhen
l'm
turniig
into
somebodyelse
.
.
usu-
allv.
Nbt
all
thetime.
Butdrugs
are
pliying
less
and
lessa
partin my
life.
ih6y
bore
me. I've8ot
toomuch to
do."
Among
the
Priorities
ontheHenleY
agenda
a*re
a
rbmixandvideofor
"All
She
WantsToDoIs Dance,"and
as-
sembling
a
bandfor
a
latesPring
tour
supporringthe
Building
The
Perferl
Eeist
album.The
record,
HenleY's
second,is certainlythemost
satisfy-
ing
effort
from
an ex-Eagle,
a
work ofmeasuredbnlliancethatdraws uponpassion,obsession,
irony
and
celeb-
;ation
to
create
a
world
dangerously
closeto
our own.
The
album's
tales
of
thwartedlove,
hesitantideals
and
tourists
in
politically
uncertain
lands
convey
an
underlyingstruggle
be-
tween
technology
and
individualism
(or
is
it
romanticism?),matched
bY
the
clashbetween
high
techinstru-mentationandHenley'simpassioned
vocals.
The
formula
is
most
striking
on
"sunset
Grill,"a
gloribusiY
moodY
ode
to
Los
Angeles.The track,
itsimag,ery
evocativetothePoint
of
be-
ing cinematic,
is the
directdescendant
of-Eagles
songs
like"Hotel
Califor-
nia"Jnd
"Sad
Cafe."
and
Henley
is
planning
to use
it
as
the basisfor
a
20-
minirte
video.
This
time
out,
ourhero'spromise
to his
girlin
the song's
bridge
-
"Someday
soon
we're
gonnaget
in
that
car
dnd
get outtdhere"
-
is
betrayedinthefinal
verse:
"Maybewe'll
leavecome
springtime/
Meairwhile
haveanotherbeer/What
would
we dowithoutall
thesejerks
anvway?/
Besides,
all
our
friends
are
heie/
Down
atthe Sunset
Grill."
Henley
describes
it
as
his
approach-avoidance
conflict
withLA,
the
bit-tersweetrealizationthat
the best
and
worst
scenes
of
his
bfewere
staged
here.
A
similarconflict
ariseswhen
discussinghispast.
"I
refuse
to
get
trapped
in
thebusiness
of
nostalgra
andsaying,
'BoY,thoseweretheSood
24
FE8RUARYI5,1985/BAM

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