What Jackson Browne taught Glenn Frey about songwriting

Bill Simmons wrote a crazy long piece about The History of the Eagles documentary.

In the doc, Glenn Frey explains how living above Jackson Browne taught him about the hard work required to write a song.

Around nine in the morning. I’d hear Jackson Browne’s teapot going off with this whistle in the distance, and then I’d hear him playing piano. I didn’t really know how to write songs. I knew I wanted to write songs, but I didn’t know exactly, did you just wait around for inspiration, you know, what was the deal? I learned through Jackson’s ceiling and my floor exactly how to write songs, ‘cause Jackson would get up, and he’d play the first verse and first course, and he’d play it 20 times, until he had it just the way he wanted it. And then there’d be silence, and then I’d hear the teapot going off again, and it would be quiet for 20 minutes, and then I’d hear him start to play again … and I’m up there going, so that’s how you do it? Elbow grease. Time. Thought. Persistence.

Sounds like what it takes to put together a great comedy set. Or anything else really. Elbow grease. Time. Thought. Persistence. If it was easy, everyone would do it.

Another part of the doc I loved was Frey yelling at the Eagles' bass player for not wanting to sing "Take It to the Limit" in concert.

I confronted him. I said, ‘Randy, there’s thousands of people waiting for you to sing that song. You just can’t say “Fuck ‘em, I don’t feel like it.” Do you think I like singing “Take It Easy” and “Peaceful Easy Feeling” every night? I’m tired of those songs. But there’s people in the audience who’ve been waiting YEARS to see us do those songs.’ We just got fed up with that. ‘OK, don’t sing it. Why don’t you just quit?’”

I just love the idea of a coked up Frey BITCHING about having to sing songs with laid-back titles like “Take It Easy” and “Peaceful Easy Feeling” and then yelling at his bass player to quit. Talk about unintentional comedy. "You think I like singing Peaceful Easy Fucking Feeling every night!? No, But I goddamn do it! I hope you quit! OK, now I'm gonna sing 'Take It Easy'..." So great.


Selena said...

That's hilarious and would make a great sketch. Either the Eagles kvetching about that ("I'm going to get my TIRED ass out there and convince these people to not let the sound of their own wheels drive them crazy GODAMMIT!") or a yoga center ("What are you doing in the break room, lazy yogi? Get on the floor and help these wealthy people CHILL THE EFF out, come on!").

Matt Ruby said...

I like it. Type A Yoga. Or, if the Eagles main ingredient is involved: Cocaine Yoga.

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