“It’s uncanny,” said Don Henley about the 23-year-old Deacon Frey’s resemblance to his father, Glenn. The Eagles are preparing to tour without Glenn for the first time since his death last year.
“Oh … OK,” Don Henley said, and then seemed to need a moment to gather his thoughts.
I had started our talk wanting to get the hard stuff out of the way: the loss of his friend and co-founder of The Eagles, Glenn Frey, who passed away in January of last year of pneumonia.
Henley and the band are preparing to tour without him for the first time since his death and will play Safeco Field on Sept. 30, with The Doobie Brothers co-headlining. They’re billing it as “The Classic Northwest.”
“It’s very strange to be on the road without him,” Henley began. “It’s just odd. I don’t know if I will ever get completely accustomed to it.”
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But Henley has done the only thing he could do to keep Frey’s spirit alive, and to keep playing: He has asked Frey’s son Deacon to join The Eagles, playing and singing his father’s parts.
“It’s uncanny,” said Henley, the band’s drummer and an accomplished solo artist. “I feel Glenn’s spirit is very near. I look out from the drums to where Deacon is standing and his hair is exactly the same as his father’s was in 1976. He’s taller, but looking at him from the back there, it’s freaky.”
Deacon Frey is just 24, and had only played in front of about 150 people before walking out on stadium stages in front of 55,000.
“It’s extraordinary the way he was able to compose himself,” Henley said. “He decided that rather than living in his father’s shadow, he would pick up the torch and carry it forward.
“We are extremely proud of him, and we know his father would be.”
Things were fine between the two friends before Frey’s death, Henley said. They had just finished the “Story of the Eagles” tour and each gone back home to their families.
Frey was working on plans to produce a musical-theater piece based on The Eagles’ catalog — the pivotal piece being the 1976’s 32 million seller, “Hotel California.” Frey, a native of Detroit, had visited the University of Michigan to try out some of the songs with a choral group.
“Just how the songs worked in a different context,” Henley said. “(Frey) was very keen to do that research and find out about the process. And then he…