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Deacon Frey flies like an Eagle in his father's old band

By Gary Graff
ggraff@digitalfirstmedia.com, @GraffonMusic on Twi

Posted: Saturday, October 13, 2018

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Nearly 15 months into his tenure with his late father's band, Eagles, things are relatively peaceful and easy for Deacon Frey.

But still surreal.

"It's still kind of all just settling in," Frey, the 25-year-old son of Royal Oak native and Eagles co-founder Glenn Frey, says by phone from New York. "It's a little crazy. I try to stay as grounded as I can and remember exactly what it is I'm doing. I'm not trying to be him.

"But it's so much fun. It's really exciting and, yeah, I'm having a blast."

The younger Frey's addition to Eagles was as much a surprise to fans as the fact the band was continuing at all after his father died in January 2017. Deacon Frey made an auspicious debut before a crowd of 55,000 during July 2017 at the Classic West concert in Los Angeles and has since won over crowds with his easygoing demeanor and killer vocals on favorites such as "Peaceful Easy Feeling."

"Deacon's a pretty good musician, and he said, 'Hey, anything I can do, Im in,'" says Eagles guitarist Joe Walsh. "We were looking for a special kind of voice, of course, like Glenn had, so that the chemistry is there. You can't just get anybody, and Deacon has it. We figured we should at least try it and see where it went ... and it was just magic."

Making music is an inextricable part of Frey's DNA. Music was, of course, a mainstay in the Los Angeles household where he grew up.

"We always had great records around the house," recalls Frey, who, while aware of his Detroit roots, didn't visit the area until he worked as a roadie on Eagles' Long Road Out of Eden World Tour during the late '00s. "My parents always listened to really good music. The songs they would play for me and my sister driving home from school and everything, I think that had a big effect, for sure."

Frey's own tastes gravitated towards soul music and Steely Dan, and he began playing when he was 7 years old, with a guitar that was a Christmas present.

"I've pretty much played music since then, every day," he says. "I took lessons for about two, three years, and after that I kept playing and taught myself." He was about 10 years old when he became acutely aware of who his father was, and what he did.

"I actually started going to shows and not just being a kid running around backstage but watching him do it and thinking, 'Oh, wow, this is pretty crazy. ...'" Frey remembers. "It was different from when I thought about him as grumpy old dad. When you see him at work, it was really eye-opening. It was very impressive."

His father's music was never pushed on him; Frey largely educated himself with the band and as a solo artist.

"I just like the songs," he says. "I think it's good music, so I would listen to it on my own time, just like I would any other thing I liked." Dad, meanwhile, was happy to provide tips as Frey began to spread his wings. "He would talk about being patient and knowing what not to play, saying more in your spaces than you do with your words or your guitar playing, in my case," Frey explains.

Nevertheless, the invitation to join Eagles proffered over dinner by his mother, Cindy, and band manager Irving Azoff was a surprise. "They just kind of presented the idea to me casually and said, 'Hey, is this something you think you can do?' and I said, 'Sure, let's give it a shot,'" Frey recalls. "It really was that simple."

He laughs as he adds, "Oh, I'm still intimidated. It's scary getting up there in front of all those people. It was definitely very daunting at first, but, honestly, I felt like I could do it." That first Dodger Stadium show is still ingrained in his memory as is Walsh's advice to "keep your eyes closed" while his appearance with the group last October at Detroit's Little Caesars Arena, with invited family attending, was one of his best Eagles moments so far.

"I just remember how amazing the crowd was, and just receptive and loving," says Frey, who sported an '80s vintage Tigers jersey for the occasion. "It was really incredible. It was one of the shows that still stands out to me when people ask me, 'What's been the best one?' Detroit is usually one of the first ones I say."

He is adding more special memories since Eagles have spent more time on the road this year, encouraged by last year's fan reception for the younger Frey and the group's other new member, Vince Gill. Many are wondering if this incarnation of the band will record some new music, too, but Frey whose own writing hews towards R&B and hip-hop isn't making predictions.

"I really have no clue. It's not really up to me, I don't think," he says. "Right now it's just about letting everyone be able to hear these songs and have it keep going on for as long as it can, and I'm just really thankful for the opportunity to be part of it."

If you go: Eagles performs at 8 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 14, at Detroit's Little Caesars Arena. Tickets start at $99.50. 313-471-7000 or visit 313Presents.com.

Web Site: www.313Presents.com

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