Don Henley Loves Croatia
In the following interview with Billboard magazine Henley said that he
never did a concert in Croatia but would love to do one after having
seen a TV program about the country. Any one looking to sponsor a rock
May 25, 2003
Soaring with the Eagles: Don Henley on the Road
Filed at 11:14 a.m. ET
LOS ANGELES (Billboard) - Since the Eagles reunited for the Hell Freezes
Over tour in 1994, they have become that rare bird: the sure sellout.
The band started its latest tour May 9 in Richmond, Va. From the road,
drummer Don Henley provides Billboard with a rare glimpse into what it's
like to soar with the Eagles.
BILLBOARD: The tour features the Eagles' most elaborate production ever.
Why the change?
HENLEY: Last year, the band made a decision to play only indoor arenas
until such time as we change our minds. We have increased our lighting
and added large LED screens to take advantage of the fact that we will
always be playing in darkness.
Playing outdoors in the summertime, whether it's a shed or a stadium, is
a drag, because it doesn't get dark until about halfway through the
show. Hundreds of thousands of dollars' worth of lighting equipment and
design is wasted.
In arenas, there is just more magic, plus we are not subject to the
whims of the weather. The LED screens ensure that even people in the
nosebleed section can clearly see what's happening onstage. We like it,
and our fans like it.
BILLBOARD: You're jokingly calling this tour Farewell I. How many more
tours will there be?
HENLEY: I very much doubt that we will make it to Farewell XX, but I
imagine there will be a Farewell II after the new album comes out.
Beyond that, it's anybody's guess. The Eagles operate on a cyclical
basis now, with a year to a year-and-a-half comprising a cycle. At the
end of each cycle, we sit down and decide if we want to do anything
So far, there has been a consensus to go forward, but someday it's all
going to come to a screeching halt. I think everybody in the band agrees
that we want to exit while we're at the top of our game. Nobody in this
organization is interested in beating a dead horse, but right now the
horse is very much alive and well. It's as good as it's ever been--maybe
Even in the midst of this shaky economy and the strange state of the
world, people are flocking to our shows. It's wonderful. We're very
BILLBOARD: Speaking of the new album, when is it coming out?
HENLEY: I don't know when the album is coming out, but it won't be this
year. ``Hole in the World'' is the only new material from the album that
we will be doing.
BILLBOARD: What markets do you still want to play?
HENLEY: The Eagles have performed in a great many places around the
globe, including Russia, but it's a big world, and there are still a few
places we've never been.
Believe it or not, we've never played in Mexico. We've never been to
South America, either. We've been invited to several places in the Far
East, such as Bangkok, Hong Kong, and Singapore, but we've never been
able to make it. I saw a thing on TV the other day about Croatia, and it
looks absolutely beautiful, so I'd like to play Zagreb. I'd also like to
play some of the countries that border the Baltic Sea -- Estonia, for
example. Also, we've never been to Denmark or Austria. However, for the
present time, we are staying in North America.
We played in Italy for the first time in the summer of 2001 in an
ancient, walled city called Lucca. We played outdoors in the piazza;
14,000 Italians showed up and sang every word in English at the top of
their lungs. I'll never forget it as long as I live. I would love to
play in Italy for weeks.
BILLBOARD: Describe a show day for you.
HENLEY: I have an office set up in each of my hotel rooms. I get up in
the morning and start doing business -- media interviews for the tour;
tons of written correspondence and phone calls relating to the Walden
Woods Project, the Recording Artists' Coalition, the Caddo Lake
Institute; domestic stuff -- I talk to my kids as often as I can --
communications with Irving Azoff in regard to all kinds of issues
relating to the Eagles, my solo career, the music business in general.
I'm usually on the phone all day. The phone, the e-mails, and the fax
machine never stop. This is not just about the three hours onstage at
night; this is a full-time job. I try to get in a workout most days.
We generally leave the hotel in mid- to-late afternoon -- depending on
the distance to the gig -- and we do a sound check before every single
show. The sound check can last 15 minutes or it can last two hours.
We have dinner at the venue at approximately 5 p.m., and then we go to
our respective dressing rooms and do whatever we each have to do to get
ready for the show. I bring a recumbent exercise bike on every tour, and
it is set up in my dressing room. Even if I've done a weight-lifting or
a Pilates workout earlier in the day, I always get on that bike about an
hour before show time and ride it for 30 minutes. Then I take a shower
and get dressed for the show.
After the show, I generally stay up for an hour or two reading the faxes
and e-mails that I didn't get to before I went to sound check.
Sometimes, though, we go off stage, straight to the airport, and fly to
the next city. On those nights, I'm often up late trying to make my nest
in the new hotel room. I carry three or four good books and numerous
periodicals, and I can usually read myself to sleep. It's a good life,
but it's not as easy as some might think. Traveling gets old. I get
tired of packing and unpacking. I get homesick.
BILLBOARD: How has your relationship with your fans changed over the
HENLEY: I think our bond with our fans has only grown stronger over the
past 30-odd years. We've all been through a lot together, and we've been
with them and they with us. The passage of time enriches these memories,
these shared experiences. It's bittersweet.
BILLBOARD: How has touring changed since you started more than 30 years
HENLEY: There are two big changes that come to mind. One is the enormous
amount of organizational skills that have been brought to bear on our
touring. Everything is extremely organized and professional now.
Irving Azoff usually travels with us, and he is on top of everything --
all the time. Harry Sandler, our tour director, is, in my opinion, the
best in the business. There are 92 people, including the band members,
on this tour, and it runs like a Swiss watch.
We have excellent people who are committed and know how to do their
jobs. We have no jerks, no loose cannons, no slackers. Everybody gives
100%, because the goal is to give the fans the best show possible.
Backstage is very serene and consistent. There is no partying either
before or after the shows, but we do receive old friends and
professional guests briefly either just before show time or during the
In short, things have changed a great deal from the old days. These
changes have come out of necessity, and they are a logical progression
for any band that is committed to its work. That's why we're still here
and thriving 32 years after we began.