How many times can you listen to Hotel California? Hardcore Eagles fans probably can’t put a number on that . The band, who plays BankAtlantic Center in Sunrise Wednesday night, never fail to disappoint with that 1977 song about American excess. But they do have new material. The 2007 album Long Road Out of Eden rejuvenated the quartet, Don Henley, Glenn Frey, Timothy B. Schmit and Joe Walsh, to the point of embarking on a tour that has lasted nearly three years.
Melissa Ruggieri of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution caught up with head Eagle Henley, 63:
What’s the last thing you do before you go onstage? Does the band have an NFL-style group pow-wow?
We don’t have a group ritual. Sports teams have a pregame “pump-up” because they’re trying to crush an opponent. We don’t have an opponent. We just have thousands of allies. The last thing I do before going onstage is check to make sure my in-ear monitor is working.
You have a country and R&B album in the works.
I enjoy working on two projects at once because one informs the other. Country and R&B share some basic elements. There will be original material and some covers on both recordings. Country wasn’t the only thing I listened to as a kid. I grew up in the northeast corner of [Texas], near the Arkansas and Louisiana borders. When atmospheric conditions were just right, I was able to tune in some of the big 50,000-watt AM radio stations [so] I heard a lot of great ethnic, regional music via those stations; a lot of R&B and early forms of what eventually became soul music. Texans were not my only musical heroes. Ray Charles and Otis Redding had a profound effect on me.
There are no official Don Henley Twitter feeds or Facebook pages. Why don’t you communicate via social media?
I think “social media” is a complete waste of time. It’s just another distraction in an age that already has far too many distractions. It’s also a privacy risk, especially for vulnerable young people who don’t take the time to read the fine print and take the necessary precautions.
How much longer do you see yourself out on the road?
I don’t have a definite timetable for retirement from touring. It could come to an abrupt halt in the next two or three years, but the more likely scenario is that we’ll start reducing the number of shows and just sort of taper down. It doesn’t look good when an artist says, “That’s it — I’m done forever,” and then a couple of years go by and there’s a comeback, followed by another retirement, followed by another comeback and so on, and so on. Never say “never.”