Monday, January 18, 2016

and now Glenn Frey...or how "Take It Easy" changed my life.

Well, I'm getting a little tired of posting Youtube videos with the comment "RIP " this year and now here's yet another shocker - Glenn Frey of the Eagles.

Weirdly, my immediate thought was "Wow, that's a total surprise, but it doesn't have the personal impact of Lemmy and Bowie" it's a contest.  But then as certain memories came rushing in, I realized Glenn and his music have had quite an impact of the course of my life.

I went through an Eagles phase for a few months when I was in 10th grade or so in the mid 80's. Of course I knew them from listening to our local Home of Rock n Roll radio station - WPDH (which I bet kicked your town's "Home of Rock n Roll" radio stations ass!), but something clicked and I got super into them for a while at the time when I just starting going to shows.  I can vividly remember being bummed that I'd never get the chance to see them that time, when a band broke up, that was pretty much it.

During these Eagles months I bought a bunch of their records, dug them, but then moved on.  During those early years of figuring out my musical path, this was par for the course, I remember the same feeling for maybe two months with Boston and a spring with Eric Clapton.  They were it for me for a really specific time, but didn't stick as an all time fave, probably due to said Home of Rock n Roll playing them out.  I listened to a lot of radio in those days as I worked after school in our church rectory (Yeah...I was a good Catholic School boy).

So when I heard about Glenn Frey it immediately brought me back to those days and to "Take It Easy" which was definitely my favorite Eagles song ("In The City" was a close second, especially boosted by it's perfect use in the film "The Warriors").  

As the years passed, if "Take It Easy" came on the radio, well my ass was singing along...while other Eagles songs...I'm looking at you "Hotel California," I would grow to never wanting to hear again.  

I started going to bars and started at times to be there on karaoke nights.  I always thought that someday I would need to get up there and sing and I always knew that song would be "Take it Easy".  I knew I could kill it.

Then I realized one day that I was thirty years old...which even at the time didn't really concern me.  I didn't have the "Oh My God" I'm so old thoughts, but I also hadn't done karaoke and I basically wrote it off as one of those "if it didn't happen yet, it's not gonna happen" things (like say, going to Times Square on New Year's eve).  Thirty was the year of my move to Denver to forever be with the girl I loved...which went south SO FAST, but at that time (2001) it was a great city to have an adventure in.  Great music scene, my introduction to pub trivia nights, getting to see Hunter S. Thompson on the steps of the Capitol Building (with Warren Zevon "opening" with an acoustic version of "Lawyers Guns and Money") in front of maybe 50 people...some great memories and made some great friends.

It was those friends that invited me out one night to this fantastic little Mexican restaurant (Denver had tons of them...can't remember the name) where we ate and drank and then karaoke started.  We got the book of songs and there it was.  I'm not even sure it was me who wrote my name down on the slip and handed it in, but before I knew it, my name was called and off I went.   

I thought it went great as I was singing it.  I'm no great singer, but that's not a song you need to have a great voice for to's slow and easy on the pipes.  I rocked it out with no prob until the last 90 seconds or so.  That's when the "Ooh ooh oooh's" kick in.  When I sang it in my car, I never bothered with the Oooh's, but try doing that alone in front of an just wanna get out of there, but I held it down and got the cheers.  I think I went up that night and did another as well (Steve Miller Band's "Jet Airliner" I'm almost sure)

So that's well and good, but "changed my life"?  Yeah it did.

9/11 hit at right about my one year anniversary in Denver.  I had already been thinking of coming back to New York and that was the deciding factor.  When I came back, I was a bit of a karaoke fiend.

The first gal I dated was for a few months and I can only remember us doing karaoke once at a bar down the street from her place.  She worked in the entertainment industry and I should ask her now (maybe she's reading this - we're still friends) how much she probably cringed when I sang as she is a fan of polished professional produced singers (think Freddie Mercury, Broadway, "The Voice").  God Bless her she spared me her professional opinion on my vocal skills.

After her, I literally met my next girlfriend while doing karaoke.  She was actually impressed (!) and gave me her phone number without my asking (!!).  We dated and eventually got engaged, but sadly (but obviously not really) she broke it off with me out of the blue during the wedding planning stages.  It turns out she was seen immediately (so in other words, probably while we were together)dating a DJ who ran a trivia night we didn't go to (we went almost every week to one)!  Yikes and bullet dodged.

That almost brings us to today.  I took the typical long break after that one, eventually met someone else (our first "date" was a concert), but sadly (and this one I do say sadly) we're not together anymore (yep...friends...what the hell?!).  We didn't do karaoke at all...I'm kinda thinking now maybe I should have busted those moves out...maybe she's reading this too

So yeah, "Take It Easy" changed my life.  If I never heard it, I don't know that I ever would have done karaoke, and never would have met those people and never would have had the life experiences to bring me to typing this sentence right now.  And Glenn Frey is "Take It Easy".

And so not to leave you in suspense, did 15 year old me, who would have given anything to see The Eagles in concert, ever get to?  No.

Of course I had plenty of chances, but in all honestly, but the time they reunited, it didn't mean the same thing to me.  I thought about it plenty of times...I came really close a year or two ago on their last tour, but either there were too many other shows going on or maybe it wasn't a show I wanted to drop over $100 it never happened.  I'm okay with that.  I have seen Joe Walsh and he played "In The City" for me, so don't worry...I'm good.

If you were a big fan of Glenn, I hope you're good too.  Do the "ooh ooh ooh's", it will put a smile on your face

I guess I have to end with this.  Enjoy and rock on kids - Paul

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