Don Henley Talks Birthday Guests, Walden Woods, And Carrying On Without Glenn Frey

By Rami Abou-Sabe

Chuck Nowlin caught up with Don Henley of the Eagles as the musician gears up for a solo tour, his 70th birthday bash, and the bi-coastal Classic East & West festivals.

RELATED: Don Henley Plans Solo Summer Tour

Check out Chuck’s full interview with Henley by clicking the player, and read on for some highlights from the conversation.

On Henley’s preservation efforts for Walden Woods in Eastern Massachusetts:

I wish I could buy the entire county, but we can’t. It’s expensive out there. We’ve preserved about 170 acres now in that area. We’ve added on to what the state takes care of.

Scholars have just figured out in the past decade or two that the entirety of Walden Woods is about 1700 acres. Some of that has houses on it, and there’s nothing we can do about that. But we’re trying to get all the rest of the land that’s not developed near the pond and keep it in conservation.

It’s been a real learning experience for me. And a wonderful experience. I’ve met some incredible people. This is [Henry David] Thoreau’s 200th birthday coming up in July. July 12th he would have been 200, had he just taken care of himself. And there are a lot of celebrations and events around that birthday. People are coming from all over the globe to Concord to celebrate his 200th birthday.

Who will join Henley onstage for his 70th birthday bash in Dallas, Texas?

There’s gonna be a couple of surprise guests, and we want them to be surprises. I’ve talked about the fact that Joe [Walsh] and Timothy [B. Schmit] are coming, and Ms. [Stevie] Nicks is coming – we’re gonna sing that “Leather and Lace” thing – and my wonderful friend Patty Smyth, she’s was in a group called Scandal you might remember? She’s married to John McEnroe, and he’s gonna come too.

On kicking off his solo tour in at Blue Hills Bank Pavilion in Boston:

We were there last year actually, and we had a great show, a great audience, and we’re looking forward to being back there. I’ve got my enormous 15-piece band… As I say every night in the show, “It’s not very profitable, but it sure is fun.” Got a horn section and a couple of violinists, and we can do a lot of different kinds of things.

On earlier comments regarding the status of the band following the surprise death of Glenn Frey.

Getting back to Thoreau… Thoreau had a mentor and a friend named Ralph Waldo Emerson, who also lived out in Concord. And Emerson said, “A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds.” So that was his way of saying that we all have the right to change our minds.

It was a real shock when Glenn passed away, and I thought at the time that we couldn’t go forward. But since then, we’ve heard from fans all over the world who want us to continue.

We’re gonna do that. I can’t really tell you who’s in the band, but I think people will be pleased. I think what we’re doing is something that Glenn would approve of, and be happy about.

Will someone be singing Glenn Frey’s harmonies?

Oh yeah. And as I’ve said, it’s somebody very appropriate. We’ll be making an official announcement pretty soon with regards to who’s in the band.

I want to make it very clear that we’re not replacing Glenn. Glenn is not replaceable. But we’re adding some people who we consider to be members of our musical family.

These two shows, the one in New York and the one in LA, are experiments to see how things go. And so far the news has been very well received. So if things go well, there might be more shows after that, but I don’t know at this point. But rehearsals start pretty soon.

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