EaglesWe all know the story behind “Hotel California”, so it should come as no surprise that when it came to living life in the fast lane, the Eagles were the apparent masters. But were they really that wild? And was Glenn Frey the one that led the others astray?

It all started when the original band members headed out to the desert to shoot the cover for their self-titled debut album loaded up on peyote. Their excuse was that it allowed them the opportunity to experience the mysticism of the high desert. It was certainly a sign of things to come.

Guitarist Frey became particularly wild, often trashing hotel rooms just for the hell of it. Prior to his death in 2016, Frey was back in the limelight, and as an aging (and quite amicable country rocker) it was hard to picture him as the hell-raising star of the 70s. But that’s exactly what he was, according to the media at least.

Unfortunately, though, as wild as he was, Frey was often the undeserving scapegoat in the press and the one that was allegedly leading the others astray. Of course, the rest of the band were certainly capable of raising hell in their own way, but such was and still is the way of the media; Frey was the one that got the blame.

But for true fans of the band, it’s always good to hear something positive about the band members and Frey in particular. That’s why discovering that he was actually a master card player with incredible levels of concentration when it came to poker is a nice surprise. It goes against pretty much everyone’s opinion of the guitarist as a wild rocker that could barely stand still long enough to record his vocals.

Seeing as how they lived such a raucous lifestyle, it’s still kind of hard to imagine Glenn, Don, and the gang sitting down for a game of poker, but the fact is that the entire band were obsessed with the mental sport. Frey even went so far as to invent his own version of the game that he rather fittingly called Eagle Poker.

However, despite their love of such a quiet game, the band’s exuberant backstage lifestyle began to take its toll long before their official split in the early 80s. From throwing beer bottles at each other to fighting over the attentions of their muses, the band members’ egos began to get in the way of their music. At one infamous gig in 1980, guitars were smashed and death threats were made on stage in front of the crowd.

It marked the first time when the band’s legions of fans started to accept the fact that it would probably be best if they did indeed take a break from their life in the fast lane. And when they did split, it would be quite some time before the band would speak again. But in the early 90s, country star Travis Tritt did the unthinkable and got the band together on stage for the first time since their angry breakup. Granted it was as a backing band in the video for his cover of “Take it Easy”, but the seeds were sown.

Frey and the gang got back together and the stories of their hellish days became lost in the fog of nostalgic memories. These days, Frey is remembered more for his time as a reformed character, but there was a time when the man they now revere as a country rock legend was thought of as the man that killed the Eagles. It was a harsh judgment, but now with hindsight and the help of the band members’ reminiscences, we know that Frey wasn’t the only Eagle struggling with the limelight.

Photo source: Wikimedia.org

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