The Eagles will premiere the band's two-part career-spanning documentary, History Of The Eagles, on Showtime tonight and tomorrow (February 15th and 16th.) The doc, which recently had its big screen debut at the Sundance Film Festival, will be released on DVD "as early as March 19" with the package including two discs featuring the documentary and a third disc showcasing eight songs filmed during the band's tour behind 1976's Hotel California.
Part One of the doc chronicles the band's pre-fame years up through their split in the summer of 1980. Part Two touches upon the band's solo careers, their reformation in 1994, and their story up through the present day. The group members pull no punches in discussing their inner-band conflicts and drug and alcohol abuse during the band's career.
All seven Eagles members appear over the course of the documentary -- Glenn Frey, Don Henley, Joe Walsh, Timothy B. Schmit. and former members Don Felder, Randy Meisner, and Bernie Leadon.
Despite Glenn Frey and Don Henley writing and co-writing the bulk of the band's catalogue, it's interesting to note that all the band-members had a hand in writing massive hits for the Eagles -- Don Felder wrote the guitar intro and instrumental tracks to "Hotel California" and "Victim Of Love," Timothy B. Schmit co-wrote "I Can't Tell You Why," Randy Meisner co-wrote "Take It To The Limit," and Bernie Leadon co-wrote "Witchy Woman."
Leadon recalled collaborating with Don Henley on the band's first Top 10 hit, "Witchy Woman": "I don't know, it's sorta Chinese (sounding). And then Henley put that tom-tom beat to it. I conceived all the sections of 'Witchy Woman' as a guitar instrumental -- and then Henley wrote the words to it."
We asked Glenn Frey if he feels as though he's taking part in a historical outing every time that the Eagles reconvene to go on the road: "Oh listen, we are just a blip on the screen, babe. Y'know, we don't even think about those kind of things, although we've been, we've been around a while now, so we will rank as a band that was around for a while. But it's not for us to say."
Bassist Timothy B. Schmit replaced Randy Meisner in Poco in 1970 and then again when he became the Eagles' seventh and final member in 1978. As a musician who stepped into Meisner's shoes in two high profile bands, he has a unique perspective on why Meisner couldn't last the long haul in either group: "Y'know, I don't wanna get too personal about Randy. I knew that he quit Poco years ago and I joined Poco, so I followed him twice, actually. And the vibe I was getting was from both band's -- without getting specific was that Randy just couldn't settle in and he wasn't content. For whatever reason -- and I think it was more personal reasons, than anything."
Don Felder told us that over a decade after being fired from the Eagles and suing his bandmates and manager, the tensions surrounding all the past and present Eagles seems to have cooled to a comfortable temperature: "I think there's not a lot of bitterness or resentment left in a lot of those relationships in the band. I know they invited Randy Meisner and Bernie Leadon to be part of it as well, so that everyone that had been participating at some point in the career of the Eagles was represented, either in interviews or in existing, older footage. So, I know they tried to include everyone."