Glenn Frey Quotes - on music

I Will Sing You Far Away
On music, songwriting, performing, and the business

On the power of music
"Music is medicine for the soul. It's entertainment, but there are times when entertainment can inspire and inform. It can't hurt. It can only help. It's just how it makes you feel personally." (Los Angeles Times 1992)

"Music is a liberating experience. It makes you feel good." (2000)

"Music is its own language. Music transcends the spoken word." (Selected Works Interview 2000)

On the appeal of his music
"My songs grow on people - like warts." (Musician Magazine 1984)

"What happens is, if you make music for your time, and you do it well enough, sometimes it becomes music for all time." (European Press Conference 1996)

"There's something else in music that translates wherever you are. In the Eagles, there's that self-reliant, freedom - 'my life is an open highway, nobody's gonna hold me back' - kind of vibe. And I think that comes off the records in a way that's not really translatable. You know, it's like some sort of mystic chord that rings." (Selected Works Interview 2000)

On songwriting and vocal style
"[Don and I] agonize over the lyric. We analyze every 'and' and 'the' and 'but.' It's like buildin' a table, an' then once it's built, deciding how much time you want to spend sanding and glazing it." (Phonograph Record 1975)

"I get a lot of satisfaction from having conspirators. It's great to go to your buddies after the song's a hit and say, 'We didn't know it, but we knew it, didn't we?" (Rolling Stone 1979)

"As far as [writing] the R&B stuff goes - it's funny, when you're a musician. It seems like when you're in your younger days, you have this energy that's got to manifest and express itself. It tends to make you want to hit the drums hard and play a Les Paul through a Marshall, and really just play loud and wild and brave... that kind of spirit, the spirit that's in New Wave and Punk Rock, the younger musicians now. And then I think as you get a little bit older and a little wiser, you start to dig these guys that find these killer little pockets and grooves. You know, it's like slowing down your love. It's like more seduction, more tenderness, more feel. The subtleties of it all." (Jim Ladd Innerview 1982)

"Sometimes you're sending messages to yourself." (Jim Ladd Innerview 1982)

"I start a lot of songs but I don't finish one unless I think it's great. If prolific means churning out songs and having one out of five be good, then I'm not prolific. My attitude is, if I start a tune and it hangs around a little while - a couple of weeks - and it doesn't do anything for me after that, I can tell the song isn't worth finishing so I don't devote my energy to it. I think Jackson Browne is prolific. He writes a lot of songs and they're all good." (BAM 1982)

"I don't like writing alone. I don't trust myself. You don't have to have the conversation with yourself: Is this good enough? Jack [Tempchin] and I are completely honest with each other as far as criticism goes." (The Eagles: Flying High 1984)

"When I'm writing songs I like to read a lot and assimilate information. I like to write about immediate things, about the kind of things which affect the country today." (1985)

"Ballads are one of the things I feel I do best. Rock songs are harder for me to write and sing. It's a reach for me to get into that range where guys like Seger, Henley, and Springsteen can just shout at the top of their lungs. My voice isn't really designed for that. My voice is more suited to the Al Green and Smokey Robinson kind of material." (1988)

"I've learned now that there are cycles of creativity. There are years when you write better songs than other years and you're not even responsible for it." (1988)

"My art is now created out of joy rather than angst. I'm not inclined to mix politics and music. My job is to entertain, to write love songs about personal relationships. That's what I know about." (1988)

"It's important to allow people to let their own imagination become involved with the work." (Bob Costas Interview 1992)

"As far as I was concerned, being visual -- to start with a picture -- was the first and most important aspect of lyric-writing. You can look at the list of Eagles songs from 'Take It Easy' through 'Hotel California,' and in the first four lines, we put you someplace: 'On a dark desert highway...' or, 'I'm runnin' down the road, tryin' to loosen my load...'. Openings of songs are very important, so I've always considered myself to be a visual songwriter." (The Oregonian 1993)

"Something I think that's very underrated in songwriting is your ability to be vague - allowing the listener to step into the song and kind of have his own, be part of it as well. This may have something to do with writing songs before videos were popular, where songs played out on your mind-screen. They played out in your bedroom in the dark. They played out in your automobile." (Selected Works Interview 2000)

"I didn't really know how to sit down and work on a song until I heard [Jackson Browne] playing underneath us in the basement [while sharing an apartment in 1971, before hitting it big]. He would work on 'Jamaica Say You Will,' and he had the first verse and chorus. Then he would sing the second verse -- sing it five or six times -- and then silence. Twenty seconds later, he would start again and sing the second verse this time, and, if he liked it, he'd sing it over and over again. I had never really witnessed that sort of focus -- someone being that fastidious -- and it gave me a different idea about how to write songs; that maybe it wasn't all just going to be a flood of inspiration." (Very Best Liner Notes 2003)

"It's a lot like pushing a boulder up a hill." (Clarion-Ledger 2005)

On performing
"[In 1972] we suddenly realized that even with a top ten single we weren't the Beatles. [laughs] We realized we weren't creating mass hysteria and then things started to cool out. I mean we'd be doing Take It Easy and everyone would go 'Oh yeah that's who they are.' But you realize that longevity and keeping your band together is what makes it ultimately." (1975)

"Kids want to see things that are totally different from what's going on in their lives. They don't want to see somebody on stage who looks like somebody they see at school. But we present that kind of image. The magic bands are the ones that live their trip on stage and if you're in a band like the Eagles, you focus on that to amplify your whole trip. We wear our personalities on our sleeve." ("The Eagles" 1975)

"There comes a moment when all of a sudden you're receiving simultaneous love from fifteen thousand people, it's pourin' into your body in a gigantic orgasm, an' you're drenched in sweat – alright, then you can draw the line an' say, 'that's me.'" (Phonograph Record 1975)

"There's nothing more exciting in the world - though I haven't witnessed the birth of a child, which I imagine would supercede this - than when you take a jet helicopter from Manhattan, fly around the Statue of Liberty and over to Meadowlands Stadium and see 90,000 people there waiting to hear you play. You land, go to your dressing room, tune up, and then suddenly you're out there playing the opening chords of 'Hotel California' while everyone goes crazy. There's nothing like that rush. No drug in the world will get you that high." (BAM 1982)

"I have friends who can't stay away from the stage, but I'm not that kind of guy. I don't miss the spotlight. I'm not someone who will have people over for a social evening and play them my new record. I enjoy performing immensely. More so now than ever, in fact. Those are golden moments for me." (1988)

"It's a wonderful experience. It's so much fun to play!" (2000)

"To play is to live. That's why they call it playing music. They don't call it working music. It is ultimately fun and liberating, and self-fulfilling, self-gratifying." (CDNow Interview 2001)

On the music business
"You might say I'm afraid to wake up one morning and find I'm not happening anymore. It makes me think of the whole desperate attitude again. I've always felt there's nowhere to go but down once you've reached the top, so I want to take just the right amount of time getting there. [...] Joni Mitchell has been an inspiration. It can be done. You can go further. YOu don't have to fizzle out at 27." (Crawdaddy 1974)

"I realize I can still do it when I'm 32, if I keep my perspective. If I don't overamp and die from success poisoning. This business is like walking through a mine field." (Rolling Stone 1975)

"If the Eagles were to fart in a bag, the label would have tried to get a stereo mix and ask me what I wanted on the B-side." (Musician Magazine 1984)


Quotable Frey Index