When Don Henley Revealed That Glenn Frey’s Son, Deacon, Was Joining Eagles

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Don Henley (via his Facebook page)

One of the unanswered questions regarding the 2017 Classic West and Classic East festivals was who would be replacing Glenn Frey in the Eagles’ lineup. The answer was supplied by the band’s co-founder, Don Henley in a radio interview two months’ earlier, on May 15. Deacon Frey, the son of Eagles‘ other co-founder, would be playing with the reunited band.

A rumor had been floated since the announcement of the festival that the younger Frey, who has performed Eagles music in the past, might be joining the band for these events, although no formal confirmation had been made. Henley revealed Deacon Frey’s involvement during an interview on with host Mike Rhyner on “The Hardline,” on The Ticket (Dallas sports radio station KTCK).

“I’m not supposed to say that,” Henley replied when asked directly whether Frey would be involved in the shows. He then let the cat out of the bag: “Yeah, he is,” Henley said. “There’s going to be an official announcement in a few days but let’s just do it here. Glenn’s son Deacon is a very talented young man, and he seems to be up for the task. He’s enthusiastic about it and he’s been working real hard on it, and he’s gonna do it with us. I think that’s appropriate.”

Initially, many fans were were surprised to learn that the Eagles were booked to perform, as Henley had said following Glenn Frey’s death that the band would pack it in permanently.

“I never planned on it coming out this way but it’s my responsibility to carry on this legacy and to keep these songs alive,” he said. “Apparently people still want to hear them. I thought we were done when Glenn passed away and I said as much, but I was in a state of shock at the time. But we have gotten a lot of messages from people all over the world from people who would like to see things continue.”

Deacon Frey performing in 2009

Henley explained further: “There’s an old system both in Eastern and Western culture called the guild system where the father is the master and the son is the apprentice. The trade, the craft, the business is handed down from father to son. I think it’s the only appropriate way to carry on. I don’t think I’d do it otherwise. Since it’s Glenn’s blood, it’s his son, I think that’s appropriate. There’ll be one more musician along for the ride too, but I’m not gonna say who that is.” (It was later revealed to be Vince Gill.)

Related: A record label exec looks back at a meeting with Glenn Frey

The festival took place at Los Angeles’ Dodger Stadium July 15, with Eagles, Steely Dan and the Doobie Brothers, and July 16, with Fleetwood Mac, Journey and Earth, Wind & Fire. The same bill came to New York’s Citi Field on July 29-30.

Related: Recap of Eagles’ Classic East set on July 29

Watch the younger Frey sing lead on “Take It Easy” in 2023

During the two-part interview, a relaxed-sounding Henley also spoke about his own star-studded birthday concert, which took place on July 22 in Dallas (the weekend between the two festival dates). Guest artists included Stevie Nicks, Joe Walsh, Timothy B. Schmit, and Patty Smyth.

The Eagles in the ’70s

Henley also talked about his initial meeting with Glenn Frey and the formation of the Eagles (first as Linda Ronstadt’s backing band), his abstention from alcohol while on the road (“Alcohol does something to my vocal cords. I like red wine; I collect it. But if I drink one sip I’m screwed for a month), and the current state of music.

“I wonder what’s going to be around 30, 40 years from now of what we’ve got today,” Henley said in the interview. “Frankly, I don’t see it…Everything now seems to be pretty short-lived and pretty fluffy.” Eagles, he said, came along during “the golden age of the music business. We made records at a time when people were still willing to pay for music…We built something.”

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Watch Glenn and Deacon Frey, along with Don Was and his son Henry, performing in 2010

After the Classic East and West festivals, Eagles resumed touring that fall, and have continued to tour with the revised lineup. When they do, tickets are available at Ticketmaster and StubHub.

Related: Our review of a 2018 concert

Best Classic Bands Staff

7 Comments so far

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  1. Catfish
    #1 Catfish 16 May, 2017, 11:49

    Good to see Glenn’s son involved, because it’s not the Eagles without Some kind of Freys involved.

    Reply this comment
    • PallieWallie
      PallieWallie 16 May, 2017, 18:50

      This is great news as it was Glenn’s legacy to keep The Eagles going for the fans. And his son Deacon will be able to fill the void that Glenn’s passing left. He’s quite capable to step in and take over for his dad. I’m thrilled to hear the news. Kudos to Deacon.

      Reply this comment
    • KareBear
      KareBear 24 October, 2021, 16:59

      Deacon is so much more than filling in for Dad! He’s confident, poised, humble so talented and drop dead gorgeous!”

      Reply this comment
  2. Becky
    #2 Becky 16 May, 2017, 21:04

    It’s wonderful to hear Deacon will be following in his father’s footsteps!! Obviously, we would’ve loved to have seen them perform together, but perhaps Deacon will help keep The Eagles’ spirit alive and his father’s memory alive as well…

    Reply this comment
  3. Joe
    #3 Joe 17 May, 2017, 00:19

    It looks as-if I’m gonna be the lone dissenter here. Bad idea. Will the band replace each member eventually? They should leave the band as-is… without any subs.

    Reply this comment
  4. J.J. What
    #4 J.J. What 17 May, 2017, 17:00

    I like the idea! The kid seems to know what he’s doing and that’s fine by me. Essentially it’s up to the rest of the band members. We’re just fans and I love the Eagles no matter what.

    Reply this comment

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