What if they put out an Eagles album and nobody cared. Even worse, NOBODY KNEW ABOUT IT!
If you think even if they released the next "Hotel California" the Eagles would get Top Forty radio airplay commensurate with their status, owning the best selling album in HISTORY, your head is so far up your ass I’m stunned you can even read this. In other words, radio’s head is so far up its ass nobody who isn’t enamored of evanescent rap and worthless pop acts is even LISTENING!
Maybe if Glenn Frey shot Don Henley. Better yet, what if kicked out of the band Don Felder shot either one of the former. Hell, that’s a feud. They take feuds to the street in hip-hop land, you know you can’t get any justice in court, right?
Or maybe Timbaland can provide some beats. Make the music modern. So the kids can enjoy it. Hell, fuck integrity. You’ve got to give the people what they want!
But do the people WANT a new Eagles album?
No. Most buying ducats to an Eagles show just want to hear the hits. If they just played "Greatest Hits" Volumes I &II from beginning to end, customers would be THRILLED!
But that’s artistic death. And Henley, although he works at a snail’s pace, always likes to believe he’s moving forward. So you have a new album.
But people don’t even want albums. They want the single they hear on the radio at iTunes, if not for FREE! Hell, ever find any remnants of seeds and stems in a jewel case? Customers haven’t had that experience since maybe 1969, and to trade on it, to expect people to care, is to play like every has-been act recording an album that no one wants in the last five years. Whether it be the Doobie Brothers, or Pat Benatar, or even the Pretenders, NO ONE CARES! People just want to hear the old hits, if even that.
And Irving Azoff is too smart not to know that. And too mercenary to not want to get paid. And too afraid of Don Henley not to deliver.
So what do you do?
You throw the long ball. You make a deal with the devil.
I don’t give a shit if H. Lee Scott, Jr. separates glass from plastic, if he plants trees in Washington State, if he even wears hemp, Wal-Mart is a scourge upon America. Not only ruining small towns, literally wiping out city centers across this great nation of ours, but telling employees how to use public assistance for health care, disallowing sitting down at work, so older, more fragile people will quit, locking employees in overnight so they won’t steal. The day Wal-Mart pays a living wage, the day it cares about its WORKERS, is the day I start thinking about giving the company a pass. I’ve never been in a Wal-Mart because price isn’t everything in my book, PEOPLE ARE!
But despite all the philanthropy of the rich, they only care about their bottom line. Hell, how do you think they MADE all that money?
Chaired by Harvey Weinstein? Didn’t he just start a new movie production company and needs Wal-Mart to sell his DVDs? Ronald Perelman? Don’t they sell Revlon at Wal-Mart? Steve Rattner? Aren’t you the most raping and pillaging investment banker out there? Bob Wright? Doesn’t Wal-Mart advertise on NBC and sell Universal’s DVDs?
Philanthropy my ass. These dudes are just kissing the ass of the most powerful retailer in the world for their own self-interest. And I don’t give a shit about them, they’re showing their true colors. But what about Don Henley? Isn’t this a bit HYPOCRITICAL??
I mean I’ve got no problem with the Eagles selling CDs at Wal-Mart. After all, that’s where the people shop. But, do you have to kiss the ass of this ASSHOLE? I thought rock stars were above this crap. I thought you were about saving society, with Walden Woods.
No, you’re not an elder statesman, you’re no different from the whores and bottom-feeders who populate our nation’s capital. It’s ultimately all about self-interest.
Selling the Eagles CD exclusively at Wal-Mart, and that’s what’s gonna happen, make no mistake, is a MASTERSTROKE! Can you imagine the HYPE, the HOOPLA, the retailer is going to create? The ADVERTISING? If the big box business plan is to sell small items cheap so people will come into the store and then pick up big items, a cheap Eagles album is NIRVANA! Hell, even if that’s all you want you’ll buy something else. If for no other reason than you’re there, and you’ve got to wait in line so damn long to CHECK OUT!
Oh believe me, the new Eagles album will be cheap. Because there will be no RECORD COMPANY! No Elektra to take a giant slice and hold back/lie about royalties.
The CD will FLY out of the store. Millions the first week. Sales like we haven’t seen on SoundScan since the heyday of the boy bands. Will the sales last? Not for long, not if there isn’t a hit.
Maybe the hoopla will drive a single. I doubt it. But all the TV stations and newspapers will glom on to the fact that one of the biggest selling acts ever, still essentially intact, is selling its brand new album at Wal-Mart. And this hype will drive sales through the roof, just like it did with Bob Dylan, but at a multiple rate.
But unlike Dylan, expect the new Eagles album to be palatable, probably good. Hell, Henley is the Orson Welles of music, at least the Paul Masson, he’ll put out no new music before its time.
But it won’t be like the old days. You’re not standing on a corner in Winslow, Arizona anymore, certainly not driving a flatbed Ford, rather it’s all about home and family and now music is an accessory at best. The Eagles used to come for your daughters, now they just want that ten dollar bill in your wallet.
Ain’t that America.
Oops, wrong artist.
No, it’s the last resort. If you want to sell physical product. If you want to sell anything AT ALL in tonnage, you’ve got to play with Wal-Mart. Credit Irving and the Eagles for knowing this. But if you’d predicted the act that recorded "Life In The Fast Lane" would still be around decades later to put on jackets to play by the man’s rules, I wouldn’t have believed it. I wouldn’t have believed that music would mean so little. That it would be a commodity, as opposed to life sustenance.
Then again, as stated above, I expect the new Eagles album to be good. Henley’s still got it, it’s the audience that abandoned him. They want to hear the Eagles and the Eagles only. His last album, "Inside Job", was a relative stiff. Even though it contained winners like "My Thanksgiving" and "For My Wedding". People only want the Eagles, if they want anything at all. Yup, after all is said and done, even Don Henley plays by the rules.
Then again, within said rules you can make some mighty good music. I wish it didn’t have to be sold under the foregoing circumstances, but without them, it wouldn’t sell at all.