10.2.16

PALAZZO DARIO – The Palace That Tommy Bought


A family trip to Venice affords the opportunity to explore one of the more arcane tributaries of Who folklore, the Palazzo Dario that their co-manager Kit Lambert, flush with the revenues from Tommy, acquired towards the end of 1971. Located next to the Peggy Guggenheim Gallery near the mouth of the Grand Canal, Kit paid £115,000 and an unknown sum in bribes to officials so that he could move in during April of 1972. Part of its attraction for Kit was its reputation as a house of ill omen – a series of previous owners had met (and would meet) with tragic ends – of which more later.
          Right now (see below) the Palace is covered in scaffolding, its current owner having evidently decided to spruce it up. This was unfortunate as it spoilt the view from my water taxi as we sailed along the Grand Canal last Saturday. The scaffolding is covered in netting and there is a large poster stretched across the front of the building, presumably advertising the name of the architect and construction company engaged in its rehabilitation.


“The characteristic façade is covered with fine ornaments, marble of various colours, discs and interwoven roses,” according to one reference book I found in the apartment where we stayed. Another stated: “[It is] jewel-like in its combination of surface richness and small size… it has four storeys and two piani nobli [floors with just one huge room], and a generous water storey.”
The Palazzo Dario, or Ca’ Dario as it is known locally, was built in 1487 by Giovanni Dario who in order to make room for it arranged the demolition of an earlier Gothic house on the same site. Giovanni was a Venetian diplomat and a former envoy to the Turkish court and on his death in 1494 it was inherited by his daughter Marietta who just happened to be married to the son of the owner of the neighbouring Palazzo Barbaro, and the two adjoining palaces therefore remained in the possession of the Barbaro family for over three centuries.

This was the oldest picture I could find. Note the different chimneys and changes to the facade, presumably done towards the end of the 19th Century.

The Palazzo Barbaro is on the left

Between 1838 and 1842 Ca’ Dario was occupied by Rawdon Brown, a British student of Venetian history, and thereafter it has had several owners. At the end of the 19th Century the proprietor was the Countess de la Baume-Pluvinel, a French aristocrat and author, who undertook a good deal of restoration, including a new staircase, chimneys and replacing the marble on the front. In 1908, the impressionist Monet was sufficiently impressed with its fancy façade to paint it from the other side of the Grand Canal.  

Monet's view of Ca' Dario

It is the series of later owners who contributed to Ca’ Dario’s macabre standing: Charles Briggs, a rich American, committed suicide there; Count Filippo Giordano delle Lanze was assassinated there (shot several times in the head by a disloyal friend in 1970); businessman Fabrizio Ferrari went bankrupt; and industrialist Raul Gardini shot himself at another of his homes in Milan after being involved in a political/financial scandal. Kit arrived between Lanze and Ferrari, owning Ca’ Dario for seven years until he sold it in 1979 for £360,000 plus, controversially, £34,000 for its contents. His tidy profit was scooped up by his creditors as he too was bankrupt by this time, thus continuing the tradition of misfortune among the owners of Ca’ Dario. It was then purchased by the opera singer Mario Del Monaco but in keeping with morbid custom he died from a heart attack three years later at the age of 67.
In Andrew Motion’s book The Lamberts, his study of three generations of Kit’s family, Pete Townshend says the members of The Who were dismayed by the number of sycophants that stayed there at Kit’s expense. “He desperately wanted us to go [and stay there], but we weren’t interested, or too busy,” says Pete. In the event his principal visitors were his old Oxford college friends Daria Chorley (whose Christian name added a further incentive to buy it) and Robert and Jane Fearnley-Whittingstall. When Kit was detained elsewhere his assistant Anya Forbes, once married to Byrd Chris Hillman, found herself looking after Ca’ Dario for months on end.
Today the building is privately owned but occasionally used as an extension of the neighbouring Guggenheim Gallery for large art exhibitions. On Saturday I wandered around the back and at the ‘land’ side rear gate pressed the buzzer but no one answered. Even if they had I doubt I’d have been invited inside.

Two views of the rear of Ca' Dario

It’s not hard to understand why this strange and wonderful city appealed so deeply to a man of Kit Lambert’s sensibility; the ornate splendour of its architecture, the intrigue of the masks and old-fashioned costumes worn during carnival, the fine dining and wining, the romance of the canals, the elegance of the strong and handsome gondoliers who ply their trade amongst the waterways in their traditional striped tops and straw hats – so much more evocative than humble London cabbies.
Like Kit, the city of Venice is steeped in art and culture, so it wasn’t hard to imagine the man I once knew clambering out of a gondola to enter his palace from the front or stumbling over the bridges and through the narrow alleyways towards the rear, fumbling drunkenly with his keys in the lock on the gate and making his way unsteadily down the narrow passage that separates Palazzo Dario from Palazzo Barbaro next door.
Forty years later I took great pleasure in following in his footsteps, taking a few photographs and playing both ‘The Overture’ and ‘Underture’ from Tommy on my iPod as I gazed up at the rear of Ca’ Dario and imagined Kit in his pomp, the proprietor of a genuine palace no less.


My daughter Olivia took this picture of me (making the Lucky Who sign) by the back gate. Unfortunately it’s hard to make out Ca DARIO on the cross beam as it’s very faded. The rest of the pictures were either taken by me or scanned from the reference books I found. 


Information for this post was obtained from several guidebooks and histories of Venice, the internet and Andrew Motion’s indispensable book The Lamberts: George, Constant & Kit (Chatto & Windus, 1986).

4.2.16

THE BEATLES - Tribute Band in St Ives

I have neglected the blog in the past week because my life has taken on a different pattern, and I need a bit of time to adjust. Tomorrow we are off to Venice for a few days to celebrate our 25th wedding anniversary, and because this is a mini-holiday I got to thinking about one of my earliest posts, one I did before Just Backdated was launched and I used to post things on Facebook. This is from September 2013, when Lisa and I were spending a week in St Ives in Corwall and we stumbled on a Beatles tribute band…


Across the harbour, as we neared the pub, it sounded like ‘The Night Before’, the song from Help!, not the most obvious choice for a covers band, but when we got closer they were playing ‘Do You Want To Know A Secret’ from the first album, and then ‘We Can Work It Out’. When that switched to ‘You Can’t Do That’ Lisa and I had to go inside, and sure enough, on a Tuesday night in late September, a local Beatles act called Not The Beatles was going through the routine – Beatlemania era songs followed by Sgt Pepper era followed by White album/Abbey Road era, complete with appropriate gear, costumes and between song patter – in the Lifeboat pub on the shorefront in St Ives. They weren’t the best tribute band I’d ever seen but that didn’t matter as much as what they played and the good humour with which the songs were delivered. The pub was heaving full, all ages, from teens to grannies, and everyone stood to watch, having the time of their lives, and I guessed that although the time of many of those lives would have been the sixties, a good proportion had been born after John died, and less than half could remember the time when The Beatles ruled the world.
In amongst the crowd, all sweaty and mad for it, we watched and listened. They reeled off all the songs you would expect, the well known (‘Paperback’, ‘Tripper’, ‘Submarine’) and some you wouldn’t have (‘I Need You’, ‘Hide Your Love Away’, ‘I Should Have Known Better’) and everyone in this pub sang along, word perfect, to every single song, at the tops of their voices. During ‘Submarine’, sung of course by Ringo, four or five girls at the front, in their twenties, held hands and formed a line, clearing the floor as they line-danced back and forth towards and away from the group. Paul, violin bass to hand, grinned while John with his black Rikki leered, just as you would expect him to do.
After 20 minutes or so we left to get some air and I had a pint of Guinness in another pub down the road, still overlooking the harbour, and then we walked back to where they were playing. This time it was ‘Lucy’, followed by ‘Penny Lane’ and ‘Get Back’ and then my favourite, ‘Don’t Let Me Down’, which was received like the number one hit it ought to have been, and after ‘Obla Di’ and ‘Here Comes The Sun’ came ‘Yesterday’, community-sung like a hymn to which everyone seemed to know all the words like they’d sang it in school, and then we left the pub again and sat on a bench overlooking the water and listened as they headed up the home straight, ‘All My Loving’, ‘Revolution’, ‘Jude’ and, as I predicted, ‘Twist And Shout’. We’d caught maybe half the entire set, probably missing the early stuff, ‘She Loves You’ and ‘Hold Your Hand’ and some mid-period, which was a shame but then again we’d no idea we’d stumble on the Fabs in the first place.
If ever proof was needed that The Beatles are universally adored, here it was: big bald men with tattoos, younger lads with their girls in low-neck dresses, white-haired men with their wives of 30 years or more, older ladies for whom these songs brought back a time when they would have screamed their heads off at them, likely lads and sexy girls on the pull, tipsy holidaymakers up for it, middle-aged couples enjoying the moment, even the odd dog, and me and Lisa, perhaps more critical than most – “That guitar tone isn’t right,” I said at one point. “Shut up,” said Lisa, grinning – and all of us in rapture to what surely has now become the national songbook, the Beatles’ songbook, loved now and forever by everyone of all ages from the tip of Cornwall to everywhere else.
Shake it up baby now...


28.1.16

OMNIBUS PRESS – A Personal Choice


At the close of play tomorrow I retire as Senior Editor at Omnibus Press, a job that I have held for 33 years, although I have been asked to stay on for another two years as a consultant to Omnibus and its parent company Music Sales. It was towards the end of 1983 that my predecessor Miles, aka Barry Miles, rang to ask whether I wanted his job. Yes please, I said, never imagining for one minute that I’d devote the rest of my working life to commissioning and editing rock books for Omnibus.
          Earlier this week my friend Dave Lewis, who knew about my impending retirement, asked me to compile (for his Led Zeppelin fanzine/website Tight But Loose) a list of what I considered to be the 25 ‘best’ books that I had worked on (out of around 800). So I did just that, and added an intro to explain the criteria in a few cases.
          The Omnibus Press logo below was designed in 1990 by Lisa Pettibone when she worked in our art department. A year later she became Mrs Charlesworth. I still love the way it looks like a vinyl album with a musical note in the middle, yet suggests the initials OP at the same time.





The top ten is roughly in order of preference, thereafter in no particular order. I have restricted the list to books that I have personally worked on, as opposed to books bought in from packagers or US publishers. In almost every case I saw the books through from an initial meeting with the authors to discuss an idea right through to checking the final proofs before it was printed. The only real exception is Pete Frame’s Rock Family Trees where I had little to do as Pete delivers his ‘Trees’ as finished artwork. The first two Family Trees books were published before I arrived at Omnibus then compiled into one ‘Complete’ edition, and Pete has produced a further three books during my watch.
          In the case of Neal Preston’s Led Zeppelin photo book, I worked closely with Neal – an old friend – on a complete revision of the original Vision On book (which he hated), and although the Floyd Mind Over Matter book was originally published by Sanctuary this latest (2015) edition involved a good deal of delicate negotiation with the Floyd’s management and Peter Curzon who took over the Storm Thorgerson Hipgnosis Archive after Storm’s death in 2013.
          The oldest title on the list is Uptight! which was commissioned by Miles as a book with integrated illustrations but later republished and revised as text only, overseen by me. The Syd Barrett book came to me around 1990 as a typed manuscript on 200 sheets of A4 paper that had been rejected by dozens of publishers who probably didn’t know who Syd was. It’s been one of our best sellers, as has the Ian Dury biography which was also rejected by many others until Ian announced he had incurable cancer. To the disgust of author Richard Balls many of those who’d initially rejected it promptly changed their minds when this became known but by that time I’d signed him up so he could tell them all to make love elsewhere. I am pleased to report that Macmillan Cancer Support, which receives a proportion of the royalties, has now benefitted by over £12,000 from the sales of Richard’s book. 
          In the case of Timothy White’s Bob Marley bio, I noticed that the original edition had gone out of print and chased Timothy for a revised edition for Omnibus, thus initiating what turned out to be a close and valued friendship that endured until his sad and unexpected death in 2002. A few weeks before, Tim had been in London to appoint a new bureau chief for Billboard, of which he was editor, and we met to discuss his writing a joint biography of George Harrison and Eric Clapton – Tim was especially friendly with George – which would have traced their intermingling lives, loves and music. Alas, it never happened but if it had I’m pretty sure it would have made the list.
          I was quite proud of Bowiestyle but, unfortunately, David didn’t like it because, unbeknownst to me, an ‘expert’ I had contracted to help caption the photographs added his name as a co-author at the last minute in the designer’s studio before it went to press. It turned out this guy had somehow displeased DB over something to do with a fan club that he had run. When DB saw his name on it he went apeshit and instructed someone in his office to go through the book with a fine tooth comb to see if it breached his copyright in any way and thus give him reason to serve an injunction on it. We used one photograph for which he owned the copyright and also included some lyrics, so rather than risk a damaging fall-out we took it off the market. I waited about ten years, then removed the caption writer’s name, the photograph and the lyrics and we republished it. There was no more hassle.
          Happily, most of these have turned out to be among our best sellers, especially Dear Boy, The Severed Alliance and Uptight!, each of which has now exceeded 75,000 sales over various editions. I have good reason to believe that very few political biographies reach this sales level and some bottom out at less than 10,000, so it’s nice to know that Moonie, the Smiths and the Velvets are far more popular several of our Prime Ministers, quite right too.

Dear Boy: The Life of Keith Moon by Tony Fletcher
Morrissey & Marr: The Severed Alliance by Johnny Rogan
Uptight!: The Velvet Underground Story by Victor Bockris & Gerard Malanga
Bright Lights & Dark Shadows: The Real Story of Abba by Carl Magnus Palm
George Harrison: Behind The Locked Door by Graeme Thomson
Pete Frame’s Rock Family Trees (various editions)
Looking Through You: Rare & Unseen Photographs from The Beatles Monthly Archive
Kraftwerk: Publikation by David Buckley
Had Me A Real Good Time: The Faces, Before, During & After by Andy Neill
The Who Concert File by Joe McMichael and ‘Irish’ Jack Lyons
Led Zeppelin Concert File by Dave Lewis
Crazy Diamond: Syd Barrett & The Dawn of Pink Floyd by Mike Watkinson & Pete Anderson
Bowiestyle by Mark Paytress
Under The Ivy: The Life & Music of Kate Bush by Graeme Thomson
Led Zeppelin: Photographs by Neal Preston
Torn Apart: The Life of Ian Curtis by Mick Middles & Lindsay Reade
Sex & Drugs & Rock’n’roll: The Life of Ian Dury by Richard Balls
Catch A Fire: The Life of Bob Marley by Timothy White
Mind Over Matter: The Images of Pink Floyd (2015 Edition) by Storm Thorgerson
Hey Ho Let’s Go: The Story of The Ramones by Everett True
Perfect Circle: The Story of R.E.M. by Tony Fletcher
The Rolling Stone Years by Baron Wolman
Godspeed: The Kurt Cobain Graphic by Barnaby Legg, Jim McCarthy & Flameboy
Mods: The New Religion by Paul Anderson
You Really Got Me: The Story of The Kinks by Nick Hasted



27.1.16

LED ZEPPELIN - Peter Grant Writes...

Clearing out some old files the other day I came across this letter from Peter Grant, the formidable manager of Led Zeppelin, who died in 1995. (If you click on it, it will become clearer.)



Out of courtesy and, as ever, reluctant to arouse his indignation, I had written to Peter at his retirement home in Eastbourne to inform him that Omnibus Press was soon to publish a book about Led Zeppelin by Dave Lewis, the publisher of the Zep fanzine Tight But Loose. With only the slightest hint of the menace that characterised his tenure as Zeppelin’s manager, it seems the cantankerous old gentleman had mellowed a bit by 1990. The book in question was called Led Zeppelin – A Celebration and was designed by Lisa Pettibone who not long afterwards became my wife.

22.1.16

ABBA REUNITE! - To open Björn's restaurant

After a fortnight in which I seem to have done little else on Just Backdated but react to the work of the grim reaper, it’s time for some light relief and who better for this than Abba? On another post here I comment on how since they went their own ways in the early eighties the four members of the group seem to have adopted a policy of never having their photograph taken together. Well, that changed on Wednesday night at the opening an Abba themed restaurant in Stockholm, as can be seen from the two photographs below.





Björn, Anni-Frid, Agnetha and Benny

This is the first time all four have been seen together as a group since the opening of the Mama Mia! movie in Stockholm on July 4, 2008, when it seemed they deliberately avoided being photographed as a foursome by standing at opposite ends of a group photo that also included members of the film’s cast. According to my Stockholm-based Abba expert friend Magnus Palm, however, Meryl Streep grabbed a private shot of them together on her mobile phone that night.
          The new dining-entertainment venue, at the Tyrol restaurant in Grona Lund, Stockholm, is based on the Greek taverna featured in the film of Mamma Mia!, and is backed by Björn Ulvaeus. I suspect that diners will be encouraged to sing along to Abba songs as they chomp on their vine leaves and moussaka swilled down with retsina, not a prospect that fills me with delight to be honest. Nevertheless, fans and guests paid 1,340 kronor (£110) for a ticket to Wednesday’s opening night where they could rub shoulders with the four members of a group whose dignity in declining serious money offers to reunite professionally reflects a level of integrity that a few others I could name would do well to respect.


20.1.16

THE EAGLES – Glen Frey & Don Henley Interview, December 1976, Part 2


Part 2 of my 1976 Melody Maker interview with Eagles Glenn Frey and Don Henley.


Neither Glenn Frey nor Don Henley expected their Greatest Hits 1971-1975 album to do as well as it did. “I never expected it to do five million,” said Frey with genuine disbelief. “The numbers this year are staggering, and I try not to look at them anymore. It’s a different kind of person that buys ‘Greatest Hits’ albums... people who buy them for gifts for children and not the kind who buy regular albums. I think you reach more people with them... you reach the over 25’s and the under 15’s a lot.”
          Henley seemed vaguely embarrassed by the success of the record. “Let us say that we aren’t really advocates of ‘Greatest Hits’ albums,” he said. “They are more or less a ploy by the record company to get free sales. They don’t have to spend any money to make them and they get a lot of money back. We got a couple of hate letters after the Greatest Hits album came out that said we were selling out... they said that us and Steve Miller were the last bands who were holding off selling out this way.
          “But we didn’t have anything to do with it. The record company put it out and we couldn’t stop them. We had a say in picking the tracks, sequencing them and doing the graphics.”
          “I must say,” said Frey, “that the eagles’ skull which appeared on the sleeve is not very good karma in terms of the American Indian. By putting this shiny Eagles’ skull on the album we felt like we knew where the ‘Greatest Hits’ thing was at.”
          “That was what we looked like after writing all those songs,” quipped Henley. “But another reason why I didn’t feel bad about putting a ‘Greatest Hits’ album out was that it definitely marked the end of a phase for us. It marked the end of five years, and this new album opens up a whole new era for us.
          “Ever since ‘Best Of My Love’ kicked off a whole big thing for us, moving us from the top 90 per cent of bands in America to the top 10 per cent, we’ve been running and I never had time to stop and think about how well the Greatest Hits record did. We just wanted to stay busy.”
          A pattern, coincidence perhaps, seems to be emerging with the release of Hotel California. The Eagles’ first album contained three hit singles – ‘Take It Easy’, ‘Witchy Woman’ and ‘Peaceful Easy Feeling’ – and was followed by a concept album Desperado; the One Of These Nights album contained three hit singles – the title track, ‘Lyin’ Eyes’ and ‘Take It To The Limit’ – and is followed by their second concept approach.
          “Like Desperado it didn’t necessarily start out to be a concept album but it became one after all,” said Henley. “It’s a more urbane version of Desperado inasmuch as the symbolism isn’t set in the past but is here and now.”
          “We had all those hit singles off One Of These Nights and that gives you more room to breathe and make an album more like the kind of album we really want to make,” said Frey. “We took some artistic liberties with the new record which we hadn’t taken before, and part of it was because we felt a slight ease of pressure because the last album had done so damn well.”
          “Hit singles are no crime,” said Henley. “Some people view them to be something that can’t be good artistically and that’s total nonsense as far as I’m concerned. Paul Simon has hit singles, Bob Dylan has hit singles, Neil Young has hit singles, and the Beatles had lots of hit singles.
          “The way the record business is structured these days... if you don’t have singles you can forget it. You can work for 10 years making eclectic and artistic underground albums and maybe you’ll get the recognition you deserve when you’re half-dead.
          “But even the FM stations here are playing singles just to stay in business. Admittedly there’s a lot of fucking rubbish in the singles charts. I won’t mention any names though we all know who they are, so I think AM needs a shot in the arm and I am glad that we can contribute something that I consider quality music to the AM airwaves. God knows... it needs something.
`“There’ll be some singles off the new album, but they’ll be long songs. None of the tracks is much under five minutes long, but we’re going to release a double-sided single of ‘New Kid In Town’ and ‘Victim Of Love’.”
          A Hammond organ makes its first appearance on an Eagles’ album in Hotel California, and Walsh was also brought in on various synthesizers, a talent which came as a bonus surprise to the rest of the band. Extra keyboard instruments are now accompanying the Eagles on the road.
          “We have to beef up the act to stay in there,” said Henley. “We don’t want to beef it up with flash and meaningless theatrics like funny clothes and flashlights, or smokebombs or any crap like that. The group has to keep growing musically on stage, even though we do have to keep playing old material.
          “When Joe arrived, the older songs began sounding different. I think we were tighter and less cluttered on stage. I can still sing ‘Witchy Woman’ as inspired as the first time I ever sang it because people want to hear it, and that’s enough for me. Sure I can get tired of it after I’ve been out on the road for three weeks, but each night seems to bring out a little more inspiration in any particular song.”
          “For me this summer it was Joe’s stuff that excited me,” said Frey. “It was good to know that after three more Eagles songs we were going to do one of Joe’s. And, of course, the new stuff is always more interesting. It was good to see if we could pull off ‘Hotel California’ and ‘Wasted Time’, to see if we could make them happen and make the audience dig new tunes.
          “I guess ‘Take It To The Limit’ as well. Randy (Meisner) gets a standing ovation whenever he hits the high notes, and sometimes the applause goes on for two or three minutes. In the last year and a half Randy has really found himself as a vocalist. ‘Take It To The Limit’ and ‘Too Many Hands’ were sung with so much brilliance on the record that he is a changed singer in the solo vocalist category. In the group he’s always been phenomenal,” said Frey.
          “Randy has always been the ribbon on our package. He provides all the bottom and the top, but we have to find the right song for his high voice and that usually means it must be in the ballad category. He delivers on such high intensity too... he even sounds a little like Gene Pitney.”
          “He’s kind of a quiet, shy guy with a family, and he’s also been doing it longer than we have,” said Henley. “He was in a band called the Poor out here in 1968 and then in Poco, and he doesn’t care about interviews and so forth. As far as he’s concerned he’ll just let Glenn and me shoot off our mouths and make fools of ourselves. He does his job and goes home to Nebraska when it’s done.”
          “We’ve come to learn that we are different people,” said Frey. “We learned through the experience of this group that you can’t try to change people to the way you want them to be. Randy is a very dedicated musician and when he goes home he gets to work on new ideas for the next album in a little studio he has built. Felder lives here in Malibu and he stays there in his own studio recording like a madman. These things are going on all the time in this group. We have been together almost non-stop for the past 11 months.”
          “And that’s much too much togetherness,” said Henley. “When we do get away we like to get away properly. We all have ladies and other friends, and this year we’ve neglected our relationships with other musicians like Jackson Browne, J. D. Souther, Linda Ronstadt and other people we would like to hang out with and write songs with a little more. In the next two or three months we’d like to re-open all those doors and think about our next album.
          “John David had a great deal to do with Hotel California, and had Jackson Browne not been in the studio making The Pretender, I’m sure that he would have been involved as well. J. D. helped us do ‘New Kid In Town’ and he helped us finish ‘Victim Of Love’ too.”
          “Bill Szymczyk (the band’s producer) was also very instrumental in helping us with the musical side of this album,” said Frey. “He’s always influenced us in the R&B direction and in the rock’n’roll side. I think that the recording technique that we developed and perfected by the time we got to One Of These Nights reached a conceptual peak here.”
          Although it appears that, as almost always, the band are writing about the state of California, Henley insists that it is just a microcosm for the rest of the country. “It’s the Bicentennial Year, and this is our Bicentennial statement,” he said. “It’s kind of about the demise of the sixties and the decadence and escapism we are experiencing in the seventies. It’s also about the kind of limbo we’re experiencing in the music business while we’re waiting for the next big surge of inspiration, like The Beatles or whatever.
          “It’s an attempt to shake people out of the apathy they are going through, and also a comment on the destruction of the air and the planet and the ecology. I thank California represents all that because it is the vanguard of America, the farthest place you can go.”
          “We’ve often been criticised by people on the East Coast for marketing the Southern California lifestyle... the beautiful girls, the houses in the hills, the footloose people and all that kind of thing, but I think people have spoken too soon on that. We think that this album represents the whole worlds, not just California, as something elegant which has been corrupted,” said Frey.
          “This used to be a beautiful place and it still is fairly attractive, but America used to be too before we came over here and fucked it up,” said Henley. “We have a love-hate relationship with California. Like anything you love, you’re capable of hating it, too. On this album we’re simply holding California up as an example. I wouldn’t live anywhere else, though. I wouldn’t run away, I’d rather stand here and fight. The song ‘Hollywood Waltz’ was about people who came here and corrupted it then moved on somewhere else, but we’re not doing that.
          “This place has given us all we’ve got because we became successful here and we’re proud of it, but people from the East Coast have really nailed us to the wall for something that they think we represent. I think it’s really a personal vendetta rather than a criticism of the music.”
          Current plans are for the Eagles to play two dates in December – shows they had to cancel earlier this year because of recording commitments – and then take three months off before a European tour in April. “There needs to be a period of input after all the output,” said Henley.
          “Then we’re going to Europe to play various countries we haven’t played before,” said Frey. “We’ve never played in Germany and never played in France so that needs to be done. We’re also planning to play in Scotland this time around. The only time we ever did that before was with Neil Young. The last time we went to London was really the only time I could enjoy it properly.
          “We work so much because it’s therapeutic,” he added. “Sometimes it’s easier to be the underdog. We have to keep changing our goals so much now. What we have to look for, what I’m doing to keep me going, is to try and get better each time. I try to make my singing a little better, and my music a little better. At this point it’s either grow or stagnate, and we won’t do that.”