WHEN WE WERE YOUNG
In 1972 I was smitten with the Eagles’ first album. One night when I was looking at the photo of Bernie Leadon in the album insert, I told my roommate that I was going to meet him.Yeah, okay, she said, not terribly convinced. I was 20 years old, working nights in a restaurant and sharing an apartment with a friend who worked at the same place. About a week later I walked into a music store in Westwood to get some guitar strings and Bernie Leadon was standing right there. We went to the beach that day, went back to his house in Topanga, and ended up together for the next 4 years.
Things like that happened in the 70s. Things like that happen when you’re young and go where your heart’s desires take you. Bernie, and the rest of the band, were a bit older than I was but we were all young…then. We thought life was a wide open land with roads both taken and untaken, but roads that were there for our choosing. We thought each dawn would melt off whatever damage we’d done to ourselves the night before. We thought age and infirmities were inconveniences that wouldn’t visit us for so many decades they didn’t warrant any consideration. We thought there were no consequences to drugs and drama.
It’s been well documented that there was a lot of drama amongst the Eagles. There was between Bernie and me as well. We’re good now — comfortable with each other as friends who went through a lot together, including love. And as the world knows, the Eagles mended enough fences to go back on the road together.
Now Glenn Frey is gone, reminding us that time and age are everyone’s destiny, and that some of us die way too young. Glenn was 67; David Bowie was 69. Natalie Cole was 65. It’s a sobering milestone to reach, seeing people of your own generation dying. We think back to when we were younger, wonder why we didn’t treasure it more, have more reverence for it. Why weren’t we more gentle with the life that had been given us? But maybe that’s never what youth is. Maybe it is, by definition, always reckless and fast and dramatic. And maybe the best we can hope for is to find a reverence for life as we age, a grace and a gratitude for each day, each year. For the friends and lovers who have come and gone, and those who remain.
Bernie and I wrote a song together for the Eagles album One of These Nights; it’s called I Wish You Peace. It’s the last song on the album. I remember in Florida when they were recording the album and I was there with Bernie, Glenn — bouncing a basketball in the driveway outside the studio — said to me, “It’s a nice song.” I wish I’d told him then how much that meant to me. We end up with a lot of wishes as we get older — things we didn’t say or do. But hopefully it makes us slow down a bit, and think more deeply about every day we are given. Because we finally see how quickly the currents of life move. RIP Glenn.