THE EAGLES: ONE OF THESE NIGHTS - Spring 1975
Studio B mostly and some in Studio A
There were always drugs around with the Eagles; more as an accoutrement than a raison d’etre. Constant dope [marijuana] but I honestly couldn’t tell you who smoked and who didn’t — with the exception of Glenn Frey. I know he did. He’s the one who got me to finally take a hit of some ridiculous stuff after I hadn’t touched pot for over five years. That was the infamous evening when I took a hit and next thing I knew I was sitting on the floor in the corner of Record Plant Studio B control room, everyone gone and the 24-track tape machine running on with the tape flapping. Not a good thing since I was the engineer and in charge of the session.
The Eagles at the time were Frey, Don Henley, Don Felder, Bernie Leadon and Randy Meissner.
I personally think Leadon is the guy responsible for that spark of genius that made the Eagles so huge. He had come to the band from the Flying Burrito Brothers and had that country tinge to his sound — mandolin, pedal steel. I think that his musical influence was just the right authentic subtle touch that got the Eagles that little bit of airplay in the semi-country market that bands like Buffalo Springfield and Poco had mined, maybe unintentionally. It gave them a broader base and you could hear their early songs all across the radio dial. When they finally added Joe Walsh to the mix when Leadon quit/exited, the harder sound was palatable to their earlier fans who had appreciated the country roots Leadon brought.
Leadon was a bit of a story during the recording of One of These Nights. We did the tracks and overdubs at the Record Plant in Los Angeles. At the time, he was dating the daughter of Ronald Reagan, the governor of California. Patti Davis would come around every once in a while and it was not a comfortable thing for the band. The Record Plant could easily claim to be the very center of the hedonistic LA recording world that spawned the images of Hotel California. In fact, the vocal booth in Studio C did have “mirrors on the ceiling,” and “pink champagne on ice” was only as far away as one of the luxuriously appointed “theme” bedrooms in the back, built for band members and recording artists to frolic or crash for a couple of hours before hitting the studio again. The Record Plant was a maximum security event with a doorman/receptionist sitting up front with a button controlling the front door that would admit visitors. You had to get ‘buzzed in.’ Funny, one of the longest term receptionists at the front was a guy named “Gately.”
Anyway, whenever Patti Davis showed up at the front desk, the receptionist had strict orders not to buzz her in without calling the control room first. [To be fair, that was de rigeur anyway because artists and engineers hated to be interrupted during sessions.]
When the call came that “Patti is in the building,” joints were extinguished, mirrors were wiped clean and a general cleanup ensued. You could tell that the other band members were getting a little stressed about the State Police escort car in the parking lot. Whether those tensions were part of Bernie’s exit from the band or not, I don’t know. I just know it was always ‘different’ when the Governor's daughter showed up.
MB written 2015
Stephen Stills, 8511 Cole Crest and the Laurel Canyon Fire 1979
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