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Interview:
Bob Seger remembers Glenn Frey as "brilliant," "titanic" talent
 

By GARY GRAFF
Digital First Media, @GraffonMusic

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Bob Seger had been kept appraised of Glenn Frey's failing health in recent months.

But he was still "devastated" when word came that his friend of 50 years, since the two were running buddies in the Detroit music scene, had died Monday, Jan. 18, at the age of 67 in New York City.

"He was a great kid. I always kind of thought of him as my baby brother, a little bit," Seger said on Monday evening. "Sixty-seven -- way too soon. I never thought I'd outlive him. I feel bad doing so."

Seger recalled Frey as "a joy to be around. I always looked forward to seeing him. It was always memorable. He had an amazing sense of humor and was jsut smart, whip-smart."

The two rockers became friends after Seger wrote the first song Frey ever recorded -- "Such a Lovely Child" for Frey's band the Mushrooms. He also had Frey sing backing vocals on his 1968 single "Ramblin' Gamblin' Man."

"I just knew right away he had something special," recalled Seger, who presented Frey with a Detroit Music Award for Lifetime Achievement in 1997. "He had a drive, an imagination and a talent that was jsut titanic. He loved music. He loved soul music. He loved Marvin Gaye. He loved Al Green. He loved Otis Redding.

"I remember listening to the Jimi Hendrix Experience up in his bedroom in his mom's house, and we looked at each other and I said, 'Glenn, we're out of a job! This guy is so f---in' good!' and we laughed our asses off about it."

Seger noted that though Frey played piano in concert fans might not be aware that he was classically trained from a young age. "Those chords you hear on 'The Last Resort' and on 'Desperado,' that's him. He wrote those chords," Seger said.

"And make no mistake about it; he was the leader of the Eagles. He was the band leader. Never doubt that for a minute, and they'll all tell you that it's true. He used to tell me that 'Every single track's gotta be good. Every single track. We don't release an album 'til it's good." Seger added that Frey was also known in the band as The Lone Arranger;" "People would bring in a song and Glenn would arrange it."

Seger -- who co-wrote the Eagles' 1979 hit "Heartache Tonight" -- remained close to Frey throughout the years, hanging out whenever Frey returned to Michigan. They last saw each other when the Eagles played on July 24 in Detroit, and Eagles co-founder Don Henley kept Seger appraised of Frey's health issues.

"Every time I saw him in the last 10, 11 years, he was so grateful to the fans," Seger said. "The first thing he'd say to me -- normally he's start with a joke or something -- but then he'd say to me, 'Isn't it amazing, Bob, we're still doing this at our age?' I am so grateful that these fans keep coming out.' And he meant it, ever word. He was definitely sincere."

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