Glenn, always direct, zeroes in on the matter at hand: "Well, we're setting our sights real high for this record. It's interesting, we've got this house now—talkin' about energy in L.A. and stuff—Don's got this house that we've been writing at that's got a very nice panorama view of Century City all the way out to Santa Monica, and you can see Catalina on a clear day, and we sit up there and look out those windows. Still does it to me when the sun's goin' down and those lights start to come on; I can still get filled with wonder."
Don, the painstaking craftsman of the lyrics, expands on the subject: "We're still writing about the same things. We're just trying to have a better look at it, ya know, a more mature viewpoint. I mean, on this album we deal with things like single women and how they feel, and mothers with children and no men, all kinds of stuff like that. Grown-up problems. 'Cause we've grown up now. We thought we never would grow up, y'know, but I guess it's happening. It's strange because you tend to think in the back of your mind that rock 'n' roll is for kids, but it's not anymore." "Yeah," Glenn adds reflectively, "the audience grows up with you."
We adjourn to the engineer's booth of the recording studio to listen to the playback of the previous night's track. This is Bill Szymczyk's territory—he is a towering figure and he commands his space with acute authority. On the walls are pinned up various Eagles' callages—cut-outs from wrestling magazines, bizarre Polaroid prints—all with comic headlines or song titles. One is titled, for a possible new song, "You're really high aren't you?"
The tape starts running and the small room is filled with crescendoing drums which segue into a soaring, evocative instrumental song. It is mysterious and there is something disturbing about it, an undercurrent of violence. When the track finishes you are left hanging—the song has put you way, way in another place. "That's bein' called 'Teenage Jail,' offers Glenn, who wrote the music and the title. "That's a pretty visual instrumental track. Just with the title alone—when I listen to it all the images are there. I can see it all, y' know."
"Teenage Jail" is Glenn's metaphor for high school, and the constriction that all kids feel. Elaborating, Glenn explains: "Another song that we have been tentatively calling, 'You're really high aren't you?', is the antithesis of the song 'Teenage Jail.' it's just the opposite. It's gonna be a very pounding, relentless kind of thing with very fast guitar work in it, and we're hoping somehow to mix those two together in some kind of musical speedball, y' know, that just might go . . ." He mouths a noise which is a cross between a Ferrari revving up and the Concord making its sonic boom. "See we got those drums on the beginning, probably be faded in from another track or something."
Don Henley chips in, "We feel a definite need to try to bring back real rock 'n' roll because, y' know, this disco stuff and all this computer clone-rock. . . ! In that sense I agree with the punk sentiment, even though I don't agree with their method, in the way that they play sometimes. But, rock 'n' roll does need a revival for damn sure! It's getting too slick and too weird and everything—it's all androgynous, heartless, gutless crap." Page 8 Page 10