Wisdom from Glen Frey

Wisdom from Glen Frey

Wisdom from Glen Frey

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Some wisdom from Glen Frey on the creative process.

After the recent passing of Glen Frey, I found myself listening to some Eagles' tunes that I have been hearing for 40 years. The music inspired me to check out the documentary, "The History of the Eagles", that came out in 2013.  One memorable scene from the documentary really stood out providing great insight for all of us, whether we are writing music, writing an article, developing or marketing a product, implementing a project, building a new business or many other creative endeavors. In the scene, Glen Frey is remembering his early days in Los Angeles, more than 40 years before the documentary was filmed. He was living in a small cheap apartment above his friend and fellow starving artist, Jackson Browne, who was living in an even smaller, cheaper basement apartment directly below.

We slept late in those days, except around 9 o' clock in the morning, I’d hear Jackson Browne’s teapot going off with the whistle in the distance, and then I’d hear him playing piano.

I didn’t really know how to write songs. I knew I wanted to write songs, but I didn’t know exactly. You just wait around for inspiration, you know, what was the deal? I learned through Jackson’s ceiling and my floor exactly how to write songs.

Because Jackson would get up and he’d play the first verse and first chorus, and he’d play it 20 times until he had it just the way he wanted, and then there’d be silence, and then I’d hear the teapot go off again. It’d be quiet for 10 or 20 minutes. Then I’d hear him start to play again, and there was a second verse, so then he’d work on the second verse, he’d play it 20 times, and then he’d go back to the top of the song and play the first verse, the first chorus and the second verse another 20 times, until he was really comfortable with it, and, you know, change a word here or there.

And I’m up there going, So that’s how you do it. Elbow grease. You know, time. Thought. Persistence.

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