He's a tortured artist
Used to be in The Eagles
Now he whines like a wounded beagle
Poet of despair
Puffed up with hot air
He's serious, pretentious and I just don't care
Don Henley must die
Don't let him get back together
With Glenn Frey, Don Henley must die
Cut on the TV
And what did I see
This bloated hairy thing winnin' a grammy
Best rock vocalist
Compared to what
Bunch of pseudo-serious Kraft angst-a-matic
Don Henley must die
Put a sharp stick in his eye,
Don Henley must die
So. I was reading Suicide Watch the other day and was struck well by the following short screed.
i hate the shit out of Steely Dan and The Eagles and most of the 70s cocaine yuppie yacht rock . . .And I was like, colorfully put, but maybe you wanna give yourself some wiggle room over there? Don't get me wrong: I consider it a blessing that it's been years and years since I've had to hear anything off Hotel California, but there ARE on close inspection a few Eagles tunes loaded into my iTunes. Truly twisted songs like "The Greeks Don't Want No Freaks" and "The Disco Strangler" come to mind, and I do indeed dig most of The Long Run, anyway.
And while Steely Dan ain't first choice or anything, if I'm in a dentist's office, let's say, I truly believe you could do worse than "Josie."
What I think I'm trying to say is that you can be surprised by an artist, you can. It'll happen, bank on it; but if you shut the door, then you're stuck.
So anyway, to at least try and get things moving, it was Suicide Watch that put me in mind of both Don Henley and of the sense of space you just might wanna give yourself when making bold artistic pronouncements.
And then what should my iPod play for me as I'm driving home Tuesday?
You guessed it, the song we have here, "Don Henley Must Die."
I'll be honest. It's not a great song. Mojo's always good for a laugh, but the tune is just a little bit standard-issue, I don't think I'm out of line at all if I say that. But like "Gimme Shelter," like "Carry That Weight," like the Pistols doing their version of "No Fun," "Don Henley Must Die" has had its musical heft increased by circumstance.
The story goes that sometime in 1992, Mojo was doing a show at an Austin bar called The Hole in the Wall, when a drunken Henley appeared out of nowhere and climbed onstage. Mojo--as fit to be sheep-dipped as everyone else in the building, probably moreso--wasn't sure whether Henley wanted to fight or "debate," but what it turned out that Henley wanted was to sing backup vocals to "Don Henley Must Die."
Mojo was good with that, and Don proceeded to go through with it.
I'm not sure, exactly, what else in musical history, real or imagined, might work as an apt comparison to this truly crazy-ass happening. At first I was thinking that it might have been close to something like if Biggie Smalls had guested on one of Tupac's records. But, you know, if Mojo and Henley had been rappers, Mojo would have shot and killed Henley long before it got to the point where both men were in the same freaking building. . . .
What I guess it might be most like is if George W Bush had done a cameo in one of Michael Moore's films. Except that, like the hypothetical Tupac-Biggie get-together, that shit just never happened. No-one is disputing that Don Henley sang background on a song that mean-spiritedly jokes about his own death--and fucking asked to do so.
I've spent some time here suggesting that it is to an artist's own good if they can show a sense of humor about themselves, but even so, I'm frankly amazed at the determination not to take himself seriously shown by Henley in this whole thing. How can you NOT admire the guy, cocaine yuppie yacht rock or no?
It's probably Mojo himself who said it best about Henley: "The guy's got balls as big as church bells."
Mojo Nixon - Otis - 09 - Don Henley Must Die.mp3
242 kbps VBR mp3, up for six weeks