Gary James' Interview With Aaron Broering Of
The Premier Eagles Tribute Band
For Aaron Broering it's all about the music. The Eagles' music that is. Aaron Broering is the lead guitarist for The Eagles Tribute Band known as Desperado.
Q - Aaron, you were born the year (1972) The Eagles were really starting to break through, weren't you?
A - Well, get this. I actually found the other day something. What I'm in the process of doing is making up an intro CD for the band to take the stage to and I found an old Jim Ladd interview with Glenn Frey and Don Henley. Glenn Frey was actually talking about the fact that it was about August and September of 1971 that he and Don Henley had been on the road with Linda Ronstadt and hatched the plan to put together a new Country / Rock act. I was born March 17th of 1972, which means if you look around September, August, I was probably conceived a month and a half or two before that moment. So, my whole life has almost been synonymous with that band's beginnings and history and everything else. It's just cosmically coincidental with that. '72, that was right when it was all going down.
Q - But how can you relate to the music of The Eagles? It's kind of strange, isn't it?
A - Well, when I was a kid back in '75, '76, I remember three songs distinctly on the radio. One of 'em was "Fly Like An Eagle". The other one was "Rhiannon" by Fleetwood Mac and the other one was "Lyin' Eyes" by The Eagles. I just remember when I was a little kid being tagged along to gathering after gathering, party after party that my Mom got together with friends. For some reason those three songs stuck out. As an original artist and songwriter myself, to me what resonates the most about their music is just their craft. They were truly a fine group as far as writing songs and paying attention to details and harmony and melody, just lyrical content. No musical junk food. They wrote about great themes and everything else. So, they've been a great body to emulate, that's for sure. My Senior year in high school, my class song was just garbage. In truth, I felt let down by my age group as far as music goes. (laughs) It was just awful.
Q - There is no group around today carrying on in The Eagles' tradition, probably because they couldn't!
A - I'm a writer and an original act. I've done my studying of the best from the best, so I can try my best to sound and mimic like that. I've had two CDs released and the write-up in the paper was fairly and fondly compared to The Eagles. I really studied the craft they had and also commercially now, there'll never be another "Dark Side Of The Moon". There'll never be another "Stairway To Heaven". There'll never be another "Hotel California" because quite honestly they're not letting artists camp out and create a "Yellow Brick Road" anymore. They're just not being allowed to do that. They're basically just releasing singles and trying to cash in for a quick single just to ring the register and they're not getting behind the art or the artists and letting them create bodies of work like that anymore. The music industry is what is really to blame. They're not allowing music like that to come through anymore. And that's sad to me.
Q - We need something "big" to come along and change everything around. But since everything has already been done, I don't see that happening. I hope I'm wrong.
A - I'm certainly one of the people who are trying to prove people wrong. You'll see the same thing you just spoke about in sports as well. There is no present and there is no future. It's musically or athletically who comes out always reminds somebody of something else that came out before. The sad part is like you said, there's nothing really today that has any lasting impression or musical integrity in it that has not already been done by groups that did do it in the '60s and '70s, like the Beach Boys and The Beatles and The Eagles and Pink Floyd and Foreigner and Genesis and Zeppelin and Aerosmith. I mean, it goes on and on, the artists that were given the opportunity to create like that and prosper. The industry has just changed. It's all internet and how many units do you have on YouTube, instead of actually getting behind an artist and letting them become what they're going to become and investing in that. Now there's no investment. So, when nothing is invested in, the body of works become shallow and the potential of it becomes shallow and that's why there's no depth in it musically. There's no depth in it lyrically. It's all bubblegum. It's almost back to the late '60s with the David Cassidys, which made Cream come out and say this is ridiculous. We're changing this. They came out and started slamming things around with that rougher edge type music. Sadly, I don't see anything changing, but rest assured, if I had anything to do with it, that's exactly the direction I'd be going in. Trying to bring things back to where they were before, which is the integrity of the art itself. That's what's sadly missing in today's music.
Q - Maybe Simon Cowell will help turn things around in his new show The X Factor.
A - You know what one of his favorite songs in the world is ironically enough? "Desperado" by The Eagles. (laughs)
Q - You know more about Simon Cowell than I do!
A - I hate him, but I do know he loves "Desperado". (laughs)
Q - You might not like him personally, but he does understand the behind the scenes goings on of the music business. He's got that down.
A - Don Henley would speak profoundly about their manager Irving Azhoff. When he received their Hall Of Fame induction, he said "He may be Satan, but he's our Satan." (laughs) He wasn't a real affable guy, but he definitely got the right things done for The Eagles and saw to it that they prospered. Yeah, that's what you need, somebody like that for sure.
Q - Before Desperado you had played in another Eagles tribute band, Hotel California, correct?
A - Yeah. That was back in 1999. I had just gotten out of college. Again, I was a huge Eagles fan and spent the previous four years studying music in school and becoming classically trained, but still had one ear to the Pop floor and was a huge Eagles fan. So, I ended up right out of college auditioning for their band and got the gig and ended up playing with them for about a year and a half or two. But they were not the band Desperado is or was. Never did they dedicate themselves to the detail or the beautiful subtleties. They sadly were just concentrating of fairs and just getting by is the gentlest way I guess of putting it. I didn't want to be part of something like that anymore, so I let myself out and kind of put something else in a different outfit together and built a better mousetrap.
Q - Hotel California has a great reputation!
A - They are currently playing with recorded and pre-existing recordings of vocals and piano playing, which just happens to be me. In truth, they are only as good as the recordings they are playing with. They do not do any shows 'live', completely 'live' where every guy is playing or singing. It's actually consisting greatly of pre-existing recordings behind them. We are still competing against them for a lot of things in a lot of ways. We are, to my knowledge, the best known bands of the ones that are doing it free and clear of any pre-existing recordings. We do everything 'live'. We're doing it with five guys, where some guys are doing it with six and sometimes seven people. A great part of our sales pitch is, you're basically getting The Eagles from 1975 or 1976, the "Hotel California" type band, which is five guys 'live', singing and playing, and that's what we've really pitched, trying to sound like them in their hey-day and 'live' of course. So, there's a lot to be said about that.
Q - OK, so you're striving to get the music of The Eagles down as much as possible. How about the look of the band? How important is that?
A - I don't think it's as important as it would be for a Beatles tribute. They put on the wigs and the hats and they even talk in English accents and call each other Paul and John in-between songs. To be insightful, The Eagles were actually accused by one critic in the '70s of loitering onstage, meaning it really wasn't about what they looked like or what they dressed like. They were about kicking off their shoes and singing and playing the songs. That, I can tell you, we really take great pride in doing. We do have some guys in the band that very much sound like the guys in the band, but we're not trying to look like 'em. There is a couple of photos of me in the past where I actually do look like Don Henley, and I actually sound more like him than I look like him, but that's not, to us, a concentrated selling point. We basically try to say if you close your eyes, you won't believe your ears. You're going to hear The Eagles no matter what you see. That's really what we are concentrating on instead of being contrived and trying to put on the costumes. To me, their (The Eagles) music was never about that. They always had a little bit of mystique and a mystery behind them that was not left for just the eye, it was the ear. And that's what we enjoy doing.
Q - How often does Desperado perform?
A - Generally, when we're busy we play eight to twelve times a month.
Q - Every month of the year?
A - There's slower periods for sure. Late October 'til about March or April is a little bit sleepier than say May through September. There's Summer concert festivals then, but there's still a lot of casinos and showrooms we do in the Winter time.
Q - You primarily perform on the West Coast?
A - No. We've been to Canada, Washington State, Oregon, Nevada, New Mexico, Arizona, Texas, Illinois, Oklahoma, Missouri, Nebraska. It depends on who wants us and how long and what we can put in there getting there really and if the price is right. (laughs)
Q - Is there more money to be made when you're in a tribute band as opposed to an original band?
A - Well, if you've got the record backing and the promotion and the marketing behind an original act, obviously you're not going to get financially lucrative things right off the bat. I can tell you in my soul I would much rather be an original artist succeeding than a tribute band. The good thing about a tribute band or the term we call it 'cause "tribute" is equally as poisonous as it is prosperous, I think a specialty act is what we like to call it. It's not like a Top 40 band playing in a pub or a bar for three or four sets a night, getting four or five hundred dollars. If you're in a specialty act trying to sound and present an experience of the music you're out there presenting, I think the good ones will generally do quite well. I think that also pre-destines and determines your life span with it. We've been at it nine years now and obviously if you're good at it, you're gonna do well with it. The ones that are not kind of fall slowly by the wayside. If you're out there doing it, well, people are going to take notice of that. That's what we really strive for the most.
Q - You actually met two of the guys in The Eagles, Joe Walsh and Randy Meisner.
A - Yeah, and I recently met Don Felder, two years ago. So now, I've met three out of the five.
Q - So now you're only missing Glenn Frey and Don Henley.
A - The two big guys! (laughs)
Q - Do you think you'll ever get the chance to meet them?
A - God, I sure hope. I'd love to. I've met people that know them that said we've love to get your original material to Glenn 'cause he's got his own record label. I even met a woman who came to one of our shows in Las Vegas who is a very close personal friend of Don Henley's, who knew him as a child. He crawled up in their basement and fell asleep one day in Texas. They came to one of our shows and they were like, "Wow! You sound just like him. You remind me of him." I said "What are the chances of me meeting him?" And of course, sometimes it never materializes.