The Eagles are down one set of wings. Deacon Frey, who for nearly five years has been singing a handful of his late father Glenn Frey’s songs on tour, has left the group.
A band spokesperson says he will not be replaced on the upcoming dates on the Eagles’ ongoing “Hotel California” tour, which resumes after a lull on April 19 and continues through the end of June. “Deacon’s bandmates will take over his tour duties in his absence,” said the rep.
In a statement attributed to the entire group on its website, the band said, “Deacon Frey has devoted the past 4½ years to carrying on his father’s legacy and, after some weeks of reflection, he now feels that it is time for him to forge his own path. We understand, completely, and we support him in whatever he wishes to pursue in the years ahead.”
The band statement continued, “In the wake of his dad’s demise, Deacon, at age 24, did an extraordinary thing by stepping from relative anonymity into the very public world of his father’s long illustrious career. We are grateful to Deacon for his admirable efforts and we wish him well as he charts his future. Deacon’s Eagles Family will always be here to surround him with love, support and goodwill, and he is always welcome to join us onstage at any future concerts, if he so desires. We hope our fans will join us in wishing Deacon the very best as he moves into the next phase of his career.”
Deacon Frey had already been absent from the group’s shows earlier this year, which should offer a model for how future concerts will proceed. Of four songs he had been singing lead vocals on since 2017 — “Take It Easy,” “Already Gone,” “Tequila Sunrise” and “Peaceful Easy Feeling” — the first three of those were reassigned to Vince Gill and the fourth to Timothy B. Schmit.
Although Deacon Frey was with the band when the Eagles swung through California last fall — including a run of shows reviewed by Variety at L.A.’s Forum in October — he was not with the group when they resumed doing tour dates in February of this year, which was attributed to illness at the time. Frey’s being MIA then was explained in a social media post that read: “Deacon’s bandmates will take over his tour duties in his absence. Deacon rejoining the band for performances will be based on his recovery and doctor’s recommendations.”
Since the group started touring again in 2017 after the elder Frey’s death in 2016, lead vocals on songs associated with the fallen frontman had been split between then-new members Gill and Deacon Frey. Gill also sings numbers originally performed on record by ex-member Randy Meisner.
Variety recently interviewed Gill about a two-month run of solo shows he will be doing this summer in-between Eagles tour legs. He did not mention Frey’s absence but indicated that he was eager to get back to his solo career for at least a spell, even as he expressed gratitude for the gig and said he plans to carry on with the Eagles.
““I knew that the guys weren’t going to work in those months,” Gill tells Variety, meaning Don Henley and company, “and I said, ‘You mind if I go out and do some dates?’ They said, ‘Of course not.’ And so I’ve got a lot of guys who have played with me for most of their lives, and they could stand to make a little money and come back to work. … I’m more than willing to chip in and help out and do this gig with Don and everybody. But I feel like I have a responsibility to all those people and those crew guys who’ve been with me for 30 and 35 years and more, and people that have bought those records and listened to ‘em and love the songs. It’s a two-way street. I can’t just say, ‘Oh, I’m doing fine, I don’t need to do that anymore.’ ‘Cause that’s a whole lot of who I am, you know?”
Social media accounts believed to belong to Deacon Frey have had scant activity over the years and had no information related to his departure Wednesday.
Currently, the Eagles have listed tour dates only running through June 26 in London’s Hyde Park, with none yet announced for after Gill’s solo tour in July and August. The “Hotel California” tour, after resuming April 19 in Columbus, Ohio, will move through some Southern states — including two nights at Nashville’s Bridgestone Arena April 28-29 — before wrapping up its U.S. run May 28 at Las Vegas’ MGM Grand Garden Arena, where it started prior to the pandemic. Five U.K. dates follow in the second half of June.