About the Fastlane
From time to time, we open our site up to questions about the band, band members or tours. Occaisionally, someone wants to know about us or about the website. For example, visitor Carolyn Morrison asked, "How long has L&M been a website & did it take you along time to put it together?" We always mean to sit down and write it all down (I know that I've already forgotten a lot of it) so we thought we'd take this space to tell the story of this site and this amazing fan community. It will probably be a long story, told in bits and pieces, so we hope you stick with us.
London, England...Where it All Started
Let's back up just a little bit here for a bit of biographical information. We (Lisa and Melissa...that's the L&M bit) are young for Eagles fans. We were in elementary school when the Eagles had their heyday. Our early memories of the band are hearing them on the radio. Lisa recalls cruising around in her older brother's Camero as he blasted "Life in the Fastlane" on cassette. So, we did what a lot of fans did...we backed into the band via their solo work.
The End of the Innocence album was released in the summer of 1989. We were both in college and over that summer, Melissa bought the cassette (probably via a Columbia House subscription) and played the hell out of it). I remember sending Lisa a letter over the summer about how I was really digging "...this Don Henley" guy (even though I wasn't sure if his name was spelled Henly or Henley) and that he was pretty awesome. We got a chance to see Don in concert that fall.
Here's how Lisa remembers it:
In the fall of 1989 we were doing a semester abroad in England (Winchester to be exact). One day while strolling around London we stopped at a ticket agent across from the Houses of Parliament to look at their list of upcoming concerts, all written on this huge chalkboard in their front window. We thought it would be fun to see a show in London. Eric Clapton was our first choice, but his Royal Albert Hall concerts were in January, after we'd be back in the States. Then Melissa noticed Don Henley on the list. She mentioned how she kind of liked him and how his long hair was "pretty hot" and wouldn't it be fun to see a fellow American in England. I was aware of EOI since it had been everywhere on the radio that summer and vaguely aware of the Eagles since, as the documentary pointed out, they were always on the radio in the late 70s/early 80s, but I wasn't really interested in seeing him. We couldn't find any other concerts that worked out cost and timewise so it was Don by default.
The concert was at Wembley Arena, right next to Wembley Stadium where Live Aid had been just a few years previously. Child of the 80s that I am, I thought that was pretty exciting. The arena at the time felt like a glorified barn. We had pretty good seats.....about 20 rows back. I didn't know what to expect....had no idea what Don would be like. He opened with Driving With Your Eyes Closed. I didn't know the song, but it was catchy and there were lots of flashing lights on stage. Seeing Don stand there with legs slightly apart, grasping that guitar he barely touched, black jeans, black jacket, vest and hair pulled back in a ponytail I thought he looked like he'd be a real jerk. I didn't think he'd acknowledge the audience at all and I didn't think he'd do any Eagles songs because somewhere in the back of my mind I remembered they'd had a rather unpleasant break-up.
I'm so glad he proved me wrong on everything.
One of my most enduring memories of the concert is how much Don talked! I think he told a story before every song. He went to great lengths to make sure we understood what Building the Perfect Beast was all about. I don't know if he was nervous or if he felt he had to explain everything to his foreign audience. He was so charming and funny! And then he did the unexpected. He went back to the drums and did Eagles songs! Very impressive.
I left the concert that night a new fan, but not a total fanatic. (I was still a Paul McCartney girl!). Total conversion to all things Don would happen a few months later when we saw him for the 2nd time on his birthday in Minneapolis. That night was just a magical as the first and spurred me to get all of his solo albums and listen to the Eagles beyond their greatest hits.
And that's how the obsession started
After that we went to several Henley solo shows. We road tripped to Kansas City with about $26.00 and a gas credit card. We drove all of the way to Ames, Iowa only to arrive at the venue and see signs taped to the doors saying the show was cancelled (remember, the Internet really wasn't a thing for getting late breaking news at this point). We saw Don at the Minnesota State Fair and on his birthday at the old Met Center in Minneapolis (which would now be smack dab in the middle of the Mall of America parking lot). We even bought him a birthday card (it had a cactus on it) and a yellow rose and gave it to local security in the hopes that Don would get it (he probably didn't).
We also started collecting Don and the Eagles at this point. We knew how to collect a band because we were fans of the Beatles. We knew how to use the Reader's Guide at the library to look up magazine articles and how to work a microfiche machine to read them. We knew about the back pages of Rolling Stone Magazine and Goldmine where people bought and sold photos and memorabilia. We wrote letters to other collectors (Hi, Karen M!) and attended record shows in ballrooms of hotels in the Twin Cities. We were so excited to find magazines and albums and photos. I still remember the first bootleg we found. This dealer had a box of VHS tapes sitting UNDER his table. He had one of Don Henley at the NY State Fair for $25 or $35. We scraped together the money and brought it home, not sure what we had. We were mesmerized. This was an entire Don Henley concert...fairly good quality. Don singing and telling stories all while a ferris wheel spun behind him. We were lost.
What further fueled our fandom, though, was when we were shopping one day in Sears. Next to a display of computers, Lisa found a box for something called "Prodigy". It would let you connect to this thing called the Internet and it promised that you could talk to people all over the world. We thought it would be fun.
We took it home, put in the floppy disk and had the modem dial. When the log in screen appeared, we put in our information and got a Prodigy ID (CCKV81A). Once logged in, we wondered what to do. We typed "Don Henley" into the search box and lo and behold, a whole new world appeared.