The Authentic Experience
Obviously, we must exclude any band with deceased members, as being difficult. True, there are collectors who have items of memorabilia on them with deceased band members and they are still trying to complete their item by obtaining the surviving members (one such story of The Doors comes to mind years back, when a collector purchased a Jim Morrison signed piece of paper and was able to get the surviving three), however for the purposes of this conversation, let’s assume you are starting fresh from scratch.
Rule one with the band Eagles: you best know the history of all 7 one time line up members, who played on what album, and be ready for some serious in your face rejection. Though, with luck (much luck) and wisdom, it can happen. You can have a complete Eagles signed, something, as part of your memorabilia collection. Yes it’s true; I have probably the largest collection of real, in person, signed Eagles memorabilia, found in any private collection. Fact of the matter, luck was on my side as I started collecting them in 1986, during what has been called, "their solo years". I could never, ever amass what I had collected then, now. That said, I currently have about 8 pieces that I am working on completing (call me insane). To get YOU started, here is a very brief history of each member:
RANDY MEISNER: Randy's signature would be required on every album from the 1970's excluding "The Long Run". He would even be a required signature on "The Live Album". Randy is/was by far, the most generous signer of all 7 members. He attended several autograph conventions/radio promo swap meet style shows during his solo career, and was known to sign in bulk, at his solo concerts. He is also well known for signing real signatures through the mail to his Studio City home. Very sadly, Randy currently has congestive heart failure and there is not a very positive outlook in Randy's future.
BERNIE LEADON: Bernie would be required on each of the bands first 4 albums, and including the "Greatest Hits" memorabilia. Though Bernie has lived in Nashville most of his life since leaving the band, he too is known for being a very generous autograph signer. Tough to find, but well worth the effort. There are not very many Bernie signatures currently floating in circulation.
JOE WALSH: Joe is known for signing ANY Eagles album/item you ask him to sign, but only played on "Hotel California", "The Long Run", and all the reunion stuff thereafter and since. Here is where your knowledge must prevail. Asking Joe to sign a prior album that he did not play on, compromises the integrity of your signed piece as it is not an accurate reflection of the artist on that album (for example). You can have Joe sign that prior to joining the band stuff (after all it’s your collection), if you want to, however, if you want it done right, strict strictly to the lineup equaling the product you are wanting autographed. That said, Joe Walsh is known as a very generous signer, especially when he is NOT in the presence of Don Henley or his brother-in-law, Ringo Starr. There are a bunch of Walsh signatures in circulation, probably more so, than any other member.
TIMOTHY B. SCHMIT: Here is where your patience will begin to be tested. TBS was at one time during the 1980's and very early 1990's, a struggling musician trying simply to keep his name out there and earn a living. He was a very generous autograph signer. Keep in mind, he only played on "The Long Run" album, but would be required on "The Live LP" and all the reunion stuff since. Progressively, since the 1994 reunion, TBS has a severe case of "the Don Henley, I am not signing for you, all you are is a re-seller" mentality. The key to getting TBS's signature is to keep the quantity very low, and to have a solo item as what you will first ask him to sign. Further, you need to look and act like a fan (preferably at a solo show) and you must be ready for him to personalize. TBS suspects everyone, seemingly, of wanting to sell his autograph, especially when being asked for on an Eagles product. Best advice, present and act like a devoted fan in asking TBS, for anything.
DON FELDER: Don's autograph is by far the hardest to obtain and the rarest of all real Eagles signatures in circulation. During the bands solo years, Don stayed out of much of the public eye enjoying his wealth and raising his family, from his Malibu estate. Magazines, even wanting to do interviews with him, could not find him. "E/T" had an easier job of phoning home, than collectors did trying to obtain Don's signature. Even during the reunion years of 1994-2000, Don still kept very low key and let Henley and Frey take "center stage" with the press and public, making his signature the toughest of all 7 members to obtain. Don is currently active with a moderate solo career these days, and though he only seemed to sign his autobiography for those two years of book touring (no memorabilia), Don has moderately signed autographs at his solo concerts and at his many charitable golf tournaments. It’s a hit or a miss, but bringing a copy of his 1983 solo album "Airborne", may increase your chances. Keep the Eagles first self entitled album and the" Desperado" album away from him as he was not a band member at the time, as well as anything after 2001. Those in between albums and years you must get Don's signature on if you want a complete. I do have his signature on all my "On the Border albums, though he is noted on the jacket as a "late arrival".
DON HENLEY and GLENN FREY: The only two members of the band to appear on every album, every tour, and every, everything. The road to any complete Eagles item of memorabilia has no stops with these two members. You must include each of them, period. Get ready for frustration, aggravation, and at times, even downright rudeness (Henley, a bit more than Frey). Currently, both of these very talented musicians are under the illusion, that everyone that asks them for a signature, has resale and EBay, as their motivation. There are stories upon stories upon instances after instances of the shunning of fans, by both of these artists. However, there was a time when this was not the case. I was able to obtain Glenn Frey at numerous solo shows, local radio stations, and personal appearances during the solo years. Don Henley, as well, did some of the very same conventions (at the same time as Randy Meisner) during his solo years as well as many book signings at his release of his Walden Wood's book. He would sign many items of memorabilia as well, during these numerous book signings.
Bad blood has been part of this bands lore, as has been 40 years of such amazing music. Don Henley once told me as I asked him to sign an album that he did not think was an official release, even though Joe Walsh had all ready signed it, that "Joe Walsh will sign anything. He would even sign your arm if you left out there long enough". Felder too has refused to sign items that Henley had all ready signed. However, with all that said, and now with the above knowledge, let me point you in a very positive direction and help your collection.
The easiest way these days to start an Eagles item of memorabilia, is to stick with a product from the current lineup of Timothy B. Schmit, Joe Walsh, Glenn Frey and Don Henley. Just by the numbers, you only have to worry about obtaining four total signatures. Each of these men, are supposed to be touring solo this summer, and there lays your best chance to get any/each of them. I was able to obtain TBS this past November at The Coach House in San Juan Capistrano (and like I said, Joe Walsh, away from Henley, is much more generous).
However, if you are a die hard, and a glutton for pain, and want the Mona Lisa of fully signed Eagles items, that "Hotel California" album, you better get Randy Meisner's signature FAST, or find one of the very, very many out there. His health, once again, is very poor. Also, be prepared: "The Hotel California" album has only 50% light area (light space) for signing, as the bottom half is dark. This may require a silver marker pen. Also, TBS, Henley and Frey all like to inscribe. Now, as a collector and keeper of the items I obtain, I never have a problem with inscriptions. However, I don't need 3 members of a band, all writing, "To Stephen" on an album that needs 5 total members. That could easily equal up to 10 names on an album which to me amounts to an oversized album/product of signed junk. It’s an overkill by the celebrity all in their attempt to keep down a products resale value (which in my final collection, isn't ever sold, anyways).
Further, Joe Walsh at times signs very big, His signature is known for being written on top of another’s. Therefore, do try your best and get his first, as to avoid ruining a previous obtained signature, ruined by his. Speaking of signatures, it is very important to make note that each member, do have a very nice and defined style of their signature. each autograph, even the "rushed ones" that I do have, still show very clear and precise.
PLEASE visit one of the funnest collections of signed, in person, and real Eagles memorabilia, in any private collection. http://www.rockandrollcollection.com/eagles.html Again, I could never in 2012, even begin to collect what you will see within.
As far as EBay, I have seen (what I perceive to be) some real Randy Meisner and Joe Walsh solo signatures for sale from time to time, but I have never, ever, ever, ever, seen what I believe to be anything complete that I can consider to be areal Eagles item, especially a Hotel California album (except those very rare items that the current band does sale for charity), and, by the way, are sold also through their website. Please do not go near Ebay, and look to purchase a complete Eagles item of anything, until you consult an expert on their signatures.
Lastly, if you are a REAL glutton for some serious pain, and want to obtain all 7 members on any one product, I wish you tremendous luck and sympathy. Yes, it can be done, but to start such a project in 2012, you are a far braver collector than I am. Yes, I do have about 9 items signed by all 7 members, but again, I started these 25+ years ago. My blood pressure pills do not contain a strong enough dosage, to ever want to start a piece of Eagles memorabilia needing all 7 members.
Whatever your Eagles quest is, please have fun with it. In my opinion they are collectively, the most successful and talented American band, in our lifetime.
CHEERS and SUCCESS to you and your collection,
Stephen Duncan -- www.rockandrollcollection.com
NOTE: Please visit my website and check out my Eagles autographs for whatever needs you may have. Though nothing in that website, especially the Eagles items, are for sale, I do have about 40% more Eagles items that is not yet uploaded and included in my final website collection. Those, I will sale. Please email me for any reason/any need at any time.. firstname.lastname@example.org