pop music

Eagles get back to Garden and Woods

David McClister

The Eagles will alight for two nights in Boston this month. Don Henley, Glenn Frey, Joe Walsh, and Timothy B. Schmit bring the “History of the Eagles” tour — which includes a special appearance by founding member Bernie Leadon — to the TD Garden on Sept. 15. The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame-enshrined group, purveyors of one of the best-selling albums in history, will also perform the next night in the cozier confines of the Citi Wang Theatre to benefit the Walden Woods Project, the Lincoln-based nonprofit conservation organization that Henley founded in 1990.

During the fund-raiser, the organization will present its Global Environmental Leadership Award to actor- director Robert Redford, and its Environmental Challenge Award to several recipients, including Nashua High School South junior Deepika Kurup — each of whom, Henley says, is “brightening the corner where they live and doing environmental stewardship on an exemplary level.”

Now approaching its 25th year, the Walden Woods Project still has many items on the agenda, including educational initiatives at the Thoreau Institute and a farm and agricultural program that includes a produce stand. “It’s a wonderful way to interface with the community,” Henley says. “They can stop by the produce stand, and we can give them information about the project as a whole.” He also hopes to expand the Walden Woods conservation footprint for longer-range projects, including the potential construction of a bridge that would enable both humans and wildlife to cross over Route 2 to enjoy both sides of the woods.


We recently caught up with the busy singer, songwriter, drummer, and conservationist by phone from his Southern California home on a day off from the tour.

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Q. Next year marks the 25th anniversary of the Walden Woods Project. Has the time gone by quickly?

A. The first 10 years went by pretty slowly, as difficult years usually do. (Laughs.) But the last 15 years have gone by pretty quickly. We’ve protected nearly 170 acres now, which doesn’t sound like a lot in the scheme of things. But when you consider that Walden Woods is less than 3,000 acres, and a lot of the other acreage is preserved by other conservation concerns — the Lincoln Land Trust, the Concord Land Trust, the State of Massachusetts — over 85 percent of historic Walden Woods is now preserved in one way or another, and we’re very happy about that. But I want to emphasize that there is still work to be done.

Q. At the event at the Citi Wang Theatre you’ll be honoring Robert Redford, who has a long history of environmental advocacy. Was that your choice solely, or is there a committee?

A. It’s a committee decision, but I’m on the committee. We only do this every couple of years; President Clinton was the first recipient, and Mr. Redford was the logical, unanimous choice this year. He and I have worked on environmental projects together in the past, and he’s such a great, down-to- earth, approachable guy . . . so involved and so sincere about what he does. I admire him a great deal.


Q. For years the Eagles took the greatest hits approach in concert, but this tour is chronological in nature and incorporates earlier, less well-known material. That was based off of the success of the documentary that was released last year, correct?

A. Yes. We tried to figure out how we could translate that into a live performance, and it’s been a lot of fun, especially having Bernie Leadon back with us.

Q. You’re also one of those groups with the luxury problem of having many songs people want to hear, which makes this approach more interesting and maybe a little riskier.

A. Some people don’t really recognize a couple of the early songs even though they were on the early albums, like “Train Leaves Here This Morning.” You can sort of tell that half the audience came to the party a little bit later. (Laughs.) But people have been very respectful and engaged when we talk about the early days of the band.

Q. For a well-known band, there was a lot of buzz around the documentary. I certainly learned things I never knew.


A. The documentary has been an amazing phenomenon for us in terms of generating new interest. We were doing all right before the documentary came out but, since it came out it’s been just incredible. And it’s still being broadcast periodically and it’s still having a ripple.

I’d like to give credit where credit is due: Producer Alex Gibney and director Alison Ellwood did a stellar job of balancing the content. We didn’t want to make just another “sex, drugs and rock ’n’ roll” piece. There are too many of those already. We wanted something more, and I think that was achieved. Being a person who greatly values and guards his privacy, it wasn’t easy for me to let them put all that “laundry” up on the screen, but people seem to like — and even respect — what they see. Most folks, including our most avid fans, had no idea what we’ve been through, because we always circled the wagons and kept our camp carefully guarded. In the end, that policy served us well. Glenn also deserves kudos for finding Alex Gibney. He did his homework and it paid off.

Q. In reading some of the reviews and commentary about the film, it seems like you might have won over some people who were previously not fans.

A. We did, and it’s a wonderful thing. I guess that’s one of the benefits of sticking around long enough. (Laughs.)

Interview has been condensed and edited. Sarah Rodman can be reached at srodman@globe.com. Follow her on Twitter @GlobeRodman.