In this May 7, 2012 photo, musician Glenn Frey is shown in New York. On his latest solo record "After Hours," Frey covers artist like Tony Bennett, Nat King Cole, and the Beach Boys. (AP Photo/John Carucci)
NEW YORK (AP) — You can thank Clint Eastwood for setting the stage for Glenn Frey's latest solo record, "After Hours."
His impromptu performances at a few of Eastwood's golf benefits ignited the spark for the Eagles guitarist to record his favorite standards. Frey covers acts like Tony Bennett, Nat King Cole and the Beach Boys on tracks like "For Sentimental Reasons" and "Caroline, No."
Throughout his 40-year career, Frey has dabbled in a little bit of everything. His solo career produced such hits as "You Belong to the City" and "The Heat Is On." He's also had considerable acting success, including a role in the hit film "Jerry Maguire" and the television series "Wiseguy." Then there's his incredible run with his band, the Eagles.
Frey said those side projects invigorate him whenever he goes back and plays with the band. Recently, Frey spoke to The Associated Press about the new album, his career and the Eagles.
AP: What sparked the idea for a covers album?
Frey: I used to play golf in the AT&T Pebble Beach (National) Pro Am up in Northern California. Clint Eastwood is the main guy up there. They have a volunteer party on Wednesday nights. Clint asked the comedians and the singers to come down and do a few minutes for all the volunteers, so he asked me to come and sing and I said I'd be happy to do it. On the note, it said please sing one of the songs you're famous for and something from the (19)40s.
AP: When did you know you had something?
Frey: Michael Bolton — fine singer — comes over to me a couple nights later and says, "Hey Glenn, I forgot to tell you man, Wednesday night you killed it. ... Those songs really suit your voice. You sang it very well. Have you thought about making a record?" Of course I said, "Yeah I have." He said, "You know, you should."
AP: What prompted you to actually record it?
Frey: I've always wanted to do a record of these songs ... but the real motivation for finishing the record was to get it done while my parents were still alive. My dad's 91 and my mom's 87. ... A lot of this is either music that they heard when they were growing up and when they were young or music that they heard while I was growing up. For me to finish this record and be able to present it to them is very meaningful.
AP: Does recording a solo album help you when you go back on tour with the Eagles?
Frey: I think variety is a great aphrodisiac, and I'm interested in everything. In my career, every time I've done something away from the Eagles, it's always sort of been nice to come back to the Eagles and I always sort of bring something back with my experience. Having made this record I really feel like I've improved as a vocalist ... I really kind of have a newfound swagger.
AP: What makes the Eagles so timeless?
Frey: When we were making records, our only goal was to make something good, something our peers thought was good, something we were proud of. ... I don't think it was a bad thing for us to break up for 14 years. I think that might've been a good thing. It gave people a chance to miss us. Yet at the same time in 1980 when the band did break up that was the beginning of classic rock as a radio format, so even though the band did break up, they played the Eagles all the time the whole while we weren't together.
AP: How do you reconcile the rock-star lifestyle and the reality of playing for more than four decades?
Frey: Well, when we were young, we partied after the shows and before the shows and sometimes during the shows. Obviously when we got back together in 1994, I think the playing field changed and the rules have changed and we've adopted a much more professional sort of approach to what we do, so I think that's really the big difference. We're just smarter now and understand what it means. I think it was OK to be a little bit brave and crazy in my youth years but there's nothing more unattractive than middle-aged adolescence.
John Carucci covers entertainment for The Associated Press. Follow him at http://www.twitter.com/jcarucci_ap