by Margaret Chrystall
NOT every band could promise the music they play might whisk you away to California – but if any sounds could, it’s the rock classics of The Eagles.
No-one knows that better than tribute band The Ultimate Eagles’ Danny Vaughn – who has been performing the music for seven years.
"Scotland just seems to be ever so slightly more Eagles crazy than everywhere else!" Danny revealed.
Ultimate Eagles take the music very seriously.
As they explain on their website, they try to recreate the music with "reverence, excitement and with a new stage show that focuses it’s bright lights on the 1970s, when the Eagles were at their mightiest".
That’s where they add "... you just might find yourself whisked away to the sunny climes of Southern California".
But when Danny makes the time to talk to whatson-north, he revealed the band were about to do a show somewhere a lot closer to home than that in their Hell Frozen Over tour, celebrating 20 years of the classic Eagles reformation album Hell Freezes Over.
"We’re in Newcastle City Hall, the production is going up as we speak and we’ll be soundchecking in an hour or so.
"It’s kind of all hands on deck in this band. We carry a lot of gear – 19 guitars – and this is the biggest production we have ever done this year.
"But every body helps with the loading and the unloading.
"And there’s rarely what you would call downtime cos there is always something to be sorted out – whether it be a film crew coming up to film in Scotland – with us, it gets busy.
"They’re working on some new promotiional stuff for the band we’ve had some very unique shows this year, one of which was the Union Chapel in Islington.
"It’s a fantastic setting and we played a more subdued, acoustic concert. We also brought in the Cambria String Quartet – so it seemed an awful waste not to try to get that on film for future use.
"It was something we had been talking about and our manager had been to the Union Chapel to see a gig and he said he saw it as a great chance for us to show a different set of skills.
"We approached it as a special event and it was appreciated that way.
"We had a lot of good comments, things like ‘This is one of those shows that years from now I’d be happy to say that I was there’. That’s really nice.
"It’s the same show we’re bringing up to Inverness."
There will be a lot more equipment for the Inverness show.
Danny said: "The Ironworks has a great lighting rig set-up. It’s just a matter of seeing how much of our stuff we can get onstage!
"This time we’re travelling with a very large tour bus, a trailer and a very large splitter van with a lot of boxes in it!"
When he’s not touring with the Ultimate Eagles, Danny also has his own solo career, still works with band Tyketto as well as fitting in session work.
"One of the most important differences between us and the other bands who do the tribute Eagles shows is that we’re all seasoned pros with pretty much global touring experience in various forms and – I hate the way this sounds – but we do this because we think we do it better than anyone else.
"Our bass player is also the bassist for Thunder, so as soon as he finishes with us, he’s off to Japan.
"Next month I’m off touring Europe with my band Tyketto. Our musical director Christian does a lot of work for the BBC.
"So everybody keeps quite busy at what they do, but somehow or otherwe occasionally collide and put these tours together."
Danny was also in the Illegal Eagles.
"Several of us were in that line-up and the simplest way we can tell that story is that the wrong person was in charge and a lot of bad decisions were made. It’s a situation that should be so simple and so enjoyable to do.
"So four of us just said ‘We think we can do a better job’ and went off and formed the Ultimate Eagles instead.
"But we think there is room for everybody and we think our show is different from theirs.
"Our first set is taken completely from the Hell Freezes Over album and that DVD is the number one selling music DVD in history.
The Eagles Greatest Hits album will be in the top five of biggest-selling albums, that’s for sure – it’s up there with Thriller and a couple of other massive albums worldwide.
"It never stops amazing me – their global appeal.
"If you go on Eagles fans’ pages, you see how many peopole are on there from China now.
"We haven’t ventured too far from home yet, but we have been through a bit of Europe. The only funny thing I found out is that it’s a little harder to sell their music in Germany and the reason for that is the word ‘eagle’ in German sounds like the word for a hedgehog. So nobody quite gets it!"
The music has a wide age appeal too.
"It’s great when we do our shows that though the age group is generally a bit older, younger generations are coming along, young children too and they know the songs."
The Eagles sound is part of the American psyche, Danny argues.
"If you grew up in America you couldn’t get away from them.
"Even as a kid like me growing up in New York City, you were just aware of thm at all times.
"I was a metalhead growing up. I was listening to Led Zeppelin and later on Iron Maiden, but you couldn’t escape the Eagles. And even if you weren’t into the country-rock stuff,you could recognise the superior songwriting of that band."
You ask Danny about their reputation for being possibly slightly difficult ...
"Last year was their 40th anniversary and they released a three-hour long documentary. And you do get a sense that these are not easy people to get along with.
"But I think a lot of it comes from this intense desire to be perfect. They put that upon themselves but also everyone else around them.
"Rumour has it that this tour is their last one. I don’t know and I don’t know if they will make another studio album either. I think it would be sad to see them go. But the music is here to stay regardless."
The Ultimate Eagles play the Ironworks tonight (Thursday, October 9). Find out more: www.ultimateeagles.com They have a brand-new CD Bare Bones – Unplugged now available from the wegbsite featuring Ultimate Eagles acoustic arrangements of classic Eagles songs.
Keep in touch: Facebook: www.facebook.com/ultimateeagles