LOS ANGELES Country-rock veterans the Eagles are thinking of recording their first studio album in 20 years.
"What we've been waiting for is the possibility of doing a studio album," guitarist Glenn Frey said during a morning press conference at a rehearsal studio here Tuesday (Dec. 7). "The last one took three years ... but [a new album] would give us a real legitimate reason to go on tour again."
Frey, who was joined by drummer Don Henley, guitarists Don Felder and Joe Walsh and bassist Timothy B. Schmit, said they will use their warm-up gigs in Las Vegas on Dec. 2829 and their New Year's Eve show in Los Angeles to see how they feel about creating a new album together.
"We've learned to say, 'Never say never,' " Frey said.
The band's most recent album of all-new material was 1979's The Long Run, featuring the singles "Heartache Tonight" and the title track. The British rock band the Who, whose success paralleled that of the Eagles in the '70s, recently announced plans to record their first studio album in 17 years.
During the press conference, Hillary Rosen president of the Recording Industry Association of America presented the Eagles with a plaque honoring their 1975 LP Eagles Greatest Hits, 19711975, as the Best Selling Album of the Century.
More than 26 million copies of the album have been shipped, beating out the 25 million copies shipped of Michael Jackson's Thriller, according to the RIAA.
A survey of the band's early years, the disc includes such enduring hits as "Best of My Love" and "Take It Easy," but not such major Eagles singles as "Hotel California" (RealAudio excerpt) and "New Kid in Town," which were released later.
The presentation of the plaque was preceded by a performance of the band's hit "Tequila Sunrise."
"It's been said many times before that the music people play is the soundtrack to their lives," Frey said. "People did things to the Eagles in the '70s they broke up with their girlfriends; they broke up with their boyfriends; they got into a car and drove across the country."
Henley said he appreciates that fans embraced the album, but said, "I hated popularity contests when I was in high school, and I hate them now."
Felder gave a nod to the songwriting of Frey and Henley, while Walsh stated simply, "I don't really understand it ... but we still have fun when we get together." Schmit, who joined the band after the greatest-hits album was released, said, "I was the new guy [then], and I'm still the new guy, but I'm told I helped with sales."
Greeted with laughs, Schmit added, "Thank you."
The Eagles' current lineup is the same as it was when the group broke up in 1982. Since their split, all five members have released solo albums, with Henley and Frey attaining the most success.
The Eagles last reunited in 1994, staging their hugely successful Hell Freezes Over tour. Later that year, the band released the album Hell Freezes Over, which featured four new songs, including the single "Get Over It" (RealAudio excerpt). The remainder of the album comprised 11 vintage Eagles hits drawn from the band's appearance on MTV's "Unplugged." (SonicNet is a division of MTV Interactive).
As for their upcoming shows, the Eagles are in the midst of rehearsals, which Frey said have been going well. "It's easy for us, because we're the Eagles," he quipped. "So when we sit down and play Eagles tunes, we're usually pretty good at it."
Henley said the bandmembers will play songs at their New Year's Eve gig that they've never played before in concert.