Monday, March 21, 2011

Why Did Glenn Frey Roll The Rationals Van?


















Was it:
  1. Because the Detroit Native suffered a momentary, hallucinogenic-induced glimpse of a future world gone mad some forty-years hence, where, even after writing dozens of criminally-mellow top ten money-making hits for the Eagles and guest-starring on Miami Vice, his seemingly incoherent, booze-addled band-mate Joe Walsh would still be considered "the cool one," by non-dicks everywhere? 
  2. Because he was hurrying to meet Cher at a Bally Total Fitness Center to engage in a shiny, satin/spandex-clad and poofy-coiffed workout of such crass intent that even fellow wealth enthusiast and Eagles band-mate Don Henley would hang his head in shame?
  3. Or was it simply a case of the heat, in fact, being on? 
      Like all good modern-day folklore, the story accompanying the above photograph evolved fast and furiously on the lips of those farthest from the facts, speculation and hearsay eventually evolving into climatic local legend, truth be damned:
      "Frey rode along with The Rationals to the 1968 Democratic Convention in Chicago, and upon arrival immediately encountered the MC5, who were wasting no time leaving Chi-town and suggested The Rationals do the same, post-haste. And, due to the chaos, rioting, and confusion in the streets, the van went greasy-side up during a high-speed evasive maneuver required to guarantee the band and their gear safe passage from the streets of Chicago." A romantic story, but bogus nonetheless. 
      The Truth Comes Out:
      Years later, Frey came clean while being interviewed about gigging at Traverse City, Michigan's 1960's teen hangout, The Tanz Haus:
      “Yeah I remember the place,” laughed Frey. “One time I borrowed The Rationals van to get up there and I was flying through a small town (Manton) and lost control of the van on the curve and totaled the van and trashed the equipment I borrowed as well.”
      Step away from our van, Mr. Frey.













      Club employee Sue Sivek also remembers that night:
      “It was May 13, 1967 and I noted in my diary that his band, The Mushrooms, were not very good, they were mediocre at best. But I also noted that the singer (Glenn) was good and had talent. You could tell he was better than the rest. Though most of us were shocked when he made it big.”
      FUN FACT: Glenn sings backup and strums acoustic guitar on the awesome original version of Bob Seger's "Ramblin' Gamblin' Man."

      Although The Rationals' legacy may not shine with the same intensity as their rust-belt rock'n'roll brethren, they stood shoulder to shoulder with the likes of the MC5, The Frost, and The Stooges while hammering their own R&B influenced sound out of the indigenous hard Michigan rock. So much so, John Sinclair named his book Guitar Army: Rock and Revolution with The MC5 and the White Panther Party after the Rationals song of the same name.