Eagle Eyes: the band from Cowichan Lake that’s taking the Pacific Northwest by storm is coming to the Cowichan Performing Arts Centre on Friday, Sept. 21.
Their tribute show, honouring the music of the Eagles, has only been around for a couple of years, starting off in such nearby venues as Lake Cowichan’s Riverside Inn.
But, they are simply so good at what they do that word spread rapidly, and soon the group was getting gigs all over the Island, then off the Island, then into the U.S.
For their many friends and fans, it’s been an exciting journey watching them take their idea on the road.
And they’ve chosen a good time to offer their tribute to the Eagles. That band’s first “best of” album has just recently passed Michael Jackson’s legendary Thriller as the best-selling album ever, and is now making music history every day.
Audiences are captivated by the way that Eagle Eyes recreates the sound the beloved country rockers created over their 40 year career, including the great musicianship and the soaring harmonies.
These musicians have spent a lot of time working on those familiar harmonies, notes Jack Gunderson, the bass player, vocalist and guy they call “Bub” among members of Eagle Eyes.
“I mean, it’s the time that does it, right,” Gunderson explained. “Doing harmony rehearsal is something we’re always trying to find time for….The harmonies are the main thing for us, because they have to be in this band.”
Yes, this band plays the music of THAT band — the one that had Don Henley, Glenn Frey and others singing about taking it easy, taking it to the limit and feeling already gone.
Eagle Eyes was officially launched on the last day of 2015 at a gig in Lake Cowichan, where Gunderson lives.
“It was a New Year’s Eve gig, just before Glenn Frey passed,” he recalled. “I remember it because we’d just finished our first show and then a couple weeks later we heard the news (about Frey’s death, on Jan. 18, 2016).
“I sing his parts, right, and it was just a great shock. So many of the greats are leaving us, and I really identified with him, of course. I was a huge fan — I am a huge fan.”
Gunderson is joined in Eagle Eyes by longtime music-playing pals Jason Dunajski on acoustic guitar, Greg Murray on drums and Ray Harvey — best known for his work in ’80s metal band Kick Axe — on lead guitar.
The history of Eagle Eyes can be traced back to the year the real-deal band released its “comeback” album, Hell Freezes Over.
“When I met Jay (Dunajski) in 1994, we started writing and recording with two of our other friends, and then we decided to do an Eagles tribute way back then,” Gunderson explained. “We started out by doing that, to get gigs, but then it morphed into just a cover band, just on the road. It wasn’t until around 2015 when Jay said we need to revisit that, because the tribute thing was taking off, the retro thing, too, and we just decided to pursue that.”
Getting Harvey to join the band was key, Gunderson said.
“I’d been playing with Jay and Greg as a three-piece for seven or eight years,” he explained. “I’d been playing with Ray, too, in another three-piece, and we thought if we could get Ray on board with this (Eagle Eyes), wouldn’t that be awesome. We didn’t think he’d have time, with his schedule with Kick Axe, all that, and everybody wants to play with Ray because everybody loves Ray, and he’s just so good. But he said yes to us, and that was awesome, here we go. We needed that fourth key player to get it off the ground. The fact that he’s a huge Joe Walsh fan and has studied his music when he was a kid, it was perfect.”
Eagle Eyes has begun playing larger and more diverse venues, as one of 18 tribute bands on the Mur-Man Productions roster, which includes Barracuda (the music of Heart), The Hip Show (Tragically Hip), OC/DC (AC/DC) and Supernatural (Santana).
Last July, Eagle Eyes played White Rock’s Concerts on the Pier series and made the most of a warm evening on the waterfront.
Eagle Eyes is online at eagleeyestribute.rocks.
Tickets for the show Sept. 21 are $45 each. Get them in person at the Cowichan Ticket Centre, or call 250-748-7529 to order. You can also get them at cowichanpac.ca
—with files from Tom Zillich, Peace Arch News