An Evening at the Eagles With the Fucking Eagles

And talking about the Eagles, of course.

"Hotel California was huge in Guatemala nine years ago today," says Fucking Eagles bassist Kelly Mickelson.

He should know; he was there. But tonight, Mickelson is drinking amber ale in Ballard on a Friday evening at the Salmon Bay Eagles Club, surrounded by four bandmates: singer Owen Atkins, drummer Stu Linkert, guitarist Wade Neal, and his wife, tambourine player Kathlyn Neal, who are joined onstage by vocalist/guitarist Jesse Serles and vocalist/tambourine player Kim Linkert. All hail from Tacoma, "the City of Destiny," a civic catchphrase rivaled only in absurdity/awesomeness by that of Yakima, "the Palm Springs of Washington." Given that both band and bar pay homage to the same ultra-patriotic winged specimen, it's only fitting that the topic of conversation is the polarizing supergroup headed by Don Henley, Glenn Frey, and Joe Walsh.

"I don't acknowledge the Eagles as existing," says Atkins, as plates of goulash are delivered to hungry band members by a team of elderly female servers. "But our name came from them."

As the story goes, Wade Neal had a vision of Joe Walsh attending his family reunion. There, Walsh runs into his grandmother, who asks him to remind her of the name of his band. "Grandma, I'm in the fucking Eagles," Walsh replies, snippily.

The Fucking Eagles sound nothing like the famous Eagles. Whereas the latter polished Gram Parsons–era alt-country into a smooth, radio-friendly version of country-pop, the Fucking Eagles' garage-punk-meets-doo-wop edges are so rough that they'd cut right through the soles of Frey's shitkickers—before he traded them for the white, laceless loafers and pastel blazers of Miami Vice. The irony is that while the Eagles always fused wide-open spaces with coked-up sex, the Fucking Eagles are very PG.

"We don't have any swear words in our songs," says Atkins. "We're pretty family-friendly."

Many of the Fucking Eagles have children, which creates something of a linguistic conundrum. To the kids, they're the King Eagles or the Falcon Eagles, and they're thinking about adding Mickelson's 4-year-old daughter as a member.

"She's learning all the words to 'Emulsified,'" says Mickelson. "We transcend generations." Eagles Clubs? Not so much.

mseely@seattleweekly.com

 
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