While Pat Badger is best known as a member of the multi-platinum rock band Extreme, he has also made a name for himself as a founder of the Eagles tribute band Dark Desert Eagles. He formed the band after the passing of Eagles co-founder Glenn Frey and enlisted the help of Extreme drummer Kevin Figueiredo, multi-instrumentalist Chris Lester, guitarist Eric Clemenzi, and bassist Tom Appleman. Each of the musicians in this band painstakingly re-create the amazing soaring harmonies and music of the Eagles. It’s no surprise that the Dark Desert Eagles have performed a string of sold out shows and have left their audiences spellbound by their stellar musicianship. The band will perform in The Vault at Greasy Luck Brewpub in New Bedford, Mass., on Saturday, March 24th, with special guest Shun Ng & The Shunettes. (Purchase tickets HERE.)
With anticipation high for their debut performance in New Bedford, Limelight Magazine recently caught up with Badger to discuss the band and his love for the Eagles.
LIMELIGHT MAGAZINE: You’ve had a lot of success as a member of Extreme but you’re also enjoying success with your Eagles tribute band The Dark Desert Eagles. Why did you decide to start this band?
PAT BADGER: Well, first and foremost, I grew up listening to classic rock and always loved the Eagles songwriting and vocals! Even though Extreme still tours every year, there are gaps in my schedule when I miss playing out. So, I took it as a challenge to do something completely different than my role in Extreme and took on the most amazing catalog of hits from any American band, hands down!
So, I had a conversation with my friend (and now the band’s manager) about how I always wanted to start an Eagles tribute band and then Glenn Frey died a week later. I was shocked. Then I said to myself, now I HAVE to start this band!
LIMELIGHT MAGAZINE: When you formed The Dark Desert Eagles, how did you select the musicians in the band?
PAT BADGER: The drummer from Extreme is also the drummer for Dark Desert Eagles. There is no one else I’d rather play with and we are on the same touring schedule so that is kind of a no-brainer. Some of the other guys came as recommendations from friends and other musicians. All very super talented guys!
LIMELIGHT MAGAZINE: How is it different performing on stage with this band than with Extreme?
PAT BADGER: I have played bass and sang background vocals in Extreme for 30 years. In the Dark Desert Eagles, I sing the majority of the lead vocals and play rhythm guitar which comes as a huge challenge, but it’s been a blast and really rewarding!
LIMELIGHT MAGAZINE: The Dark Desert Eagles have had several sold out shows. Did you expect the band would receive such a great response right out of the gate?
PAT BADGER: Well, like I said before, it is one of the most amazing catalogs of music, and there are a lot of Eagles fans out there. But, that being said, I had no idea that we would gain as much traction as we already have in less than a year. We are proud to say that we have sold out back to back nights in some really great venues, and we have also traveled out-of-state to places as far as Chicago and D.C., and have had the same reaction everywhere! People are lovin’ it!
LIMELIGHT MAGAZINE: There are many tribute bands out there today that pay homage to a variety of classic rock groups. What sets The Dark Desert Eagles apart from some of the others?
PAT BADGER: Well there is a big difference in either being a cover band or being a tribute band. Let’s face it, most cover bands have day jobs and are not full time musicians. Cover bands play the music and whether they play the music well or poorly, either way they do not put any focus on the image.
As far as the Dark Desert Eagles goes, we are the only one that I know of that does the image part. We have taken a lot of cues from the Eagles documentary in the peak of their career which is arguably the Hotel California era. We transport people back in time to 1977! Or maybe it is that we are transported from 1977 into the future! LOL
LIMELIGHT MAGAZINE: On the band’s website, it states that “each of the musicians in the Dark Desert Eagles painstakingly re-creates the amazing soaring harmonies and music of the Eagles.” What songs ended up being the most difficult to recreate for a live setting?
PAT BADGER: For me personally, the biggest challenges have been to play the songs that are really chill, meaning relaxed and spacious with piano and acoustic guitars. Every song is also such a huge hit and everyone knows every word to songs like “Desperado” and “Hotel California,” so the pressure is on not to mess up a word, and musically to pull off some of the most famous classic rock songs of all time!
LIMELIGHT MAGAZINE: The Dark Desert Eagles plays everything from the hits to fan favorites by the Eagles. Has there ever been consideration to performing any of their albums in their entirety?
PAT BADGER: We have talked about doing Hotel California in its entirety. The question then becomes what would you take out of the set if we were to do it and then do a second set of the greatest hits.
LIMELIGHT MAGAZINE: I’ve heard the band also recreates some of the songs from the Eagles members’ solo careers. How does the band decide on that part of the set list considering the number of hits they have collectively had outside of the Eagles?
PAT BADGER: Originally we had talked about doing random songs from their solo careers but then decided on focusing on the era before they split up, so we do a few Joe Walsh solo and James Gang songs that the Eagles did at that point around ‘77.
LIMELIGHT MAGAZINE: What is your favorite Eagles album and why?
PAT BADGER: It’s hard to make an argument for any other than Hotel California. That being said, we play every song from their first greatest hits album except one, and nothing from Hotel California is even on it! Considering that it’s the best selling greatest hits of all times and the second best selling ALBUM of all times next to Thriller… it just emphasizes just how prolific their songwriting was.
For more information about The Dark Desert Eagles, visit their website HERE.
The Vault at Greasy Luck Brewpub is located at located at 791 Purchase Street in New Bedford, MA. The venue is set within a former bank building featuring original vault doors and a truly historic feel. Patrons have raved about the superior acoustics and intimate setting.