Vince Gill has opened up about his role in the Eagles, explaining why “restraint” is vital to his success.

The country star joined the band in 2017 following the death of Glenn Frey. During a conversation with Guitar World, Gill admitted it’s “pretty surreal” to be part of such a legendary act, while also explaining how he changed his approach to fit in.

“This is an interesting gig for me with the Eagles because I only play a little lead guitar,” Gill noted. “There are only two or three songs that I solo on, which is different from what I’m used to, where it’s solos all night long.”

With Joe Walsh handling much of the lead guitar duties, Gill has taken on the rhythm guitarist role. It’s a task the country star was more than up for, especially as he’s become older and wiser.

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"I know what’s needed and don’t waste time playing stuff that no-one wants to hear," he explained. “It’s interesting because as I’ve gotten older I spend more time thinking about what not to play. That’s very different from when I was young and constantly thinking about playing as much as possible. My mindset is all about brevity and restraint now. That’s what I love about the way Joe plays – he shows tremendous restraint. He could play more, but he doesn’t. I really enjoy that.”

“I knew going in that they needed a rhythm player more than a free-wheeling lead,” Gill continued. “I’m more than happy to spend the night ripping powerchords for Joe.”

Gill Is Focused on Honoring the Eagles’ Songs

Unlike other musicians in similar situations, who have decided to put their “spin” on material when joining an already established act, Gill is determined to stay true to the Eagles’ tunes as they were recorded.

“I don’t take ownership of a single note within that music because I didn’t create any of it,” he admitted. “That would be foolish of me to do, though I do have enough respect for it that I really want to try to honor the songs and be respectful of what they are.”

It’s that mindset which keeps Gill focused on staying true to the tunes.

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“The most important thing is that I don’t put my spin on things,” he explained. “The beauty of what this band is, as it is today, is that we replicate those songs verbatim.”

“It’s been interesting to learn to play these songs the way they deserve to be played because they’re not only iconic but also great songs,” Gill continued. “The solos and the background are memorable. As a listener, you want to hear whoever is up there play 'Hotel California' the way it was recorded. Anything other than that would be a disservice to the songs.”

The Eagles are in the midst of The Long Goodbye, a farewell tour scheduled to stretch into 2025. In addition to Gill, the lineup features Deacon Frey, Glenn’s son, along with legacy members Walsh, Don Henley and Timothy B. Schmit.

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Gallery Credit: Nick DeRiso

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