Checking in with Mötel California

Fans of The Eagles will soar down Memory Lanes.

Lucy Nieboer

What: Mötel California

When: 10 p.m., Saturday

Where: Memory Lanes,

2520 S. 26th Avenue, Minneapolis

Cost: Free

Age: All ages

 

When he was coming of age in the 1970s, Andy Schultz made it a point to avoid listening to the Eagles — a bit of a shock, given he now fronts a tribute band for the legendary group.

“I like that music more now than when it was happening. I was kind of a hipster kid. We laughed at the Eagles. We thought we were way beyond that, but now it makes me nostalgic for something that never was,” he said.

Schultz now considers the schlocky music that used to make him cringe a part of his own personal history.

Playing together for about a year, Mötel California has experienced success with multiple generations. Young kids whose parents raised them on  the music of their bygone golden years sit next to fans who were at the original concerts back in 1974.

The smooth, simple melodies that make the songs great for a group of Eagles devotees to sing along to are surprisingly backed by complex guitar parts and harmonies, which Schultz said makes them a challenge to play.

The band’s formation was a bit of an accident. Shultz and longtime friend Dale Kallman would regularly get together and jam out. Everything changed when they started learning Eagles songs.

“We would just hang out and learn a good classic rock song, and by the time we learned about four or five Eagles tunes to have a laugh, we were hooked,” Schultz said.

The rest of the members in the band were soon recruited to fill out the sound. All of them had been playing and touring the indie-pop scene for quite a while. Now all middle-aged, each longed to be part of a rocking group without the pressures of performing original works.

“We’ve all been making records for 20 years … [now] we just want to go out and have fun,” Schultz said.

Giving tribute to the biggest American band of the 70s isn’t as complicated as impersonating Elvis or the Beatles. No funny voices or elaborate costumes are required. This fits well with the laidback style of the band.

“The Eagles didn’t necessarily dress like the Eagles,” Schultz said. “I think those guys were the first rockstars that just kind of wore grubby T-shirts and jeans and stuff.”

Schultz enjoys the simple songs and relaxed nature of the Eagles music — even if it only  scratches the surface.

“It’s easy going — like sitting around a campfire,” he said.

The original Eagles are infamous for their drug-induced falling-outs and constant feuding. The five members of the tribute band prefer to take it easy and put the drama aside.

“It certainly is pre-Nirvana — not a lot of angst, not a lot of deeper tragedy involved.”