In August 1996,
just after breakfast on a Tuesday, Phil Aldridge, who always
believed it is better to play great music written by others,
rather than to subject the public to the second rate, dreary
"original" songs of so many also-ran losers, resolved to
form a band presenting the altogether cracking output of The
Eagles! The Eagles, as luck would have it, had recently reformed
following a fourteen-year holiday and were performing a
three-night stint at the old Wembley Stadium.
Phil duly trundled off and, on the third of these nights, managed to procure a ticket in the eleventh row, directly in front of Lord Henley's drum kit. Now, you could be forgiven for thinking that he went home full of inspiration and immediately formed the band. But, you'd be wrong. During the course of the three-hour set it became increasingly apparent that Phil was witnessing a performance that was touching flawless on the gigometer, ergo impossible to recreate with the lesser mortals residing in his phone book. The idea was summarily scrapped.
Three months passed and Phil found himself performing a set with some also-ran losers in a pub in Essex. During its course, a punter extolled "'Ere! Can I ave a bash at Lyin' Eyes?" Phil was fully aware that he didn't have to do this sort of thing, being potentially a very fine plumber and was dismayed when the band consented. The Billy's rendition was desperate. The audience went wild........Epiphany!
Phil, all at once, cottoned on to the fact that the Eagles' songs were of such an inordinate popularity that an audience would readily forgive any shortcomings in delivery. Bingo! With renewed confidence, recalled the contents of his phone book also held the numbers of Jeff Green, Ray Brown, Keith Atack and Chris Childs - musicians armed with flair and skill a-plenty. Within five minutes, The Illegal Eagles was born!
Previously, at the beginning of these five aforementioned minutes, Phil had taken the wise precaution of booking the first show, to be performed six weeks hence, thereby ensuring the enthusiasm of his newfound colleagues who would rather have their gonads removed than miss a paid gig!
Forty-two acoustic vocal rehearsals followed, then two full electric ones and the band went on stage.........to thirty-eight apprehensive people. Seventy-five minutes passed and thirty-eight ecstatic people (who witnessed no sign of any shortcomings in delivery!) left the Esplanade Pub on Southend seafront to spread the word! Within a year, the pubs had become theatres and the pub band had become a rock show.
Hal Carter was enlisted as manager, Flying Music as promotion company and off they went, gallivanting from town to town and continent to continent. Their popularity grew apace and in 2003 our heroes found themselves playing at no less than the Royal Albert Hall! Several thousand people attended the show which was critically acclaimed. Since playing the Royal Albert Hall The Illegal Eagles have toured Belgium, Holland, Germany, Singapore, Thailand, Denmark, India and arrived in London's IndigO2 at the O2 Arena In March 2009.
The classic line-up of Phil Aldridge, Keith Atack, Jeff Green and Darin Murphy - the founder members of the Illegal Eagles - was completed in 2010 by the addition of Garreth Hicklin.
The future certainly is looking bright as THE ILLEGAL EAGLES continue on their path to spread the great music of THE EAGLES.