An Evening at the Hotel California
February 20th and 21st 9PM
SOARING SOLO….. This weekend the Falls View
will be transformed into the “Hotel
as they welcome longtime
EAGLES guitar virtuoso
The 1998 Rock ‘n’ Roll Hall of Fame inductee
will surely “Take
it to the Limit”
not once but twice with shows
on Friday and Saturday beginning at 9pm inside the magnificent
as he was affectionately nicknamed
by band mate GLENN
joined the EAGLES
in 1974 during the recording of
“On the Border”.
contributing his signature slide guitar to “Good
Day in Hell”
and a searing solo to “Already
it would take but a day for FELDER
to become the “New
Kid in Town” checking
in with the band permanently.
From that point on it was “Life
in the Fast Lane” for
the boy from Central Florida as he jumped in with his steel pedal
to the metal bringing a harder edge to the EAGLES
Soft Rock sound.
would become part of the legend that is the
From the tumultuous studio sessions
that led to countless #1 hits to the excessive rigors of the road
as the EAGLES
heavenly harmonies echoed throughout
stadiums and arenas across the globe until it was time for the
fabled back stage 3rd encore.
That would all come to a sad and bitter
end in 2001 as FELDER
was unceremoniously ousted from
In 2008 FELDER
would release the long awaited
and controversial (HEAVEN
& HELL “My Life in the
which reached #1 status on the NY Times Best Sellers List.
The riveting tale takes you behind the
scenes and backstage with one of America’s most beloved Rock Bands
peels away the impenetrable shell
that has concealed the inner sanctum of the
the good fortune to talk with DON
FELDER about his illustrious
career and his book which is a must read and not just for EAGLES
for your time.
It’s my pleasure, we are really
looking forward to our weekend at the Falls View Casino early
in the New Year.
Being a Sirius Satellite subscriber
and avid HOWARD STERN listener I was first compelled to read your
book after hearing your interview with the “King of all media”
this past summer.
Obviously the conversation veered
toward the excess lifestyle you led during your time with the
Aside from the sex, drugs and
Rock ‘n’ Roll banter the highlight of the show was a stirring
acoustic rendition of “Hotel
a song which you created the
music for. What was it like to finally step up and sing the lead
vocals on one of music’s most prolific songs?
used to listen to HOWARD more frequently on terrestrial radio
until I purchased my new car last year which had Sirius in it
so I began to listen again.
I have to say I’ve done thousands of
interviews over my career, never have I been more petrified then
when I was walking into the STERN show. You just never know
what you’re going to get with HOWARD but to my surprise he treated
me very kindly and with a great deal of respect, which is far
from the norm for HOWARD.
The entire STERN gang was delightful
especially ARTIE LANGE he was just a blast singing along to the
chorus of “Hotel California”.
That type of environment provided me with such a comfort zone
that the song just flowed out of me in every aspect.
particular interview certainly enlightened numerous
fans as to your contributions to the band over your twenty-seven
year career; not as just the lead guitarist and song writer but
the architect of the amazing music to the classic anthem “Hotel
That really is so true and not just in my case, obviously
and GLENN FREY
are the names most associated with the band.
Unfortunately what all to often
gets overlooked is that throughout the bands history there has
been quite a turnover of exceptionally talented song writers and
musicians like BERNIE LEADON,
and myself who have brought a great deal to the party called the
from writing, vocals, arrangements and the overall complex construction
of the enduring EAGLES catalog.
Ross CAT- Lets
dive into your book “HEAVEN
& HELL, My life in the
which achieved a #1 status on
the New York Times Best Seller list.
While highly successful the book was
Hell to release being held up in litigation for a period of time
as well as taking it’s fair share of criticism.
As a journalist and lifelong
fan after reading the book, it was my feeling that by putting
yourself and your personal demons out there and taking responsibility
and accountability for your actions both good and bad gave you
the right to tell this story.
What was your intent when writing the
book and exposing the EAGLES
nest, one of the most guarded
sanctuaries in music history?
I really didn’t start out writing a book, within a twelve month
period my entire family and career were stripped away from me.
I had gone through an earth shaking and heart breaking separation
which ultimately culminated in a divorce from the mother of my
children. At the same time I ended up leaving the EAGLES
under some very difficult circumstances to say the least.
I found myself questioning how I had
gotten to this point in my life so I started meditating to try
and center myself. I would come out of these sessions with
a renewed sense of clarity and focus which opened me up to visions
and recollections from my childhood right on through to all the
lifetime of experiences I’ve had both positive and negative.
At that point I would carry a pad and pencil around with me and
start jotting down my thoughts.
As these thoughts started to flow I could
see the areas of my life which had really led me on this course
from the little dirt road in the Palmetto fields of North Central
Florida, growing up in pretty desolate conditions as a child
to ending up being a part of one of the biggest Rock bands in
American Music history.
Before I knew it I had hundreds of pages,
not even thinking about a book until my fiancé started to read
them when she said “this would make an amazing book”. At
that point she connected me with a publisher. Before I knew it
the concept of making these random thoughts into a book was in
Honestly the intent was never to sit
down and write a tell all book as an attack against the band.
Besides who would have ever thought that a poor High School English
student would go on to become a New York Times Best selling author,
certainly not me.
It was much more self serving to me as
an individual not as a member of the EAGLES.
The experience was both therapeutic and cathartic for me; it allowed
me to purge many of the unresolved feelings I had about people
from my past which ranged from my father and brother right on
through to my relationships with my band mates from my time in
It’s clear from the very beginning of
the book which is dedicated to “my Mother and Father, and to all
those who dream of making it in the music business”, that the
crux of the story is trying to connect with anyone whose ever
had a dream or a goal in life. I wanted to share the trials
and tribulations of my life, taking people back with me to revisit
the hard work, dedication and personal sacrifices made by
both myself and my loved ones necessary to fulfill those dreams.
While your band mates may
have been collateral damage in Heaven
& Hell you
didn’t exclude your family especially your wife or your children.
As a matter of fact on numerous occasions throughout the book
you are more then complimentary about everyone in the band for
their talents and accomplishments particularly HENLEY
I could have never written this book without paying due respect
earned by everyone that was a part of my life or the EAGLES.
Each one of us toiled in the fields so
to speak, we tilled and hoed and planted the seeds to the amazing
body of music we created together.
Most times it was like an all for one,
one for all mentality. I have nothing but respect for the
commitment and musicianship that each band member exemplified
in the EAGLES.
It was an absolute magical combination musically when we were
all working together
What is your response to critics
that say that this book was written by a scorned man who was no
longer with one of the world’s most successful bands looking to
capitalize with tabloid tales of one of America’s most beloved
Criticism has always been a part of being associated with the
whether it was about a new record or our excessive lifestyle,
so I’ve gotten used to that.
While there is a lot of juicy stories
in the book it’s as honest, fair-handed and as unbiased as I could
possibly be. It’s a real look behind the current as to what
“Life in the Fast Lane”
was really all about from my perspective.
I think what makes the book so controversial
isn’t the stories themselves it’s the fact that the EAGLES
had a steel door policy when it came to the press for a multitude
of reasons. There’s been such a mystique surrounding the
band for so many years and I chose to pull back that curtain and
let everyone take a peek at the wizard.
In the book you dig deep within
your relationships in your family, especially your father with
whom you had several heated differences of opinion in regards
to your career choices.
Do you think he ever really grasped the
magnitude of success you reached before his passing?
Unfortunately no he didn’t, he passed within the first year of
the “On the Border”
release, so we where just starting to enjoy the success of songs
like “Already Gone”
and “Best of my Love”.
Gainesville, Florida may have
been best known for it’s Green
the early seventies, but it also produced a killer crop of young
guitar players like yourself, DUANE ALLMAN and TOM PETTY.
Local legend has it that you gave TOM
PETTY one of his very first guitar lessons, tell us about that?
Yes I did give TOMMY PETTY, as he was known back then, guitar
lessons he showed real promise. I must tell you it
was his voice that immediately impressed me so it didn’t come
as a real surprise to me when he reached superstar status.
Don’t forget STEPHEN STILLS in that group,
while he wasn’t born there he spent some time there. I honestly
can’t tell you the reason for it, maybe it’s was something in
the water or the
green you alluded
It really is amazing the number of Rock
‘n’ Roll Hall of Fame inductees that came out of that little area,
for the life of me “I
All I can figure is that it was an extraordinary
time musically; there where so many things going on that influenced
us as young men and musicians for instance witnessing ELVIS,
B.B. KING and MILES DAVIS in their prime. Couple that with
the fact that we learned and played together hearing each other
develop a certain sound and style of music that went on to be
’m not ashamed to say that I stole everything
that I know from watching DUANE ALLMAN play the slide guitar.
In the book you talk about how B.B. KING and DUANE ALLMAN influenced
you as a guitarist and how you were mesmerized by the Jazz stylings
of the great MILES DAVIS.
Was it the unique tonality and broad
range of musical diversity that you brought to the studio that
made you alluring enough for the EAGLES
to invite you along as a permanent member?
The first thing that impressed GLENN
was my slide playing, he also recognized my arsenal of styles.
He would often come in when
BERNIE LEADON and I where jamming
with a huge grin on his face.
What really turned
FREY on was that I could play
Rock ‘n’ Roll which was his roots being a
That was the direction he wanted to take the EAGLES
after the tremendous success of the first two records.
While it may be a rarity one of the criticisms of the
music was being over produced and the lack of spontaneity on stage.
In the book you talk about the lack of
freedom you felt during the bands live performances, tell us about
those frustrations as a guitar player not being able to step outside
For me improvisation is what turns me on as a musician.
That being said it’s not easily attainable and it’s not a zone
that everyone feels comfortable in.
That’s not to say you can’t be a gifted
artist without having the propensity to improvise. A prime
example is DON HENLEY,
he has to have a controlled environment as a songwriter and drummer.
As a vocalist DON
is brilliant and he’s one of the most prolific songwriters ever,
but his dexterity as a drummer is limited. I love his style
but DON tends
to keep it simple and contained so it’s difficult for him to just
While the music of the EAGLES
is exceptional, every song and every show was literally scripted,
that took away the opportunity for myself and JOE
WALSH to be spontaneous which
was most definitely frustrating at times.
One of the rare occasions that
you did get the chance to improvise was the intro to “Hotel
for the “Hell
tour. Was that a surprise
to you when they approached you with that opportunity?
No not really but that was only because that was my designated
task from DON.
It really was a challenge to take one of the most popular songs
ever written and rearrange it and completely change the chord
progressions overnight. In all honesty I basically made it up
on the spot at the taping of the performance.
Ross CAT- While
the grounding of the EAGLES
1980 following the “Long Run” tour and subsequent release
of “EAGLES LIVE”
record must have been devastating it almost seems like it may
have saved your lives.
I don’t think it was the band itself, it was what we were doing
as a band, the consumption of drugs and alcohol was beyond belief.
Everyone’s nerves where absolutely frayed
to the rawest point, it was crisis point red alert we were all
Really the only thing that could happen
did happen, and that was for GLENN
to quit, he said he could no
longer work with
and just walked away.
I think if we would have managed our
time better throughout the period between 1974-80 we could have
survived some of the issues that came between us, the slightest
of things had become intolerable.
That’s really why BERNIE
LEADON left the
band he could see that our well being wasn’t a top priority from
the powers that be. Ironically enough his prediction came
seems during the disagreements between DON
and even management you would
sometimes act as a piece maker. Many times standing up for
do you have any regrets about
sticking your neck out one too many times on behalf of your band
Absolutely not, as I said everyone
worked on building the EAGLES
catalog and corporation and should have reaped the benefits.
I felt compelled to represent the interest of those who where
no longer with the band as they contributed just as much as the
guy standing next to him on stage and in the studio. In
my eyes it was a matter of principal and integrity.
Since the release of “Heaven
& Hell” have
you gotten any feedback from any of your former band mates?
I speak with RANDY MEISNER
and BERNIE LEADON
regularly, we are lifelong friends and I owe them a lot for the
success I’ve enjoyed in music.
actually helped along the way with the book verifying my recollections
and doing some fact checking, as you might imagine some periods
were quite cloudy.
As far as BERNIE
goes we’ve never really discussed it the book, it’s really
not something that interests him anymore. When BERNIE
left the EAGLES
he literally left that period of his life behind him and has never
Most of your time with the
while highly successful on so
many levels was also filled with inner conflict on how you lived
your life both personally and professionally.
What kind of emotions stir within you
when you hear the EAGLES
songs on the radio or perform them live at this stage of your
When I hear them I primarily recall the times we had making the
music in the studio. The best part of playing the songs
live, especially a song like “Hotel
California” is getting to see
the people respond to something that I helped create and worked
on my entire life to develop, it’s a connection like no other.
I correlate it to me sitting in the crowd
at a B.B. KING show and the tingle I get down my spine watching
him play after all these years.
I thank God for being so blessed, playing
music is my dream come true.
You wrote the music for “Hotel
was originally titled “Mexican
while scanning the sea from your
ocean front house in Malibu.
It seems as if the music for that celebrated
song was your apex as a guitarist, in a sense you calling.
You nailed it, that song grew from the roots of my musical upbringing.
I truly hope that it brings everyone as much pleasure hearing
it as it brings to me playing it.
In reading the book it sounds like you have loads of unfinished
material from your post EAGLES
career, will we hear any new material from DON
FELDER in 2009?
I’m actually about half way through a solo CD right now.
I’m hoping to finish it up in the first half of the year and releasing
it in the summer or fall of 2009’.
Lets talk about your upcoming
weekend at the Fallsview Casino. The show is billed as “An
Evening at the Hotel California”,
what can fans expect other then the obvious?
I’ve limited my touring in recent years primarily because I want
to have new material to take out on the road. So I may slide
in a new song or two for a test drive at the Casino this weekend.
I’ll also be breaking out songs from
my time with the EAGLES
as well as music from my solo catalog including the “Heavy Metal”
Will we hear DON FELDER
step out from behind the heavenly harmonies of the
to sing lead vocals?
Most definitely, as a matter of fact you’ll hear me quite a bit.
I’m really looking forward to sharing
the music with our friends from Western
New York and Southern Ontario.
tell us about your daughter LEAH FELDER (www.leahfelder.com)
who is making a name for herself
in the music biz?
That’s right, as a matter fact she will be along with me performing
She’s about half way through her first
solo record as well, she has a deal with Warner Brothers records
without any help from dear ole Dad; needless to say I’m extremely
proud of her.
would like to Thank
for his time. Thanks also goes out to Allison Garman
from Rogers & Cowan for hooking us up with the interview.
**************PEACE & HARMONIES***************