Don Felder

Tag: Rock

For over 25 years, Don Felder has been known as the lead guitarist for The Eagles. He is also a singer and songwriter.

I had the opportunity to talk to Don about his upcoming solo tour with REO and Styx and life after the Eagles. Don tells me that he is looking forward to the ‘United We Rock’ tour, and says, "I love these guys. We've known each other for literally decades and played together in different configurations of touring packages. They're really a great bunch of guys. Not only amazing musicians and the shows that everybody puts on stage is spectacular. But offstage, we get to go golfing on our days off together, we take over a bowling alley and go play or rent a big restaurant. It's like a big family!"

Don says that their shows will be over three hours of hits after hits after hits! He says,"How can you go wrong spending your summer doing that? I'm with a bunch of guys that are a lot of fun, nice guys and having a great show to boot. That's about as good as it gets to tell you the truth."

I told Don that I grew up with all of his music, REO and Styx. He responded, "I grew up with our music too!" Don was truly a fun and amazing person to interview. This year, "Hotel California," turned 40. Which of course is one of the songs Don will be performing on this tour as well as "Fast Lane,” "Heartache Tonight," "The Long Run," as well as many others. These are some of the songs that Don co-wrote, recorded and toured with the Eagles in the last 27 years when he was with them. He also says he will do a tribute to Stevie Ray Vaughn. He says,"It gives me a chance to step outside of the containment of playing songs and play the Blues, which I love to do. Now I don't play it like Stevie Ray Vaughn, I never try to imitate him. My salute to him, playing it my way."

Don also will be playing some songs from his past solo career, one of which is called "You Don't Have Me," which is on his last CD which is called, "Road to Forever." It wound up on the Classic Rock Radio Charts at number 1 for 12 weeks in a row. Don says, "It's like a pretty Rock n Roll song, it's not your typical kind of Eagles, it's more of a hard edged track. So I play everything from Blues to ‘Tequila Sunrise,’ to ‘Take It Easy.’ A lot of hits that I was part of, many years in the Eagles and then I get to step outside of that and play some things that really appease a lot of the older fans that have followed my solo career."

I asked Don if there is a favorite song that he likes to perform. He states, "We have treats and surprises involved in our show. People come out and sit in on some of my songs, with other people that are on the show and it's always a surprise as to who's going to play the harmony guitar parts with me in "Hotel" at the end solos on that song. Some people come out on ‘Take It Easy,’ and ‘Pride and Joy.’ It's always fun to have friends come out and play with you. I'd say my most favorite song to play every night is ‘Hotel,’ and from his current album, ‘Road to Forever,’ it's ‘You Don't Have Me.’”

Don has been working on a new album involving a lot of good friends that he has either played with, toured with, played golf with or whatever. He said that it's a bit of a secret and he doesn't want to let it out of the bag too early about who's going to be on it. But says, "It's in the works and we've got about seven tracks almost finished, ready to mix and when I get off this tour, I'm probably going to do another six or seven songs. It will likely be released at the end of the year or after the first of the year."

Don also published an autobiography book called, "Heaven and Hell," back in 2008. He said, "It never really started out to be a book. The same year, I think it was 2001, when I left the Eagles. I went through a separation and divorce from my wife of 29 years. Everything that I knew in my life, marriage, family, and the house I had just built for my family to live in, my job, my career with the Eagles; everything was just stripped away within an 8-12 month period. I started doing a series of daily meditations. I took a look at how I'd got from a little dirt road in a white clapboard house with a tin roof, and palmetto fields of north-central Florida, to winding up being in this particular situation. I came out of these meditations having focused on specific areas of my life. I started filling up piles of legal pads on my meditations with no intent other than that. The book starts with us backstage and you can hear the crowd roaring. Then it goes back to my early childhood in Florida. Start with the juicy stuff and then show you how we got there."

Don has been known to be an avid guitar collector so I asked him about it and how many he has. He responded, "I have somewhere in the neighborhood of 300. The last inventory was about 9 months ago, and since then I've probably bought 25 more guitars." All of his guitars have played a key role in his life, some in his career musically that he played on a certain record or he got from a certain person. He tells me that he was in Manchester where he had played golf for a charity called the NSPCC (National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children). He received a call from a friend of his, the head of Christie's in London. He said, "There's this guy that made a couple of guitars and he'd really like you to see." Don responded, "That's the last thing I need to do, go to London and look at guitars. He said, ‘No, no, I'm going to come by your hotel and pick you up and it won't take 30 minutes, I think you should look at these guitars.’" Don says, He didn't tell me who we were meeting, but we go to London and pull into Kensington Palace. I asked why are we here?” His friend responded, "the guy that has the guitars is here." They pull up to the front door and this guy opens the door and introduces himself as David Linley (Lord Linley), part of the Royal Family. Don says, "When we walk in the door, I see a scarf that has ‘NSPCC’ and I told David that I had just played golf for the NSPCC." He said, "That's my mom's charity." Don asked, "Who's your mom?" David responded, "Princess Margaret." Don said, "So here I am in Princess Margaret's house in Kensington Place and she's upstairs. You gotta remember where I came from, a dirt road in Gainesville, FL. David came out with 2 guitars, one a steel string guitar and one that has a nylon string. David says, ‘I've made these guitars and I don't really play that well and we're moving. I just don't have the room for these. He asks me if I want them.’ I said, ‘Let me think about that, okay, I'll take them!’ They're treasures, and so unique, and the whole story and history of how I acquired them. Almost every guitar I have has a story to go with it. It's not just like, ‘I got another Les Paul, or I got this or I got that.’"

Don Felder will be performing with REO Speedwagon and Styx at the DTE Energy Music Theatre in Detroit, MI on July 25th. Tickets are still available for this show.

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