Don Felder grew up impoverished in Gainesville, Fla., but went on to tour worldwide as lead guitarist with the Eagles.
He co-wrote some of their biggest hits, including “Hotel California” and “Victim of Love.” The album Their Greatest Hits 1971-1975 was the first ever to be declared platinum and sold more more than 40 million copies.
After a nasty split with the band some 10 years ago, Felder, 64, is preparing to release a solo album and tour this summer. Coincidentally, the Eagles are also reportedly planning their 40th anniversary tour this year.
“This is my second solo album,” Felder says. “I did one in the early 1980s but, at that time, I was at home being Mr. Mom and I didn’t tour to support it. This time is different.”
What can you tell us about your solo album?
One highlight is a song titled “Heal Me,” which features Robin DiMaggio [drummer for Paul Simon]. Another one of the lead songs is “Fall From the Grace of Love” where I had Crosby, Stills and Nash sing the harmonies. Growing up in Florida, there was a lot going on musically, too. I gave Tom Petty guitar lessons, I was in a band for a bit with Stephen Stills and learned slide from Duane Allman, when I hung out with the Allman Brothers. These friendships often find a way of coming full circle.
What keeps you going on stage these days?
The love of playing music—that’s what it’s all about for me; it’s not about the money or the fame.
What is “Hotel California” about?
There is no real physical Hotel California. The picture on the front cover is the Beverly Hills Hotel, which is about a mile from my house in Los Angeles. The song and album are about trying to encapsulate the entire California fantasy and all the excesses of Los Angeles.