As an artist it’s not always about fame, it’s about the art of creation. Don Felder spent 27 years as a member of the Eagles, instrumental in the writing of songs that became Hotel California and Victim of Love. He also holds the distinction of being part of the top-selling album of all time with the Eagles, Their Greatest Hits (1971-1975), which has sold over 38 million copies and counting.
He’s played in front of millions all over the world, is a member of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and collaborated with amazing artists like Sammy Hagar.
It was never about any of that, it was about that kid from Gainesville, Florida in the late 1960s that drove all night to see jazz legend, Miles Davis play in New York City. The artist that played the same track over itself 16 times, trying to get just the right sound, when playing with the Beegees.
For Don Felder, it was always about the art form in creating music, not everything that came with his career as a musician.
“To me it was never about the fame, it was never about fortunate, it was never about trying to be on TV. It was never about any of those accomplishments. It was just about the love of playing music. I spent hours and hours and hours on my front porch on this metal glider trying to figure out how to play that guitar.”
– Don Felder
Don Felder Florida Roots
As a boy, his first experience with music was seeing Elvis Presley on the Ed Sullivan Show. From that moment, he knew that he wanted to play music.
Felder grew up in Gainesville, Florida, where he was the first guitar teacher in town. He taught himself how to play guitar through hours of playing while sitting on a metal glider on his parent’s front porch.
It wasn’t long till Felder hit the road to make his living as a musician, the start of an illustrious career.
American Rock N’ Roll
After leaving the Eagles in 2001 and releasing his New York Times best-selling book, Heaven and Hell: My Life in the Eagles (1974-2001), Don embarked on a journey as a solo artist releasing three solo albums, including his most recent studio album; American Rock N’ Roll.
The album sees Felder collaborating with artists like Slash, Richie Sambora, Mick Fleetwood, and Chad Smith; in addition to a long-time friend, Sammy Hagar on the song “Rock You.”
When I asked Don what moment in his career impact him the most he proceeded to tell a story about when the Eagles played in front of the United Nations. The Eagles began playing the song “Hotel California,” to a mostly non-English speaking audience.
When it came time for former Eagles vocalist Glenn Frey to sing, the entire audience began to sing along with him.
The power in this moment was that music had transcended even the barriers of language; that’s musical immortality. Every artist dreams of creating something timeless; Don Felder has done that.
Don Felder sits down with me, Jeremy Ryan Slate, to discuss the future of American Rock N’ Roll on the latest episode of the Create Your Own Life Show.