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INTERESTING - BUT NOT EARTH SHATTERING .
on 20 June 2013
As a lifelong fan ( I even worked for Warners collecting their royalties) musically , The Eagles in whatever combination can do no wrong in my eyes.
As every Eagles fan has long since been aware, there was a lot of acrimony surrounding the band in the '70's - the height of their fame which , looking at the situation from the perspective of someone who has been there, done that and got the soundtrack recording as well as the T-Shirt, was most likely due to too much money, fame and especially drugs especially cocaine .
There's no doubt that if you put precocious talent together in a recording studio, fuel it with alcohol and drugs and then light the blue touch paper , there will be an incendiary explosion or possibly , in this case, an implosion.
Felder is one of "The 7" people who were on the inside of what happened and I am sure that the accounts in this book have been dumbed down to protect the sensibilities of wives , girlfriends , lovers and children of the band - I am sure the excesses and infidelities were much, much worse and it's not a healthy platform for creative energies .
The early days , Felders childhood reveal a poor, not very worldly upbringing which seems to have affected Felder all his life - yes, he appears humble , yes he appears to have tried , very unsuccessfully to stay married to his childhood sweetheart Susan despite all that was on offer and reading between the lines, I would think he has spent many, many years "in therapy" , trying to come to terms with what the ravages of drug and alcohol and excessive womanising has done to him and his family and how it has affected his relationships with his children.
Maybe this book was part of a cathartic exercise , part of his recovery therapy so he could come to terms with the damage he personally inflicted on those around him , the people he should have protected and failed .
His relationship with Don Henley and Glenn Frey seem to be one of awe rather than an equal partnership . He allows himself to be bullied and be seen as "a nice guy" rather than rock the boat . He wasn't a founding member of the band and therefore wrongly or rightly , he felt he had no real say in what went on albums or tour schedules etc yet was quite happy to receive the financial benefits of being an "Eagle" . Therefore , when you have someone like Felder in your team who probably didn't like confrontation or never expressed any kind of public conscious beyond buying some cancer stricken children a few toys, via his wife and daughter , who shows no political awareness and who shows no real awareness outside his own cloistered existence who can really blame Henley or Frey for taking control of the band situation ? Clearly, no one else wanted to do it or thought it was their place to do so with Tim and Joe Walsh also being late additions to the band.
Bernie Leadon and Randy Meisner, who were the other two genuine founding members had voted with their feet and left for whatever reasons be it musically or personally but I don't understand why, if Frey and Henley were as bad as this book makes out , they were allowed to dominate all the other existing band members that had passed through the band - its seems that no one would stand up to them and the question has to be , WHY ?
The answer is quite simply , song power . No one can take away the genius of Leadon as an instrumentalist , from Felder as a guitarist and writer of guitar riffs or from Mesiners amazing vocal range but simply put, the song writing talents belong to Frey and most notably, Henley.
I understand why they wanted more money than the other three when the Eagles went back on the road, they had lucrative solo careers , and if Felder had wanted suites or physios courtesy of the Eagles as he claims Frey and Henley requested on the Hell Freezes Over Tour , he should have requested them - I just got angry when he (Felder) sat back and let other people walk all over him and even crosser when he expected Tim Schmidt and Joe Walsh to back him up over something they clearly didn't feel was important enough to them to rock the boat .
Felder does not mention the fact that when he subpoena-d the Band, Sharon Henley( who suffers with MS) was dragged from her home into court by his lawyers to cross examine her about something she knew nothing about - she was very ill , knew nothing in any case and yet Felder insisted - that's what upset Don Henley most of all , that's what Don Henley will never forgive .
Felder may sometimes come across as Mr Nice Guy, Mr Hard Done To , Mr Misunderstood but read between the lines and his ego is every bit as monstrous yet as equally fragile as "The Gods" he keeps doing down , the same Gods who have made him a multi-millionaire who never has to work again if he feels he does not want to. The same "Gods" who collectively gave Susan Felder the wherewithal to start he jewellery business , the business that took her away from the man who had cheated on her with groupies for years when he was out on the road with the band , the man who was just not talented enough to formulate a creatively satisfying solo career without the other Eagles behind him , the man who when the chips were finally down, was not backed up by Tim Schmidt or Joe Walsh in the way he thought he deserved to be backed up by them .....but , why would they ?
This book has been reviewed as not being bitter , well, I would disagree , Felder is very bitter but he tries to wrap it all up in pretty , good 'ole homeboy anecdotes and make it a bitter-sweet bitterness when it's not - its blind , naked envy of the remaining Eagles. He complains they didn't "hang out " together - well, after about the age of 25 , most of us stop hanging out with buddies even if w work with them cause we have other commitments like families . Felder may have been married when the "Gods" were single but he was far from a grown up mature adult who couldn't say no to drugs, groupies and alcohol .
On the recent TV documentary when interviewed , he walked away in tears talking about his loss - well, in my opinion, that only diminished him further , you "loose" family , you don't cry about the "loss" of an ideal that never seems to have existed in the first place except in Felder's own mind .
There were , as I said, 7 Eagles and therefore 7 viewpoints and this is only a snapshot in time of Don Felder's experiences - its interesting but it's only 1/7th of the real story - I don't think we will ever know the whole truth unless the other 6 decide to write from their viewpoints and I don't think Henley or Frey need the money, need to justify their own existences or want that level of public exposure - they have nothing to prove , no axe to grind , they simply have a catalogue of music , they need no other legacy .
Finally, Felder in his acknowledgements thanks all the Eagles except Henley and Frey which makes a mockery of what he said when all 7 accepted the lifetime achievement award when he tearfully (again) thanked Henley & Frey for the body of work they had created - I would have had more respect if he had added their names to others acknowledged in this book.
Its time for Don Felder to "Get Over It " - everyone else has .