Jun 052008

Wiley Publishing recently contacted The Back Office with a request that Rock Town Hall review their upcoming release of Heaven and Hell: My Life in the Eagles (1974-2001) by Don Felder and celebrity biographer Wendy Holden. Our request for an interview with Mr. Felder (we even told them we had a correspondent in Australia) was politely responded with an offer for a free review copy of the book. We don’t even have to return it!

RTH lurker, avid rock bio reader and spouse of The Back Office, took on the task of summing up this Topanga-tinged tome.

There is suffering even if you are a ’70s rock star …well, in a rock band in the ’70s…Don Felder was never really allowed to be the star of The Eagles because Don Henley and Glen Frey sucked all of the oxygen out of that jar.

Heaven and Hell is Felder’s co-written autobiography of his rise from dinky Florida house without air conditioning to Malibu Beach House and then back again to one-bedroom, post-divorce apartment. I’ve read almost every rock autobiography and biography that I come across, and many share the same cycle:

  • Rags to riches.
  • Then rags again for awhile.
  • Then, not so many rags.
  • Many riches.
  • Lose all the riches, usually due to blow or legal fees.
  • Then Reunion tour.

Don Felder got fired in 2001, though, after Hell Froze Over. His manager, who also managed all the other Eagles, let him know over the phone that his services wouldn’t be required anymore. Ewww…almost like he was temping at Manpower.

Life in the Eagles sounds like hell. They shoulda all been banking their massive paychecks and counting the days until retirement arrived. Various forms of anesthesia helped everyone through the moments they were required to spend together.

Felder says that a good home life with a wife and kids helped him gain something to return to when he wasn’t touring or recording, but I couldn’t help but imagine how independent a wife would have to be to raise four kids without him around. When he was at home it must have been like having a guest in the house. His wife got a life, so he called her and fired her over the phone. Ewww…almost like she was temping at Kelly Girl.

A few interesting Don Felder facts;

  • Don Felder taught little Tommy Petty to play.
  • Don Felder wrote the music to Hotel California in his Malibu Beach house while wearing socks and moccasins.
  • Don Felder drove Joe Walsh to rehab.
  • Don Felder says that Jerry Brown was “alright”.

If you’re an avid reader of these types of things, there isn’t much new here. Different names. If you’re a big Eagles fan, you probably already own it.


  13 Responses to “Heaven and Hell: My Life in the Eagles (1974-2001) by Don Felder & Wendy Holden”

  1. Mr. Moderator

    It should be noted that during the intense negotiations Sammy had with Felder’s publicist to set up an interview, he suggested what we thought was a brilliant compromise: Would Don be willing to field one question from Rock Town Hall?

    This seemed reasonable and more than satisfying from our perspective, and we thought we could have some fun with it by asking Townspeople to submit their one question for Don Felder. It’s been a few weeks now, and we’ve yet to hear back from Don’s publicist on this single-question interview idea (THANKS for the book, we must say, in case you’re reading), but just in case he’s game for it, why don’t we use this thread to gather ideas from Townspeople. So get to it: you’ve got the chance to ask former Eagles member Don Felder one question. Make it a good one. What’s it going to be? Should we luck out and get the chance to ask Don one question, we’ll select the best of the entries we gather here. Thanks!

  2. hrrundivbakshi

    What was up with Don Henley’s hair? Was he a John Edwards-like hair obsessive?

  3. BigSteve

    Which one were you again?

  4. Hey Don, don’t you think “Those Shoes” is the Most Coked-Out Song Ever.

  5. meanstom

    Don, does Glen Frey not get enough shit from rock fans relative to Henley?

  6. As egotistic as it is to allude to one’s own writing …

    Don, when chilling at home or on the beach or wherever you chill, do you ever take a deep, satisfied breath, look at your watch, figure out the time difference and think to yourself, “Those poor bastards are in the second verse of ‘Down at the Sunset Grill’ right now” and get a smile on your face so wide people ask you to explain?

    And do you?

  7. Mr. Moderator

    Massimo’s question is looking like a winner so far. I’m sure there are other burning questions out there for the man. I’m starting to feel confident, after the attention we’ve given California today, that Felder’s people are going to come around to the single-question interview proposal.

  8. Hey Don,

    Do you find it annoying that most of the questions submitted have nothing really to do with you?

  9. Don,
    According to the recent Rolling Stone interview, both Bernie Leadon and Randy Meisner left the band following dust ups with alpha-douche Glen Frey (fistfight and beer poured on the head, respectively). If you had been fired face to face instead of over the phone, what do you think your parting gesture would have been? (Stomp off in a self righteous huff? Detune Glen’s guitars? Sneak extra baby laxative in the band stash hopefully resulting in a mid-set “accident”?)

  10. general slocum


    When did you first… uhm,…

    OK, what would you say is your BEST, uh, thing… mem-, song, um…

    No, oh. Hey, Did you ever, ah, heh.
    Is tat a Blackberry, or a large phone?

  11. Don, were you present when they lobotomized Joe Walsh?

  12. I just finished the book and you seemed to glide through the court findings and onto where life is now without saying what was decided or more importantly, who won. Would you be more satisfied with what you received in the settlement or a chance to watch a nw larger Stevie Nicks crush Don Henley in a fetish revenge scenario?

  13. misterioso

    Don, is there any question I can ask you the answer to which wouldn’t lead to both of us being sued by Henley or Frey?

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