A series of meditations, coupled with putting his thoughts down in longhand on legal pads, led Don Felder to write the bestselling book Heaven and Hell: My Life in The Eagles (1974-2001).
Those years of in-depth research and reflecting on personal and professional experiences — divorcing his wife of 29 years and leaving The Eagles, just to name two — also stirred up Felder’s other creative juices.
“I have a studio in my home,” the guitarist says, “so the whole time I would come across these emotions and feelings, I would go into the studio and write these song ideas. So it was kind of a dual cathartic path: One path was writing it in text for my book, and at the same time, my greatest emotional release is through writing and playing music.”
The October 2012 arrival of Road to Forever (Rocket Science Ventures) marked the physical release of those musical exercises — and also the end of a 29-year gap between Felder solo albums.
“I had 26 song ideas, and I culled it down to what I thought were the best 16,” he says. “I went into the studio with some really great players and friends and finished this record.”
The final product contains 12 songs, among them “Wash Away,” Felder’s current single and one he finished with help from a famous friend. Struggling to complete the lyrics, Felder says he remembered conversations he’d had with Styx guitarist Tommy Shaw about “the experience of having been married and going through divorce and dealing with all of that torment and pain.”
So Felder called Shaw and asked him to drop by should he be in the neighborhood. Fortunately for Felder, Styx was in town, and Shaw was available.
“It was a delightful experience,” Felder recalls. “In three days, we wrote three songs. I had a ball doing it. I set up a mike in my studio and said to Tommy, ‘Well, before you leave, let’s sing [the harmonies].’ It all fell into place. It was one of those situations where you both kind of lock onto the same vibe of the song and out it comes.”
In addition to “Wash Away,” Felder and Shaw co-wrote “Heal Me,” which is also on Road
“And then we wrote this song that he had started and I wrote the chorus to,” Felder adds. “It sounded like Crosby, Stills and Nash, and it didn’t really fit on my record — because I had Crosby, Stills and Nash on my record [on the song ‘Fall From the Grace of Love’] — and it didn’t really fit on Tommy’s country record, either. So we still have another piece lying around that we may put on a record somewhere in the near future.”
— By Chris M. Junior
Don Felder on tour (schedule subject to change):
* April 13: Club Nokia — Los Angeles (Light Up the Blues concert to benefit Autism Speaks)
* May 10: Lifestyle Communities Pavilion — Columbus, Ohio
* Aug. 16: Diamond Jo Casino — Dubuque, Iowa
* Sept. 13: Mayo Performing Arts Center — Morristown, N.J.
* Sept. 15: The Big E — West Springfield, Mass.