Don Felder's New Solo LP Features Slash, Bob Weir and Sammy Hagar - Rolling Stone
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Don Felder’s New Solo LP Features Slash, Bob Weir, Mick Fleetwood, Sammy Hagar

Former Eagles guitarist also recruited Chad Smith and Joe Satriani to craft American Rock ‘n’ Roll

don felder slash bob weirdon felder slash bob weir

Former Eagles guitarist Don Felder created his new album 'American Rock 'n' Roll' with help from Slash and Bob Weir, among others.

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Former Eagles guitarist Don Felder had a simple goal when he crafted his upcoming solo album American Rock ‘n’ Roll, which is set for release April 5th via BMG. “I wanted to bring in as many people as possible to share the experience with me,” he says. “I knew it should be bright, cheery and fun or it wouldn’t be worth doing. It should be a labor of love, not a labor of work.”

That wasn’t quite the case in 2012 when he released Road To Forever, his first solo release since he left the Eagles a decade earlier. Wanting to show off his chops after years of brutal legal battles with his old bandmates, he played nearly all the guitar parts himself. “It was a very narrowly-focused record,” he says. “I was like, ‘I can play rhythm and lead. I can do everything.'”

This time around, he brought in everybody from Slash and Bob Weir to Sammy Hagar, Joe Satriani, Chad Smith (essentially reuniting three-quarters of Chickenfoot in the process) and Mick Fleetwood to join in on the fun. Slash plays on the title track, which traces the history of rock from the days of Woodstock and Jimi Hendrix to Guns N’ Roses and the present day. “Slash lives really close to me,” says Felder. “He came over, brought his guitar, plugged into one of my amps and we traded off on some solos. He actually plays on the part of the song that mentions Guns N’ Roses by name.”

The ambitious song begins with Fleetwood on drums, but Smith takes over as the tune progresses through time. “We wanted an old school Mick Fleetwood-style rock and roll pocket in the early verses,” says Felder. “And when Chad comes in, it becomes a more more modern, hard-rocking Chili Peppers kind of feel.”

Another song, “Rock You,” is a duet with Hagar that features Satriani on guitar. They were working on overdubs when Weir happened to walk into the studio. “I said, ‘Hey Bob, can I have you sing this chorus with us?'” says Felder. “And he just came in and did it. It was so much fun. The whole time we made the record, whoever was walking by the studio got put onto the record.”

Other songs include the gentle, acoustic “The Sun” and the ballad “Falling In Love Again,” which Felder wrote on the piano. “Those are the types of songs that I never would have been able to do had I used the same approach as my last album,” he says. “There’s just so much more variety this time.”

Felder returns to the road later this month for a string of dates across North America. As always, he’ll devote the vast majority of his set to Eagles classics like “Hotel California,” “Victim of Love” and “Tequila Sunrise.” People want to hear me perform the iconic guitar stuff that I played when I was in the Eagles,” he says. “They know those solos note by note.” But he’s also planning on mixing in three or four songs from the new album along with “Heavy Metal (Takin’ a Ride)” and cuts from his last solo record.

He hasn’t played with the Eagles since December 31st, 1999 and that’s unlikely to change at any point soon. Felder not only filed a costly series of lawsuits against the band after he was forced out, but he wrote a revealing book about his time in the group that set relations back even further. “Felder’s just bitter because he got kicked out of the group so he decided to write a nasty little tell-all, which I think is a really low, cheap shot,” Don Henley told The Guardian in 2015. “I mean, I could write some stuff about him that would make your moustache curl.”

Despite the near two-decades of bitterness, Felder says he’s ready to make peace with Henley and the other surviving members of the Eagles. “I have reached out numerous times to Don and to Glenn [Frey] before he passed,” says Felder. “I sent them through personal channels, legal channels and any other way that I could think of. I just want to give them my best wishes and say that I have no ill feelings towards them at all. There’s no reason to go forward carrying animosity.”

He continues: “I’ve heard it said that the only thing that comes from carrying anger and hate at someone is that it burns the vessel that holds it. That means the only thing that gets hurt by holding onto those feelings of bitterness and hate is yourself. I’ve let all that go. I wish those guys well and I’d play with them again in a heartbeat. But if you would ask Don Henley, I’m certain he’d have a different opinion about what the future would look like involving me.”

In This Article: Don Felder, The Eagles


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