Don Felder has a fascinating story to tell. The man behind the crux of one of classic rock’s biggest hits, Hotel California, can certainly stand on his own. He’s a former lead guitarist of The Eagles, and ever since he was purportedly kicked out of the band, he’s taken on numerous solo projects, some of which have found him great success.
Felder is especially interesting because he orders a contradictory viewpoint to what one might think about the greatness that is the Eagles. At one point he was one of the three pivotal members of the group alongside lead vocalists Don Henley and Glenn Frey, but despite all of his contributions to the band he was officially kicked out in 2001.
From 2001 onward, a bunch of nasty lawsuits between Felder and his former band mates began. Felder sued for wrongful termination and sought more than $50,000,000 in damages. Henley and Frey counter-sued Felder to try and stop the release of his tell-all autobiography. Both suits were settled out of court in 2007, but Henley insists that he and Felder are still tied up in legal issues.
Apparently, one of the main cause of issue between Felder, Henley and Frey was that Felder was simply not being paid as much as Henley and Frey, something that neither members deny. According to Henley, there certainly was a pay disparity and he justified as so: “We felt like, and we still feel like, we are the leaders of this band. Although we certainly do listen to the opinions of the other guys. We all seem to be able to reach consensus these days and go forward.”
But despite being paid less, before his termination in 2001 he still participated in many Eagles endeavors such as its 1994 reunion tour “Hell Freezes Over” and its induction into the Hall of Fame. As most of us already know, the Eagles make a crap ton of money from any kind of live appearance or tour, and the 1994 reunion tour was one of the most successful tours of all time. In the first year alone the tour grossed nearly $80,000,000, and would continue on to gross hundreds of thousands. In fact, the Eagles are SO good at making money touring, they made Forbes list of the top ten highest paid musicians in 2014.
Being that Felder has credits for co-wroting a lot of the Eagles biggest hits, he also has the liberty to perform the songs during his own solo shows, which he does. This allows him to not only generate money from his due royalties, but also boost sales for his solo career. He had a very early successful hit in 1981 when he originally went on his own, the title track to the animation movie “Heavy Metal.” Fans of his look forward to him playing the cult classic at his shows.
His last solo album, Road to Forever, was released in 2012. It was his first album since thirty years prior in 1983 was met with positive reviews. His 2008 book, Heaven and Hell: My Life In the Eagles became a New York Times Bestseller in no time. In other words, Felder has no problem standing on his own.