Clipped Wings

“I deliberately tried very hard not to make it a revenge book,” says guitarist Don Felder, author of Heaven and Hell: My Life in the Eagles (1974-2001), which he’ll read from and sign tonight. “I wasn’t out to hang anybody’s head from the highest pole in town. That wasn’t the intent.” Maybe not, but the two best-known Eagles, Don Henley and Glenn Frey, whom Felder holds responsible for expelling him from the group in 2001, don’t come across terribly well. Granted, Felder has high regard for their skills as songwriters and performers — especially Henley, whom he calls “a brilliant contemporary rock writer. He would have been a fabulous poet if he weren’t a musician. He was a literary major, and not only that — he’s gifted with a brilliant voice.” But in the years following 1994, Felder began to fear that he was being shortchanged financially, and his inquiries weren’t welcomed.

“Whether it was a question about the crew or the artwork or whatever we were doing, I kind of had a ball-gag shoved in my mouth and a check shoved in my hand,” he maintains. “They interpreted it as a challenge to their authority, which was not the intent at all for me to do. It was just simply trying to make certain I wasn’t getting screwed.”

After being dumped, Felder sued the band, settling out of court prior to Heaven and Hell’s release. Still, he insists that the book was more about personal catharsis than score-settling. “I hope I don’t sound too negative,” he says, “because I still have a lot of fond memories.”

Felder drops by the Highlands Ranch Tattered Cover, 9315 Dorchester Street, at 7:30 p.m. The event is free, but Felder will only autograph books, not memorabilia. Get details at 303-470-7050 or www.tatteredcover.com — and read a massive Felder Q&A at blogs.westword.com/latestword.
Tue., Aug. 12, 2008

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Michael Roberts has written for Westword since October 1990, serving stints as music editor and media columnist. He currently covers everything from breaking news and politics to sports and stories that defy categorization.
Contact: Michael Roberts