Don Felder On Don Henley’s Revelation About Eagles Leadership
via BeanJolie / Youtube
Former Eagles guitarist Don Felder found himself entangled in a protracted and intricate battle over financial matters and control within the band. His departure in 2001 marked the beginning of major legal and financial disputes with bandmates Don Henley and Glenn Frey. While a lawsuit settlement compelled Felder to maintain discretion, he continued to share his experiences.
In his book, ‘Heaven and Hell: My Life in The Eagles (1974-2001),’ Felder delved into his time with the Eagles, shedding light on the internal dynamics. A 2008 interview with Westword further provided insights into the dynamics within the band.
Responding to allegations made by Henley
When questioned about Henley’s assertion that Felder aimed to undermine his and Frey’s leadership and influence other members against them, Felder clarified:
“It’s not frustrating. It’s just not accurate. I never challenged control of the band. Basically, all I did was start asking questions. There’s an old adage in Hollywood amongst managers: ‘Pay your acts enough money that they don’t ask questions.’”
Felder emphasized that his role was primarily that of an inquisitive member rather than a challenger of authority. He explained his concerns about the handling of funds and contracts, stating:
“Not only was I a one-third owner of Eagles, Ltd., and I’d been somewhat fiscally illiterate about the handling of funds and contracts and negotiations and all that – I just stayed out of it.”
Striving for openness in the band’s dealings
Felder highlighted significant changes in the band’s dynamics in the 1990s when Henley and Frey assumed control:
“But in the ’90s, when we resumed, and Don and Glenn literally seized power, and through greed and power just kind of started taking control of the whole thing, making all the decisions without even consulting or a phone call or what used to be a band meeting.”
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Expressing his concerns, Felder revealed that he started asking questions about the band’s financial affairs:
“I had no idea of what was going on, what charities we were giving money to, or anything. So I started asking questions, not only as a one-third owner of the band but also as a shareholder and stockholder in a multimillion-dollar company.”
Henley and Frey’s Reaction to Inquiries
Felder shared how his legitimate inquiries led to tensions:
“And they became very intimidated.”
He explained that his efforts to understand where the money was going eventually led to his dismissal:
“I got what I would call sandbagged as far as information being supplied to me, and when my lawyer finally sent letters asking for information they’d promised me they would deliver, the response I got was, ‘You’re fired.’”
Felder concluded with a poignant question:
“So, I wouldn’t really categorize it as me trying to take control of the band. I was simply trying to get answers to questions about where all the money was going. My question back to them today is, if you have nothing to hide, why hide everything?”
Despite the tumultuous history, Henley and Frey continued with the Eagles until Frey’s passing in 2016. The band persisted, incorporating new members, while the public rift between Felder and the remaining Eagles remained evident. In a 2013 interview, Felder expressed a willingness to reconcile under the condition of an offer of friendship or peace from the band.