Don Felder is pure California. Blonde hair, tanned skin, whiter-than-white teeth. So it makes sense that this is the dude who wrote the famous guitar riff for The Eagles' smash hit Hotel California. Except, Felder was actually born in Florida and spent his childhood there (amoung other things, teaching fellow blonde southerner Tom Petty to play guitar) before heading to LA where his talent landed him the gig of lead guitarist with country rockers The Eagles.
In this brutally honest memoir, we follow Felder on his journey from free-wheelin’ muso hanging out in the sunny canyons of LA, dreaming up those laid-back seventies tunes, right through to the tumultuous times when The Eagles found themselves thrust onto the world stage, subject to fame and all its pitfalls. While a lot of Felder’s confessions reveal behaviour that’s pretty questionable, he at least did a stint as a faithful husband before the temptations of the road got too much.
One of the things I enjoyed most about this book was the insider’s look at the mind games and ego battles that plagued the band and eventually led to their infamous implosion. In stark contrast to their relaxed, easy going music, Don Henley and Glenn Frey could be some pretty nasty dudes according to Felder.
Heaven and Hell might not give you a peaceful, easy feeling but it’s a ripper of a read.