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Rock and Roll Hall of Famer Don Felder talks new solo CD, success (Includes interview)

“The new album has received a lot of critical acclaim and positive reviews. You just never know what will happen when you put something out. It’s always pleasant to see that your work is being warmly and successfully accepted,” he said.

When asked what inspires his music, Felder said, “I hear music all the time. I hear lyrics running through my head and guitar parts in my head. I spend all the time I can recording music. I would sing a chorus into my cell phone. It may not be complete, but I try to capture a little snapshot of it.”

In 1998, Felder was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as a member of the Eagles. “It was really a great honor. You never started out thinking about things like that when I was nine of 10 years old since it didn’t exist back then. It was something that was unexpected. It is something as memorable as your first platinum album,” he said.

“The most important accolade, to me, was having my white double-necked guitar on display in the Metropolitan Museum of Art in its ‘Play It Loud’ exhibit,” he said. “That’s the highest accolade I’ve ever received. I moved to New York in 1968 with a guitar in one hand and a suitcase in the other hand. I starved on the streets there for about a year and a half, but to be there 50 years later with my guitar hanging in the Metropolitan Museum of Art is just unbelievable. The way life rewards you and abuses you is pretty amazing,” he acknowledged.

Felder had nothing but the greatest words about iconic Eagles songwriter Jack Tempchin for his upcoming induction into the Songwriters Hall of Fame in June in New York City. “Jack is a great guy and an amazing songwriter. He has written some incredible songs, including ‘Peaceful Easy Feeling’ and so many others. Jack is finally getting the recognition he deserves,” he said.

Regarding the key to longevity in the music business, Felder said, “It comes down to people that can write, sing and play their own music. The artists that have been able to do that over the decades have it made since they don’t depend on looking for songs from other people.”

Felder continued, “Paul McCartney has been able to continue to do that. More contemporary artists include Alicia Keys, John Mayer and Gary Clark, Jr. These artists have the ability to continue on and on, and they can build a career pathway for themselves since they sing, play and write their own music.”

Digital transformation of the music business

On the impact of technology on the music industry, Felder said, “I have mixed feelings about it. I think it’s great that anybody that has a phone or Internet can access music that way. First of all, I think it’s pretty bad quality. When I was with the Eagles, we would spend millions of dollars in the best studio with the best equipment for the best-sounding audio we could make. To me, digital seems over-compressed and thin. It doesn’t have the same depth that vinyl and CDs would have.”

Felder also noted that there is a blatant disparity that exists between the royalties that streaming services would pay vs. radio airplay. “Streaming gives artists a small percentage of a penny per play,” he said. “There is a huge imbalance between broadcasting on the radio and streaming payments. I am disappointed with this imbalance.”

Regarding the passage of the Music Modernization Act (MMA), Felder said, “I think it’s fantastic. I am going to perform at the Library of Congress in Washington, DC, this month for ASCAP, and I will visit congressman and senator offices to thank them for that.”

Felder defined the word success as “It’s how happy you have been doing what you are doing.” “If you are not exuberant and filled with joy and happiness, then all of that other things don’t matter. There is a song on this album called ‘Charmed,’ which is exactly all about that,” he said.

American Rock ‘n’ Roll is available on iTunes and on Spotify.

For more information on Rock and Roll Hall of Famer Don Felder and his new solo music, check out his official website.

Read More: American Rock ‘n’ Roll earned a glowing review from Digital Journal.

Markos Papadatos
Written By

Markos Papadatos is Digital Journal's Editor-at-Large for Music News. Papadatos is a Greek-American journalist and educator that has authored over 21,000 original articles over the past 18 years. He has interviewed some of the biggest names in music, entertainment, lifestyle, magic, and sports. He is a 16-time "Best of Long Island" winner, where for three consecutive years (2020, 2021, and 2022), he was honored as the "Best Long Island Personality" in Arts & Entertainment, an honor that has gone to Billy Joel six times.

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