Former Eagle Don Felder talks about tour with Styx and Foreigner

For more of the interview with Don Felder, visit the Music Scene blog at AccessAtlanta.com.


CONCERT PREVIEW

Soundtrack of Summer Tour with Styx, Foreigner and Don Felder. 7 p.m. May 24. $19.50-$99.50. Verizon Wireless Amphitheatre at Encore Park, 2200 Encore Parkway, Alpharetta. 1-800-745-3000, www.ticketmaster.com.

Don Felder loves to talk music.

Whether it’s about Styx or Foreigner, his fellow classic rockers sharing the bill on the Soundtrack of Summer Tour that comes to Verizon Wireless Amphitheatre Saturday, or his admiration of triple-threat artists such as Alicia Keys and John Mayer, Felder is interested.

The former lead guitarist of the Eagles — he’s responsible for those now-historic notes throughout “Hotel California” as well as dozens of other hits — Felder recently released his second solo album, “Road to Forever” (an extended version with four bonus tracks arrived a few months ago) and also contributed to a new version of “Hotel” featuring Styx and Foreigner on a commemorative CD for the tour.

Fans will recall his gripping, volatile memoir, “Heaven and Hell: My Life in the Eagles,” from 2008, and while Felder does have an idea for another tome, the subject matter might be a bit different.

In a recent call from his home in California, where he’s lived since 1973, the gregarious Felder, 66, talked about his appreciation of his fans, the four hours of hits fans will receive each night of the tour, and why he embraces social media.

Q: When the tour was announced, Jeff Pilson of Foreigner told me that he was excited about having you on the bill because you bring a “powerful cachet of songs” and a “great history” to the tour. What were your reasons for wanting to be part of it?

A: (Styx's) Tommy (Shaw) and I have known each other 10 years or so. The guys in Styx are so much fun, just really nice people. There's no drama, no egos. The same with Foreigner. We were working on some rehearsals to announce the tour, and it just seemed like a really fun group of people. It seemed like we could go out for three months together and not get sick of each other.

Q: Does it matter to you that you’re the first guy onstage every night?

A: Not at all. Most people in that first slot get 30 minutes, but I'm doing an hour, hour (and) 15 (minutes). The whole show is going to be about four hours. We want them standing up and not getting numb-butt.

Q: Do you like doing shed (amphitheater) tours?

A: The thing that started me playing when I was 10 was the love of playing music. I don't care if I'm playing a corporate event, a shed event or a billionaire birthday party. I love to play and to be able to go out with this catalog, it's going to be a really fun summer. I don't care where we play, to tell you the truth.

Q: How involved have you gotten with social media?

A: I'm on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram … you have to embrace that sort of stuff and allow fans access. I read my Facebook stuff and try to respond to some of the people. It's an odd thing for me to say, "Buy my CD, come to my show, but … don't talk to me."

Q: Who do you listen to these days? Any new acts or new guitarists that you really admire?

A: One thing I do is record every late-night show. I don't necessarily watch them, but I'll scroll to see who the artist is, looking for the next Jimi Hendrix, Eric Clapton, and I'm sadly disappointed over and over that I see fewer and fewer great guitarists. I think "Guitar Hero" has taken over what playing guitar used to be. Kids who grew up with it, they're really good at the game. But I like Gary Clark Jr. — he's a great, soulful player. I really like people who are the triple threat, who write, sing and play their own instruments. Alicia Keys, she's a great artist, the Aretha (Franklin) of the 21st century. She can be in a room by herself with no band and make the hair stand up. John Mayer is the triple threat. Stephen Stills, John and I are going to jam on a blues song. Those triples threats deserve the ultimate respect.

Q: Is there a Volume 2 of a book in you?

A: I've been playing around with a book called "Road Tales," stories from the road, to do for charity. I want to get a lot of people from the music business who have really funny stories. Whoever contributes to it, a portion of the proceeds would go to their charity. I've been collecting stories, but I don't have enough yet for a book.

Q: I know things aren’t friendly between you and the Eagles, but do you still keep in touch with (founding member) Bernie Leadon?

A: I was in touch with him until he rejoined the Eagles. We've known each other since we were 15, but the Eagles have an unusual philosophy — you're either a soldier in their army, or you're their enemy. I'm really good friends with (sometime Eagles bassist) Randy Meisner. I've reached out to try to shake hands with those (other) guys, to leave history in a good place, and they refuse to extend the hand.