Former Eagles guitarist Don Felder says “it was a pleasure and delight” both to be part of and to check out the vintage footage in the two-part “History of the Eagles” documentary now airing on Showtime. But he considers the authorized “History” to be a bit incomplete.
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“Overall I thought it was OK, but I didn’t think it was really an accurate documentary,” Felder, who was fired from the Eagles in 2001, with subsequent lawsuits that were settled out of court six years later. “I thought a lot was omitted from the documentary. There were a lot of things that weren’t discussed, a lot of issues that aren’t brought to the forefront. It glorified (Don) Henley and (Glenn) Frey’s work, giving very little credit to all the other people who had worked so hard on the recordings — including Bernie (Leadon), Randy (Meisner), myself, the other things people brought to the table like (producer) Bill Szymczyk.
It was a large team of a lot of people working together to make it happen, and I don’t think that’s really reflected in there.”
Felder says the film, directed by Allison Ellwood and co-produced by Academy Award-winning documentarian Alex Gibney, also glosses over some of the well-documented and highly publicized acrimony that took place within the Eagles’ ranks.
“It seemed like everything was fine and dandy a lot of the time, which really was not the case,” he explains. “There was always a lot of friction and tension going on. We had some fun times, but there were also a lot of stressful arguing and disputes and disagreements and words being thrown around — between Don and Glenn, too. They portrayed it like they’d been best buddies since ’71 or something, but there’s been quite a few times between them, too. So a lot of stuff was just omitted that way, I think.”
As for the depiction of his dismissal in Part 2 of the documentary, Felder — who published a memoir, “Heaven and Hell: My Life in the Eagles (1974-2001)” in 2006 — says he was surprised by “the anger that was displayed, and the bitterness, especially from Glenn. It really left me taken aback that he was still so angry about all of that, and I couldn’t understand why, to tell the truth. I’ve been way past it for about 10 years now.”
Despite the criticisms, Felder says he enjoyed watching the vintage footage.
“I’d forgotten how skinny I was, and I thought all of our hairstyles were…interesting, Henley with his ‘fro and everything,” he says with a laugh. “It was just fun to look back at those times.”
And he is satisfied that the film captures the musical essence of the Eagles.
“Here’s a huge rock ‘n’ roll band on stage with ripped jeans and plaid shirts, as far from the mega shows you see today as you can get,” Felder says. “You look back and realize that what came across was nothing except five guys standing on stage, playing and singing songs. That’s really what it was all about.”
Felder is currently touring to promote 2012’s “Road to Forever,” his first solo album since 1983. The Eagles will play March 23 at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas and are expected to play more shows this year to commemorate the group’s 40th anniversary.