When guitarist Don "Fingers" Felder was invited to join the already platinum-selling Eagles in 1974, he had no idea what sort of rock-and-roll heaven and show-business hell he was about to enter -or how hard it would become to tell one from the other. For the next twenty-seven years, Felder found himself deeply involved in a musical career that was musically thrilling, emotionally exhausting, and surprisingly dangerous.
In Heaven and Hell, Felder shares this remarkable journey with a firsthand look at his tempestuous years with the Eagles. Even as he, Don Henley, Glenn Frey, Randy Meisner, Bernie Leadon, and, later, Joe Walsh and Timothy B. Schmit became America's most popular and successful rock band, selling tens of millions of records, Felder reveals that greed, jealousy, and creative differences constantly threatened to tear the Eagles apart.
From one sold-out arena to the next, some members of the Eagles blazed a trail of sex, drugs, and rock-and-roll that became as legendary as their music. Felder explains how the famous E3 (third encore) parties, which began as spontaneous, raucous backstage binges, evolved into highly organized orgies, with roadies recruiting gorgeous women from the audience to be chauffeured to lavish hotel suites, where nothing was off limits.
Even further behind the scenes, he reveals the grim test of wills between Leadon, Felder's friend since his impoverished boyhood in Gainesville, Florida, and the duo of Frey and Henley. Despite Felder's attempts to mediate this conflict, it would not be resolved until a tense meeting that very nearly came to blows, which ended when Leadon stormed out of the room, never to return to the band.
Felder also offers a rare glimpse into the creative melting pot that produced such great Eagles hits as "Life in the Fast Lane," "Hotel California," "Victim of Love," and many others. The writing of these songs often involved the entire band, as well as non-band members, such as well-known Eagles collaborator J. D. Souther, Bob Seger, and others. Frequently beginning as a simple guitar lick or a vague idea, these songs took shape through a fascinating process of free association and collaboration, yet, says Felder, even these exciting moments led to friction and bickering.
Filled with hilarious true stories of rock stars on the road, including Felder's first meeting with Keith Richards, who was passed out on a bathroom floor at the time, and Joe Walsh's genius for practical jokes, Heaven and Hell is the book Eagles fans have been waiting for.