Don Felder and the "Songbook of Summer" Tour in Review - Still on the Long Run

American-born guitar great Don Felder is no stranger to ‘the road’ these days as his 2014 tour penned the “Songbook of Summer” teams himself up with legendary rockers Styx and Foreigner as part of a highly-successful jaunt through the United States. Alongside an already busy itinerary, Felder is enjoying a rediscovered spotlight as he currently promotes a future live DVD and commemorative CD of the aforementioned tour, continued dates with Frampton’s Guitar Circus and the rerelease of his second solo record “Road To Forever” now including 4 new tracks. Splash Magazines Worldwide was thrilled to speak with the acclaimed former Eagle in a recent interview following his performance at the Freedom Hill Amphitheatre in Sterling Heights, Michigan.



SMW: Do you feel a different energy onstage on this particular tour being one of 3 acts performing a night of great musical anthems?

Felder: Well, if you look at the catalogues of all 3 of these bands and if we were to play all of our shows separately it would take 8 hours. So we had to truncate everything down into the ‘greatest hits’ version of my career and that of Styx and Foreigner.  It just turns out to be an amazing show. It’s a ‘hit-fest’ and a great bang-for-the-buck!



SMW: Though you are the show-opener, your set time is not that of an opening act and runs an hour in length.

Felder: This show runs like absolute clockwork. Our show starts every night at exactly 7:00 and I have a clock down by my monitor, so I can watch down to the minute the timing of the show. Because of the 15 minute set changes between acts, we need to get off at exactly an hour. When you have 3 bands staggered like that on stage, the set change is really the lull. You don’t want that to run late making the last band of the night have to cut a song out of their show. We have to be done by 11:00 every night, so everyone is very cognisant of how much time they are allocated. The show runs like a well-oiled machine.

SMW:  Have you ever been out on the road in a similar multi-band tour?

Felder: Well, yes and no. I’ve been out and done dates with other bands in the past like The Doobies, Frampton and Crosby, Stills and Nash, but I have deliberately stayed away from doing a 3-month tour for a reason. It is very difficult to balance your personal and professional life and if you go out on the road for 3 months, your friendships, your love relationships and your relationship with your children; they all get a little distant. So, I have tried ever since I left The Eagles to really balance the two. With this tour however, it’s been difficult for me but the people have been fantastic!



SMW:  Having seen you live a number of times now, I always notice that you have a smile on your face. Are you typically just a happy guy or is there a particular spot in the show that puts the biggest smile on your face?

Felder: You know, I’m a very blessed man in that I was given a talent and the opportunity to make a living doing what I love to do. So what you see on stage is me absolutely loving what I do. If anyone wants to read anything else into it, it’s a mistake. It’s just the sheer joy of being on stage and playing music for people.



SMW:  It’s interesting that you decided to rerecord Hotel California with Tommy Shaw and Kelly Hansen for the Soundtrack of Summer tour companion CD and equally as cool to see you and Tommy performing the song together on stage. In your opinion do you have a favourite interpretation of the song which you have heard performed by another artist?

Felder: The Gypsy Kings, I really like their version of it because it’s very upbeat and a little quicker in tempo. That song originally, even though it started off as a reggae piece, always had that kind of Latino influence in it. So, I love their version of it.

SMW:  How do you go about remodelling a classic song of that calibre?

Felder: That was a huge challenge for me to tell you the truth. I think I played 15 or 16 guitar tracks on the original studio version, building it like a guitar orchestra. What we did in the 90’s with the second version, was done around the unplugged era of MTV when artists were doing acoustic versions of their hit songs. It’s probably the only song that I know that has been recorded twice by the same band and been nominated for Grammys both times. Now, to take that on for a third time, I thought it would be a fun challenge, so we went for it and I’m very happy with the way it turned out.



SMW:  Lastly, having had such a huge roll in defining the genre of rock music, do you see a particular artist that will be able to carry on the torch of rock & roll music into the next generation?

Felder: It’s really hard to discern who’s going to have longevity today. I will say however, that in the past, my experiences are that people that have great song-writing skills, sing really well and play instruments are the ones that continue to carry that baton and sustain a career for any extended period of time.



To discover more on Don Felder and the “Songbook of Summer” tour click on the following links:

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