Watch Don Felder Talk Upcoming Jones Beach Show With Joe Bonamassa And Styx Plus A Lot More

Saturday August 12th, 2023, Don Felder will be playing Jones Beach with Joe Bonamassa and Styx. We caught up with Don via Zoom to talk about the show, “Hotel California”, being in three different halls of fame and more.

Saturday August 12th, 2023, Don Felder will be playing Jones Beach with Joe Bonamassa and Styx. We jumped onto a Zoom call to talk with Don about the show. Don shared how fun shows like this have been for him. He mentioned having played a bunch with Styx and doing some shows with Joe Bonamassa before as well. He discussed the acts having a Zoom meeting to try and put together the surprises they’ll have for the audience at the show. He did stay tight lipped on what those surprises would be. But Don did say they would be a very special treat for the audience and also for the musicians up on the stage.

As we spoke about the performance, I had to ask Don about his signature white double neck Gibson guitar. Don shared with us that the original is currently in The Rock N’ Roll Hall of Fame. But he does have, by his estimation, between 12 and 15 duplicates of that guitar. Don mentioned having multiple guitar rigs that will be shipped all over. He seems to always have one at his disposal. He did speak about how on a single occasion having to play The Eagles classic “Hotel California” on a Fender Strat. He did speak about what the difficulties of a change like that were.

From there we dove into the background of the song “Hotel California.” Very famously, Don had presented an instrumental demo on cassette to The Eagles of the song that he had recorded alone. It has always been spoken of as being a reggae song on the demo. Don did say he has the demo in digital form and that original cassette demo too. He also graciously shared that since Don Henley had written the melody of the song that he had contributed to the music. Don also spoke about how on the demo he had played what his parts would be on guitar as well as playing parts that he felt were somewhat like Joe Walsh would add to the song. Don tells a very amusing story of Don Henley wanting what he played in the studio recording to be exactly what was on the demo and the lengths they had to go to duplicate that in the studio. I think the funniest part of the story of the recoding is how Joe Walsh came in and said at the end that they needed “to do something that’s like diddley, diddley, diddley, diddley.” They had to record the complex parts a bar at a time. Then when it was done and they were getting ready to tour, it dawned on them that they better start rehearsing the song.

We also had a chance to speak about the fact that Don has been inducted to three different halls of fame. The Rock N’ Roll Hall of Fame, The Musicians Hall of Fame, and The Florida Artist’s Hall of Fame. Don had a very self-deprecating reaction to speaking about being recognized in that way. Don shared with us the experience of playing for The Metropolitan Museum of Art’s opening for their exhibit “Play It Loud” that also had displayed his white double neck Gibson. He talked about the feeling of looking right in front of him at that show seeing Jimmy Page and Steve Miller right in front of him as he played “Hotel California.” You can watch that performance just below here.

We discussed influences, having them and being one. Don grew up in Gainesville, Florida. Hometown of one Tom Petty as well. In fact, Don gave Tom Petty guitar lessons. We spoke about Don attending Woodstock and seeing Jimi Hendrix and Carlos Santana play. It surprised me at that point when Don mentioned being in a band in Gainesville at 14 years old with Stephen Stills who was also at Woodstock with his new band, Crosby, Stills, Nash, and Young. Don spoke about carrying those influences with him until he wrote the title track of his 2019 album “American Rock N’ Roll.” Don even told a story about being influenced by Chet Atkins and BB King. He even reminisced about seeing BB King play in a barn. Don guessed maybe his biggest influence was seeing Elvis Presley on The Ed Sullivan Show.

As we were winding down the conversation, I did ask Don about any new music on the horizon. He spoke about always working on stuff and having a lot of material. It seems what he needs most to make that happen is a large chunk of time. But he does sound like new music may be close.

Watch our conversation above and definitely catch Don with Joe Bonamassa and Styx at Jones Beach on August 12th, 2023.

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