Despite the longstanding differences between the late Glenn Frey and the former Eagle, Don Felder, Felder still had hopes of speaking with Frey again. While he never got that chance, did Don Felder go to Glenn Frey’s funeral?
Don Felder did not attend Glenn Frey’s funeral, although he publicly mourned Glenn and was broken up when he heard about his death.
Felder also released a heartbreaking statement saying, “He was like a brother to me.”
The fans and other Eagles band members publicly mourned Glenn (who died of rheumatoid arthritis, acute ulcerative colitis, and pneumonia in January 2016), and all of the current members of The Eagles did attend Glenn’s funeral.
In an interview with ArtisanNewsService, Felder regretted Glenn’s death and expressed his feelings saying:
“Glenn was funny and generous. However, despite our struggles, we managed to create many beautiful songs together”, he added. Of course, they did have many hits together including “New Kid in Town” and “Lying Eyes” that Frey sings lead vocals on.
Felder’s statements made me curious, and I decided to find out the actual history of this Frey-Felder duo. So let’s find out why Felder skipped Glenn’s funeral.
Today in rock history: July 31st 1980 – #Eagles performed at Long Beach, CA, on the night that became known as “Long Night At Wrong Beach”. #DonFelder #GlennFrey #80s pic.twitter.com/cX8V5psOET
— Zenith Classic Rock (@ZenithCR) July 31, 2020
Why did Glenn Frey and Don Felder fall out?
The desire to take more control over The Eagles created the first rift between Glenn Frey and Don Felder. But their falling out came to a head onstage during a concert where they almost fought physically.
That concert, known as the “Long Night at Wrong Beach” in 1980, was when the friction between Felder and Frey boiled even before the show began.
Felder sarcastically said, “You’re welcome…I guess” to senator Alan Cranston and his wife, and Frey was offended by this statement.
It’s most likely because Cranston, like Frey, was a Democrat, and Felder, technically independent, but is very friendly with a lot of Republican politicians, and has performed at GOP functions before.
The year 1980 is counted as the initial breakup of the Eagles. Growing arguments and differences among the bandmates led to them calling it quits later that year following the difficult tour.
According to concert attendees, Felder had a habit of clashing with Glenn over wanting more out of the band.
Frey and Felder have created fantastic music, which the fans and critics alike have appreciated much.
Over the years, Felder tried contacting Glenn and everyone else, but he couldn’t get anyone to return his calls.
And after Frey’s death, he is said to be full of regrets that he couldn’t sort things out earlier and recalls delightful memories the duo created with the band and Frey.
Glenn Frey and Don Felder on stage, 1974 pic.twitter.com/hXIbgPggCj
— Classic Rock In Pics (@crockpics) February 8, 2018
Did Don Felder and Glenn Frey ever make up?
Don Felder made up with Glenn Frey and rejoined the band when The Eagles united in 1994 for the album “Hell Freezes Over”. However, in 2001, he was fired for his clash with Glenn over financial affairs and did not make up with Frey before Frey’s passing.
Felder never participated in any Eagles projects after 2001, nor did he ever make up again with Frey or the rest of the band. He has not been a member of the Eagles since 2001.
Even when in 1994 Frey and Felder decided to rejoin the group despite their past conflicts, the duo didn’t last long.
The other bandmates have said that things remained the same for Felder, and he continued to clash and fight over money with Glenn Frey and Don Henley (Eagles’ founding members).
In response to getting fired, Felder filed a lawsuit against Glenn and other bandmates including Henly, guitarist Joe Walsh and bassist Timothy B. Schmit for “breach of contract”.
He stated Glenn and Henley were receiving a larger percentage of money than other members. The news made quite a few circles in social media reports. Rolling Stone wrote in its headlines: “Felder Sues the Eagles”.
However, the court dismissed the case after a few years. But Felder never returned. The other bandmates cut off their ties with Felder as well.
The grudge remained unreconciled for years in Glenn’s heart.
He never spoke to Felder till his last breath. Even though they never made up after 2001, Felder publicly showed his condolences, implying that he always loved Glenn as his real brother deep down in his heart.
Don Felder says he wasn’t invited to the Glenn Frey tribute at the #Grammys: https://t.co/k4mupoP2Mo pic.twitter.com/59b4jFLArE
— Entertainment Weekly (@EW) February 16, 2016
Why did The Eagles snub Don Felder at the Glenn Frey Grammy tribute?
Felder wasn’t invited to the Frey Grammy tribute because of his hateful acts during 2001 and the fact that it was the 2nd time he had behaved inappropriately towards Frey. They felt it would have been disingenuous for Felder to honor someone he had treated so poorly.
The next day after the tribute, Don wrote on Twitter:
“I would have been honored to join the tribute last night, but I wasn’t invited.”
Of course, at the end of the day, everyone knows it takes two people to make or break a relationship. And Frey certainly played a role in the rift between him and Felder.
But this shouldn’t surprise anyone considering how things ended among the fellow Eagles and Don Felder.
The 2013 documentary named “History Of Eagles” stated the obvious that the hatred is still on. Felder still tried to sort things out, but he couldn’t since Don Henley wasn’t open to such reconciliation.
Nevertheless, the fans supported Felder by commenting on his post that he should’ve attended the Tribute night.
Fans say that Felder’s disappointment was justifiable but shocked to see that even Glenn’s death couldn’t clear up the animosity.
But let’s be honest.
The Eagles have a long history of infighting, jealousy, and unhealthy behaviors towards each other. They didn’t call their reunion “Hell Freezes Over” for nothing.
Don Felder paid tribute to Glenn Frey: https://t.co/K1yfCHMRDs pic.twitter.com/pS81u2yeWP
— UltimateClassicRock (@UltClassicRock) January 20, 2016
Did Don Felder and Glenn Frey fight on stage?
Glenn Frey and Don Felder threatened each other with physical violence on stage before a concert audience in 1980. However, they did not actually hit one another.
The anger and bitterness were all out in their songs, and the audience could feel the tension among them.
Frey was seemingly angry with Felder’s rude behavior and decided to confront him onstage right there, in front of a concert audience.
Frey later recalled what happened that night, saying, “So now we’re onstage, and Felder looks back at me and says, “Only three more songs till I kick your ass, pal.” And I’m saying, “Great. I can’t wait,” and in that very moment, I realized that we need to split.”
The Eagles singer also added, “The gig ended soon with Felder smashing his guitar against the wall backstage and left speeding away in a limo.”
That literally broke up the band.
However, the members of the band all launched solo careers in the years (1980-1994), with varying degrees of success and failure.
The onstage fight let all the hell break loose in this unforgettable moment when the audience witnessed the breakup of their favorite band.
“We will miss watching the Eagles singing’, said a fan.
The audience was devastated by this final blow. They were glad to see the band unite after fourteen years of separation; however, the excitement was short-lived for the fans.
Don Felder of The Eagles with his famous double-necked guitar pic.twitter.com/0Aq8sdDOdl
— Made From Retro (@madefromretro) January 16, 2016
Will Don Felder ever rejoin The Eagles?
Felder is unlikely to ever rejoin the Eagles as the rift with the other members of the final edition of The Eagles is still very active, but especially with Glenn Frey’s son Deacon Frey performing in place of Glenn.
And of course, country music legend Vince Gill is with the Eagles a lot of the time these days too. After appearing on an episode of The Big Interview with Dan Rather, fans hoped that Felder might rejoin the band.
In the interview, Felder praised fellow bandmate Don Henley for his “brilliant lyrics” on their hit “Hotel California.” Their album Hotel California was, of course, their multi-award-winning #1 album from 1976. It was also the 2nd to last album featuring Felder.
And that album was the final nail in the coffin of their country rock sound and country-bluegrass roots as it put them fully into a hard-rock vein.
The title track “Hotel California” is still one of the band’s signature songs and Felder’s amazing guitar work is no small part of what makes that song great.
In another interview with Wpdh.com, Felder clarified that Don Henley never reached out to him even after Glenn’s passing. “I guess they don’t desire to get back and sort things out,” he added.
Despite the differences, Felder is more than ready to reconcile, but he never hears back from any fellow Eagle members except their lawyers.
Felder had moved on from the Eagles years ago.
He released his solo album “Road To Forever” in 2012, and since 2005 he has been touring solo with his band Don Felder Band.
In 2019, Felder, who’s long had a solo career, released his third solo album, “American Rock’ n’ Roll,” and promoted this album on his worldwide tour. So the obvious thing is that he is never returning to the Eagles again.
Unless hell freezes over (again).
The controlling differences between the duo may have been the root cause of why Felder didn’t attend Glenn Frey’s funeral.
However, Felder publicly mourned Glen’s death with tears and shared good memories with Frey to the public.
Despite a great deal of internal turmoil, Felder always took Glenn as his brother, and even after his demise, Felder still misses happy moments of their musical life together.
It strongly implies that even the worst days couldn’t sever their bond.
Not being invited to Glenn’s tribute disappointed Felder. The sad part is he has moved on, and you’ll never see him rejoin the Eagles ever again.
The ’70s superstars famously got their start in Los Angeles as the backup band for Linda Ronstadt with Henley and Frey joining right away and Eagle Bernie Leadon coming from the Flying Burrito Brothers and original bass player Randy Meisner coming from Ricky Nelson’s band.
And the rest, as they say, is history as is their vast musical legacy.
The history of the Eagles is filled with tension, back-stabbing, and in-fighting. And the rift between Felder and Frey is just one chapter in a very long book.
Photos that require attribution:
Don Felder By Phil Konstantin by Phil Konstantin and Glenn Frey standing on a corner in Winslow, Arizona by Granger Meador are licensed under CC2.0 and were cropped, edited, merged, and had a text overlay added.