Don Felder feels secure about his position and lifestyle. To him the Eagles is not a twenty-four hour trip. When they are not recording or on the road he is totally immersed in his own scene with his family, out in the Malibu hills. He has a recording studio at his house and during the year that Randy quit, he recorded about sixteen of his own songs.
Don first arrived in Los Angeles in seventy-two. Sitting in a miniscule back room at the studio he talks about his feelings of those days. Bright-eyed, vibrant, he speaks without pausing: "Like everybody else I had the whole dream of California being the home of the 'Golden Life.' It's like landscape, and that kind of mystic setting—the possibilities that were here. Everybody in the whole music scene from the east coast, where I was from, had migrated, had been drawn into the L.A. syndrome. At the time, a good friend of mine, Bernie Leadon—who was with the Eagles—had been talking to me about coming out, and so finally I took everybody's advice."
"I drove out, and once you get through the Rockies, to deserts and prairies, space and cactus—you can't help but feel like you've landed on a totally new planet. A whole different cultural and agricultural environment. People don't have accents—everything about it is totally new, including the architecture and the music. It has very young precedents to it. I think what's projected in a lot of the pictures and music of California is that essence of the new freedom, the no rules, the experimental lifestyle."
Once in L.A., Don did some studio work for John Boylan, and Bernie introduced him to people around town. He helped David Blue put together a show and went out on the road with him, at the same time getting to know Graham Nash, who was Blue's producer. David Blue was opening for a Crosby and Nash show, so Don found himself playing for the two of them off and on for about a year. In the midst of all that the Eagles asked him to come and play on a couple of songs for the On The Border album. Soon afterwards they asked him to become a permanent member of the band.
"Just in about a period of a year everything was starting to happen," Don explains. "It was really just being in a place where the opportunities were that was so exciting. Graham was about to put together a new band too, and he asked me to join them. Opportunities were popping up all over the place, at all levels of success.
"Everybody always has their image of 'Go West, young man—seek the golden hills.' One thing that really drew an image in my mind when I was real young was Stephen Stills; he and I had a band together in Florida for about a year, and he split when he was about fourteen. The next thing I knew, I heard Buffalo Springfield on the radio and there was Stephen! And he had made that whole surge and moved out to the West coast and struck it rich. In my mind I saw that it was possible, that dream, and someone that I knew and had dealt with had done that."
Timothy Schmit is the newest Eagle, replacing Randy Meisner in the fall of seventy-seven. He finds it slightly ironic that ten years earlier he joined Poco, also to replace Randy. Even the telephone calls from Glenn Frey and Richie Furay were similar. Schmit is an imposing figure, dark burning eyes and long straight hair down to his waist. The other Eagles call him "Lucan, the Wolf Boy," and they do have a point.
Timothy says, "At first, when I joined the Eagles, I didn't play with them, it was all talking about the business side of it, and getting everything sorted out. Then I rehearsed with them for about a week solid. They taught me a lot of the old songs and immediately we all got off. It was very creative. Now I feel creative within the band."
Timothy's background was in Sacramento, where he played with local groups for years. "I met Richie Furay through a mutual friend, in sixty-seven," he explains. "I was in L.A. for the summer to make a record for someone else. When I came to live here it was sixty-eight, and I joined Poco. L.A. wasn't particularly appealing to me as an ideal place to live, really. But this is where I had to be. I like it here now. There's always lots to do within the group that I'm in. At one time it was Poco, now it's Eagles. There's other things to do. If the Eagles aren't busy and a friend calls up to do some singing or something, I'll go down and have some fun on somebody elses' record.
"I've known the other guys in the Eagles quite a long time. For instance, Glenn and John David Souther used to be in a duet called Longbranch Pennywhistle, and they used to. open up shows for Poco at the Troubadour. Also, there would be shows where Linda Ronstadt would open up for Poco, and the original Eagles were all in her band."
Page 11 Page 13