DON FELDER By Michelle Monroy and Yésica Pineda
One of the best guitar solos of all time...mirrors on the ceiling, the pink champagne on ice...this New Year's Eve Los Cabos will party at DESPERADOS. Don Felder is in town! A four-time Grammy® Award winner, one of the most popular and influential rock lead guitarists, famous for his song Hotel California and awarded by RIAA for recording the top-selling album of the 20th century, the former member of the band THE EAGLES saw his record Road to Forever hit #1 in the Classic Rock charts with his song You don't have me. Don Felder chats with Destino Magazine Editor Michelle Monroy about Los Cabos, music, and life. 18
Happy new year!
DM: When was the first time you came to Cabo? What made you return? DF: The first time I came to Cabo was about thirty years ago. My son grew up on the beach in Malibu and was an avid surfer. He wanted to come down to Cabo for his birthday and surf Costa Azul. We went on a dad and son surf trip, flew down with his surfboard, rented a Jeep, headed to the hotel, and the first thing the next morning we went out to Costa Azul. We had a wonderful time; I watched him surf and enjoyed the beautiful weather. After that, I started returning to Cabo with my wife. We would go down and stay at Palmilla; we love that hotel. I would play golf - when the golf course was added - and then I eventually started moving my boat to the Cabo marina during the winters. I met some delightful people that were also using the Cabo Marina as their escape during the cold winters. I just fell in love with Cabo and I returned often as I could, either to play golf or for sportfishing, I just always had a great time. DM: Los Cabos is a great golf destination and it’s known that you’re an avid golfer. Do you have a favorite course in Cabo? DF: I love Cabo del Sol and I've always enjoyed playing Palmilla. A friend of mine built a house out there, just past the Palmilla Hotel. We would go golfing and then go out to the boat on the marina. It was just delightful. DM: You have worked with many musicians throughout your career. Do you have any particular experiences that have marked your life? DF: I think a lot of my musical background came from my early childhood and my teen years when I was in bands with Steven Stills. We were around fourteen years old. I was Tom Petty's guitar teacher when I was about sixteen. Duane Allman taught me how to play slide guitar. There was this studio down in Miami called Criteria Recording Studio and it had five different studios in the complex. When we started making records with the Eagles down there, you could walk down the hallway and the Bee Gees would be in one studio and Crosby Stills Nash and Young would be in another. Clapton would be there, and then Chicago in another room. You would walk down the hall and someone would say "Hey, come in here, we need a guitar part.” A lot of my influences and experiences in my music career occurred by having a lot of doors open when I was at the right place, at the right time, and also by knowing the right people. My early influences were artists like BB King, Albert King, which are great blues players, Chet Atkins who was a great country artist, Howard Roberts, who was a great jazz guitar player. I started trying to learn any and everything I could possibly get my ears on. Just learning how to play it all.
DM: Where do you find inspiration? DF: I don't really pursue inspiration. I think it finds me. Something happens in the day, or I hear a phrase or I read a couple of sentences that give me a thought, an inspiration or an insight into a song idea. I frequently sit around watching television and playing guitar, just fiddling around, and all of a sudden I hear something in the music score of the orchestra and I have to stop my DVR and rewind it. Sometimes I’m driving down the freeway in LA singing a melody into my iPhone - trying not to get stopped by the police - or I’m on an airplane scribbling lyrics into a music-writing program called Master Writers. I spend a lot of what you would normally call "wasted time" on the road, in hotels, on the airplanes, or backstage playing and writing. It's always around; it's just a matter of hearing something that triggers a thought or an idea. I've learned over my years that if I don't immediately write it down, or immediately jump on the idea, or record it, then an hour or so later it's gone. That's what happened with the song Hotel California. I was sitting on the beach in Malibu playing guitar and this idea came out and I ran into my little one-year-old daughter 's bedroom. When she was awake I had a little recording studio there. I recorded the basic idea and then came back later thinking, "you know, I think I'm going to finish this.” If I had not put it down somewhere it would have gone away. I'm very attentive to those really subtle inspirations that come along, and when they show up, I grab them. DM: Which of the songs that you have written is closer to your heart? DF: I really enjoy the song Hotel California, mainly because at every live show, I get to play it. For example, I do shows for the United Nations in New York City. The last time I was there, which was a couple years ago, I went out and played in front of five hundred Heads of State and Presidents from all over the World. I would say that only less than half of them spoke English, but when I started playing Hotel California, everybody in that room knew the song. Even if they didn't speak English, they hummed and sang along as if they knew the lyrics. At the end, I got a standing ovation for it. That song has probably had the greatest global impact of anything I've been a part of creating. It seems to have the longevity that a lot of other songs don't. DM: Do you have a favorite guitar? DF: I actually do. When we used to travel through Texas at least once, if not twice a year, there was a guy down there that wore a big cowboy hat and he either had a station wagon or a pickup truck or a suburban. Every time he had a different car. He went all around through Texas and the South and found these great old collectible guitars. Gibsons, Les Pauls, Fender Stratocasters, old Telecasters, Broadcasters, Pre-war Martin acoustic guitars,
A legendary New Years Eve celebration in Cabo San Lucas with Don Felder