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Thread: Felder's "Heaven and Hell" Discussion Thread

  1. #171
    Stuck on the Border MikeA's Avatar
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    Default Re: Felder's "Heaven and Hell" Discussion Thread

    After some digging, I found the following that was NOT spun towards the defense of Don Felder...if anything, it is spun the other way. One thing is very definitely true about this....It was a bloody mess! But, I guess that like many marriages, they start of right and maintain, or they end in gory battles under arbitration.

    Reborn Eagles Lose Peaceful, Easy Feeling
    By Jeff Leeds
    December 08, 2002 in print edition C-1

    Rock star Don Henley has become an outspoken advocate for musicians’ rights, complaining loudly and often about greedy music labels that allegedly shortchange bands out of their royalties.

    “Record companies have been screwing artists for ages,” he said in an interview last year. “It’s time we organize and fight back.”

    But now, in a little-noticed court case (?? <LOL>) bubbling through the system, the 55-year-old Henley finds himself accused of essentially the same unfair practices by one of his own former bandmates. Longtime Eagles guitarist Don Felder has sued Henley, claiming that the singer and fellow band member Glenn Frey cheated him out of his share of album and concert earnings.

    The legal showdown follows an internal dispute last year in which Henley and Frey fired Felder, a member of the band since 1974. The case could expose the inner workings of one of America’s best-selling bands and decide what will become of hundreds of millions of dollars the Eagles earned after reuniting in 1994 for a successful tour and new album.

    Feuds among band members are not uncommon in the music business. The Eagles turmoil is the latest in a long history of intra-band legal wrangling that runs from the Beatles to Guns N’ Roses to Destiny’s Child. But this dispute is unusual because it involves bandmates who had managed to play together for such a long time.

    And it could be a particularly big blow to the reputation of Henley, who has blasted the music labels’ contracts and accounting practices in testimony before California lawmakers. He also leads the Recording Artists Coalition, which this year demanded fairer agreements and additional disclosure of financial data from the industry.

    Felder’s lawsuit accuses Henley and Frey of bullying him into “one-sided” agreements divvying up band profits, withholding financial information and firing him without cause.

    Felder, 55, declined to be interviewed but issued a statement to The Times referring to Henley: “It is absolutely the height of hypocrisy for him to attempt to reinvent himself as the champion for artists’ rights.”

    The lawsuit, filed last year in Los Angeles County Superior Court, seeks past earnings and potentially lost income totaling more than $50 million. Felder is seeking to dissolve Eagles Ltd., the corporation that holds rights to the band’s name, some unreleased recordings and other property.

    Henley, who is scheduled to give a deposition in the case Tuesday, could not be reached for comment last week. But Daniel M. Petrocelli, the attorney representing Henley and Frey, said the band’s various contracts had been disclosed and “fully approved” by Felder.

    “He’s not offering to return the 15 or 20 million he made since 1994, is he?” Petrocelli said. “Everything in that complaint is: ‘I regret what I did, even though I made $15 or $20 million, and I want to rewrite history.’ Felder jumped at the chance to get back in this band when it reunited, because it made him a lot of money.”

    Henley and Frey countersued Felder in August, alleging he breached his contract by writing and trying to sell a “tell-all” book about his life in the band. The book has not been published.

    *

    Possible Settlement

    Record executives who have been following the case say they expect the two sides to reach a settlement eventually. But Felder has complained that Henley and Frey have withheld crucial documents during the discovery process, prompting a judge in the case to sanction them $5,600 earlier this year.

    Irving Azoff, the band’s longtime manager and Henley’s personal manager, said: “I’m really proud of what Don Henley and other artists have accomplished” in pressuring labels to reform their business practices.

    Felder, he added, “should be saying thank you.”

    Azoff said the lawsuit would not interfere with the band’s plans. The Eagles have toured without Felder for the last year, adding guitarist Steuart Smith to their lineup. Azoff said the band was recording a new album and planned to mount another tour next year.

    The Eagles are regarded as one of the most successful American bands ever, having sold more than 80 million albums in the U.S. alone since forming three decades ago. The band’s “Greatest Hits 1971-1975” ranks as the best-selling album of all time, with an estimated 28 million copies sold, according to the Recording Industry Assn. of America.

    The Eagles were founded in 1971 by Henley, Frey, bassist Randy Meisner and guitarist Bernie Leadon – four musicians who had played backup for Linda Ronstadt. After scoring early hits such as “Witchy Woman” and “Take It Easy,” the band added Felder to its lineup in 1974 as part of a shift to a harder rock sound. The band also made him a shareholder in Eagles Ltd.

    The band continued its ascent toward megastardom but was beset by infighting. Leadon left in 1975. Meisner left two years later, after the completion of the album “Hotel California,” whose title track was co-written by Felder.

    After contentious recording sessions for their next album, the band members halted their work together in 1980. Each continued to receive royalties on sales of Eagles albums.

    Each of the band members pursued solo careers. Henley and Frey scored the biggest individual successes, but neither approached the blockbuster success of the Eagles as a recording artist or concert draw.

    After more than a decade apart, the band reunited in 1994 for a tour titled “Hell Freezes Over,” a reference to a remark Henley once made about the prospects for a reunion.

    Before getting back together, Felder’s lawsuit says, the band members had always split album, concert and merchandise revenue equally. But, according to the suit, Henley and Frey demanded that a new corporate structure be designed for the reunion effort and threatened to fire him unless he agreed.

    Under that 1994 agreement, the lawsuit contends, profit would flow into a series of new companies in which Henley and Frey each held about 30% stakes – double that of band members Felder, Timothy B. Schmit and Joe Walsh – as well as all voting stock.

    The lawsuit says Henley and Frey engaged in self-dealing to divert money from the Eagles corporation to these new companies. In other instances, the lawsuit maintains, Henley and Frey paid “excessive compensation” to Azoff, in part by cutting sweetheart deals to divert profit to Azoff’s record label, Giant Records, and his merchandise sales firm.

    The 1994 album “Hell Freezes Over” has sold an estimated 7.7 million copies, according to Nielsen SoundScan. Since ‘94, the Eagles have generated more than $240 million in ticket sales.

    Attorney Petrocelli said Henley and Frey were entitled to bigger shares because they founded the band and wrote most of the Eagles’ songs. Since Felder’s departure, he said, the Eagles “have been playing to sold-out crowds, and there hasn’t been a single person asking for a refund because Don Felder was not there.”

    The lawsuit also alleges that Henley improperly used his stake in the Eagles corporation as leverage in his own legal disputes. The lawsuit says Henley and Azoff steered the “Hell Freezes Over” album to Geffen Records as part of an agreement to settle Henley’s legal battle with the label over his solo contract.

    After the settlement, Henley was released from the contract and then signed a three-album deal for an estimated $30 million with Warner Bros. Records, according to sources familiar with the situation.

    *

    Allegations of Bullying

    Felder’s lawsuit says that in 2000, after a successful concert to ring in the new year, Henley and Frey again bullied him into signing a new deal that would further diminish his role. Under the agreement, Henley and Frey would receive triple the proceeds that Felder got from the band’s new boxed set. That collection has sold about 267,000 copies.

    Over time, the lawsuit says, Henley and Frey grew increasingly upset with resistance from Felder and his business attorney, Barry Tyerman. Felder said he tried to “appease” Henley and Frey by dismissing Tyerman early last year. But he said Henley and Frey still notified him that he had been fired from the 30-year-old band.

    What “I’ve learned from Don Henley, Glenn Frey and Irving Azoff is not to trust anyone,” Felder said.

    According to the lawsuit, Henley and Frey told Felder that his termination also required him to sell back his shares in the Eagles corporation for a nominal sum. The suit says that Henley and Frey eventually informed Felder that they also would buy back his shares in the Eagles’ affiliated companies and that they enclosed three checks totaling a mere $3,000.

    But for all of Felder’s grumbling about being squeezed out, Petrocelli said, his clients acted in the best interests of the Eagles.

    They “felt, creatively – chemistry-wise and performance-wise – that he should no longer be part of the band,” he said. “They removed him, and they had every legal right to do so. This has been happening with rock ‘n’ roll bands since Day One.”

    MikeA

  2. #172
    Moderator Ive always been a dreamer's Avatar
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    Default Re: Felder's "Heaven and Hell" Discussion Thread

    Thanks for finding this, Mike – I have actually seen and read that article before. As a matter of fact, it is one of the things I read that leads me to believe that Felder was no longer a full, equal partner in Eagles, Ltd. after 1994. The implication seems to be that he was subordinated to about the same level as Joe and Timothy. According to this article, Felder sued for 'termination without cause' rather than 'unlawful termination', which is a subtle but very important difference. The interview that Soda posted says he sued for breach of contract. In any event, my guess is that unless he was a full and equal partner at the time of his dismissal, then his termination was, in fact, legal. That may explain why Felder has indicated in recent interviews that he was claiming that his original 70’s agreement should be honored. It seems that his biggest argument here was that he was coerced and bullied into signing the 1994 and 2000 agreements, and, therefore, they should both be null and void.

    "People don't run out of dreams: People just run out of time ..."
    Glenn Frey 11/06/1948 - 01/18/2016

  3. #173
    Stuck on the Border MikeA's Avatar
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    Default Re: Felder's "Heaven and Hell" Discussion Thread

    Good or bad, we as fans, having an emotional attachment to the Band and its members, legally are considered "uninterested parties" and as such, will never have the disclosure that we might desire in satisfying our curiosities surrounding this lawsuit catered to.

    We have to accept it that a settlement was reached that was agreeable to both concerned parties.

    I just now laughed at myself and erased about thirty (<LOL>) pages of reply to IABAD's . I was quibbling over the "termination" clause which is totally academic at this point.

    I think we are all content that Felder is no longer with the Eagles. If he were, then the Eagles wouldn't have a new album out and they wouldn't be touring.

    I admit that I would have much rather the entire thing had not happened for I would have dearly loved for Felder to be playing opposite Walsh in the band. But because there was all of that conflict between Felder/Frey/Henley, I am glad that they were able to settle matters and all three of them move on to hopefully better things after the parting of the ways.

    Our only difference of opinion is in the way we feel about Felder himself and whether he was justified in bringing the suit against Frey and Henley of Eagles Ltd. And really, what we think about it after the fact, does not alter the price of tea in China at all.

    We On The Border, have presented several different views of the Fan's perceptions of and reaction to Felder's book. It has certainly given readership who take the time to dig through it "something to think about."

    To that end, this discussion I think was worthwhile.
    Last edited by MikeA; 11-28-2008 at 10:16 AM.

    MikeA

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    Moderator Ive always been a dreamer's Avatar
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    Default Re: Felder's "Heaven and Hell" Discussion Thread

    Well, as we have stated several times before, none of us absolutely know all the details of the legal wranglings that took place, and probably never will.

    I also agree that Felder's talent is missed by the band, but if the rest of the band functions better with him gone, then it is for the best.

    I also agree that the discussion on the board has been entertaining and worthwhile. While it is true, most of us sided with the band, I believe we welcomed all opinions so that both sides of the issues were presented. IMHO, it has been a healthy, mature, fair, spirited, and most importantly, respectful debate.

    And you never know, but the saga may continue if bits and pieces continue to leak out.

    "People don't run out of dreams: People just run out of time ..."
    Glenn Frey 11/06/1948 - 01/18/2016

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    Default Re: Felder's "Heaven and Hell" Discussion Thread

    I have read Felder's book. I don't think he puts a glove on anybody.I thought his dislike of Don Henley came across much more pronounced than his dislike for Glen Frey. Felder's recall of his conversation of Timothy B. Schmit was very insightful. He (TBS) made mention of Felder bringing up "old agreements". People, lest we forget the band was split up 14 years! Joe Walsh makes known the problems artists have when they're on their own. The Eagles are many things but first and foremost they are a business.

    The book reminded me of the same pettiness that led to the break up of CCR. John Fogarty was CCR. The other band members wanted an equal share for minimal contributions. Felder's book is a study in how stupid one can be. How can you let pettiness destroy such a lucrative, good thing? I have some close musician friend that would have given their bottom dollar to have been in Felder's position as an Eagle. Even though he still collects royalties, I sometimes wonder if Felder has any regrets.

    I think his departure shows the Eagles are evolving. Even though Steuart Smith is not a full fledged Eagle, he is a fantastic guitar player. I enjoy Eagles music just as much now (maybe even more) as I did before. He was a major contributor to LROOE, which I think is fantastic.

    Still, while I don't lament Felder's departure, his contributions are undeniable. The Felder experience is a sad commentary on how sometimes business and artistry just don't mix.
    Last edited by Just Another Hired Hand; 11-29-2008 at 12:32 AM.

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    Default Re: Felder's "Heaven and Hell" Discussion Thread

    I'm afraid I have to disagree with you on the dislike of Henley versus Frey in the book. Felder has not one good word to say about Frey in any context, ever, while he goes out of his way when he feels like it to praise Henley's talent, even if he thinks Henley is a humourless control freak. He gives the impression that Frey has no talent at all. He does not even praise his singing voice. In this respect the book is eerily similar to Marc Eliot's To The Limit, which was also dismissive of Frey. The difference is that Eliot wasn't in the band. One reviewer suggested an alternative title for the book could be 'Lord, How I Hate Glenn Frey'. He has done interviews where he has said things like Glenn has bipolar disorder and should have had 'therapy'. The most he says about Henley is that Henley 'berated' him for wearing the 'wrong' shoes. It is not just my bias here. The entire book is anti-Frey to an extreme degree.

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    Angry Re: Felder's "Heaven and Hell" Discussion Thread

    I originally thought he disliked Frey more than Henley until I got toward the end of the book. He talks about reaching out to the other band members and describes the conversations that took place between them. He was genuinely surprised and shocked that Glen Frey spoke to him. I thought an extreme amount of contempt for Don Henley came through when he describes his frustration and annoyance with Henley's refusal to speak to him. It also struck me that he was quicker to snipe Henley. I am thinking back to the part where he describes the desire of one of the band mates wives to be photographed with Henley and he just sneered and walked away. Incidents such as these are what I base my conclusion on.

    I sometimes got the impression that his skirmishes with Frey were more like an intense sibling rivalry. I grew up with brotheres and we were all close in age. I know how intense and downright hateful it can sometimes get.

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    Moderator Ive always been a dreamer's Avatar
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    Default Re: Felder's "Heaven and Hell" Discussion Thread

    JAHH - I agree with most of what you said in your first post. However, even though there doesn't seem to be any love lost between Felder for either Henley or Frey, IMHO, he seems to have more contempt and bitterness towards Glenn. I am basing my opinion on both the book and subsequent interviews that Felder has given. But it's all rather subjective anyway, so it is doubtful that either of our perceptions will be changed.

    As far as your statement that Felder still collects royalties, I was wondering if you just assumed this or do you know this to be the case? I am curious because we were discussing this earlier in this thread. I figured that Henley and Frey may have wanted to sever their relationship entirely with Felder, so that part of the settlement would preclude him from collecting any future royalties.

    "People don't run out of dreams: People just run out of time ..."
    Glenn Frey 11/06/1948 - 01/18/2016

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    Default Re: Felder's "Heaven and Hell" Discussion Thread

    I have no direct knowledge of Felder collecting Royalties. I am basing it on an observation he made in the book; "Change a word, in for a third." Hotel California" is truly a classic rock song. I've looked for law suit settlement details but what little is known is hard to find. I can't imagine, that had I been in Felder's position, I would have given up my rights to such a treasured song. I mean it's like a U.S Layla". It is hard for me to believe that he still wouldn't have some sort of a hand in the use of such a great piece of intellectual property.

    He also mentions that his ex-wife Susan is guaranteed a comfortable income for life...It's got to be coming from somewhere.

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    Default Re: Felder's "Heaven and Hell" Discussion Thread

    Thanks for replying so fast, JAHH. I am not doubting that Felder has received royalties in the past, but I am still uncertain about the terms of the court settlement. I understand that the amount of the settlement was quite lucrative (likely 20 - 30 million), so it is possible that he settled for a lump sum payout and gave up rights to any future earnings. I don't know if this is the case, but it seems to me that I heard rumors to that effect.

    As far as monies to his ex-wife, I took his comments to be referring to their divorce settlement between them. I can't imagine that she would be receiving direct payment from the Eagles for any of Felder's earnings (although, I guess anything is possible).

    "People don't run out of dreams: People just run out of time ..."
    Glenn Frey 11/06/1948 - 01/18/2016

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