Don Felder Describes The Difficult Road to Forever
There was a record producer called Greg Ladanyi, a really famous guy. He's produced tons of great records that I loved and admired and I worked with Greg on several other projects along the way. He was originally going to be the producer on this record. He and I had spent months playing golf and having lunch and listening to song ideas and deciding where we would record and who the players would be. And just kind of putting out the roadmap in advance of how we were going to go about making this record, song selection and all that other stuff.
Then about a week before we were scheduled to actually come into the studio, Greg got on a plane and flew to Greece to see one of his Greek Madonna artists, who isn't really known in the states but is huge in Greece. And he had an unfortunate accident where he fell off the back of this really huge stadium stage and passed away. So I was kind of left with this roadmap that Greg had laid out for me and really saddened by his not being able to be part of this record. But he had given me the plan to do it.
So myself and one of the guys that I had been introduced to by Greg, Robin DiMaggio, decided we would pick this up, go into the studio, record three or four songs and kind of see how they turn out. See how we'd do. One of the songs that I wanted to do was a song called "Road to Forever", which I started writing as a really kind of acoustic guitar song when my father passed away. My father never really got to see and enjoy the celebration of my success. He passed away before I really went anywhere with the Eagles. I was in the band but we were just starting to tour and stuff.
So I wanted to record that song and we put together that group of people that Greg had talked about doing on that song. I wanted to make it tougher so I rewrote some of the song and took it in from a pretty acoustic song to this harder rock song. Brought in Steve Lukather and David Paich…a whole bunch of guys to play on it that we had talked about. And at the very end of the record I created this affect that sounds like what I would imagine the pool of souls sounding like. You stick your head up into heaven, you could hear the millions an millions of souls that's gone before us, just a swarming sound and you couldn't really understand what they were saying but you would hear all these millions of voices.
We simulated that in the studio by having a bunch of people speaking and saying prayers and saying stuff, women and all sorts of kids and everything to create that. And at the very end of that pool of souls, on the "Road to Forever" song, I found this thing online of Greg at a conference for recording engineers and producer. And he was speaking about the difference between digital recording and analog recording and he said at the very end of his speech, "and that's the difference between the two worlds." So I took Greg's voice and put it in the very end of the pool of souls. So as it fades down you can hear Greg say, "And that's the difference between the worlds." So Greg ended up on the record.
That song was kind of done in his honor and my father's honor, but it's the same pathway for us all, if you know what I mean. So kind of the theme of the record was, you may be living through all of these experiences, as fun and uplifting and tragic as they may be, and you may be living your life in the fast lane but we're all on the road to forever. So that kind of was the underlying theme of the record. And that's why I chose that title to be on the record.
All the other things are other experiences that I've gone through that were quite tragic. Like the separation and divorce from my wife produced the song "Fall from The Grace of Love". Living through those three or four years of really desperate bad economy, I wrote the song "Money", where I saw single moms who couldn't feed their kids and thieves on Wall Street just ripping off everybody. And Uncle Sam is raising taxes and guys working as hard as they could to just earn enough money to get by and how difficult that was. So I wrote songs about life experiences that I either observed or living through, and said that was part of the road to forever. Read the full interview here.