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Classic Rock News And Views
June 4, 2010
Fresh on the heels of news regarding Eagles veteran Don Henley’s tentative legal victory over a California Republican, we’re now hearing that Canadian rock trio Rush is involved in an effort to get another politician to stop using their music.
The Henley case resulted from a decision by Assemblyman Chuck DeVore’s campaign that two of Henley’s songs were fair game for use while creating a couple of music videos that poked fun at DeVore’s political rivals, which included Senator Barbara Boxer and President Obama. DeVore hopes to unseat Boxer in the next election if he manages to win the Republican primary in July.
This is a case where politics probably played a significant role in Henley’s decision to file a copyright infringement lawsuit, since Henley is a well-known and very generous supporter of Democratic candidates. Henley’s support for Democrats was no secret, but this site reveals the extent of his dedication to Democratic causes; even contributing to candidates far-removed from his home state of California.
Contributing to candidates in other states is nothing new, and is well within the law, but at the same time, it’s an issue that’s been debated. Some wonder whether citizens should be allowed to influence the outcome of political races in places other than their home states. I was a little surprised to see that Henley was listed as a contributor to the campaign of Democrat Paul Hodes right here in my home state of New Hampshire.
Henley’s legal victory is not yet finalized, even though U.S. District Judge James Selna agreed with Henley’s contention that the videos produced by the DeVore campaign infringed on the his copyrights. At the same time, the judge rejected Henley’s claim that DeVore violated federal laws against making false advertising claims.
If the judge’s tentative decision is made final, DeVore may be facing the prospect of coughing up a few bucks to hand over to Henley, something he can probably afford to do if he’s got the money to run for the U.S. Senate. Check this out for more detail on the Henley-DeVore legal battle.
The Rush case is a little more perplexing, since reports indicate that the group’s lawyer has warned Kentucky Republican Senate candidate Rand Paul to stop using the group’s music for campaign purposes. Apparently, the band’s songs “The Spirit of Radio” has been played at campaign events, and “Tom Sawyer” was used for an internet fund-raising video.
What may be a little confusing about this case is that Paul, son of former Presidential candidate Ron Paul, is seen by many as a libertarian; much like his father, who currently serves in Congress as the Representative from the 14th district of Texas.
Whether or not either of them is a “libertarian” or “Libertarian,” or whatever, is a matter for debate among those who wish to take up such matters, but that’s a subject for another website.
Even so, there’s evidence to support the supposition that the members of Rush – lyricist Neil Peart in particular – have libertarian leanings themselves. Peart’s early lyrics champion the cause of freedom from oppression, and were inspired, in part, by Ayn Rand, originator of the Objectivist philosophy.
Although one might argue that Peart may be the sole member of the group with strong libertarian leanings, it’s hard to imagine his band mates going along with lyrics that would be in opposition to their own philosophies. Bassist and lead singer Geddy Lee, himself the offspring of Holocaust survivors, is someone who likely values freedom, and the rights of the individual.
What the members of Rush think about Objectivism, libertarianism and other weighty matters may be documented elsewhere. What role they did or did not play in this warning to Rand Paul is not clear at the moment.
Some fans suspect that the group’s record company has more to do with it than the band themselves. Others may disagree, but we’ll certainly keep our eyes open for any further developments.
April 20, 2009
Here we go again. Another songwriter is filing suit against a politician who has been using his music in political advertisements. Republican Charles DeVore is planning to challenge veteran California Senator Barbara Boxer for her senate seat in next year’s Congressional elections.
Unfortunately for Don Henley, of Eagles fame, DeVore’s campaign has decided to make use of Henley’s song “All She Wants To Do Is Dance” by applying their own spin on the tune and changing the lyrics to “All she wants to do is tax.” Kind of a clever play on words, but Henley is clearly not impressed and would like the DeVore campaign to stop.
So far, the advertisements have only been presented as videos that were posted on the internet, including the popular video-sharing site YouTube. It appears that at least some of the videos have been taken down by YouTube due to complaints regarding copyright violation that were filed by Warner/Chappell music.
As might be expected, Senator Boxer’s camp and DeVore’s camp have been sniping at one another over the parody videos, with someone on Boxer’s staff stating that “…while Chuck DeVore is writing song lyrics she is working for tax cuts in Washington.”
DeVore’s position is that it is within his rights to political free speech to parody Henley’s material. With regard to Henley, Devore said it was “time to up the ante on Mr. Henley’s liberal goon tactics. By popular request, I have penned the words to our new parody song.”
So far, we have not heard any word of any serious repercussions that have resulted in these types of lawsuits being filed against politicians, but since the wheels of justice often grind slowly, it may just be a matter of waiting a while until we start hearing about how these cases are adjudicated.
Since the big-name artists and music companies have plenty of money to pay for lawyers, and politicians always seem to have an adequate supply of dirt to toss at each other, this probably won’t be the last case like this that will be making headlines and contributing the bank accounts of various attorneys at the same time.
November 14, 2008
The Long Road Out of Eden just got a bit longer. The Eagles have decided to extend their tour into next year and although that’s good news for fans who have wanted to see them live and have not yet had the chance, there’s even more good news to report.
The cost of the tickets for the newly-added shows will not be accompanied by the additional fees fans have had to endure in the past. The elimination of the fees comes days after TicketMaster acquired a controlling stake in Irving Azoff’s Front Line Management Group, whose roster of acts includes the Eagles. Azoff himself is now the CEO of the new entity, dubbed Ticketmaster Entertainment.
TicketMaster is making moves towards transforming itself into an “all-encompassing entertainment company,” according to a statement from Azoff.
The new shows will commence in January with dates in the Eastern U.S., including Hampton, VA; Charlotte, NC; North Charleston, SC; Greensboro, NC; Greenville, SC; and Birmingham, AL.
Although I’m sure many fans were never sure about the justification for “convenience fees” that had been customary in the past, I am sure that fans will be happy to note their absence when they purchase tickets for next year’s Eagles shows. These days we don’t see prices dropping on many things other than fuel, so it’s commendable that Ticketmaster Entertainment has decided to give fans a break by eliminating those fees.
The current leg of the Long Road Out of Eden tour is scheduled to complete early next month and give the group a little time to rest up and enjoy the holidays. For more details and full tour itinerary, see Live Daily.
July 21, 2008
Don Felder, former guitar player for the Eagles, appeared on our local Fox television station for an interview during the morning news show today. Felder is in town for a book signing to promote his new book, Heaven and Hell: My Life in the Eagles (1974-2001).
During the interview Felder revealed some interesting tidbits from his past, including how he provided guitar lessons for a young Tom Petty and learned how he to play slide guitar from Duane Allman.
Felder spent some time living in Boston, and that is where he originally hooked up with the Eagles when he attended a concert at Boston University where the Eagles were the opening act for Yes.
Being friends with Eagles band member Bernie Leadon, Felder joined the group backstage in the dressing room where he played some guitar with Leadon and impressed Don Henley and Glenn Frey with his abilities.
After that experience, Leadon convinced Felder to move to California. After his arrival in The Golden State, Felder worked with David Crosby and Graham Nash for a while before Stephen Stills joined the group to form Crosby, Stills and Nash.
Called to do some session work on a new Eagles album, which apparently went well, Felder was asked to join the group the day after he finished working on the album with them.
Felder is not stingy with his praise for the musical talent of his former band mates and says that every member “brought brilliance musically to the band.” At the same time, there were “five huge egos in the band that eventually led to problems.
He then went on to talk about the struggle for power, control and greed that intensified during the 1990′s when the group re-formed after its breakup in the late 1970′s to record a new album: Hell Freezes Over.
The money that began to flow in after the group reunited became a major sticking point between members, particularly Felder who dug deeply into how the money was being distributed and discovered that Henley and Frey were being paid double the amount that Felder was getting. Something that Felder says was not part of the original agreement when the group was first formed.
Following Felder’s discovery of the new pay structure, he hired an attorney to look into the matter and was promptly fired from the band.
Felder also talked about his efforts to write the book in an unbiased way and provide a “nice clear snapshot of what was going on behind the scenes.” With what he describes as a life behind a “steel curtain,” Felder said that the group was always a very “tight-lipped organization,” who would rarely grant access to backstage areas and do very few interviews.
When asked to describe some of his former band mates with a quick line, Felder described Glenn Frey as “bipolar.” Of Don Henley, he refers to him as “a difficult guy to hang out with, which was also a comment he made regarding Frey. However, he offered high praise for the talent of both Frey and Henley.
Joe Walsh was apparently the member of the group that Felder was closest to, calling him and “wonderful guy” and how he “loves him to death.”
Regarding the Eagles most recent album, Felder says he is very happy for the group’s continued success, but also reveals his disappointment with the album, primarily due to the lack of guitar work by Joe Walsh, who he calls one of the “best rock and roll guitarists alive today.”
Don Felder also does not attempt to hide the facts of his own bad behavior during his years with the Eagles, and admits in the book to his own drug use and infidelity. Even the story of how his wife came to discover his infidelity, which, by itself, may be worth the price of the book for people who love the Eagles and celebrity gossip.
For Eagles fans, the book sounds like a “must read.” For me, Felder came across as a very personable and honest guy. Without knowing him personally, that’s not something I cannot guarantee by any means, but that is they way he struck me while watching him during the course of the interview.
The interview is available online at MyFoxBoston.com.
May 1, 2008
This week John Wiley & Sons will be releasing Heaven and Hell: My Life in the Eagles (1974-2001), Don Felder’s revealing behind-the-scenes stories about the Eagles, the band’s creative process, and its legendary partying.
Heaven and Hell is a raucous and bittersweet tale about the love of music and the price of fame. It offers a glimpse into Felder’s childhood in Gainesville—during which he crossed paths with several rock greats, from Duane Allman to Stephen Stills to Tom Petty–and goes on to chronicle his years as a member of The Eagles.
Felder recalls every part of the band’s wild ride, from the pressure-packed recording studios to the trashed hotel rooms. Yet, beyond the mayhem and clashing egos, he also captures the joy of writing powerful new songs with his band mates, the magic of performing in huge arenas packed with fans and the hard work, dedication, and creativity that each band member brought to the music.