February 14, 2001 -- The firing of guitarist Don Felder would appear to mean the end of The Eagles, but the opposite is true: The rest of the band is in the studio right now, recording its first studio album since the rancorous sessions that produced 1980's The Long Run.
If all goes well — which may be a leap of faith — the band will have its first new studio album in 21 years in stores by the fall, with a tentative European tour to follow.
Felder was fired in early February by Eagles founders Don Henley and Glenn Frey; the reason for the ouster has still not been made public.
Felder, whose guitar riffs contributed mightily to the band's later sound, quickly responded with a lawsuit demanding his reinstatement and an accounting of all money the band made since he joined The Eagles in 1974.
Sources had reported earlier that Eagles manager Irving Azoff was letting out word that the band would tour later this year, but the new studio project has been kept under wraps. Both Henley and Frey acknowledged last year that an album was attempted in the summer of '99 but was scrapped when the material wasn't up to Henley's perfectionist standards.
The Eagles' attorney, Dan Petrocelli, would do no more than release a statement on the firing.
"We took this action because it was in the best interest of The Eagles," the statement said. "We had every legal right to do so. Mr. Felder's case is without merit."
Felder seeks to dissolve Eagles Ltd., the partnership formed by Henley, Frey, Felder, Bernie Leadon, and Randy Meisner. Apparently latter-day Eagles Joe Walsh and Timothy Schmit were hired under contract and weren't partners in the band's wealth. According to Felder's suit, Leadon and Meisner are no longer active shareholders.
Henley and Frey apparently control enough of the company to make any decisions they want; Felder's suit says the duo controls two-thirds of the corporation.
In an interview last year, Frey acknowledged that the band's box set, released just before Christmas, was done under the supervision of only himself and Henley, along with Azoff's input. He also said the next project could be a live career retrospective, focusing on tours in 1976 and 1980.
Felder's lawsuit claims that the Henley and Frey have run roughshod over his and others' rights for years, "coupled with constant threats that if Felder did not agree with Henley and Frey, Felder would be 'thrown out' of the band."
None of the musicians or Azoff were available for comment, nor did Felder's attorney return phone calls.
However, sources confirmed that the new album is underway and that a tour is in the works. No details were available as to who would replace Felder, either on an album or in live performances.