Thursday, June 27, 2013

Joe Fucking Walsh and Free Crack on YouTube

By Pauly
Los Angeles, CA

I'm writing about the Eagles again (i.e. Such a Lovely Place and Lines On the Mirror, Lines On Her Face). Sort of. It's actually not really about the Eagles and more about Joe Walsh. Irving Azoff paid me off. I have to write about his clients once every 30 days and he'll hook me up with Don Henley's bookie.

YouTube is the crack cocaine of the internet. I would have finished two screenplays and four novels by now if YouTube was never birthed into existence. It's been a huge time suckage. I'm addicted to being mildly entertained by mediocre content. It's a cheap, quick high that leaves me thirsting for more. More. More. YouTube's sidebar is like a sinister crack dealer offering you free crack, but not just one crack rock... we're taking the motherload. Nonstop crack. Nonstop entertainment. There's a hidden price to pay. You sell your soul and you give up valuable hours of your day zoning out to mindless post-modern crap or nostalgic nuggets of pop culture of yesteryear. I can't stop. I want more.

During last night's You-Crack-Tube binge, I stumbled upon an interview Joe Walsh did with Howard Stern. I had not listened to Howard Stern in years. Maybe even a decade? I was a religious listener at different times in my life. I originally got sucked into the crackhouse with Jerry Seinfeld's interview on Stern. On the sidebar, I saw an interview that Joe Walsh did last year. I dove in. Another hit of crack.

Joe Walsh is a member of the Eagles, but he had a promising career in the early 70s. One nugget that came out of the Stern was his relationship with Stevie Nicks. Never knew that they used to hook up. Happened one summer in the 80s when their bands were touring together. Crazy shit. Two raging cokeheads falling in love! How come Cameron Crowe has not haven't made a movie about that?

Here is Joe Walsh on Stern (audio only):


Walsh is sober now, but he used to be the life of the party when Howard Stern invited Walsh and his entourage to functions back in the 80s and early 90s. Man, for all of the 70s-80s Walsh was out of control and gacked out and drunk as a skunk. The 90s were just awful. Those bloated, washed-up.. coked out, burned-out, pathetic rocker days. If Walsh didn't go to rehab in 1994... who knows if he would have lived to see the millennium.

The Eagles needed a sober Joe Walsh to strengthen the now aging band during their Hell Freezes Over reunion tour. Without Walsh, the greatest hits would not have been the same. Frey and Henley were the strongest vocalists, yet they were always the weakest musicians in the band, while the guitar players -- Don Felder and Joe Walsh -- were the strongest. They could have done the tour with one of them, but they wouldn't be halfway decent without both of them.

Eventually, Glen Frey butted heads with Don Felder around the millennium. Felder joined the band as the fifth member of the Eagles, when they wanted to become more of a rock band. Felder wrote the music to Hotel California, which is one of the most recognizable pieces of music of all time. In the late 90s, Felder noticed how much the Eagles tours were making and he wanted a bigger cut of the pie. Frey told him to fuck off and he kicked him out. Frey knew he still had Joe Walsh to carry the workload, plus he could replace Felder with a cheap sideman... which he did.

Joe Walsh originally joined the Eagles as a replacement guitar player. Bernie Leadon was one of the original four members of the Eagles, but he was more of a country guy (an accomplished acoustic guitar and banjo player). The Eagles were formed as a country-rock band when they first started out in the 70s as a "super group" of sorts. David Geffen had signed them to Asylum Records, but he didn't think they'd become huge mega-stars. Well, the Eagles honed their skills and had a couple of surprising hit songs. After Desperado bombed (it was a bad cowboy record), they eventually migrated away from the country and embraced more rock. They flipped and became a rock-country band. Glen Frey wanted more emphasis on rock and he wanted to ditch most of the country and take the Eagles to the next level of full-blown rock-and-roll. Leadon wanted the Eagles to stay true to their country roots. He left the band and Joe Walsh stepped in.

Walsh's manager at the time happened to be Irving Azoff, who happened to be the manager of the Eagles. Great coincidence! Joe Walsh's solo band had opened for the Eagles on different tours, and he often joined them onstage for encores. Plus, Walsh was a fucking maniac on the road. He loved to trash hotel rooms. Fucking destroy them. He was buddies with Keith Moon, who took a liking to Walsh and the two ran around together creating mayhem where ever they went. Walsh studied under Moon as an apprentice room destroyer. Whenever Walsh went on the road, he got as fucked up as he could on coke and booze before launching a campaign of apocalyptic destruction on their hotel. For his birthday, the Eagles gave Walsh a chainsaw and he took it on tour and sawed the legs off tables, chairs, and even try to cut through dry wall.

Walsh's partying and destructive behavior helped give the Eagles a darker and grittier edge. That's why Glen Frey and Don Henley put up with his antics. Besides, they took out all the damage charges out of his paycheck anyway. They didn't have to pay the fines for the destruction, but it gave their band a tougher image with the press and fans. With the addition of Joe Walsh, they had finally shed their country-golly-shucks attitude and were finally projecting the image of badass rockers.

You might wonder... why did Walsh join the Eagles? I think about it all the time. Originally, Walsh left the James Gang (Phish covers their hit Walk Away), a successful power trio at the time, in order to pursue a solo career. Then after he finally got his solo career launched and cooking, he decided to put that on hold while he joined a more successful band. I guess the Eagles were so big that the money was good and 1/5 of the Eagles was probably better than his full cut as a solo artist. Plus, it took a ton of pressure off him as a solo artist. Joe Walsh joining the Eagles was like one of those very good ball players who has never won a title, but he joins a playoff contender and becomes a roll player in order to help make a good team become great.

Without the full responsibility of leading the band, Walsh had plenty of time to focus on room destruction and partying. He probably snorted more cocaine in a week that most bands snort in a lifetime. Hey, it was the mid-70s. Blow was big in rock-and-roll. And by the time the 80s rolled around, blow was everywhere. The Eagles broke up in 1980 and Walsh resumed his solo career, but the 80s were more like an intoxicated blur. The shows were rowdy and inconsistent. Any new material never had the same punch as his earliest shredding with the James Gang or his pre-Eagles solo days. Walsh turned to more booze and more blow to ease the pain of a cheesed-career and life post-Eagles.

Sure, Glen Frey and Irving Azoff had greedy reasons to reunite the Eagles, but in the process they probably saved Joe Walsh's life. They gave him a second chance. Walsh had the option to get his shit together and join the band, or continue to get obliterated every night until he dies of liver disease and becomes a ghost story.

Walsh chose sobriety. It wasn't easy. It didn't happen over night. He fell back into old habits a couple of times.

"Women are a great reason to drink," Walsh joked in a half-truth.

These days he's sober. Too bad he lost some of the best years of his life to a cocaine fog and drunken blur. Oh well. That was the price to pay for a hard-living rock-and-roll lifestyle in the 70s and indulging in the gross excess of the 80s.

Walsh is older now and not as sharp on the guitar, but he still has flashes of brilliance like you could see during his episode of Live from Daryl's House.

Here is Walsh and Daryl Hall performing Life's Been Good...


4 comments:

  1. When we went to see the Eagles at Jazz fest, My Morning Jacket was playing at the same time so I had to do some serious thinking. But I had never seen the Eagles and they weren't getting any younger and neither was I. Joe Walsh took my breath away. People should take every opportunity to see him play before his misspent youth truly catches up to him.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Met Joe once at a small club in L.A.. Was there to see Neil Young on his This Buds For You tour. Joe was at the bar with two Asian girls. I asked him if he was going to play. He warbled "I'm on deck" in that pinched high octave voice and staggered away supported by his ladies.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Dave Spero was Walsh's manager when they reunited and after awhile on tour Frey and Henley wanted Spero gone so he was.

    http://www.cleveland.com/popmusic/index.ssf/2013/07/david_spero_artist-manager_tal.html

    ReplyDelete
  4. http://www.cleveland.com/popmusic/index.ssf/2013/07/david_spero_artist-manager_tal.html

    ReplyDelete