INTERVIEW: Joe Walsh
J.F.W: Joe Walsh talks Satan, foxyboxing, Presidents, wedgies, wee-wee and, oh yeah--The Eagles.
By: Randy Harward
(Previously published in Salt Lake City Weekly)
Love 'em or hate 'em, the Eagles are an important part of rock and roll. You can carp all day about the wussy soft rock sound or Don Henley's crappy solo albums or astronomical reunion tour ticket prices or Glenn Frey's crappy solo albums or the shitty flamenco version of "Hotel California," but you know when you hear "Take It Easy," you're wishing you were the guy who had seven chicks to sort out. And when you hear "Desperado," you're wishing you were that aloof loner. And when you hear the original, un-shitty version of "Hotel California," you're wishing you were Joe Walsh playin' that sweet solo.
Fact is, despite being a late replacement for original guitarist Bernie Leadon (departed 1980), Walsh is probably the only Eagle anyone really wants to be. Why? Because he's the one with the personality.
IMWT: Denis Leary once had "two words" for Don Henley: Joe Fucking Walsh. Are you the coolest Eagle?
Joe Walsh: Oh, no. I don't think I'm very cool [laughs]. I tell you what: Don Henley is my favorite Eagle. If we had a cool contest, I think it would be a tie. Nobody's exceptionally cool, we're just kind of average cool.
IMWT: Let's settle it: who wrote the "Hotel California" solo, you or Don Felder?
JW: I would think that's a joint effort. The lead parts that we trade off, he came up with his, I came up with mine. And the stuff that we played together was worked out together.
IMWT: Is it true that, on the cover of Hotel California, late Church of Satan founder Anton LaVey is seen standing in one of the hotel windows?
JW: Absolutely not. Any reference to Satan or anything like that is completely in the eyes of whoever is thinking that. That's a reflection of how sick they are. The guy in the window is one of the Elektra/Asylum publicity guys. The lighting just happened to be bad and he was really shy, so he was just peeking around the corner.
IMWT: How has Felder's departure affected the band? Is there a replacement guitarist?
JW: Well, there was a friction there-- I can't say a lot because it's pending court rule. But that didn't involve me; the band was together a long time before I joined. There's a lot less friction now and we're getting along better than we ever have. [The replacement guitarist] is Stuart Smith. Sometimes I really hate him, 'cause he's really good. He really makes me play.
IMWT: What's the set list like for this tour?
JW: Well, it's the catalog. There's somethin' for everybody [belches]. It's not Hell Freezes Over revisited. We've rotated the songs and we've added a horn section. We do a good cross-section of Eagles music and little splashes of each of our solo efforts.
IMWT: How are the Eagles different now, as opposed to 1980?
JW: Well--I think we're done with most of the craziness and partying. Everybody's older and we've all got families. We've all been rich and famous, and the thing that's really left is just to work at our craft. And we never dreamed we'd even be alive at this point, so every day is an adventure.
IMWT: Any intraband practical joking? Anyone ever given Timothy B. Schmit a wedgie?
JW: Oh, yeah...practical joking and stuff. The big difference now is that we sleep [laughs]. There's relevant silliness and food fights and stuff, but we don't party like the old days.
IMWT: You ran for president in 1980 and vice-president in 1992. Considering the result of our last presidential election, will you run again?
JW: I'm thinkin' of it! This guy, I can top. The other guy [Clinton], I don't know how in the world I could top his act, but this guy, I could top.
IMWT: There's a bit of Joe Walsh lore that's been floating around Salt Lake for a while--
JW: It's probably true. Very rarely are [the stories] not true. Most of the stuff you've heard about me is documented fact.
IMWT: So, years ago in Park City, you played 20 minutes said, "Hang on--I gotta take a piss" and left, never to return?
JW: Oh, no. I didn't do that. And I don't drink anymore--it's been eight years. I drank enough beer for the rest of the human race for the next 20 years, but I never went pee and never came back.
IMWT: Don Henley vs. Glenn Frey in a foxyboxing match: who wins?
JW: Uh--well, depends on the time of day [laughs]. I don't know--
IMWT: When you get to Salt Lake, wanna go bowling?
JW: Alright, that sounds good. Either bowling or miniature golf. If you're around at the show, introduce yourself. Tell 'em you're my cousin. That usually works.