Joe Walsh – Rocky Mountain Way 2010

Joe Walsh – Rocky Mountain Way 2010

Jul 10
Joe Walsh – Rocky Mountain Way 2010

Joe Walsh has had a long musical career spanning over 40 years.  Hailing from Wichita Kansas, Joe attended Kent State University in the 1960s and it was during this era that he formed what would eventually become the James Gang.  James Gang were moderately successful and released several albums, the most successful being ‘Rides Again’.

After the demise of the ‘Gang’ Joe forged a solo career, with a backing band known as “Barnstorm” and it was during this time that classic tracks such as ‘Rocky Mountain Way’ and ‘Turn to Stone’ were penned.  Joe’s solo career hit a peak in the mid-70s and cumulated in a live album recorded as part of the ‘Don Kirshner Rock Concert’ series aired in 1975.  The LP released was ‘You Can’t Argue With A Sick Mind” and featured a stellar backing band including: Jay Ferguson (Spirit / Jo Jo Gunne), Don Felder (Eagles), David Mason (Traffic) and highly sought after session drummer Joe Vitale [a long time friend of Walsh’s].  A very successful album “but Seriously Folks” followed.

In 1976 Joe joined the Eagles and along with songwriter Don Felder played the classic “Hotel California” solo, which is now entrenched in music history.  He also wrote all the music to ‘Life In the Fast Lane’ and the Felder/Walsh dual guitar partnership was cemented.  During this period Joe sought nomination as an independent candidate for congress, but was knocked back due to being under-aged.   There are still some “Joe Walsh For President” stickers about if you look hard enough (I still have one).  The Eagles parted ways for 14 years in 1980 and Joe resumed his solo career, with mixed results.

The highlights of Joe’s post-Eagles work was probably his time down under where he played with New Zealand band “Herbs” and later “The Party Boys” (a band founded by Kevin Borich and Paul Christie).  They recorded several albums, including a great live LP in Melbourne 1989.  Joe lived in New Zealand for some years and I met him in 1988 during his time there.

The Eagles reformed in 1994 and a newly sober Joe was ready to take the world by storm.  The “Hell Freezes Over” era was extremely successful for the Eagles, but little new material surfaced from the band.  It would not be until 2007 that the Eagles would release a full album of new material – but alas the departure of Don Felder in 2001 had taken something from the band and the new album is not a patch on the music they produced in the 70s, especially by today’s standards (instead of sounding fresh and raw – it sounds jaded,  tired and way over produced.)

These days Joe Walsh still plays with the Eagles and solo – he has appeared in numerous feature concerts, including the “50 Year Celebration of Fender” and Eric Clapton’s “Crossroads” concert series.  This photo I took at a concert in 2010 shows he’s still got what it takes.

Rock on Joe!

Photography: copyright C A Poulter 2010