Walsh warns: Don’t lose years to drugs
Joe Walsh believes he’s lost at least a decade to drink and drugs – and he’s warned other musicians not to make the same mistake.
The Eagles icon says the trappings of fame are an occupational hazard that need to be faced down. And because he didn’t learn the lesson early, it cost him valuable time out of his career.
Walsh, who stopped drinking in 1994, tells The Quietus: “There’s about 10 years that I wish I had back. As the disease of alcoholism progressed I really lost track of myself. There was a time when I hardly played guitar any more. I didn’t feel like writing, or feel comfortable in the studio so I let it go.
“I’m sober now and I’m glad I stopped, because otherwise I don’t think I’d be here right now. I was in pretty bad shape and I had to get sober because I ran out of options.”
Walsh says it took him at least two years to re-learn living and working without the assistance of drink and drugs, and he only did it because he “ran out of options.”
He reflects: “That’s a real hazard of the occupation and it’s something most musicians have to deal with at some point. With any level of success you get some non-musical things that come along – money, ego – and it’s easy to lose your perspective and get off doing what you did to get there.
“My advice to musicians is: don’t lose your perspective, because you will waste time in terms of years.”
Walsh believes a similar scenario contributed to the Eagles’ split in 1980. “With Hotel California we achieved an amount of success we never dreamed of,” he says. “It went way beyond being successful. It because a big thing and such a financial thing.
“To the record company it was a whole corporate corridor whenever an Eagles album came out. We started playing for a lot of money. Between touring, trying to deliver another record and wondering how to top Hotel California – knowing we never really could – the emphasis came off the music, and that affected our creative output.
“We just plain had to stop because it stopped making sense. We were all in bad moods all the time.”
But he thinks splitting when they did made it possible to reunite in 1994. “We were lucky that we stopped before we destroyed all that,” he says. “When we get together it turns into something bigger than any of us. We realised that and we missed it.”
Walsh’s new solo album Analog Man is on sale now, and the Eagles plan to start work on a 40th anniversary celebration tour in the near future.