Breaking News: EDM Superstar Avicii Dead at 28

Joe Walsh: My Life in 15 Songs

Guitar legend looks back on more than 40 years of music and mayhem with James Gang, Eagles and beyond

Load Previous

"Life's Been Good" (1978)

The lyrics, I didn't want to use 'em. I was gonna replace them with something more rock and roll. But [drummer] Joe Vitale and Bill [Szymczyk] said, "No, these words are wonderful. They're legitimate and you gotta use 'em. And I was thinking, "Well, they're kind of dumb, and the song will either be looked at as a satirical, funny song or it's gonna not be funny at all and it'll go down the toilet as one of the worst things ever written." That's what I was afraid of.

The stuff about hotels ["I live in hotels/Tear out the walls"], years earlier the James Gang got asked to open some shows in Europe with the Who when they premiered Tommy. And over that period of time one of the scariest things that happened to me – ever – happened. And that was that Keith Moon decided he liked me. And, you know, when he liked you, you just smiled and nodded yes. Especially if you were in the opening band. So he became my guru. Over the course of that tour, he taught me the art of hotel damage, of destroying things, of making things that blow up, of superglue madness and mayhem, of trashing rent-a-cars ... just causing as much trouble as possible.

After the tour was over, I came home and just continued that tradition. Later on when I went solo from the James Gang I hooked up with my manager, Irving Azoff, and I was opening some shows where it was me and then the Eagles and then the Beach Boys and then Elton John ... the whole summer of '75. And I was wild and crazy. I was very entertaining to everybody, except Elton, who was very nervous around me. Because I was very unpredictable. He didn't particularly want to stay on the same floor I was on at the hotel. Right after that it was my birthday and Irving thought it'd be funny to get me a chainsaw. I was supposed to leave it at home but then I joined the Eagles and I took it on the road. One night we checked into a Holiday Inn and he and I were supposed to have connecting rooms. But we didn't. So I started up the chainsaw and made my own door. And I walked through it and said, "Hey, we have connecting rooms now!" Irving never dreamed I'd use it. But now he knows about that.

Back to Top