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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

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Joe Walsh performs onstage during the 2016 Coachella Valley Music & Arts Festival in Indio, California, on April 16th, 2016.

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Joe Walsh has called himself an "ordinary average guy," which is something of a stretch for a man who's written some of rock's greatest riffs, from the James Gang's "Funk #49" to the Eagles' "Life in the Fast Lane" and his own "Rocky Mountain Way." Walsh's offstage exploits are similarly the stuff of legend: He's hung with Hendrix, freaked out Elton John, leveled hotel rooms with the likes of Keith Moon and John Belushi, and even ran for president (his platform: Free Gas for Everyone) – all while consuming enough vodka and cocaine to fell an elephant. "I never imagined how far down one could go," Walsh told Rolling Stone recently about his years of abuse. "But I went there. And it was a long way back."

Now 68 and sober for more than two decades, Walsh has righted his course. He released a well-received album, Analog Man, in 2012, and is currently out playing sheds on a co-headlining run with Bad Company, on the aptly named "One Hell of a Night" tour. He checked in with RS from a (presumably intact) hotel room in Arkansas to look back on his roughly half century in music. "It's a pretty good list of songs," he remarked about the ones discussed here. But, he added, "I don't think I'm done yet. There's still some more stuff I want to say."

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INDIO, CA - APRIL 16: Musician Joe Walsh performs on stage with The Arcs during day 2 of the 2016 Coachella Valley Music & Arts Festival Weekend 1 at the Empire Polo Club on April 16, 2016 in Indio, California. (Photo by Mike Windle/Getty Images for Coachella)

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“No Man’s Land” (2016)

I wrote this for a documentary that's coming out called Citizen Soldier. It's about a National Guard unit in Oklahoma that out of nowhere got called up to go to Afghanistan. They got put behind enemy lines, in some really deep shit. And they kicked ass. They took GoPros with them, and then someone made a documentary with the footage. So it's their story, through their eyes. And not all of them came back. The really sad thing is, Afghanistan is still going on. It's a forgotten war. And these guys – I wanna say kids, because that's what they are – they're coming back really confused. So I hope the documentary raises some awareness. I mean, God, what are we doing?

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