Me and Joe Walsh

Joe Walsh called me today.

The end.

What more is there to say? For years I’ve imagined what it would be to talk to Joe Walsh one on one. And today it happened.

All I can say is here’s one more example of how God gives us little surprises when we least expect it, when we least deserve it. I can only compare it to a daddy talking his little boy or girl to Walmart for a special toy when it’s not even a birthday or Christmas.

I serendipitously stumbled upon an email that enticed me with these words: “Ever dreamed of talking with The Eagles legendary guitarist, Joe Walsh?”

Heck, yeah.

On a whim I sent a quick return email. I didn’t plan in advance. My heart poured out the words, and I wrote from the place where my passion for music lies. I hit send and forgot about it.

Imagine my surprise when I received a reply saying that Joe appreciated my email and that he had chosen me as one of the lucky few. I was supposed to be in school during the time of the call, and I really didn’t know how I was going to work it out. But turn down a chance to talk to Joe Walsh? No way!

No problem. We had a snow day. Perfect. And sure enough, Joe called. Just like he said he would.

My dream has always been to ask Joe about his songwriting, so during our brief conversation I asked him about “Pretty Maids All in a Row,” one of my favorite songs. And he told me how he wrote it, what inspired him to write it. And he specifically mentioned my favorite line of the song:

“And heroes, they come and they go / and leave us behind as if we’re supposed to know why”

He explained to me that sometimes the people we really admire let us down, or they go away, because they are human. Joe’s hero was Jimi Hendrix—and he died of an overdose. Heroes aren’t supposed to do anything like that.

What Joe said to me really hit me hard. Joe is one of my heroes, but he’s human, prone to flaws and tragedies as are we all. Why is it we’re so prone to see in black and white? Hero or zero?

Our conversation made me think about how beautiful people really are, despite their flaws. I wonder if my fellow Saints take time to see the beauty in everyday people, the people at the grocery store, at Bonnaroo, at the gas station. God made us all. Don’t you ever wish you could see through God’s eyes? What are we missing?

Anyway, now when I hear “Pretty Maids All in a Row” I don’t have to wonder what the song means. I know—because Joe Walsh himself told me. And that’s a gift I’ll treasure forever.

I have a passion for music that is almost uncontainable. I don’t know why it’s that way. Sometimes it frustrates me to the point that I’m miserable. I am not gifted like Joe Walsh. I wish I were. But I think this music love must run in my family blood. Is it a curse or a blessing? I don’t know

Many years ago I made the decision to walk away from anything that had to do with music. It was just too hard to be around it. I figured it would make everyone happy—everyone but me. But as much as I have tried to run from it, music has found my hiding place every time.

So here I am again. Music has spoken again. This time through Joe Walsh. Who would’ve thunk it?

I generally play by ear. I don’t always get all the notes right. But someone once told me to make the song my own. Maybe it’s time I did that.

“….It’s been a long time. / Seems like we’ve come a long way. / My, but we learn so slow….”

Joe Walsh and Joe Vitale, “Pretty Maids All in a Row”