As part of the Eagles, Walsh enjoyed a fruitful ’00s. The reunited band’s seventh studio album, Long Road Out of Eden, went 7x Platinum and the subsequent tour is estimated to have grossed a huge $250 million. It was a creative success, too, with two Grammy awards and superb reviews for a band many thought would never be seen again.

Then again, Joe Walsh has always been a survivor. From his influential early days with The James Gang via his solo careers to the Eagles, he has suffered addiction problems, ill health, death threats from a neighbor and much more. While Walsh admits he may have occasionally lost his mind, he has never lost his ability as a superb guitarist and songwriter, nor his left-of-center humor.

Sit back and enjoy the wit and wisdom of Joseph Fidler Walsh...

On starting playing the guitar...

“I played trombone and clarinet for a while, then I played oboe in high school,” Walsh told Atlantic City Weekly. “Then I discovered I wasn’t going to get any girls playing oboe, so I decided that maybe I should play guitar. And I didn’t really get any girls playing guitar either... but I had a lot more fun.”

On the inspiration Walsh took from The James Gang’s breakthrough supporting The Who in 1969...

Pete Townshend was my guru,” Walsh told The Aquarian Weekly. “He taught me how to play lead-rhythm guitar, and Keith Moon taught me the finer points of hotel demolition.”

On why he left The James Gang...

“I saw myself being stereotyped almost into a heavy metal guitarist about 10 years before heavy metal come out,” he told Guitar World. “I didn’t like that. I got extremely frustrated being the only melodic instrument.” Here’s some early solo-career Walsh, which was no less-heavy...

On why he joined the Eagles...

“I got asked to join The Eagles as a specialist, because they wanted some humor. They were taking everything too seriously... my job was to keep everyone laughing, or at least to keep the band from breaking up.”

On his wild lifestyle of the ’70s and ’80s (quoted in the 1980s)...

“When I check into a hotel I have them give me a call at 7 a.m. so I can go to bed.”

On the urban legend that he once threw a grand piano out of a hotel window...

“Not the whole piano went out the window! But a lot of it­ – the legs and the lid and a bunch of the keys and the pedals. I wouldn’t want anybody to think the wrong thing.”

On getting sober...

“It was hard at first. Doing anything was hard at first. One of my great things in terms of denial was the idea that being an artist and writing and all that, one needed to have a buzz: ‘Hemingway couldn’t have written like that without one. Hendrix couldn’t have played like that if he wasn’t really, really high...’ I was telling myself that sort of stuff to justify being nuts. It never occurred to me that all those people were dead.”

On keeping the Eagles fresh after 40 years...

“We don’t want to become a Vegas lounge act,” he said earlier in 2011. “We’re not done yet, but we need a new show. Everybody’s seen our show... I think we’re going to maybe do a retrospective, almost like a documentary. We’re gonna dig up old songs from Desperado and On the Border and we have tons of footage and video stuff. So we’re gonna put that all together as a visual from just the early days and play music from the various periods while you’re watchin’ that.”

On the internal dynamics of the Eagles...

“It truly is Don [Henley] and Glenn [Frey]’s band,” Walsh said in 2007. “I knew that when I joined, and it hasn’t changed. They call the shots and decide policies. I think the world of them as a team. So that’s OK with me.”

On the Eagles’ relationships on The Long Road Out of Eden...

“We’re just really comfortable around each other now,” he told Star Tribune in 2008. “We’re all sober. We’ve discovered sleep. There’s a different feeling when you’ve played with musicians for 30 years. A lot of stuff doesn’t even need to be said, especially onstage. We just read each other so well. We’re like the Grumpy Old Men movie. We’re like Walter Matthau and Jack Lemmon, except there’s four of us.”

On his disdain for the Eagles’ suit-and-tie outfits for their 2008 tour...

“I don’t know exactly why we’re doing it. I guess Glenn came up with it,” Walsh, who had always worn whatever he wanted onstage, told Star Tribune again in 2008. “You feel a certain way with a suit and a tie on. My problem is my tie gets stuck in my guitars strings and all of a sudden my guitar doesn’t work anymore. I’ve got to get a tie clasp but I never get around to it.”

On getting older...

“I love to play,” he told NewsOK.com. “I never planned on being 63. I’m gonna be 64. I never thought about it, and I don’t know what to do. I wish there was like a 64 For Dummies book, because I need some help.”

On the famed 1959 Les Paul Sunburst he sold to Jimmy Page at the end of the 1960s...

“Jimmy was having trouble finding a good Les Paul back then,” Walsh recalled at the Guitar Center launch of the 2008 Gibson Les Paul Standard. “I had two, so I sold him one of mine. He used that Les Paul on the bulk of his work with Led Zeppelin. Once you get used to a Les Paul it becomes your axe from then on. Les Pauls are like that. Once you find your personal Les Paul, that’s it.”

On the Eagles’ Hotel California album, his first with the band and their most successful...

“We had no idea what we were doing with Hotel California. In retrospect, it would appear that we did. All that we knew was that it was done – we didn’t know if it was good or not.”

Was it he or Don Felder who wrote the outro solo(s) to the song “Hotel California”?

“I would think that’s a joint effort,” Walsh told InMusicWeTrust. “The lead parts that we trade off, he came up with his, I came up with mine. And the stuff that we played together was worked out together.”

Introducing his solo smash “Rocky Mountain Way” at Eric Clapton’s Crossroads Guitar Festival, 2004...

“If I knew I had to play this song the rest of my life, I probably woulda wrote something else.” If you want a lot of guitar, here’s Walsh playing “Rocky Mountain Way” at 1992’s Guitar Expo, aided by Joe Satriani, Steve Vai, Brian May, Nuno Bettencourt and more!”

On his dislike of new technology...

“On stage I control everything myself,” he told Gitare & Bass magazine. “I don’t like that digital crap. I need buttons. I’m really an analog guy. I can’t play with pre-sets. It’s no fun when there are no buttons.”

Walsh states who he regards as real guitar heroes...

“There are a lot of hot guitar players out there today who can fly all over the fretboard in all kinds of amazing ways,” Walsh told Jazztimes, “like Eddie Van Halen. But Albert King could blow Eddie Van Halen off the stage with his amp on standby.”

And Joe Walsh’s most famous lyric, answering the inevitable question of whether, truly, life’s been good?

“I can’t complain. But sometimes I still do.”

More Eagles:

10 Great Guitar Outros

Don Felder "Hotel California" EDS-1275