Eagles mainstay Joe Walsh tried to take the high road this week, a rarity in our fractured times. The guitarist ended up on a detour far too familiar to cultural observers.
Turns out Walsh couldn’t resist a few political pot shots.
The musician had signed on to play a nonpartisan event for the families of American service men and women in Cleveland later this summer. The July 17 concert, as Walsh later learned, was tied to the Republican National Convention to be held in the Ohio city that same time. It also would help raise money for the GOP coffers, he says.
That didn’t sit well with Walsh. So he withdrew from the event and shared his reasons on both his official website and Facebook page.
Walsh apologized for disappointing those who were looking forward to seeing him perform.
So far, so understandable.
He then launched into a short tirade against the GOP to explain why he couldn’t just swallow hard and perform as planned.
I am very concerned about the rampant vitriol, fear-mongering and bullying coming from the current Republican campaigns. It is both isolationist and spiteful. I cannot in good conscience endorse the Republican party in any way. I will look at doing a veteran related benefit concert later this year.”
He’s hardly the first musician to rebuff the GOP. It’s become an election season ritual for Republican candidates to rally crowds with classic rock favorites. Then, days later, the bands in question threaten legal action for using their material without their permission.
Just ask Donald Trump, Ronald Reagan, George H.W. Bush, Bob Dole or George W. Bush.
Those public disavowals often come with harsh rhetoric. Some musicians also insist Democrats refrain from using their material. Those requests tend to be far more cordial.
This isn’t Walsh’s only brush with election-year politics. Four years ago, he threw his celebrity behind Democrat Tammy Duckworth in her congressional fight against Rep. Joe Walsh, a Republican. He even held a fundraiser in Duckworth’s honor, with tickets going for prices higher than even an Eagles concert ticket – up to $2,500.
The Walshes’ bad blood began earlier, though. The rocker complained in 2010 that the politician’s team recorded a version of the James Gang song “Walk Away” without the group’s permission.
The candidate fired back on his web site — “I hope the Democratic National Committee and Nancy Pelosi didn’t put you up to this.”
Now, the Eagles guitarist is targeting more than just one GOP candidate. He’s taking on the entire party’s platform.