Joe Walsh, WB6ACU, Is an Analog Man
Grammy Award-winning rock-and-roll legend Joe Walsh, WB6ACU, returns with Analog Man, set to be released June 5. This is Walsh’s first solo album since 1992’s Songs for a Dying Planet. According to Walsh’s website, Analog Man is both modern and timelessly soulful, packed with Walsh’s wit, charm and chops; it delivers an incredibly raw and intimate sound. “It’s been 20 years and I have a lot to say,” Walsh explained. “These songs [on Analog Man] come from the heart.”
Walsh -- best known for his powerful guitar licks -- joined the Eagles in 1976 and is credited for bringing a harder rock sound to the band with the acclaimed Hotel California, The Long Run and Eagles Live. A singer-songwriter and Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee, Walsh has been performing for more than four decades, not only as a solo artist, but as part of admired bands such as The James Gang and Barnstorm.
No stranger to the analog way of life, Walsh -- an ARRL Life Member -- enjoys operating on 75 meters AM. AM -- or amplitude modulation -- has been around the amateur bands since the 1930s. AM offers a warm, rich audio quality that provides for more personal interaction. The simplicity of AM circuit design encourages hands-on restoration, modification and homebrew construction to an extent no longer found among contemporary radios. Many hams who operate AM say they enjoy the simple, roomy electrical and mechanical designs of the older radios, claiming that they can more easily be modified and tinkered with than their modern counterparts. Other enthusiasts claim that these vintage radios sound better than their silicon descendants, saying that the tube audio from vintage gear is “warmer” and more aesthetically pleasing than the audio produced by the typical modern transceiver.
A self-proclaimed analog man, Walsh refers playfully to the new digital age in the album’s title track. He notes that he has adapted to the digital age, but says “I am what I am -- I’m an analog man.” Walsh developed the album over the last 10 years, drawing on personal experiences to breathe life into each track. “I just really feel like it’s all come together and finally I feel like a complete person and a complete musician,” he said. “I think there is some confidence in there that I never had. That’s what I was hiding.” Walsh credits his wife of four years, Marjorie, for encouraging him to be the man and artist he is today and fondly dedicates this album to her.
“I have tried to write about the world as I see it,” Walsh said at a February concert, explaining the logic behind the album title. “There are two worlds now -- digital and the old world, analog. For a lot of us, we’ve had to make adjustment. I’m concerned that there’s no time in digital. It’s frozen. When you come out of a digital experience, it’s three days later and you have a beard. Every kid under 12 can land the space shuttle, but nobody can read.”
The 10-track album was produced by Walsh and Jeff Lynne, with Tommy Lee James co-writing some of the tracks. Lucky That Way -- one of Walsh’s favorite songs off the album -- speaks to the extraordinary life he’s lived, even through the hurdles, and features Ringo Starr (his real life brother-in-law) on drums. The song serves as a mature sequel to Walsh’s famed Life’s Been Good, a tongue-in-cheek portrait of his rock star lifestyle at the time of its release in 1978.
After expressing his thoughts about the future at the February concert, Walsh turned to his past and talked about the most common questions he gets asked, all of which are about Life’s Been Good. According to Billboard, Walsh explained the construction of each musical segment and how they came together -- basically scraps of several unfinished songs glued together -- before going through the tune line by line, saying that essentially said every line in the song is true, except he’s not the guy who wrecked the cars and he didn’t have his driver’s license revoked. “Actually, I lost my wallet,” he said.