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Joe Walsh on Touring With Bad Company and Paying Tribute to Glenn Frey

Joe Walsh performs in Bentonville, Arkansas
Ernesto Di Stefano Photography/Getty Images for Bentonville Film Festival

Joe Walsh perform at the Meteor Guitar Gallery at Geena Davis' 2nd Annual Bentonville Film Festival Championing Women And Diverse Voices In Media - Day 5 on May 7, 2016 in Bentonville, Ark.

Joe Walsh's just-starting co-headlining tour with Bad Company -- during which he plans to include a tribute to his late Eagles mate Glenn Frey when it stops in Detroit -- may yield more than just 25 shows together. It may also be the launch pad for some new music from Walsh and BadCo frontman Paul Rodgers.

Walsh tand Rodgers did some writing and recording together about eight years ago. "We have some basement tapes that we're going to revisit," Walsh tells Billboard. "A couple really good things came out of that. We just got together and wrote for a couple of days and recorded. I had some funky licks that had progressed into kind of a song form, so I dumped those on [Rodgers] and he put words to it and sang it and, of course, it was brilliant, an approach that I never would've come up with. And then he had a couple song ideas, melodies and word groups, that he gave to me and I've been working on those. So we're gonna revisit all that and compare notes and hopefully do something with them."

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There was a time during the '70s when Walsh almost became part of Bad Company. "I think I was talking about considering joining them for awhile," he reveals. "It never went anywhere, but I've been friends with Paul forever and we played shows together and bumped into each other on the road and got a chance to hang out as friends." There was even discussion about Walsh stepping in when Bad Company guitarist Mick Ralphs backed out of the One Hell Of A Night Tour, which kicks off Thursday (May 12) in Dallas. "Yeah, we had some dialogue," Walsh says, "but we just compared notes. I was booked solid with commitments and stuff, and it just wouldn't work."

The tour is Walsh's first major public trek since Eagles bandmate Glenn Frey's death on Jan. 17 and the band's end in the wake of his passing. Walsh demurs from talking about Frey publicly but he is cooking up a tribute for when the tour stops on June 22 in suburban Detroit, Frey's hometown. "I'm thinking about it now, but I'm going to have a part of the set with a little segment for Glenn, and we'll all be sad together. That's what I have planned," Walsh allows.

 

Meanwhile, Walsh has no shortage of work planned beyond the tour. He recently composed and recorded a song called "No Man's Land" for Citizen Soldier, a documentary about the Oklahoma National Guard unit deployed for combat duty. Walsh has also been spending time in Nashville, where he may be hatching another recording project. "I've been down there hanging out and trying to get into that community, and I've been welcomed warmly," he reports. "I may try and put something together, some kind of think tank, and do an album down there [with] T-Bone Burnett and Vince Gill, Sheryl Crow, people like that."

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Also on Walsh's docket -- a memoir, which he's targeting for publication in 2017. "I thought I could make more money by people paying me not to be in my book than I actually could putting the book out, but I decided to go ahead and write it, and I'm really happy now," Walsh cracks. "A lot of people are nervous, but I'm not gonna hurt anybody."

The tour with Bad Company may well merit a paragraph or two, especially since Walsh predicts some commingling between the two bands is inevitable. "There's a good chance any members of that band may join me in my set at any time, and vice versa," Walsh says. "My band may walk up in the middle of one of their songs and join in, so there'll be some jamming and that's great. That's the kind of stuff that doesn't happen any more, but we're compatible enough that we can just do that. I can't wait for that part of the show."

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