Joe Walsh Preps for Second VetsAid Benefit Concert

Joe Walsh
Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP

Joe Walsh arrives at the 52nd annual Academy of Country Music Awards at the T-Mobile Arena on April 2, 2017 in Las Vegas. 

With one year under his belt, Joe Walsh is ready to "take it up a notch" for this week's second annual VetsAid benefit concert.

The event -- launched during 2017 in Fairfax, Va., raising more than $400,000 for non-profit organizations working with veterans -- moves to the Tacoma Dome in Washington state, which has a capacity of up to 23,000, for a Nov. 11 show featuring James Taylor, Walsh's Eagles bandmate Don Henley, Chris Stapleton and Haim as well as Walsh himself. Ringo Starr, Walsh's brother-in-law, will make a special appearance for a finale of the Beatles' "With A Little Help From My Friends."

"Last year was really the first time. We didn't know what we were doing, but we knew enough about how it's done to do it," Walsh tells Billboard. "But we learned a lot." The hardest part about organizing the show, he adds, is finding others to do it with him.

"It's really hard to do these 'cause it's an ask," Walsh explains. "You really have to be humble and it feels awkward to do it, but everybody came through. All these people really are resonant to vets, and they feel the same way I do. You just reach out to a bunch of people that you think will work and hope they all say yes."

Walsh -- whose father died in service during 1949 in Japan, when Walsh was two years old -- has designated nearly 20 veterans' non-profits to receive funds from the concert. Most are smaller regional organizations Walsh and VetsAid feel are filling in gaps that larger government programs aren't providing.

"When the United States decides to go to war and congress passes a budget, they don't ever think about putting aside some money for when the troops come back," Walsh explains. "We're still at war, and I know vets are coming back from Afghanistan shattered in a lot of ways, and there's more vets coming back injured or armless/legless than there are killed, and the transition over to civilian life is almost impossible to do.

"There are all these little vets groups, usually run by vets, spotted throughout the middle of the country and they don't have a budget and they're doing the best they can. So part of VetsAid is to keep those things going. We look for them and check 'em out. We get world of mouth from other vets and see exactly what they do when they get money, and the ones that really are legit we try and keep 'em going."

VetsAid 2018 is also partnering with Operation: GoodJobs for a VetsAid Job Fair during the afternoon before the concert, which will host a number of potential employers for veterans and their family members. More information can be found at www.VetsAid.org

Walsh seldom has to have his arm twisted to jam with other artists, but he's not yet predicting what might take place at the Tacoma Dome. "We're gonna lave it wide open," he says, "and if it mutates to where people are on stage with each other, I think that'd be great." He is, however, happy that Starr will be on hand for this year's show. "He just plain wanted to come," Walsh says, "so I think what we're gonna do is end the show with 'With A Little Help From My Friends' and get all the musicians on stage for that one."

Walsh recently finished what he calls "a really good tour" with Eagles, the group's second road trek with new members Vince Gill and Deacon Frey, son of the late Glenn Frey. "We've got it dialed in really well," Walsh says, and shows are on tap next year for Australia during the spring and Europe in the summer. Recording new music, however, is still a question mark.

"We've brought that up," Walsh says. "If we record it won't be with an agenda, like putting out a new album. I think we might go in the studio and try and write and see how that goes. But we'll be doing that for us, not with a plan for anything definite."

THE BILLBOARD BIZ
SUBSCRIBER EXPERIENCE

The Biz premium subscriber content has moved to Billboard.com/business.


To simplify subscriber access, we have temporarily disabled the password requirement.