‘This is not going to go anywhere’: The Eagles’ Joe Walsh didn’t have a guitar as his first instrument – or his second

Most rock fans can recite Joe Walsh’s CV from memory: James Gang, the Eagles, solo artist. Maybe most important of all: Guitar god. But it wasn’t always thus. In fact, Walsh’s first instrument was not a guitar. Neither was his second.

“I started out on one of those awful old metal clarinets that the public school would provide for you,” Walsh tells Uncle Joe Benson. “The mouthpiece smelled horrible, and it squeaked — which would upset your pets.”

So, OK. Time to get on with his destiny, right? Nope: Walsh’s second instrument, turns out, somehow wasn’t a guitar either. “I decided that I would play oboe,” Walsh adds. “I wanted to play oboe because the whole orchestra tunes up to the oboe — because the double reed is the purest wave form.”

It was only later that he had a revelation involving the opposite sex — well, and angering his folks — that ultimately prompted Walsh’s Rock and Roll Hall of Fame-worthy switch.

“At some point I discovered: ‘Joe, you’re not going to get any girls playing oboe. This is not going to go anywhere,’” Walsh admits. “So I decided I would do a guitar — not because I wanted to play guitar, but because my parents hated that I was going to play guitar, and stop oboe. So, I never got any girls playing guitar either, but I had a darn good time, I tell you.”

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