James Gang Plays First Show in 16 Years at Taylor Hawkins Tribute
"If you’ve ever seen a picture of Taylor Hawkins, most likely he was wearing a fucking hat that said James Gang on it," Dave Grohl declared while introducing the group, describing them as "maybe [Hawkins'] favorite band of all time, Joe Walsh maybe his favorite person of all time."
The classic rockers — featuring Walsh on guitar and vocals, Dale Peters on bass and Jim Fox on drums — then stepped to the stage and delivered renditions of "Walk Away," "The Bomber" and "Funk #49," the latter tune featuring Grohl as a second drummer.
In a statement before the tribute concert, Walsh revealed that Hawkins regularly asked him about his career. "Taylor was like my little brother who was always asking questions," the rocker explained. "He had an insatiable curiosity about playing hard and loud like we used to do in the '70s. We spoke a lot about being in a three-piece, how we recorded James Gang Rides Again and what life was like for a musician before he was even born. He thought I was pretty cool and the feeling was mutual."
Earlier this year, it was announced that James Gang would reunite for Walsh's sixth annual VetsAid charity concert. Grohl is also slated to perform at the event, which will take place on Nov. 13 at the Nationwide Arena in Columbus, Ohio.
In 2014, Walsh appeared on a track called "Outsider" from Foo Fighters' eighth album, Sonic Highways. "I’m sorry but how awesome does it sound to have Joe Walsh in the Foo Fighters?" Hawkins said in an episode of the HBO docuseries about his band, also called Sonic Highways. "I mean, it’s fucking rad!"
"I got to be a Foo Fighter for a couple of days," Walsh told Rolling Stone at the time. "You have to be in a good mood around those guys. It's wonderful energy."
Walsh also played guitar on Hawkins' third and final album with his solo band the Coattail Riders, 2019's Get the Money. Hawkins explained that the album's title track was inspired by a conversation he once had with Walsh: "He basically told me a story about B.B. King. 'I was lucky enough to know B.B. King, and he said to me, I was whining about being on the road with the Eagles, and he says, 'Are you making money, Joe? You got a nice house, Joe. Then get the money.' And when I called Joe to cry about being on tour for too long and, 'My legs are tired, my hands are tired, I miss my kids' and all that stuff, he said, 'You know, get the money and shut the hell up, you spoiled brat.'
"That’s what the lyrics are — literally about myself and watching a few people in my band. 'You’re a spoiled brat, and you act like you deserve this crap. You’re a grown man acting like a child.' That can happen, especially to rock 'n' roll musicians on the road."
A second tribute concert for Hawkins is scheduled to take place in Los Angeles on Sept. 27.