The Eagles’ Joe Walsh and Red Hot Chili Peppers drummer Chad Smith were on hand at last night’s MAP MusiCares benefit in Los Angeles to show their support for honorees Ozzy Osbourne and The Village CEO Jeff Greenberg, revealing to The Hollywood Reporter their latest musical activities.
Walsh couldn’t say how long he and Ozzy had been friends, but it’s been awhile.
“Neither of us really know for sure, but we have been able to determine that it was sometime last century,” Walsh told THR of that first meeting. “James Gang and [Black] Sabbath played a lot of shows together. Believe it or not, Ozzy remembers more than I do.”
All Walsh knows is the two saw each other at gigs but, thankfully, were too busy working to indulge much together. “We played the same concerts. In those days you had like three bands, any of them could really headline,” he said. “So I saw a lot of Ozzy backstage; we didn’t get a chance to hang out that much, but that’s probably a good thing because we probably wouldn’t be here if we had.”
Now sober, Walsh is keeping busy, not only with the Eagles, but with the Foo Fighters. “I was a Foo Fighter for two days and played on a track of theirs that’s gonna come out,” he said. “I also play guitar on a War song, so I’m a low rider and a Foo Fighter.”
The Foos collaboration came about through a mutual friend. “Drew Hester, my drummer for my solo gigs, is a great friend of all of those guys, so I hooked up through him.”
Walsh has some other new material in the works, including Eagles tracks, though he doesn’t say if they will ever see the light of day, adding, “I’ve also got a blues album.” The Eagles also will be back to tour the West Coast this fall.
Walsh’s latest solo album, 2012’s Analog Man, was co-produced by ELO mastermind Jeff Lynne. Walsh would love to see the two collaborate again at some point. “He’s amazing. He’s another crusty old veteran,” he said.
Surrounded by so many great musicians, from Osbourne to Metallica and Slash on this night, we couldn’t help but wonder who Walsh would like to see in his dream super group alongside Lynne.
“Bob Seger would have to be in that band,” he said.
According to Smith, the Chili Peppers are early in the recording process for their follow-up to 2011’s I’m With You, which peaked at No. 2 on the Billboard Top 200.
“We’re just starting to write and get in the groove of things,” he told THR. “This is my favorite time, being creative, coming up with ideas. You go there at 11 with something that wasn’t a piece of music, everyone collaborates on something, and three hours later you’ve got a piece of music that wasn’t there before.”
According to Smith, it’s too early to see any real patterns in the new music, but based on history and the little bit the band has done thus far, he knows there will be some new sounds.
“We’re always trying to change, grow and do new stuff, but you never know what that’s going to be,” he said. “It’s gonna sound like us, but it’s gonna be different.”
Smith played drums at the MAP benefit for Beth Hart.
“I’ve never played with her before,” he said. “We did sound check today and she is an amazing singer, musician and super sweet. I’m happy to be part of this event.”
He was also excited to be on hand to support MusiCares, which has personally helped him and his Chili Pepper bandmates. “It’s a very important organization, one that’s close to my heart, guys in my band, myself, we’ve all had issues with drugs and alcohol,” he says. “When they name Ozzy, as I call it, the drug addict of the year, they’re gonna present him with the golden needle.”
Being able to play with Hart is one of those things that for Smith keep the Chilis invigorated. “I think it’s really important to play with different people,” he says. “It keeps things fresh, especially when you’ve been in a band like we have for 30 years. Flea plays with other people, Josh [Klinghoffer] does, I do. And then when you come back, it’s like you had a mistress and then you go back to your wife … not that I would know.”