Joe Walsh on Honoring Taylor Hawkins, Reuniting James Gang, and Learning From Pete Townsend

On Sunday, November 13th, Joe Walsh will present the sixth iteration of VetsAid, an annual one-day music festival that raises funds for veterans and their families. This year sees acts like Dave Grohl, Nine Inch Nails, The Black Keys, and The Breeders heading to Columbus, Ohio for the event, as well as a recently-reunited James Gang.

It all sounds great, but to the untrained eye, it might seem a bit random. It’s wonderful Walsh has such a strong charitable streak within him, but what does he have to do with veterans? Why these artists? And, perhaps most confounding, why Ohio?

Well, as it turns out, there are invisible threads connecting each aspect of the VetsAid 2022, including military associations, the multigenerational rock and roll community, and the unavoidable presence of the buckeye state.

It starts in Walsh’s childhood. At the age of two, his father, a flight instructor in the United States Air Force, died in active duty. “I had a stepfather and he had my back and I love him, but I grew up kind of without a dad,” Walsh remembers. “Everybody would be at school and their dad was there and mine wasn’t.”

Ever since, he’s understandably felt a deep kinship with military families around the nation, doing what he can throughout his career to support veterans and their loved ones. VetsAid alone has raised over two million dollars towards such goals.

“I decided I could make a difference helping and there’s so many ways that vets need help,” Walsh tells Consequence over Zoom. “I think they should just put a billion dollars aside when they decide to do a war for when they come back because the transition back to civilian life is almost too much of a mountain to climb.”