Tuesday, June 18, 2013

rocky mountain way

Joe Walsh couldn't get much higher than with this rocked out talkbox celebration of Colorado and his new life. Walsh had left his band the James Gang and relocated from Cleveland to Boulder where he formed a new band Barnstorm. Their self titled debut was a departure from the hard rock sound of the James Gang.

Walsh recounts: “When I left the James Gang, I wanted a fresh start. I didn’t want to stay in Cleveland, where I’d been. Bill Szymczyk, who produced the James Gang and a bunch of other stuff, was in Colorado. So I went there and started the Barnstorm days. Nobody really understood why I quit the James Gang, because we were doing really well, but I didn’t want to be in a three-piece rock and roll band anymore. I thought I was painting myself in a corner, in terms of being a musician. And I wasn’t really crazy about being a grandparent of heavy metal! ... I got kind of fed up with feeling sorry for myself, and I wanted to justify and feel good about leaving the James Gang, relocating, going for it on a survival basis. I wanted to say 'Hey, whatever this is, I'm positive and I'm proud', and the words just kind of came out of feeling that way, rather than writing a song out of remorse. It was special then, and the words were special to me, because the words were like, 'I'm goin' for it, the heck with feeling sorry for this and that', and it did turn out to be a special song for a lot of people. I think the attitude and the statement of that have a lot to do with it – it's a positive song, and it's basic rock'n'roll, which is what I really do ... I'm living in Colorado and I'm mowing the lawn. I look up and there's the Front Range of the Rocky Mountains and there's snow on them in the summer. And it knocked me back because it was just beautiful. And I thought, well I have committed. I'm already in Colorado and it's too late to regret the James Gang. The Rocky Mountain Way is better than the way I had. Because the music was better. I got the words, bam! I got all of the words all at once and ran into the house to write the words down. The lawn mower kept going over into the neighbor's yard and ate the garden. It was an expensive song to write!"

'Rocky Mountain Way' was co-written with the rest of Barnstorm: Rocke Grace, Kenny Passarelli, and Joe Vitale. It became the opening track for Barnstorm's second album 'The Smoker You Drink, The Player You Get' which is credited to Joe Walsh on the cover and considered by most fans to be his first solo album. The album went to number six in the US and 'Rocky Mountain Way' hit number twenty-three on the US pop chart.


Spent the last year
Rocky Mountain way
Couldn't get much higher
Out to pasture
Think it's safe to say
Time to open fire

And we don't need the ladies
Cryin' 'cause the story's sad
'Cause the Rocky Mountain way
Is better than the way we had

Well, he's tellin' us this
And he's tellin' us that
Changes it ev'ry day
Says it doesn't matter
Bases are loaded
And Casey's at bat
Playin' it play-by-play
Time to change the batter

And we don't need the ladies
Cryin' 'cause the story's sad, uh huh
Rocky Mountain way
Is better than the way we had

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