Musicians posing

Photo by: Ron Valle

I woke up one morning and looked at the internet.

Joe Walsh planned celebrating Veteran’s Day Weekend at Nationwide Arena with a VetsAid concert which reunited James Gang with the assistance of Dave Grohl in Columbus, Ohio.

Walsh is one of the biggest figures in music.

Joe Walsh, Robert Plant, and Ozzy Osbourne exist as men who defined Rock’n’Roll’s evolution from the blues, Elvis, and doo wop.

Robert Plant fronted Led Zeppelin. Ozzy Osbourne founded Rock’n’Roll gospel music with Black Sabbath anthems.

Walsh sang in James Gang who brought the template for Rock’n’Roll in the wake of the Kent State shootings and Vietnam. Walsh was in the Eagles which probably floated during the Reagan era.

James Gang playing Columbus in 2022 would’ve existed as one of the most important events in the history of Columbus.

If this wasn’t a unique occurrence, Joe enlisted a crop of Ohio’s most revered Rock’n’Roll artists:

Nine Inch Nails: Cleveland

Black Keys: Akron

The Breeders: Dayton

James Gang: Kent/Cleveland

Dave Grohl: Warren, Ohio

Last week, Joe Walsh anchored a Columbus Veteran’s Parade. Joe Walsh and the James Gang did an instore at Used Kids.

The City of Columbus named a downtown street after Joe Walsh.

Joe Walsh lived off Summit Street in Columbus, Ohio as a kid. The street they named after Walsh is near Nationwide Arena which is a brisk 20 minute walk from Summit Street.

I didn’t catch the exact address where Walsh lived, but Summit Street is accessible from the bus if you want to walk 20 minutes northeast from Joe Walsh’s downtown street.

Joe Walsh is from Columbus, Ohio.

The VetsAid Concerts are benefits with all proceeds funding veteran’s groups.

I wasn’t sure if this was a guestlist situation because the show’s intent raised money which assists people who were shot with bullets, attacked with grenades, and other weapons in involvement with conflicts which were prioritized by our government as important in regards to our country’s security.

We all agree World War II was worth fighting. If you were maimed in Vietnam I don’t assume anyone thinks a maiming feels better if you were maimed in Germany, Cambodia, Nam, Iraq or Grenada in the Caribbean.

I looked at Nationwide Arena’s website. Tickets sold out quick. I know Black Keys packed Nationwide Arena last time I saw them. Nine Inch Nails is an arena group. The Eagles played Nationwide. I watched the Breeders play with an enthusiastic and stacked Newport.

I figured the press list would document the VetsAid Concert’s existence. Joe Walsh approved me for Q + A with Walsh and his wife Marjorie.

Upon arrival, I saw professional cameramen everywhere.

I discussed my respect for professional photographers in this age of cellphones.

I had watched a 2016 YouTube video where Joe Walsh felt like Hillary Clinton didn’t deserve security clearance. Joe Walsh didn’t want Trump either. Walsh played a show for Bill Clinton in an 1996 and worked with Barak Obama.

Joe Walsh ran for president in 1980 under the slogan “Free Gas For Everyone.”

Jimmy Carter lost in 1980 after OPEC increased gas prices. Ronald Reagan won in 1980.

Because Joe Walsh would either play shows for presidents or sit things out, I assumed Walsh’s situation allows Joe control of any situation he is in.

I was cool with the fact that Walsh allowed me into a press conference.

I thought it was more interesting someone as famous as Joe Walsh would express informed opinions.

While I could type my personal interactions with every Ohio rock star in that room…. I won’t.

We shall save escapades as ANON for a different and/or extended conversation.

Joe Walsh, and his wife Marjorie walked into room filled with chairs and quipped: “We are at Shea Stadium.”

Joe Walsh had Ohio rock stars assemble for a photo. Dan Auerbach, Pat Carney, Trent Reznor, the Deal Sisters, Dave Grohl, and Joe Walsh stood in front of us while professional photographers earned their living documenting one of the biggest moments ever in Ohio music.

I kept my phone in my pocket because I didn’t receive a photo pass. I had taken that security clearance video with respect.

This is the first time I had seen our Ohio artists with a rock star altitude in relation with whom they were standing with.

Joe Walsh’s curation provide scale.

After understanding we were at prom, and everyone was gussied up, I contemplated if I should inquire which Joe Walsh songs veterans like the most.

I didn’t ask that question.

Joe Walsh’s conversation started with explaining his father was fighter pilot who died in WWII combat. Joe Walsh is a Gold Star kid which indicates a family member was killed while serving our country.

After detailing his intent, vision, excitement in regards of the Ohio VetsAid Concert, Walsh opened the floor for Q’s.

I thought about the fact Walsh VetsAid concert that had raised two million dollars for veteran’s groups.

A lady handed me a microphone:

Q: ’I’m Wes Flexner from the Columbus Free Press. In Columbus we appreciate your Vet’s Parade, and Vets Concert. I know you walked with veterans this week. Would you describe the importance of this for a veteran as an individual?

I didn’t introduce myself as ANON because I was in press mode.

Walsh talked with his wife Marjorie for a second.

Joe Walsh said it’s important for an individual to know someone cares about an individual.

A reporter from Billboard asked a question where Joe Walsh responded about an importance of music includes bringing people together in a time of conflict. Joe referenced America’s political environment as divided.

Joe Walsh was eloquent and earnest.

I repeat Joe Walsh’s VetsAid concerts have earned over two million dollars for veteran’s charities.

After our press conference was over, a lady walked us down a hallway into where press members were seated.

Christian Walsh

Large screens were showing performers’ faces adorned Nationwide Area with the amount of time until the show would start.

VetsAid started with a John F. Kennedy speech regarding the brutality of war. There was footage of soldiers and images from wars.

JFK’s speech honored soldiers and reminded Nationwide Arena the goal of war should be peace.

Joe Walsh, Breeders, James Gang, The Black Keys, Nine Inch Nails, and Dave Grohl’s names were introduced and followed with a message regarding music’s potential for the improvement of humanity.


The Ohio State Marching band played “Hang on Sloopy.”

People chanted O-H-I-O

The National Anthem played while people stood.

Ohio’s State’s band marched off of Nationwide’s stage with a somber drum roll.

Ohio State football, and the National Anthem signified were we at “An All-American” event in Columbus, Ohio.

Christian discussed Joe and Marjorie beginning VetsAid in 2017.

Joe Walsh’s son Christian took the stage. Christian talked about Joe and Marjorie and their family’s vision beginning VetsAid in 2017.

Joe Walsh told his son he was interested in helping veterans.

Joe Walsh concluded that he knows Rock’n’Roll and that could probably help veterans with Rock’n’Roll.

Joe’s son helped the entire sold-out arena understand that their grandfather had died fighting in Word War II. Joe’s conversation regarding living off Summit Street, and knowing his dad died, made everything sincere.

My grandfather killed some Nazis and had friends who died while killing Nazis, I understand.

Yes, we want to Save The Children. Yes, we want to help the Vets.

Productive ideas which everyone agrees is crucial in our society.

Joe and his son stripped any cynicism away from an idea of ROCK STARS helping VETERANS.

 While I didn’t arrive cynical. I could see some kid being like: “WTF, Flex, where are rappers, and people destroying property?”

Well, sometimes cool eats food, and kicks it with their moms and dads and children.

Christian mentioned in high school liking the Breeders. Walsh Jr. resembled a Breeders’ fan.  2022-normal-looking with hair a tad longer, glasses and a beard. I don’t remember if Christian wore a cardigan. Christian looked like someone you would trust if you wanted a movie or falafel recommendation.

Christian was funny in a grunge rock wasn’t the worst thing for college manner.

Walsh Jr. announced that Drew Carey wouldn’t host the event because of COVID.

I sighed…”Thank God….I didn’t use my Joe, are you why Cleveland Rocks?” in the Q+ A.

Nationwide’s screens showed the Breeders’ veteran family members.


The Breeders took the stage after joking they are Ohio Players.

The Breeders started with the simple strum of guitar into “No Aloha.”

The last thing I remember regarding the Breeders was them working with Cincinnati band Vacation. Evan from Vacation worked at a bar near where I lived Columbus. I love Vacation’s song “Better Days.” A person can visualize Ohio in this song.

The Breeders went into noise rock with melodies. A few songs in the Breeders covered GBV.  I wondered how many of the 15,000 people there who supporting ‘Nam veterans liked Robert Pollard.

The Breeders still sound like an art rock band who became famous because Nirvana sold a gazillion records.

The crowd was attentive but quiet.

The beginning of “Cannonball” played. The crowd erupted.

After “Cannonball” the Breeders spoke a humble speech, and then Dave Grohl appeared.

Dave and Breeders’ played Pixies’ “Gigantic” for Kim Deal completists as a finisher.

The crowd was so excited once Dave appeared. I had forgotten how big Nirvana, and the Foo Fighters were.

I walked around during an intermission.

I was trying figuring out whose audience ordered tickets first which caused the show’s sell out quick.

I concluded from the amount of NIN shirts: “I attended a Blue Jackets game and a Nine Inch Nails concert broke out.”


James Gang took the stage next.

I realized I was at a Nine inch Nails’ show. I changed POV of the James Gang.

Instead of being this iconic group, who we recited were from Ohio in the same breath as

Jesse Owens, James Gang now resembled a cool rock band opening for platinum Nine Inch Nails.

I had purchased James Gang’s vinyl of “Yers,” “Thirds” and “Rides Again” within the month.  While I knew I liked James Gang my entire life ‘in the James Gangs from Ohio and complete legends.’ reverence.…

Last month I had questioned why Led Zeppelin and Black Sabbath are were more popular while bumping my James Gang vinyl.

 I think Joe Walsh and the Eagles were so big that “Yers,” Thirds,” and “Rides Again” kinda weren’t given enough attention in history. Labels pump more money in keeping other classic rock in rotation for generations.

James Gang were released from ABC Records which doesn’t exist.

The upside is there are three classic rock albums available which you haven’t heard incessantly. “Yers,” “Thirds” and “Rides Again.”

I stood at VetsAid watching this buzz-band, James Gang whose records I obsessed about for several weeks in anticipation for their sold-out arena in support of Nine Inch Nails, and veterans.

James Gang started with a blistering “Stop” which proved they weren’t just hype.

James Gang were the real thing.

James Gang played a cover of Albert King’s “Your Gonna Need Me.”

While more bluesy and loud, James Gang reminded me of when Daymon Dodson and I were floored by psych rock band Dungen. People don’t reinvent Rock’n’Roll while still sounding classic often.

I wished Arthur Magazine was still around for this James Gang show.

We were at Aquarius Records, my friend.

You know that feel you just bought some wax, and your Tecnic’s rotating a sound you need where you live.

James Gang revved up the intimiate club with “Asstonpark” and obliterated the room with rousing rendition of “Walk Away.”

The difference of seeing James Gang at a hometown venue compared with seeing a new buzz band at SXSW: This wasn’t for music industry…

James Gang Ohio shellacking was for Throbbing Gristle fans, and blue collar vets.

A regards to the 2022 impending 90s counterculture victory lap…Joe Walsh wasn’t a product of Fugazi like Dave Grohl.

Joe Walsh wore the white belt in this situation.

James Gang played “Midnight Man” with a confidence of someone visiting a lover.

As James Gang played “Collage,” I debated if I liked the Breeders’ or James Gang version better.

While the female vocals aren’t a bad touch and appeal in nature. Whether if you’re sitting around jamming a weird rock band, just showered and pumping Charles Bronson, or looking at some graffiti...the Breeders’ version conveys female response.

I’m going with James Gang because live I’ve heard “Collage” on vinyl, and a sold-out Rock’N’Roll show.

If you haven’t heard “Collage,” “Collage” is song about feelings which uses seasonal poetic devices which describe change. Anyone that experienced the Sun Goes Down Is Beautiful.

James Gang weren’t just some long-hairs who put some songs together. James Gang expressing our human condition with poignancy. James Gang could open for Nine Inch Nails.

I think bands who are looking for a foundation of Rock’n’Roll similar to Zep or Black Sabbath could learn from James Gang’s album.

Walsh played in a Kent band called the Measles who covered Beatles, Wilson Pickett and Smokey Robinson before forming the James Gang.  As we rebuild our next culture after Covid.

Joe Walsh is friends with Ringo Starr.

James Gang played “The Bomber: Closet Queen / Bolero / Cast Your Fate to the Wind.”

Dave Grohl showed up for classic, “Funk 49” which soundtrack pioneering skateboarding.

“I sleep all day/I’m out all night” with that classic guitar riff and baseline.

“You don’t think I don’t know your plan and what your trying to hand me…”

And then that break….

You feel: Kool Herc… please relay this break…I’m painting a train tonight…

This song is so influential I don’t think it can be duplicated.

The thing about this being the last James Gang show: It’s kinda like you saw Jandek if they were founded during the tumultuous 60s and ended up raising two million dollars for veterans and promoted understanding through Rock N Roll during a period you understood from elders.

I talked with a man who watched VetsAid concerts in several states. I said I respected his interaction with Rock’n’Roll history, and commitment with something which benefits other people. I explained that he seasoned our concert experience.


While contemplating this once in a lifetime experience, the instrumental of GZA’s “Liquid Swords” played over Nationwide Arena.

I skateboarded near here. I didn’t think I would ever hear Wu Tang in Nationwide Area where the Columbus Blue Jackets reside.

The Black Keys started their tours for years with this song.

I don’t know if you’ve ever seen James Gang “Funk 49” live, and then “Liquid Swords” blared in a sold-out arena.

I knew the Black Keys were imminent.

The Keys jumped into “Howlin’ For You.”

The Keys played “Fever” The Dangermouse disco keyboards sounded omnipresent and like DFA was playing at your ledge.

I watched Black Keys last time at Nationwide in fall 2019. It was a different experiencing the Black Keys headline their last Nationwide Show compared with opening up for Nine Inch Nails.

The Black Keys sent out the rousing the Gang Starr influenced, “Ex-Girl 2 Next Girl.” The Keys in Columbus, Ohio are known for their love of boom-bap rap music.

Unless your favorite movie is Wild Style and wouldn’t say out loud you think “Wild Child” is a Wild Style reference, Wild Style is a movie which depicts interaction between Hip Hop, Graffiti, and Art-Rock’n’Roll Cultures.

I’m sure James Gang “Funk 49” played at pioneering rap parties.

Between “Wild Child,” “Little Blacksubmarines” and the finale of “Lonely Boy,” the Black Keys illustrated the success of understanding the James Gang’s sound of Rock’n’Roll.


Nine Inch Nails took the stage with Trent Reznor announcing he’s loved the James Gang most of his life.

I hadn’t ever seen an industrial show live. That isn’t true. I saw Skinny Puppy.

There isn’t anything which sounds like James Gang live in industrial music.

Still: While Trent Reznor discovered Throbbing Gristle, and Coil while rejecting everything he despised about American culture…James Gang felt different than all the 80s band’s which grunge and industrial rejected.

James Gang shows the sound of Rock’n’Roll before it needed to be destroyed and rebuilt by Punk Rock.

Black Sabbath aside, I haven’t seen another band live who plays rock’n’roll in inception live until I saw James Gang.

Nine Inch Nails are product of rejecting rock music’s worst incarnations. Now we need rejection of industrial music’s worst existences.

With that said: I loved watching NIN play into a standing ovation.

I wondered if Joe Walsh circulated Columbus so much because Walsh knew Nine Inch Nails’ fans bought all the seats. Nine Inch Nails selling a bulk of 15,000 tickets raised a lot money for Vets.

Walsh marched in a Columbus Veteran’s Parade. I’m sure he planned that for the veterans.

I’m writing so you know Joe Walsh had personal interactions with Vets so NIN fans didn’t eliminate direct affection.

NIN does work from an artistic and financial aspect in regards of veterans.

If you think about it: gothic imagery of wars, and a discussion of human turmoil’s effect render NIN the appropriate soundtrack for a vet’s benefit.

I am sure veterans and America’s response to the Vietnam shaped the 1980s conservatism after the 60/70s counterculture rejected American imperialism and colonialism which oppressed black people, women and homosexuals in America shaped the 90s rebellion which Nine Inch Nails and Dave Grohl internalized and understood the pros and cons of a previous 30 years with the lens of music providing historical documentation.

As I listened with the lyrics of “God is Dead. No One Cares,” which I thought Trent Reznor went beyond good and evil in completion in a sold-out arena.

Nine Inch Nails transcendence championed individualism, a cathartic expression of empathetic angst, women’s reproductive freedom, sexual pleasure at VetsAid brought mangled bodies of conflicts into better place.

Someone should ask Trent Reznor: “At 19 did you think you would headlining James Gang’s Ohio show, and raising hundreds of thousands of dollars for humans who were maimed in wars which include Vietnam?”

The next question: ‘Did you ever like Metallica’s song, ‘One?’”

The entire room were enthralled with seeing Nine Inch Nails sing: “Head Like A Hole. Black as yer soul. I’d rather die than give you control.”

I know some Iraq veterans like Nine Inch Nails instead of Puddle of Mud.

Nine Inch Nails left the stage after an encore.

And now…the finale:

Joe Walsh with 20 minutes before the 11:30 show’s finish.

Joe Walsh, Dave Grohl, and the rest of the rock starts had time for a couple of songs.

This wasn’t a bad idea…

Joe Walsh joked: “This is first Nine Inch Nails’ show I’ve attended.”

We heard “Rocky Mountain High.”

Veterans’ favorite song without verifying with Joe Walsh: “Life’s Been Good.”

If a veteran survived all that conflict…a veteran appreciates still breathing while enjoying the simple things…like transportation.

I wondered if teenage Dave Grohl’s opinions changed in regards.

Dave and Joe smiled while playing “Life’s Been Good” as a climax in Columbus.

With that said: Joe Walsh said before playing “Life’s Been Good”: “If he would’ve known everyone would always want to hear: ‘Life’s Been Good’ then he would’ve written something else.”

Would’ve he said that if he wasn’t surrounded by Ohio punk Rock’n’Roll’s alumini: The Breeders, The Black Keys, Dave Grohl, and Nine Inch Nails?

While the rock stars didn’t follow my suggestion of following “Life’s Been Good” with Nirvana’s “Smell Like Teen Spirit,” our Columbus moment felt poetic, and veterans will receive practical things they need.