Eagles guitarist Joe Walsh: We have ignored racial inequality for long because it’s ugly, but not anymore
The simmering tension of racial injustice was bubbling under the surface for long, but burst into the open when the world came to a halt with Covid-19 pandemic. As Black Lives Movement gets a new voice, American rock guitar legend Joe Walsh feels the issue can’t be brushed under the carpet anymore.
“Now, it has really come into focus. In America, in the past year, we have had a chance to really look at ourselves. The pace that we were going before Covid-19 pandemic was so fast, with so much to do, so many calls to return, so many emails to respond,” shares the member of the mega-platinum band Eagles.
He continues, “We were going so fast that we let a lot of things slip in the real world. We have ignored racial inequality in America for a long time, because it’s ugly. We want to just leave it over there and not look at it.”
Last year, the movement found a new momentum, with choking cries of George Floyd bringing the world together to fight the flaws of the system, and stand for equality. That’s the reason why the issue can’t be ignored now.
“When people are getting killed for no reason, except racial inequality, we have to deal with it. We have to look at it and that’s for everybody who is different from somebody else, and (for someone) who has a really bad attitude toward them,” admits the 73-year-old musician, who used innovative guitar music to string together his way to global fame.
“Why” is the question one needs to ask oneself, and others, according to him.
“It’s really time to do something about it because it’s out of control,” says Walsh, who infused these themes into the core of his project with sarod guru Ustad Amjad Ali Khan and his sons Amaan Ali Bangash and Ayaan Ali Bangash, titled Prayers – East Meets West.
Midway through the conversation, the Hotel California hitmaker brings up the topic of police brutality, especially on the people demonstrating for a good cause.
“We have authority, like police, who are supposed to serve and protect us. But now, there are all kinds of military units with guns just ready for violence, and ready to control people who demonstrate. It is really time to look at it and fix it,” he says, adding, “It is hard and we are scared of it. But we have to face it”.
For him, it starts by adding to the voices, even if it is through music, something which he has done with his latest collaborative project, which also includes a version of traditional song, We Shall Overcome/Hum Honge Kamyab as Hope (We Shall Overcome).
“The project comes out from a spiritual connection that we had, and the respect that we have for each other as musicians. That is the foundation of it all. Music is healing. It connects people together. And that is what we need in the world right now,” he says about the project, whose proceeds will go to aid the fight against the coronavirus.