It has been almost 50 years since retro rock band the James Gang first formed in Cleveland, and former guitarist/vocalist Joe Walsh isn’t ruling out a reunion gig to commemorate the band’s milestone year. In an interview with Las Vegas Weekly, Walsh said he still keeps in touch with former bandmates Jim Fox and Dale Peters and that anything is possible, although he admits he’s not sure if the trio can “do what we used to do.”
“I do talk to Jimmy and Dale from time to time,” Walsh said. “You know, on a good night, nothing beats a three-piece band. And on a bad night, there’s nothing worse. I’m used to singers and keyboard players, another guitar player and stuff. But with a three-piece, you’re bare-a-- naked out there and you’d better have your stuff together.”
Walsh went on to say he would have to check with his former bandmates to see if they would be able to work out their schedules. “I want to make sure the majority of the nights are good with those guys,” Walsh said. “If we can do it, I don’t see why not.”
The James Gang is best known for the 1971 hit “Funk #49,” a single that appeared on the band’s second studio album, James Gang Rides Again. Walsh continued with the band for one more album, Thirds, before leaving to form the band Barnstorm.
The James Gang has had a rotating lineup over the past five decades, but the band’s most iconic music was created during the Joe Walsh years in the early 1970s. After Walsh departed the band (after Barnstorm, he famously went on to join The Eagles), Peters admitted the group never again recaptured the magic they did with James Gang Rides Again.
“It was horrible,” Peters told Ultimate Classic Rock of Walsh’s exit from the band. “It was like going to the electric chair. It was like, ‘Now what?’ Because it was all working. Everything was working. We had found our sound, we had a good recording thing going, we had the right agents, you know, all of this stuff was in place.”
With any luck, that stuff will be back in place again. When teasing the band’s 50th anniversary, Walsh even joked that the band’s most famous song could spawn a great tour name: Funk 50.
Joe Walsh has already signed on to open for Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers 40th anniversary tour this spring, so a James Gang tour will have to wait. But if it happens, it will definitely be worth it.