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EXCLUSIVE: Joe Walsh plays new single 'Wrecking Ball,' says playing guitar sober was hard to get used to

Legendary Eagles guitarist Joe Walsh has released his first new solo album in 20 years, "Analog Man," and FOX411.com has the exclusive video for his new single, "Wrecking Ball."

Walsh tells FOX411.com that his new music comes from a serene, grounded place. The 64-year-old musician is now happily married and, most importantly, sober. He clued us in on the new album, what its like playing the guitar while not under the influence, and if he’ll run for President again.

FOX411: Your last album came out 20 years ago. What have you been up to for two decades?

Joe Walsh: Two things happened. The Eagles decided to get back to work in 1994, and we went around the world three times. That was a full time job, and I never got any momentum going for completing a lot of solo stuff.

And in 1994 it was time for me to get sober whether I wanted to or not. So I had to reinvent and start from the bottom up and learn to live sober. I had to learn to play in front of people sober and that was terrifying. I thought there would be no more fun, I wouldn’t be funny. You just have to be sober a lot of consecutive days for things to make sense, so I spent some time doing that, and when I came out of my alcoholic haze, there was a big world out there that I had not been a part of, so I wanted to do a bunch of stuff sober, so I’ve been doing that. 

When you say 20 years I think, ‘Oh my God I’m a dinosaur,’ but I’ve got a lot to say now that things are really good and I think you can hear from the music I’m in a good place.

"I like to say I only got drunk once but it was for 30 years"

- Joe Walsh

FOX411: Describe the album.

JW: Everything I’ve learned in songwriting I’m kind of using at this point. I’ve had to learn digital technology, which is the underlying theme. The last time I made a record it was on recording tape and there were knobs, not a mouse. Recording is different, it’s fun in that you can fix everything because I hear songs I did 30 years ago and I hear goofs in them and they’ve driven me nuts for 30 years.

FOX411: But we like the imperfections.

JW: It is a bad habit to be able to fix everything, because you end up fixing a lot of stuff that doesn’t need fixing. You can hear that in the new music. You don’t have that magic of the performance. The new way to record is to start with the drum machine and layer parts on and build it like a kit and so I kind of miss the analog days in terms of they were a better home for rock and roll.

FOX411: Not too many people know that you’re Ringo Starr’s brother-in-law.

JW: I’m married to Marjorie Bach (Barbara Bach’s sister who is married to Starr.) I got married three years ago to a wonderful person. She’s kind of the part of me that was missing and I really love her and she believes in me.  

Along with her came this big extended family that’s very close. Everyone has each other’s back and it’s a dynamic I’ve never been around. In my darker days I isolated completely and I’ve had some relationships that didn’t work, and while touring I learned to do that alone, but this family has really opened me up. I’m confident and I’m happy and feel good about stuff. I think that’s in the album when you listen to it.

FOX411: How long did it take you to get sober?

JW: I like to say I only got drunk once but it was for 30 years. Those were the times, my mentor was Keith Moon.

FOX411: That’s a terrible mentor!

JW: (Laughs) It’s just a place we were all in. I’ve lost a lot of friends along the wayside. The guys I used to run with aren’t around that much anymore but at some point you have to check in on reality. I was just like a train rolling down the track with no driver and I had to stop.

FOX411: Do you ever think 'why did I survive?'

JW: Yeah I absolutely do. I’m amazed that I’m still here. I guess what happened is I hit bottom before I OD'd. Some of my friends, it was the other way round and I’m very grateful. I have a life now that I never dreamed could be possible and it’s all good. So I have a little message of hope in the album, that there’s life after dependency and it’s good.

FOX411: It must have been so scary to start playing sober after so long.

JW: I had convinced myself that I couldn’t do it otherwise. When you believe that to the core, that’s behavior that you really have to work on. It was really scary at first, but when I realized that I didn’t have to have a buzz and I could actually play better, it was an awakening, and that happened across the board. It happened in terms of writing music, relationships. It was the hardest thing I’ve ever had to do.

FOX411: You ran for President. Do you still have political aspirations?

JW: I don’t think so. I hear the debates and those guys just put their foot in their mouth about everything they say. If I just went to a debate and didn’t say anything I would probably win so I’m tempted to do that but I’m watching from a distance. I am concerned in that a lot of things need fixing and we’re kind of like ostriches with our heads in the ground pretending nothing is wrong and we’re waiting for the economy to get better instead of doing something about it. I don’t like this complacency that everybody has just waiting for it to get better.

Pre-order 'Analog Man' on iTunes. Album goes on sale June 5.

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