Joe Walsh Wishes He Could Have Done More for John Entwistle
“I spent a while with John in his dressing room and then we went out to eat,” Walsh explained in The Ox by Paul Rees. “I noticed that he was having trouble hearing. Also, he was not making sense like the John that I had known. I didn’t know if he was just too drunk, or whatever. At one time, that’s how all of us rockers would get to be late, late at night. Personally, I went on in that same way until 1994 and, by then, I had turned into a full-blown alcoholic and cocaine-crazy person. But I hit bottom before I OD’d and died.”
He continued: “A lot of my brothers went the other way. Once I had got sober, John and I were living in totally different worlds. I went to see him a couple of times, but I didn’t hang out all night and into the next morning like I used to – and as he was still doing. So, we had got to be a little distant from each other.”
He said he’d become “disturbed” at the changes he saw in Entwistle, but he was “unsure” how to respond. “I wasn’t sure whether I should, or even could, confront him,” he explained. “Ultimately, I was never able to sit down with John and say to him, ‘Hey, man, you’re fucking up.’ Back in those days, I was still trying to figure out my own sobriety. Now, all these years later, I feel quite comfortable in telling someone I care about, ‘Listen up, because I know what I’m talking about.’”
Walsh spoke of “a decline in his physical condition, most of all with his hearing, but also in his mental state” that took place over time, adding: “He would slur his words and not be as concise with his thought processes. From my perspective, Keith Moon had made up his mind that he was going to take everything as far as it would go, period. Maybe there was a bit of that in John, too.”
After dinner on their last night together, Walsh returned to the Continental Hyatt House hotel with Entwistle, but didn’t stay for long. “I left him thinking, ‘Jesus, what has happened to my brother?’ I also left him with a very bad feeling,” he concluded.
The Ox is authorized by Entwistle’s family. It was published in the U.K. last month and arrives in the U.S. via Hachette Books on Apr. 7.