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Candid Discussion with Author Kristin Casey on Life with Rock Monster Joe Walsh

Life with Rock Monster Life with Rock Monster Joe WalshJoe Walsh
By: John Wisniewski | Author Kristin Casey on Life with Rock Monster Joe Walsh| Image: K. Casey

A Glimpse of Life with Eagles Guitar Legend Joe Walsh and Kristin Casey’s Journey of Self-Discovery

We had the privileged of engaging in a candid discussion with author Kristin Casey about her life with legendary Eagles guitarist Joe Walsh. Kristin Casey provides unique insights and firsthand experiences as she shares her personal journey alongside Joe Walsh, often referred to as the "Rock Monster."

Through this conversation, we will delve into the intricacies of their relationship and gain a deeper understanding of the challenges and joys that come with being involved with such an iconic figure in the music industry. Kristin Casey's intimate perspective allows us to explore the complexities of love, fame, addiction, and personal growth within the context of her life with Joe Walsh.

Join Journalist John Wisniewski as he uncovers fascinating anecdotes, explore memorable moments, and gain valuable insights into what it truly means to navigate life with rock monster Joe Walsh – one of rock music's most influential figures.

Author Kristin Casey on Life with Rock Monster Joe Walsh

1. How did the writing of your book about Joe Walsh come about, Kristin?

What's interesting is that after dreaming of being a published writer all my life, and knowing how competitive the field is, I still didn't really consider going public with my most commercial story until I was 45 years old. I had a few reasons for holding back, including loyalty to Joe Walsh and consideration for his privacy, but also because it had taken me so long to come to terms with the impact, pain, and trauma of those years (not so much my time with Joe, but our breakup and the two years afterward when I was suicidal) that I think a part of me wanted to just move on myself and let it go.

I'd been getting short stories and poetry published for 10 years by then (one of them about me and Joe actually—the Joshua Tree story—disguised as fiction in a literary magazine with fake character names and everything). I'd also written a few screenplays that had generated a little interest, but the only book manuscript I'd written (Speed Punk, about my year as a teenager, punk rock, meth addict) had yet to get more than nibbles and then eventual rejections. My plan was to continue in the screenwriter direction, but in 2013 I was recovering from surgery by sitting around the house for two weeks watching Netflix, when I saw a movie that really struck me and sparked the first serious impulse to write Rock Monster.

It was a little indie movie with Michelle Williams and Seth Rogan, that among other things was about their sexual incompatibility and her need for something more. Female sexuality—genuinely powerful female sexuality, I mean—is not a topic that's spoken of or written about much at all in this world, and it resonated for me strongly. And even though that particular thread turned out to be a minor one in my book, it really was the impetus for me finally deciding to write it. Seeing that movie triggered a voice in my head that said You have something to say about this topic that's worth being read.

So, I started outlining it a couple months later, at which point more themes started coming out...all this stuff about codependent relationships, addictive behavior, and the denial that women immersed in those things tend to slip into. All these thoughts about female empowerment and accountability (or lack thereof) were coming out of me, and I was just lucky to have this very commercial story about a rock star relationship to open the door to the real tale I was telling. I mean, it's a memoir, ultimately, so while I get that most people buy it for the behind the scenes look at one of the biggest guitar legends ever, to me it was always about my journey of self-discovery and the long hard road from dependency to self-reliance and self-determination.

The rock star life and partying with celebrities (while, admittedly, being big fun to live and write about) was never enough in itself to make me want to sit down and write an entire book about it, especially after pouring so much energy into Speed Punk and getting nowhere with it. I needed a bigger reason and universal themes, and thankfully as I started to write they poured out of me. I wrote the rough draft over 18 months, starting in the spring of 2013. I queried 150 agents before one of my top ten picks finally asked to represent me. I spent two more years polishing the manuscript over and over while he shopped it around, then sold it to Rare Bird, my publisher. It came out in March 2018, and the paperback a few months ago.

Author Kristin Casey

2. How and when did you meet Joe Walsh, and the other members of the Eagles?

I met Joe in Austin on Memorial Day weekend in 1988. I was 20 at the time (he was 40) and working at an upscale strip club called Sugar's with my friend Vickie. She was dating Joe's best friend and bass player, Rick Rosas, though all I really knew was that she'd met some musician from LA and would go see him out on tour sometimes. When 'Rick's band' toured through Austin to play the T-Bird Riverfest that weekend, she asked me to give her a ride to the hotel to meet up with him after work. It wasn't until we were halfway there, at 2:30 in the morning, that she tells me I should come upstairs and "meet the guys," since the singer/guitar player just got single and she thought I'd like him. I wasn't too comfortable with what felt like a surprise fixup, being tired from work and not sure I'd have anything in common with some 40-year-old one-hit-wonder—which for some reason I thought he was (I was so young and had listened to mostly new wave and punk rock all my life. I'd only been listening to rock for a few years and didn't know very many artists' names...unless they were on my stage set list, and no one stripped to the Eagles music back then}.

Anyway, I wanted to be polite, plus I figured he might be interesting at least, so I'd meet him and stay for 15 minutes, then leave. Yet from the moment I laid eyes on him, I was intrigued and attracted. He felt the same and started goofing off to make me laugh and get my attention. Within 20 minutes I'd fallen in love—no lie. I literally heard a voice in my head say, "This is the man you're meant to marry" and thought I've met my soulmate. I stayed all night talking and making out with him, then the next day went to see him play the festival, where I realized OMG, this guy's a rock star. I knew every song he played! I was stunned and devastated, figuring I was surely a one-night stand and would never hear from him again. I went home and cried, but as soon as the gig was over, he sent for me to meet him at the hotel and the rest is history. We dated for six of the next seven years and I eventually moved in with him. We got engaged in 1992, though never married.

As for Eagles members, I met all of them except Glenn Frey in 1990, at a studio during a very short-lived attempt at a reunion. Don Henley was friendly and chatted me up about our common Texas stomping grounds. Don Felder was even warmer and genuine (and continued to be if I knew him, which was more than I can say for Don Henley and Glenn). When Timothy B. Schmit found out I was a pescatarian, he immediately wrote out a list of the best veggie restaurants in LA and which of his favorite dishes I should try at each of them. Unfortunately, Glenn refused to show up in the studio, and after a couple of days, they dropped the whole idea.

Later, in 1992, I got to know Timothy on Ringo's All Starr Band's second tour, which he and Joe were both on. He was always super sweet and thoughtful, and his wife was lovely too. I later met Glenn separately when he and Joe started touring together in 1993, but by then I was well into my crack addiction and if Glenn ever paid me any mind, I didn't notice (and it would surely have been negative anyway). I don't recall much about that tour at all, to be honest, and it's probably for the better.

I didn't see any of those guys again until the Hell Freezes Over Tour in 1994. By then Joe was clean and sober, and while I had backed away from drugs, I still had a serious drinking problem, so my time on the road with the Eagles got to be rarer and rarer. And though my slow breakup with Joe was devastating to me, nothing about touring with the Eagles was ever all that fun, not for me at least, nor it seemed for them. From what I could tell it was only about the fame and money, with none of the warmth or camaraderie I was used to experiencing in the past, on the road with all the other bands Joe had and played with in the many years we were together.

3. Did you learn anything from your relationship with Joe Walsh?

Yes, that relationship provided many life lessons for me. All my flaws and shortcomings were on full display back then, so while they played a part in our demise, I think that's the silver lining of any breakup really. If you're smart you take stock of how you messed up, then apply yourself going forward to being stronger, smarter, less selfish, more honest, or whatever it is you weren't.

My biggest flaw back then was this habit of losing myself in the men I loved, putting their wants before my needs, and sacrificing my future plans just to spend time in their world. I didn't value myself or my potential enough to prioritize my own life goals. I dropped out of college multiple times, quit a good paying job that I loved, and gave up my dreams of becoming a writer. All just to follow Joe around the world partying, drinking, and getting high day after day, and year after year. We had issues that I was afraid to bring up for fear of pushing him away. I prioritized his comfort level over my need for healthy open communication. I sacrificed the fulfilling sex life I needed to fit into the narrow submissive role he had for me. I never asserted myself in that relationship unless it was in an accidental sudden rage, yelling and throwing things.

By the end, I realized I had piss poor relationship skills and no life coping skills at all. I learned I had a long way to go before I could even date in a healthy way, much less fall in love. That my only hope was to throw myself into therapy, work my ass off at a respectable job, grow in self-awareness and self-love, and learn to be authentic and vulnerable with the people I cared about. Otherwise, I'd never experience genuine intimacy or closeness. After Joe and I broke up and I got sober two years later, it took ten more years of applying myself in every area before I caught up to my age, maturity-wise.

Being with Joe also taught me about the type of guy I'm most compatible with, and moody musicians—rock stars or not—aren't it. I'm not comfortable living in anyone's shadow. I'm not the nurturing stay-at-home wife type. I have as much drive and ambition as most men, and I need a nurturing sensitive partner to focus on me the way I always focused on Joe. I learned more about intimacy—its pitfalls and rewards—from that fiasco of a relationship, because (as often happens) people tend to learn how to finally do something right by fumbling through it and screwing up royally first. I'm now an intimacy coach and sexuality counselor, and the spark that led me to this career undoubtedly was my and Joe's tumultuous relationship.

I also learned that people would get away with exactly as much as you let them—in every aspect of life imaginable, not just relationships. Celebrities are just regular people fans have put on a pedestal. They can be awesomely lovely people (Stevie Nicks, Ringo Starr, John Candy, to name a few), but they can also be total arrogant asshats (Glenn Frey, Warren Zevon, Todd Rundgren, etc.) and this tired imbalanced culture of nonstop celebrity worship does none of us any favors. I really wish society would grow the hell up in this area and see the ridiculous truth of it. Punks in the 70s had it right all along, but for some reason we still make deities out of anyone who can carry a tune or a reality TV show franchise, if they have a massive production machine behind them.

Author Kristin Casey

4. Could you tell us about writing your memoir "Speed Punk"?

"Speed Punk" is about a year in my life as a teenage punk rock meth addict, after moving to Austin for college and diving headfirst into the meth-addicted faction of the (otherwise incredibly cool) Austin punk scene. Until then I'd never ingested anything harder than booze and a little pot. Though I was already a big drinker at 17, before fall semester started, I had the beginnings of an intravenous meth habit that soon became a full-blown addiction. I hooked up with JJ Offender, singer for the Austin punk band The Offenders, and Nick the Dick, a San Francisco Skinhead on the run from a CA murder rap. Between the two of them, I was eventually robbed of everything I owned, mugged, abducted, beaten, and threatened with death until I managed to escape. The next day, I moved across town and left the punk scene for good--the only tribe I'd ever known. I quit speed and started stripping for a living, finding an unlikely yet profound and long-lasting redemption in that world. (I stripped off and on for a total of fourteen years, between age 18 and 42.)

I wrote the first draft of "Speed Punk" in the early aughts after being sober about 5 years. I'd written a few short stories in those years, none published yet, but all good enough to make me feel ready to try and write a book. I'd already realized that memoir and personal essay were my strength. I didn't read much fiction and didn't enjoy writing it. My short stories were all true events posing as fiction (because it was easier to get published in lit journals that way). But I loved memoir, plus I had this story from my teenage years that was perfect for that genre. I just wasn't a good enough writer back then to get an agent or publisher. So, after the first draft I put it aside for a few years, got some of my smaller pieces published, short stories, articles, and poems, then pulled out "Speed Punk" again for a complete revision. The new draft was better, but still not good enough, so a few years later I rewrote it again and finally received some nibbles from a couple agents, but no bites. The truth is it needs one more rewrite, but by now I've lost interest.

I tell some of the "Speed Punk" story in an essay I wrote recently for If you're interested, you'll find it there searching Kristin Casey.

5. Will you write another book, Kristin?

I have at least 2 more books I'm dying to write, both memoirs. The first is about a relationship in my late 30s and the events leading up to it, specifically the fear of intimacy I overcame to fall in love in the first place. Which I did basically through 10 years of hilariously tragic dates and sexual flings.

Growing up in the countercultures of the punk scene, strip club world, and rock star life, and casual sex was normalized. But in sobriety you have to be emotionally vulnerable without the crutch of substances, otherwise you'll never attract a healthy partner and form a healthy partnership (or for that matter, have truly satisfying casual sex for very many years). The problem is, like most others in early recovery, I was incapable of the authenticity required to truly connect with people (friends as well as lovers, actually). I'd become so reliant on booze and drugs to lower my inhibitions that dating sober was initially like learning Swahili. But the man I eventually fell in love with at 39 is at least as sexy and interesting as Joe Walsh was, despite not being a celebrity.

I work in sexuality counseling as an experiential intimacy coach, a modality designed to help people navigate this very stuff, but it's a fairly new field. When I got sober in 1997, the only thing available to guide me was talk therapy and AA meetings. Both of which helped tremendously but didn't teach the specific dating and intimacy skills that I needed. So, I spent years learning everything the hard way, putting myself out there by dating a lot of the wrong type of men, and some of the right ones in all the wrong ways. I won't say it wasn't fun (it was hella fun), but the challenges I experienced are relatable to anyone who finds dating to be a fraught process (so nearly everybody, basically).

As for my third book, I'm not ready to talk about it yet, but it'll cover similar territory.... mostly attraction, chemistry, and the healing power of sexual intimacy.

Contact | Author Kristin Casey


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