ROCK MONSTER: MY LIFE WITH JOE WALSH

Author: Kristin Casey
Publisher: Rare Bird Books
Review by Tommy Rage
Review posted: February 2021
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KRISTIN CASEY ROCK MONSTER: MY LIFE WITH JOE WALSHKRISTIN CASEY ROCK MONSTER: MY LIFE WITH JOE WALSH

Life’s been good to me so far, and that’s just not a great Joe Walsh song. Life’s been pretty good for one of rock’s greatest guitarist, but that wasn’t always the case for Joe Walsh. He is famous for of his legendary skills as a guitarist, song-writer and singer, but infamous because of his well-documented rock escapades. From his notorious hotel room destruction with a chainsaw to his pound a day cocaine habit, Walsh has lived a hedonistic life-style. Perhaps though, Walsh’s creativity was fueled by his outrageous cocaine and vodka habit as well as his rock star adventures. His numerous radio hits ranging from the James Gang’s “Funk #49” to the Eagles “Life In The Fast Lane” showcased Walsh’s talent with millions of records sold over a 50 year career.

Known the world over for his solo works, such as “Rocky Mountain Way” and “All Night Long”, Walsh continued his wild-man ways into the 80’s when he was introduced to a young stripper by the name of Kristin Casey. Having met through a mutual friend, Kristin Casey shares how she and Walsh began a torrid and wild six year relationship. “I met Joe in 1988, it was probably the tail end of it. I was 20 years old and stripping for a living with my friend, Vicky, in Austin, Texas. She happened to be dating Joe’s bass player at the time. I think she probably told me the name of the band he was in, and maybe Joe’s name, but I’d never heard the name before. I had been stripping since I was 18, and I was into the whole punk scene. One night Vicky asked me for a ride to a hotel to see her boyfriend who was in town with Joe. It was about 2:30 in the morning and she said I should come up [to the room] and meet Joe. She said that he was recently single, and that we might like each other. I figured I’d probably get bored in 15 minutes and then just go home. But he was a musician and an older man, and I liked older men, so I thought, “who knows.” When we got to the hotel room, he and I hung out all night and really hit it off, it was a big spark. He put me and my friend on the guest list for his show the next night. We went to the show and that’s when I heard him play his songs and I recognized song after song. It was then that I realized I had spent the night with a rock star and how huge he was. I had heard him on the radio, but the way we met was really organic.” 

Coming on the tails of one of Joe’s least successful albums “Got Any Gum”, which came out in 1987, Casey opened herself to new world of sex, drugs and rock & roll. Keeping a journal and sharing the intimate details about their love affair in her book, “Rock Monster: My Life With Joe Walsh”, Casey shares how both guarded and vulnerable Walsh was. From his kinky sex fetishes of bondage, masks, sex toys, and how he asked her to pleasure both himself and a stranger they met while on a flight to Japan; Casey shares how the emotional rollercoaster lead her down a dark path. “Joe is one of the most unique individuals I’ve ever met. Not many people know him for who he really is. I think he is very guarded. I still see it in his interviews. He’s not fake. He will make a lot of jokes and deflect attention away from anything too personal, he was always known as the ‘Clown Prince of Rock’. At the same time, he is sensitive to all the pressures to be successful. I think that sometimes he was overwhelmed by his fame and by the adoration of his fans, and not in a bad way. He just felt pressure from Don [Henley] and Glen [Frey] to always do his best. It was very important for him to live up to that, to live up to his potential and to live up to their expectations because he valued them so much. So, I think that that made him, at times, a little stressed, especially in the years that I was with him because he wasn’t as commercially acclaimed as he was before. At the time, I had worked in a bar and I was 20 years old, but I didn’t drink all the time. Once I got together with him, my drinking was really unchecked. We were definitely partners in crime in that respect. Joe had been, what you would call a functional addict. He was a high-functioning addict. It happened before I met him. To be able to put out all this amazing music, and maybe that lifestyle was actually sort of required in his line of work. But you can’t do that for long. In the beginning, it was a lot of fun, and it was terribly unhealthy. But it got to the point where it really wasn’t fun anymore, where we were fighting all the time because we didn’t communicate, we had no coping skills, and we were at the bottom. He could have become a footnote in rock history where people say, ‘That poor guy, he used to be so great.’ Nobody out there that has binged on coke is ever gonna say it wasn’t fun, but I was close to death at times.”

Casey takes detailed time in her 300 plus pages of “Rock Monster: My Life With Joe Walsh”, to paint pictures of wild nights, revealing exploits, and the difficult steps to recovery. With an almost guilty-like peek into the life of someone who is lost, yet begs to be loved and desired; Casey shares the alluring side of self-destruction with rock & roll. She recalls how present when Walsh received the phone call about getting back together with the Eagles for their famous 1994 reunion album and tour “Hell Freezes Over”. Walsh was required to be clean and sober, as the other band members were. Walsh entered rehab and has successfully stayed true to his sobriety ever since. Casey on the other hand, was left alone in L.A. “I was drinking a ridiculous amount. I pushed everyone away from me. I realized that I had spent so many years investing my entire identity into Joe and his life, his world, and myself as his girlfriend and fiancée that I had lost any real sense of identity as who I was as an individual. I didn’t feel like I had any substance, there was nothing to me, I was invisible without him, and I decided to kill myself.”

Diving deep into her personal struggles to find sobriety, Casey gives hope to those who have battled substance abuse. Sharing never-seen-before photos of her and Walsh, Casey provides hope to those struggling with addiction. The current blogger, intimacy coach and writer can look back fondly to her wild days, and laugh about one encounter that still makes her smile. “We were living together in Studio City, California, when Joe said that Stevie Nicks invited him over for dinner. He said that he had told her about me and Stevie said that I had to come, too. I thought that was the classist thing in the world to do. I was nervous about meeting her, but Joe said that she was probably more nervous about meeting me. Maybe he was right, because she was still in love with Joe. I didn’t even know that they used to date. So we get to dinner that night and she really was nervous and so was I [laughter]. She could not have been sweeter to me, she was absolutely lovely. We had a lovely dinner, and she had this pendant in her hair that she couldn’t get out. I helped her with it and she gave it to me as a gift. After dinner we all went back to our house, and a bunch of Joe’s friends show up. As the night went on, us girls were sitting on the floor and she was talking more and more and just started taking off all her jewelry. She was just putting it in a pile on the floor, and it was pretty substantial, but she was leaving it all over the place. Meanwhile she was rambling and making less sense, that’s when she goes upstairs and just starts playing the piano [laughter]. It just goes on-and-on, when Joe pulls me aside and says that he keeps dropping hints, but she won’t leave. I said that I could handle it. I sat down and just very politely thanked her for coming over, and that it was great meeting her and telling her that Joe and I were going to bed now because it was late. I was hoping she would get the hint, but she didn’t get up to leave, she just said that it was wonderful to meet me and kept playing the piano. She was clueless about us wanting her to leave, she was the guest that just wouldn’t leave. Finally someone goes and gets her limo driver. Joe tricks her into going outside, as she was pretty loopy at that time. Her limo driver grabs her and puts her in the limo and he drives off finally at like 4:30 in the morning. The next day she calls and says she lost all her jewelry [laughter]. I tore apart the house looking for her jewelry for two days when finally Stevie calls back and says she found her jewelry. One of her staff had found it all in her purse and had put it in her safe. I say this with all the love in the world- she in one of most amazing women on the planet and I love her.”

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