How to be a Successful Punk by Joe Walsh as told to Nic Harcourt

I'm always trying to explain to people the trick to becoming a good Punk, a good Acupuncturist, and a good Community Acupuncture clinic. It's not easy, trying to explain this, in part because it is so simple and we always want to complicate things, right? Yep. It isn't hard, becoming a successful Punk, but still 80% of the acu-school graduates fail at being even mediocre. So what's the catch? Why isn't it hard if so many people do fail at it?

That's remarkably hard to explain because everyone is different: everyone learns different. So I am always casting about for non-Punks explaining why they are successful in hopes that by analogy some aspiring Punk can hear this analogy and Get It.

I found a nice bit of explanation the other day while watching TV. The show was Guitar Center Sessions with host Nic Harcourt, a long-time DJ in California. The series is about Nic interviewing various rock and pop guitarists about their success and how they do what they do and it can be interesting to see the guitarists talk about their careers. This particular episode spotlighted Joe Walsh, a guitarist of some repute who's been around since the late 60's when among other things an impressionable junior high school kid was a big fan of Walsh's first band, the James Gang. Here's an excerpt of the interview:

Nic Harcourt: You talk about your sound, obviously the Joe Walsh Sound, is pretty well known: it’s your signature sound. You talked about developing it out of necessity I guess..

Nic: That true?

Joe: Uh huh

Nic: And when you had settled on that sound, was there a moment when you realized that This Is It..

Joe: No, not really, you just get an idea of combinations of things that really work good. And as you gain that knowledge, you have more tools to work with depending on the task:

– if you are playing live, who am I playing with

– if you are recording is it an overdub or are you doing it live

– what’s the other guitar player using

– what are we going for here.

– weather you use single coil or double coil, what amp, what guitar..

Over the years, you find out what works really good. I’ll tell you what works really good is a Fender telecaster through a Fender Champ amp. That’s Funk #49 right there. Everyone wants to know how I got that’s a Telecaster plugged into a Champ amp…the Champ has an 8 inch speaker…nobody uses 8 inch speakers, but That’s why it sounds like that.

Nic: Why? What is it about that 8 inch speaker?

Joe: It’s got a response that a 10 inch speaker or a 12 inch speaker doesn’t have and it’s that Funk #49 sound, and I happened across that but that sound is (points at himself) you know.

Nic: That’s your sound.

Joe: Yeah. People hear that they say that’s Walsh. And it’s so simple. Some of it is so simple and everybody’s got those racks of outboard gear and stuff and Nah: you plug your guitar into your amp and you turn up your amp. There it is. (Smile)


And that, my friends describes exactly what it takes to become a great Punk. Any questions?

Skip Van Meter
Author: Skip Van Meter

Skip is Lead Acupuncturist and Co-Founder of <a href="" target="_blank">Working Class Acupuncture</a> in Portland, Oregon. With the earlier part of his life spent acquiring knowledge about geology, urban planning and teaching high school, he has now been an acupuncturist for 19 years, using about a 1,750,000 needles poking his patients. He likes all things soccer, has three fabulous sons, the best wife in the world, and a great dog and two cool cats.

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