Barnstorm (band)

Barnstorm was the group created by Joe Walsh in Colorado after he left the James Gang.[1] The original members of the group were Walsh (guitars, keyboards), Joe Vitale (drums, flute, keyboards) and Kenny Passarelli (bass).[1] Walsh and Vitale had previously played together in an Akron-based band called The Measles before Walsh joined the James Gang.[1] All of the members contributed lead vocals and songs, although Walsh was the principal singer and songwriter. Later, the group added keyboardists Rocke Grace and Tommy Stephenson. Having two keyboardists permitted Barnstorm to play the complex arrangements live that it was creating through multitracking in the studio or through the use of session musicians such as Paul Harris (piano) and Joe Lala (percussion).

Barnstorm would record only three albums over its two-year life (two as principals, Barnstorm and The Smoker You Drink, the Player You Get, plus serving as the backing band on Michael Stanley's Friends and Legends). All three albums were produced by Bill Szymczyk. Over time, Walsh became particularly frustrated by the way his record company, Dunhill Records, promoted the band, as if they were Joe Walsh solo albums and the others were his backing musicians. Said Walsh, "I wanted to be a band, not a solo artist. Vitale, especially, should've gotten more credit 'cause it wasn't all me. . . . It was in every aspect a collaborative effort."[1]

Barnstorm thus disbanded in 1973, although Walsh and Vitale continued to work together on various projects over the next 20 years. Walsh continued to record as a solo artist; in 1975, Walsh joined the Eagles, also produced by Szymczyk. Passarelli joined Harris and Lala in Stephen Stills' band Manassas in 1973, and Elton John's backing band in 1975. Vitale first became a solo artist, but then joined Lala in the Stills-Young Band for the Long May You Run album and tour, which led to his joining the Crosby, Stills and Nash backing band, where he was rejoined by Passarrelli. Later, he rejoined Walsh, playing drums and keyboards with the Eagles on tour. Stephenson went on to play with many of the great blues guitarists like Albert King, Albert Collins, and Chuck Berry as well as artists such as Paul Butterfield, Poco and many members of The Band.

OriginCleveland, Ohio, United States
GenresRock, hard rock
Years active19721974
LabelsABC Records
Associated actsJames Gang
Past membersJoe Walsh
Joe Vitale
Kenny Passarelli
Rocke Grace
Tommy Stephenson


  1. ^ a b c d Adams, Deanna R. (2002). Rock 'n' Roll and the Cleveland Connection. Kent State University Press. ISBN 0-87338-691-4.
Barnstorming (disambiguation)

Barnstorming is a type of stunt piloting (also known as "Flying Circus") performed in the 1920s; the term was earlier used for rural political campaigns, and in general is used to mean a traveling performance.

Barnstorm, barnstormers or barnstorming may also refer to:

Barnstorming (video game), released on the Atari 2600 in 1982

Barnstorm (band), rock band from 1972-74 featuring Joe Walsh

Barnstorm (album), rock album released by Barnstorm and Joe Walsh

Barnstorm (sports), sports teams that travel between cities performing in front of crowds

Lancaster Barnstormers, American Professional Baseball team based in Lancaster, PA

Iowa Barnstormers, American football team

Barnstormer, band led by Attila the Stockbroker

Barnstormers (band), Decatur, Alabama based folk band.

Barnstormers, episode of The Shield television series

Joe Vitale (musician)

Joseph Anthony Vitale (born 2 April 1949) is an American singer, songwriter, composer and multi-instrumentalist. In a career spanning more than 40 years, Vitale has played with many of the top names in music during a career dating back to the 1970s.Vitale pursued a solo career and released his debut album Roller Coaster Weekend in 1974. Since then, he has released two studio albums. His only single to chart is "Lady on the Rock".

Joe Walsh

Joseph Fidler Walsh (born November 20, 1947) is an American singer, guitarist, and songwriter. In a career spanning more than 40 years, he has been a member of five successful rock bands: James Gang, Barnstorm, Eagles, the Party Boys, and Ringo Starr & His All-Starr Band. Walsh was also part of the New Zealand band Herbs. In the 1990s, he was a member of the short-lived supergroup the Best.

Walsh has also experienced success both as a solo artist and prolific session musician, being featured on a wide array of other artists' recordings. In 2011, Rolling Stone placed him at the No. 54 spot on its list of "100 Greatest Guitarists of All Time".In the mid-1960s, after attending Kent State University, Walsh played with several local Ohio-based bands before reaching a national audience as a member of the James Gang, whose hit song "Funk #49" highlighted his skill as both a guitarist and singer. Roger Abramson, legendary concert producer and artist manager signed the James Gang to a management agreement with BPI in Cleveland. After the James Gang broke up in 1972, he formed Barnstorm with Joe Vitale, a college friend from Ohio, and Kenny Passarelli, a bassist from Colorado, where Walsh had moved after leaving Ohio. While the band stayed together for three albums over three years, its works were marketed as Walsh solo projects. The last Barnstorm album, 1974's So What contained significant guest contributions from several members of the Eagles, a group that had recently hired Walsh's producer, Bill Szymczyk.

At Szymczyk's suggestion, Walsh joined the Eagles in 1975 as the band's guitarist and keyboardist following the departure of their founding member Bernie Leadon, with Hotel California being his first album with the band. In 1998 a reader's poll conducted by Guitarist magazine selected the guitar solos on the track "Hotel California" by Walsh and Don Felder as the best guitar solos of all time. Guitar World magazine listed it at eighth of the Top 100 Guitar Solos.Besides his work with his several bands, he has released twelve solo studio albums, six compilation albums and two live albums. His solo hits include "Rocky Mountain Way", "Life's Been Good", "All Night Long", "A Life of Illusion" and "Ordinary Average Guy".

As a member of the Eagles, Walsh was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1998, and into the Vocal Group Hall of Fame in 2001. The Eagles are considered to be one of the most influential bands of the 1970s, and they remain one of the best-selling American bands in the history of popular music. His creative contribution to music has received praise from many of the best rock guitarists, including Led Zeppelin's Jimmy Page, who said, "He has a tremendous feel for the instrument. I've loved his style since the early James Gang." Eric Clapton said that "He's one of the best guitarists to surface in some time. I don't listen to many records, but I listen to his." The Who's guitarist, Pete Townshend, said "Joe Walsh is a fluid and intelligent player. There're not many like that around."

Kenny Passarelli

Kenny Passarelli (born October 28, 1949 in Denver, Colorado) is an American bass guitarist. Passarelli was a founding member of Barnstorm, co-writing the hit "Rocky Mountain Way".

Passarelli has played with a variety of rock musicians, including Joe Walsh, Elton John, Dan Fogelberg, Stephen Stills and Hall and Oates. He served as a replacement for Dee Murray in the Elton John Band from 1975–76, playing on the albums Rock of the Westies and Blue Moves. After leaving John's band he joined the Hall and Oates band in June 1977 and appeared on their albums Livetime and Along the Red Ledge.

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