You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Black Keys Enlist Fellow Ohioan Joe Walsh for Jam at L.A. Show

The guest spot precedes a 2020 release that will feature Dan Auerbach and Walsh playing with another ex-James Gang member, Glenn Schwartz.

“Cuyahoga River Way” doesn’t have quite the same ring as “Rocky Mountain Way,” but some of northeast Ohio’s most famous rock heroes met up (and celebrated another, lesser known one) in Los Angeles Tuesday night, when the Black Keys were joined on stage at the Forum by Joe Walsh.

The Cleveland-Akron summit encompassed two songs about two-thirds of the way through the duo’s show, with tandem guitar leads ensuing. The sellout arena crowd particularly took  to Walsh’s fiery addition on the familiar “She’s Long Gone,” a song from the breakout album “Brothers” that the Black Keys have been performing on tour for nearly a decade now.

But perhaps the bigger treat for some geeks was a song the duo has apparently never performed publicly before: a cover of the song “Water Street,” by the late Cleveland-area rocker Glenn Schwartz. Although it wasn’t explicitly mentioned, Schwartz was Walsh’s predecessor in the James Gang in the late ’60s.

Auerbach is a megafan. Telling the Forum audience about first encountering Schwartz at a Cleveland club show when he was a teenager, Auerbach said, “You guys may not know him, but he was really important to me, and he blew my f—ing mind when I was 16. And this was Glenn’s guitar right here, and this was the guitar he was playing that night. Little did I know, when Joe was at an impressionable age, he walked into a bar and he saw Glenn Schwartz and it blew his mind and it made him want to play rock ‘n’ roll music, just like it made me. So in honor of our good friend Glenn Schwartz, we’re gonna play one of his songs, all right?”

Variety can exclusive reveal that an album Auerbach, Walsh and Schwartz recorded together back in 2016 will finally be coming out in 2020, on Auerbach’s Easy Eye Sound label.

Auerbach befriended the late cofounder of the James Gang — and his successor, Walsh, re-friended him — before Schwartz died in November of 2018 at age 78. The three of them played a gig together at a Nashville honky-tonk in 2016, then followed it with a jam at the Coachella Festival during an appearance there by Auerbach’s other band, the Arcs. It was around that same time the three of them went into a recording studio, the results of which will finally be heard next year.

After leaving the James Gang, Schwartz hooked up in L.A. with Pacific Gas & Electric, which in 1970 had a top 20 hit with “Are You Ready?” He soon left secular music behind, with his evangelical zeal leading him to form one of the seminal Christian rock groups, the All Saved Freak Band — a group that appealed to young religious devotees looking for heavy guitar music in the mid-’70s, but obscure now even to most students of religious pop. The group’s 1970s catalog was just re-released on vinyl and CD, with the Light in the Attic specialty catalog label distributing.

After the All Saved Freak Band split up, Schwartz returned to playing Cleveland clubs, where he would preach between songs, as he did even in the couple of gigs he shared with Auerbach and Walsh.

“Glenn was my biggest rock ‘n’ roll inspiration,” Auerbach told Cleveland magazine upon Schwartz’s death last year. “I saw him at Hooples when I was 18 and things were never the same for me. There would be no Black Keys without Glenn Schwartz, that’s for sure. I really miss him. He was a sweet man; he loved the Lord and loved music so much. I really respected his conviction.”

More Music

  • Joni MitchellJoni 75: A Birthday Celebration

    Joni Mitchell to Receive Les Paul Innovation Award at NAMM TEC Awards

    Joni Mitchell will receive the prestigious Les Paul Innovation Award at the 35th Annual NAMM Technical Excellence & Creativity Awards, to be held Saturday, January 18, 2020 in Anaheim, California. According to the announcement, the award is given on behalf of the Les Paul Foundation to honor individuals that have set the highest standards of excellence in creative application [...]

  • Juice Wrld Bonnaroo Music and Arts

    Juice Wrld's Cause of Death Still Pending After Initial Autopsy

    The cause of Chicago rapper Juice Wrld’s death is still unknown after the Cook County Medical Examiner’s Office released its initial findings of an autopsy on Monday. The Medical Examiner’s Office released a statement saying “additional studies are required to establish the cause and manner of death” for the 21-year-old musician, whose real name was [...]

  • Beyonce KnowlesBeyonce and Jay-Z in concert,

    Beyoncé Doesn't Care That 'Lemonade' Was Snubbed at the Grammys

    In an interview with Elle for her January 2020 cover story, Queen Bey answered questions ranging from whether she has a Snapchat to how she felt about “Lemonade” losing its Grammy nomination. In a candid response to a fan’s question from Instagram, Beyoncé admitted that her “Lemonade” loss for album of the year at the [...]

  • Remembering Prince

    Final Prince ‘1999’ Podcast Chapter Drops Tonight – Hear an Exclusive Clip Here

    The Prince Estate and Warner Records have outdone themselves with their re-release of Prince’s iconic “1999” album, with a massive boxed set containing tons of unreleased material and even a four-part podcast series titled “Prince: The Story of 1999,” produced with 89.3 The Current. The fourth and final installment drops tonight, but you can get [...]

  • Drugs, Guns Confiscated From Juice Wrld's

    Drugs, Guns Confiscated From Juice Wrld's Plane

    Law-enforcement officials were in the process of confiscating guns and drugs from Juice Wrld’s flight at Chicago’s Midway Airport when the rapper suffered convulsions and went into cardiac arrest early Sunday, police told the Chicago Tribune. The rapper was briefly revived but died at a local hospital. According to the report, officers and agents had [...]

  • Academy of Country Music

    Academy of Country Music Names Damon Whiteside CEO

    Nearly seven months after Pete Fisher announced his resignation as head of the Academy of Country Music, a new CEO has been announced. Damon Whiteside will exit his role as chief marketing officer of the Nashville-based Country Music Association to sign on for the top job at the L.A.-based ACM. Whiteside will step in as [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content