Barnstorm (band)

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Origin Cleveland, Ohio, United States
Genres Rock
Hard rock
Years active 19721974
Labels ABC Records
Associated acts James Gang
Past members Joe Walsh
Joe Vitale
Kenny Passarelli
Rocke Grace [Tommy Stephenson]

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 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 ( who came onboard after repeated requests from the group, but he turned down because he was in a group ( Energy), with the great guitarist Tommy Bolin[1] Having two keyboardist would permit them to play the complex arrangements live that it was creating through multitracking in the studio or with the help of session musicians such as Paul Harris (piano) and Joe Lala (percussion).

Barnstorm would record only three albums over its three-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). Over time, Walsh became particularly frustrated by the way his record company, Dunhill Records, promoted the band, as if 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. Passarelli joined Stephen Stills' band Manassas in 1973, and Elton John's backing band in 1975. He later rejoined Stills and Vitale in Crosby, Stills and Nash's backing band. 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."


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