Gavin Rossdale reveals how he came to own Joe Walsh's 'Hotel California' Fender Jazzmaster – and why he wasn’t too pleased when the Eagles legend signed it

Gavin Rossdale and Joe Walsh
(Image credit: Future / Kevin Mazur/Getty Images for SiriusXM)

As one of the most iconic songs of all time, featuring one of the greatest guitar solos, it’s fair to say the Eagles’ Hotel California has a special place in music history, and by extension, so does the gear the band used to record the 1976 effort.

While most people would be in awe of those instruments, including the purple Fender Jazzmaster electric guitar that Joe Walsh used to play the song’s verses, the same can’t be said for Bush frontman Gavin Rossdale, who bought the iconic offset with little regard for either Hotel California or the Eagles.

Speaking to Guitar World's Amit Sharma for a forthcoming interview, Rossdale recalled rather matter-of-factly how he come to own the Fender Jazzmaster, and explained that – owing to the fact he didn’t “give a fuck about the Eagles” – he was less than impressed when Walsh voluntarily signed it for him.

“I bought that guitar from Vintage and Rare, this fantastic guitar store in London,” Rossdale explained. “As a kid I used to go in there with no money. I was one of those annoying customers who would never buy anything, so when I signed a record deal, I went there and bought a guitar. I tried every guitar in there. The Jazzmaster was in the window, funnily enough.

“I knew I loved the look of the purple Jazzmaster in the window but I wouldn’t let myself buy the first thing I saw – I had to try every guitar in the store,” he continued. “I came back to the Jazzmaster and it sounded great.”

Though the Vintage and Rare salesperson probably thought Rossdale would be further encouraged to buy the guitar knowing it had once belonged to Walsh, it turned out the Bush frontman couldn’t have cared less.

“They told me Joe Walsh had previously owned it,” Rossdale stated. “I’m English, so who cares about the Eagles, really? I don’t give a fuck about the Eagles, but I can respect them even if I don’t listen to them. Everyone else was freaking out about it, but it didn’t really mean much to me.”

After buying the Jazzmaster, Rossdale then decided to get it verified by Walsh himself, though mainly for financial reasons.

“I was actually being managed by [the Eagles'] manager for a long time,” he recalled. “So when I met Joe, I asked if he knew this guitar. He picked it up and started playing it, and then said, ‘Yeah, I actually used it for the verses on Hotel California!’ 

“So I got him to sign a bit of paper to prove it and I told my kids to sell it the day I die – because I’d used it on [Bush's debut album] Sixteen Stone, which has some history, but the massive bit of history is the fact that it had been used on Hotel California,” Rossdale added. “And of course I respect that, even if I don’t care about it personally.”

However, while the offset was with Walsh for verification, the Eagles guitarist thought he’d up the value of the instrument even further by signing the body – something that didn’t go down too well with the Jazzmaster’s new owner.

Rossdale went on, “Here’s something I’ve never told anyone and it’s brilliant. I sent the guitar over for Joe to verify and look over with his tech, who has probably been with him since forever. And he sent it back signed with his name on the actual guitar. 

“As soon as I saw it, I had to get that shit off. I’m a professional musician! I don’t give a shit, this is just for my kids to sell when I’m dead… wake up, I don’t care! [laughs]”

Bush’s new album, The Art of Survival – which may feature the now-signature-less Fender Jazzmaster – arrives today (October 7).

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Matt Owen

Matt is a Staff Writer, writing for Guitar World, Guitarist and Total Guitar. He has a Masters in the guitar, a degree in history, and has spent the last 16 years playing everything from blues and jazz to indie and pop. When he’s not combining his passion for writing and music during his day job, Matt records for a number of UK-based bands and songwriters as a session musician.

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