Wednesday, June 29, 2016
Billy Joel Explains what Happened with The Face2Face Tour
‘No. People can say I’m coasting, but I stopped wanting to write songs. It took a toll on me. Your personal life goes to hell in a handcart because you’re in a cave. All you’re doing is thinking about songs in your own hell. I hate writing but I love having written. I just stopped wanting to do it.
‘Elton [John] was always saying, “Why don’t you do a new album? Why don’t you write new songs?” And I would reply, “Why don’t you put out fewer albums?” I guess he wants to remain relevant, but if they don’t sell, what’s the point? I hate to think I’m a nostalgia act, but we all are, anyone who’s going to sell out arenas.’
Elton and Joel toured together for 16 years, but a couple of years ago, Elton was quoted in the press criticising Joel, so why did they fall out? ‘We didn’t,’ he says (even though Elton said, ‘Billy is a conundrum and he’s got alcohol issues’).
‘That’s NOT the reason we’re not touring any more. I got tired of doing the same show over and over again and I think his agent told him we were going to do more dates that I never agreed to. I kept seeing in the press, “Billy cancelled the tour”. I didn’t cancel it; it was never booked. I asked him, “Why didn’t you call me? Don’t talk to my agent, talk to me.”
‘I had to have my hips replaced and that was the reason I was out of commission. The last few gigs I did with Elton I could barely walk. I had canes – canes on stage is not good.
‘I have had drinking issues in the past. So did he. I think at heart he meant well.’
Elton had said when he went to rehab in 1990 that he had to clean floors and criticised Joel’s rehab as not being hardcore.
‘At one point he said I went to a rehab that allowed me to have a dog. I thought, “You weren’t in rehab with me, you don’t know what happened.” Once you go 30 days without a drink, you go OK, I get it. They dry you out. So I told him, instead of speaking these words, why don’t you write a few – because he doesn’t write lyrics.
‘Elton had a terrifying lifestyle when he checked into rehab. I didn’t have that problem. My drug was booze. A couple of years ago I went to a fundraiser for his Aids foundation and I said, “Don’t throw your friends under the bus.”’
Joel was born Jewish and baptised Protestant. Growing up, all his friends were Catholic. Now he’s an atheist. ‘If there was a God, it was Beethoven – he was the guy.’
- Daily Mail