Billy Joel says that he doesn't hold a grudge against Elton John for talking publicly about his personal life. In his recent interview with The New York Times Magazine, Billy addressed Elton's critiques of Billy retirement from music, his drinking -- and even the type of rehab he checked himself in to. When asked about Elton's claim that Billy has quit writing rock songs out of laziness, Billy responded, "That's his opinion. I don't do it because I don't wanna. He tends to shoot off his mouth -- he shoots from the hip. I think his heart is in the right place. Maybe he's trying to motivate me, to get me mad or something. He's kind of like a mom."
Elton had previously gone on record as stating that Billy had pretty much quit their last Face To Face joint tour in 2010 -- a point which Billy has long maintained wasn't the case: "There was a misunderstanding -- this is my theory, and I haven't spoken to him directly about it yet. I think his booking agent told Elton that I was going to continue touring with him, and they were already counting the money to do the stadiums. But I never agreed to do it. I finished every date that I had agreed to do. When Elton heard that I wasn't going to play, he got very bugged, very disappointed and very angry maybe."
Billy went on to explain that although the pair has worked closely for 20 years, they're hardly the best of friends: "He doesn't know anything about my private life. I stayed at his house once in France. He's a very friendly, charming man, a nice fun guy, but we really never spent much time personally together. He doesn't really know that much about me, so I let a lot of that slide. I'd work with him again, sure."
When we last caught up with Elton John, he told us that he remains convinced that Billy will put aside the classical compositions and once again roll up his sleeves and write popular music again: "Y'know, he's not a rock n' roll artist -- he's a great songwriter. And great songwriters always write songs. And there'll be songs coming from Billy Joel's piano again. I'm always saying, 'Come on, come on, come on, come on,' but in good time, he'll do it again."
Photo Courtesy of BillyJoel.com