As Billy Joel slowly launches his live comeback, he admits that it's been a pretty long time since he was considered anything close to a critic's darling. Billy, who performs in London tonight (November 5th), recalled to The Guardian, "When I was first starting out, I was considered hip for about two seconds and immediately after that I was naff -- isn't that the word?. . . It's a very superficial way to judge things. Just to be cool doesn't have a whole lot of substance to it anyway."
Billy went on to say that his last major tours were hardly the highlight of his performing career: "I did a few tours with Elton John and the show never changed -- it was basically the two of us doing our greatest hits. It became stale and sterile." 20 years after walking away from writing rock songs, he admits that that too became draining experience for him: "I got bored writing popular music. I just got tired of writing in the same format: it can't be too long, it's got to be played on the radio. It's a box, and after a while that box becomes a coffin."
Billy Joel admitted that being a songwriter was first and foremost his main priority upon launching his career: "I was writing songs, even while I was in Attila and the Hassles, that weren't necessarily for me or my bands, I was just writing songs. I wanted to be a songwriter, I didn't necessarily want to be a performer, a rock n' roll star, I felt like I'd gotten that out of my system. I was about 21, I guess."
Although Billy Joel is known as one of the top musicians in all of rock, he says that his musical limitations could actually be responsible for helping him creating his greatest songs: "I never really applied myself the way I should. I never practiced my scales. I'm limited, and in a way, I think my limitations have helped me as a pop music writer. Sometimes I'll paint myself into a corner, and I don't know how to get out, so I just come up with my own solution to get myself out of that corner. And that, in a way, is what may make my material original."
Billy Joel tour dates (subject to change):
November 5 - London, England - Eventim Apollo
November 8 - Birmingham, England - LG Arena
December 31 - Brooklyn, NY - Barclays Center
January 7 - Sunrise, FL - BB&T Center