In 2011, Elton John told Rolling Stone that his longtime touring partner Billy Joel had stopped making music out of "fear or laziness," and added that Billy needed to get serious about quitting drinking because all his previous attempts had been "rehab light." Now, Billy tells Rolling Stone that since then, he and Elton haven't talked, and he's not sure why.
Said The Piano Man, "We haven't spoken and I don't know why. Elton doesn't really know me that well. We toured together for 16 years and never really hung out. Elton assumes a lot about me that he doesn't really know."
"If he thought I was screwing up or doing something bad, I don't know why he didn't just call me," Billy points out, referring to Elton's public criticism of his drinking. "I wasn't as mad as I was disappointed [about his comments]," he adds. "His heart was in the right place."
As for The Rocket Man's assertion that Billy was too afraid or lazy to make another pop album -- his last one came out 20 years ago -- Billy tells Rolling Stone that he would always tell Elton to make fewer records. "If you get on the treadmill of putting out another album every year, you dilute your legacy," he says.
But that's not the only reason he hasn't released an album since River of Dreams. "When it becomes redundant, when it becomes more of a business, a lot of the motivation leaves," he tells Rolling Stone. In addition, he insists, "I'm not as good as I used to be...my voice has changed. It's lowered."
But ultimately, Billy says, "I don't want to do what people expect me to do. I never liked being put in a box and being told, 'Give us that Billy Joel feeling' or that 'Just the Way You Are' feeling." In fact, he says he's horrified that Sony recently put out a compilation of his love songs. "One of my biggest fears was that they were gonna do that," he reveals. "The next one will be Billy Joel: Glop."
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