Like all people from Long Island, New York, The Amp has a love of Billy Joel prenatally wired into our genetic code, so when someone insults our Piano Man, we take offense. Of all the people to criticize Joel -- whether it's about his penchant for poor driving or his tabloid-worthy love life -- we never expected Joel's ally and frequent tour mate Elton John to badmouth him, but that's exactly what's happened. "At the end of the day, he's coasting," John says in the new issue of Rolling Stone. "I always say, 'Billy, can't you write another song?' It's either fear or laziness. It upsets me. Billy's a conundrum. We've had so many cancelled tours because of illnesses and various other things, alcoholism."
Elton, who had his own issues with drug addiction and even helped Eminem deal with substance abuse, also offered up some harsh criticism on how Joel has fought his alcoholism. "When I went to rehab, I had to clean the floors. [Joel] goes to rehab where they have TVs. I love you, Billy, and this is tough love. Billy, you have your demons and you're not going to get rid of them at rehab light," Elton says in a nationally published article and not in a private phone call to Joel (maybe he's taking lessons from Steven Tyler). "You've got to be serious. People adore you, they love you and respect you. You should be able to do something better than what you're doing now."
It's surprising that Elton, an artist who is very dependent on collaborations to remain musically relevant (see Gaga, Lady and Russell, Leon), would go out and just drag our childhood idol Joel's name through the mud like that, jeopardizing the future of what's been a successful tandem tour by the two piano gods. If this somehow serves as a catalyst for Joel to write new music for the first time since 1994's "River of Dreams" -- and to curb his drinking problems, also -- that's good, but this is still a private matter that John probably should've handled privately and not to sell tickets to see "Gnomeo and Juliet."
[Photo: Kevin Mazur/WireImage.com]
- Elton John
- Billy Joel