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And there’s bulletproof glass between me and the audience. So if Billy Joel ever walks out on stage and picks up a remote control …That’ll be it. And look, it’s one thing if you own your recordings. The record company owns all these recordings and can package them any way they want. The live crap and all these compilations — they don’t mean anything. When you were still writing pop songs, were you competitive with other songwriters? That early Americana feel he used had an impact on me. Given the lucrative nature of an artist like Joel’s catalogue, it certainly makes sense that a record company would fight hard to maintain its control. The stage is a living-room set: couch, TV, coffee table, food. The crowd after a couple minutes goes, “Fuck this,” and starts throwing shit at the glass. I wrote most of the songs that I’m doing when I was in my 20s and 30s and it ain’t easy to hit those notes in my 60s. ” Then we’ll do a great show and I’ll read a bad review and it’s So I stopped. Because of that I knew I was going to beat myself up for not being better. If it doesn’t get exposure — the nature of the album format is for that album to get disseminated and is “Famous Last Words.” I’d realized that if a song wasn’t a hit single it didn’t matter, and I didn’t want to go in that direction. Well, the record company dug in and got their battery of lawyers and we never got the stuff back. People wonder why there’ve been so many Billy Joel They’re not my idea. Someone like Randy Newman, for example, is fucking brilliant. “No, they need more challenging.” I don’t buy that. You don’t need to worry about any criticisms anymore. Thanks to a revision of copyright law that occurred in the late 1970s, musicians were granted “termination rights” that allowed them to regain control of their work after 35 years.But back in the ’70s, critics decided who was going to be in the good group and the bad group and I thought I got a bad shake. I was completely bereft of new ideas at the time, but I wrote that album because I owed the record company new music. How much did actual musical differences, rather than persona differences, have to do with the way you and Springsteen were perceived? Was it always easy to zero in on the lyrical themes? I’ll give you an example: I couldn’t write “Allentown” for about three years. Then we played the Lehigh Valley and some kid said to me, “You’re gonna get big and you’re never gonna come back here.” And that pointed me in the right lyrical direction. To this day, I still feel bad about not playing the Lehigh Valley. We play the Garden once a month and change our show all the time. An issue for them seemed to be that you personally didn’t call to let them know they weren’t in the band anymore. But I remember the show at the Garden after the Charlottesville riot when you wore a Star of David. A lot of men from his generation did the same thing. It’s like when they rounded up the Japanese and threw ‘em in camps during the war. So then addressing politics is a matter of the specific circumstance? But I don’t listen to pop or rock and roll anymore. But we do pull out less familiar songs for the audience even if we know they might not go over. I know it was in with Jennifer Garner — that’s a movie that was popular with girls, and girls are who most of the enthusiasm for the song comes from. It’s a coming-of-age song: “Slow down you crazy child.” So I guess it resonates with younger people. Now that you’ve spent so many years looking at your catalogue as this complete body of work, how does it hold up? .] I remember reading a quote from Neil Diamond where he said that he’d forgiven himself for not being Beethoven. The elder Joel did regularly send money back to his family but otherwise had very little contact.And Stephen Holden’s review said I had nothing to say. To take two albums from 1982: Doesn’t it make sense — rightly or wrongly — that the guy who recorded ? Use too many effects on your recording and it’s considered artifice; do something stripped-down and it’s considered “real.” But Bruce was also a wordsmith and critics are wordsmiths. Originally it was called “Levittown.” [ Slightly less interesting. If I feel like singing “A Whiter Shade of Pale,” I do it. In retrospect, was that part of things handled too brusquely? How do you decide when you want to make your beliefs known? So when those guys see punks walking around with swastikas, how do they keep from taking a baseball bat and bashing those crypto-Nazis over the head? Whether it’s me or Bruce or anyone, the patriotic thing is to stand up for your beliefs. I get crap for that already, people saying I’m a Long Island libtard. I used to drink too much — I guess it was a form of self-medicating. We do “The Great Wall of China” and the audience looks askance. I read that and went, “That’s my problem: I haven’t.” But I did the best I could. There are artists who continue to record because they feel like that’s what keeps them relevant. Gotta have a hit.” I stopped feeling like that a long time ago. Howard had another son, Alexander, Joel’s half-brother, who became a classical conductor.We focus on this document not because we enjoy writing letter after letter, but because it is critical to the fight against ALS.Without it, we find ourselves handicapped by antiquated trial designs—designs that hinder the development of creative approaches to testing novel compounds and slow the development of critical, disease-altering therapeutics.If someone is in town and wants to come play with us, they can. and went to a club and Axl Rose was there — it turns out he’s a fan. And when a guy like Springsteen speaks up, do you think he’s spitting in the wind? To me, what happened in Charlottesville was like war. I think about my old man: He was able to get out but then got drafted and went in the U. Those creeps are going to march through the streets of Even if you only want to talk comparatively, how do you think the country is doing right now? These children are being ripped away from their parents and then the U. I don’t know; it seems like everybody’s conservative nowadays. Drinking was one of the reasons I stopped writing songs. I didn’t want to be one of those authors like Hemingway who offs themselves because they drink too much. “Laura” — we try it, and I think the harmonies sound good, and it just lays there for the crowd like a lox. And I think of I was looking at your stuff on Spotify and was surprised to see that “Vienna” was in your top-five most-streamed songs. But if the quality of their work deteriorates it drags down the entire catalogue. How often have you been approached about doing a new album? Who’s the guy who produced those Johnny Cash records? And Clive Davis, when he was at Columbia, said, “Why don’t you cover the great classic-rock songs? For years now, Joel has given master classes at small venues and colleges, where he answers audience questions, talks in-depth about his songwriting, and also performs.The other day I was watching footage of Axl Rose singing “Big Shot” with you at Dodger Stadium. I met Axl a long time ago when he was real big with Guns N’ Roses. So I’m sitting at a table with Axl and these women are coming up, leaning over so you could see every inch of cleavage, offering themselves to him. And Liberty’s reasons [for why he no longer plays in Joel’s band] are wrong. When Trump said there were good people on both sides — there are no good Nazis. You can probably look at every generation and find terrible things were happening. When I was a teenager, we were all protesting the war and now everybody is right wing. Obviously there’s a real concern for the working class running through your songbook, but do you feel you understand that demographic the way you used to? I just think right now there are a lot of people who are misguided in their politics. I would drink to try and ease the pain of not being as good as I wanted to be. Sorry to jump around: Do you have any awareness of contemporary pop stars? My wife listens to pop music on the radio and that’s the most exposure I have. By the time this interview is published, you’ll have played your 100th show at the Garden. Elton [John] would say to me, “Why don’t you put out more albums? ” I didn’t want to come out and say, “You’re dragging down your legacy.” I imagine every legacy artist approaches the new output question differently. Yeah, he wanted to do something — bring me back to my roots. ” I think he meant [Barry] Manilow stuff but I said, “Okay, you mean Led Zeppelin? A clip from a 2013 visit to Vanderbilt University was widely shared after Joel invited a student to play piano with him on “New York State of Mind” (and the kid nailed it).
Time matters in a fight where 90 percent of patients die five years after diagnosis. The I AM ALS Clinical Trials Committee, made up of 15 patients and advocates, wrote a letter to compel action on the ALS clinical trials guidance.I’m looking at Axl like, And the other thing: Maybe if I had to play smaller places, it’d mean that’s how shitty I’d gotten. To do smaller rooms I’d have to scale down, and I don’t want to fire anybody right now. But right now I can specifically look to our leader and blame it on him. It used to be that the working man would have been a socialist-leaning Roosevelt voter. Liberty De Vitto played drums in Joel’s band from 1975 till 2005.