Billy Joel Talks Stevie Nicks Tour, Song Regrets, and Thoughts on Farewell Tours
“We met at a Fleetwood Mac gig in San Francisco probably 10 years ago. I just got to meet her backstage, but we’ve never worked together, even though we both kind of hit at the same time,” he said. “So this’ll be a completely new thing for me. I’ll probably do one of her songs and she’ll probably do one of mine.”
Joel, who still performs at his monthly residency at Madison Square Garden, said he is looking forward to it, because sometimes his own company gets “boring.”
“I did very much enjoy touring with Elton John. It was like I joined something. As a solo artist, it’s always me, me, me — gets kind of boring,” he said. ” But when I hooked up with Elton, I got to play his material, which was a hell of a lot of fun. I miss that.”
Does Joel have any regrets from his past albums? A few, he revealed.
“I’ve written some real stinkers I wish I could take back,” he says, starting with “When in Rome” (from 1989’s “Storm Front”) and “C’était Toi” (from 1980’s “Glass Houses”). “I don’t even speak French,” he said. “So I don’t know what I was doing. Sometimes I’d get six or seven songs I thought were pretty damn good, then there’d be a couple of squeeze-outs at the end just to fill up the album.”
“I realize now I shouldn’t have done that.”
As for one of his bigger hits, “Only The Good DIe Young,” Joel said he recently had an epiphany.
“It’s occurred to me recently that I’m trying to talk some poor innocent woman into losing her virginity because of my lust. It’s kind of a selfish song — like, who cares what happens to you? What about what I want?,” he said. “But on the other hand, it was of its time. This was written in the mid-’70s, and I was trying to seduce girls. Why bulls— about it?”
Asked if he was considering retiring and announcing a farewell tour like other artists, Joel was adamant.
“That was brought up the other day. But I have a disdain for capitalizing on that: “Let me threaten that it’ll be the end, and then I’ll make a lot of money.” I’ve seen bands so many times announce their farewell tours and then they never go away,” he said. I’ve seen a couple of the Who farewells at this point.”
He continued: “There’s gonna be a lot of attrition. I had an idea for a tour [of mine]: The poster has illustrations of a bunch of dead insects, and the name of the tour is Dropping Like Flies. I say to my agent, “Look, go ahead and be as grim as you want.” We’re all aware of it.”
Billy Joel’s next show at Madison Square Garden is March 26.