Everybody's talking about the new sound ... but it's still rock 'n' roll to me, says Joel

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 11 November, 2008, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 11 November, 2008, 12:00am

It's hard to say whether Billy Joel is in a New York state of mind anymore. The legendary piano man is playing his first Hong Kong concert tomorrow night, but he's practically given up the downtown man lifestyle for a more leisurely uptown pace since he stopped releasing new material after 1993's River Of Dreams. Indeed, unlike the hurried pace most touring artists engage in, Joel was already in town on Monday and hosted a press conference to explain why we should love him just the way he is now.

'When I got to the end of [River of Dreams] I said OK, I did the best I could and now I want to do something else,' Joel said. 'I just got tired being on the treadmill. Every time you have a successful album, the next thing you gotta do is go out [on tour] and make another successful album and then another. I don't want to do that. I never work for radio, audiences, critics or record companies. I wrote for myself or some girl ... I love music, but I am 59. To try to write popular, radio-friendly music, it's all a little bit old for me now.'

But Joel will still tour. In fact, he confirmed he's rejoining Elton John for some gigs next year. The New Yorker is also laid back enough these days to laugh about his past alcohol troubles and compare himself to Amy Winehouse's current rehab stint. 'It's a good move for Amy. Now she can do a part two [of her album].'