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‘American Restoration’ With Billy Joel and Jason Mraz

Musicians bring sentimental items to the show’s fix-it man

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Scott Gries/HISTORY

A close-up look at the British 1967 BSA A50 Royal Star body before it goes through Rick Dale’s rigorous restoration process. This bike is the exact model of the first motorcycle Billy Joel ever rode.

Rick Dale of the History Channel's American Restoration recently got the chance to restore some sentimental items for some of the music world’s most recognizable artists. In a one-hour special set for Tuesday, May 28th, Rick meets with Billy Joel to restore a favorite motorcycle that the piano man’s had in his possession for quite some time. Rolling Stone has some exclusive photos and quotes in advance of the special.

american restoration billy joel

Scott Gries/HISTORY

Details

As Rick maneuvers Billy's bike from the shipping crate for the first time, Joel notes, "I'll be very interested to see if he can track down the parts. Some of the stuff will have to be fabricated since I don't know where to find those parts. I know some mom-and-pop shops in Britain will have some obscure things, but I think he's gonna have to do a lot of his own work. And that's what I'm interested in – the detailing."

american restoration billy joel

Scott Gries/HISTORY

The Beginning

Billy, speaking with Rick at his Vegas-based shop: "I'm psyched to see the bike. It was the first bike I ever rode, so it'll be like going right back to the beginning of where it all came from."

american restoration billy joel

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The Process

Rick, who restores everything from soda machines and mailboxes to golf carts and refrigerators, explains the process the bike will undergo during the careful restoration project.

american restoration billy joel

Scott Gries/HISTORY

One Last Look

Billy and the American Restoration crew get one last look at the British Royal Star before it undertakes a full month of renovations. Left to right: Allie Mayer, Kelly Mayer-Dale, Rick Dale, Billy Joel, Tyler Dale.

american restoration billy joel

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Piano Man

If there's a piano anywhere within an earshot, even if it's in a boneyard, Billy Joel will find it. Here he gives Rick a once-in-a-lifetime private show as he tinkers on one of Dale's Steinway pianos that will soon also undergo a restoration. And if you ask Rick Dale his favorite Billy Joel tune? He'll tell you "Just the Way You Are," the third track from Joel’s 1977 album, The Stranger.

Revisit RollingStone.com on May 29th to see some great shots of the restored motorcycle.

american restoration jason mraz

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Frank D. Fixer

And coming soon: Singer-songwriter Jason Mraz brings in a rusted sign from his grandfather’' old shop that needs some extra help from Rick. Regarding his granddad, lovingly referred to as "Frank D. Fixer," Mraz says, "For many years I wanted to honor my granddad in song and always had the idea I would create the ballad of Frank D. Fixer. So I created the song in his honor, which talks a little about him and who he was. That song lives on, and the sign will be preserved and will hang over the studio where I wrote the song."

Second- and third-generation Mrazes (that's Jason's father, Tom, at far left) drop off an old sign for restoration. The "Frank D. Fixer" sign was built originally for Jason’s grandfather, Frank Mraz, and was created by a soda company as advertising for Frank’s shop, originally based in Mechanicsville, Virginia. "These signs have been major landmarks in our hometown for six decades," Mraz says, "hung on the shop where my dad grew up and where I spent a lot of time as a young man."

american restoration jason mraz

Leftfield Pictures/HISTORY

Grandchildren

"When we look at these signs," says Mraz, "we can see my grandfather's brush strokes in them, and it's important that they still look as if they are my grandfather's signs so we can then hang them in our workshops like he did, and hopefully our grandchildren will do the same for us."

Watch Rick restore the sentimental object and see Jason's reaction at this memorable revealing. That episode is scheduled to air June 18th.  

In This Article: Billy Joel, Jason Mraz

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