Billy Joel has responded to Elton John’s allegations in the new Rolling Stone that he’s never seriously attempted to curb his drinking habits. “I’ve worked with Elton for such a long time and I’ve enjoyed our relationship too much to let something as random as these comments change my affection for him,” Joel said in a statement. “Elton is just being Elton.”
In the interview, John was also critical of Joel’s decision to stop writing new music. “At the end of the day, he’s coasting,” John said.”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 canceled tours because of illnesses and various other things, alcoholism. He’s going to hate me for this, but every time he goes to rehab they’ve been rehab light. When I went to rehab, I had to clean the floors. He 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. 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.”
John and Joel have had numerous highly successful co-headlining tours over the past 15 years, but last year Joel cancelled a planned stadium run. He recently had double-hip replacement surgery and it’s unclear when he plans on returning to the road.