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Interview with Billy Joel: The ‘Piano Man’

By on January 2, 2019

On November 8, this Greek-American journalist and editor had the distinct privilege to interview Rock and Roll Hall of Famer Billy Joel at the red carpet of the Long Island Music Hall of Fame.

PHOTO: MIKE COLUCCI

PHOTO: MIKE COLUCCI

At the seventh annual Long Island Music Hall of Fame induction GALA, which took place at The Space at Westbury, Joel brought his wife, Alexis, and three-year-old daughter, Della Rose, with him. “It is fun,” Joel said, about having his daughter with him. “It is great. I don’t want her to fall asleep, so I’ve got to catch up with her.”

Joel noted that it feels “really good” to be associated with the Long Island music scene. He also praised The Space at Westbury for not being a “bad room.” “I’ve never worked here. How long has this been here?” Joel inquired. “I’ve played a lot of shitholes. This is a nice room,” he added, complimenting the venue.

The “Piano Man” was inducting his long-time lead guitar player, Tommy Byrnes, into the Long Island Music Hall of Fame, who has been with him for over 28 years. Byrnes, who hails from South Shore, Long Island, was the recipient of the inaugural “LI Hired Gun” Award. “I don’t know. I haven’t done it yet,” Joel said about inducting Byrnes. “That’s nice,” he added.

Billy Joel talks with reporters and with NEO's Markos Papadatos before the Long Island Hall of Fame ceremony. PHOTO: MIKE COLUCCI

Billy Joel talks with reporters and with NEO’s Markos Papadatos before the Long Island Hall of Fame ceremony. PHOTO: MIKE COLUCCI

In addition to guitarist Tommy Byrnes, Joel also inducted veteran singer-songwriter and journalist Elliott Murphy, who is known for his lengthy yet respected career in Europe, and for living in Paris, France. As a journalist, Murphy has written for such noteworthy publications as Rolling Stone Magazine, and Spin, among other European magazines.

Regarding the key to longevity in the music business, Joel responded, “The key is not dying.”

Members from Billy Joel’s live band and musicians from the Billy Joel tribute band Big Shot were also in attendance to show their support for Tommy Byrnes, as he received his due.

On December 19, Joel will be returning to Madison Square Garden, for his monthly residency at the “World’s Most Famous Arena,” and on New Year’s Eve, Joel will be performing at NYCB Live: Home of the Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum, in Uniondale on Long Island; moreover, Joel will play his 60th record-breaking consecutive sold-out show at Madison Square Garden on January 24.

In his illustrious career in the music business, Joel has sold in excess of 150 million albums worldwide. Joel is also one of the highest-grossing touring artists in the world. As of today, Joel has played 105 sold-out lifetime concerts at Madison Square Garden.

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