While Billy Joel continues to pack fans into New York’s Madison Square Garden every month — as part of his ongoing residency there — fans are still hoping that he might one day decide to make a new album. But in a new interview with The New Yorker, Joel says that’s not likely to happen. “I’ve had my say,” he explains.
“Some people think it’s because I’m lazy or I’m just being contrary,” the Piano Man tells the magazine, explaining why he hasn’t put out an album of original pop songs since 1993’s River of Dreams. “But no, I think it’s just — I’ve had my say. If I put out an album now, it would probably sell pretty well, because of who I am, but that’s no reason to do it. I’d want it to be good.”
He adds, “I’ve seen artists on that treadmill, putting out albums year after year, and the albums get worse and worse, less and less interesting, and it’s, like, ‘Maybe you should stop.'” In addition, Billy thinks actually recording a new album would just be too much of a hassle.
“I’m not crazy about going into a recording studio and doing that kind of life again, or taking on another project where there’s other people involved — arrangers and orchestrators and conductors and producers,” he tells The New Yorker. “I don’t want to deal with it…You have to have a certain amount of ambition to want to do all that. Joel adds, “And I look back at the guy who was the recording artist, this Billy Joel guy, and I think, Who the f**k was that guy? He was very ambitious, very driven, and I don’t feel like that anymore.”
And then there’s the personal aspect of it. Billy says he doesn’t want to write songs, only to have people pick them apart for clues to his personal life.
“I had gone through this celebrity craziness with Christie [Brinkley], and the divorce,” he says, talking about the time of River of Dreams and its aftermath. “I felt like there was a proctoscope up my butt. Everybody interrogating, analyzing — everything I wrote was fraught with meanings — and I said, ‘Wait a minute, I don’t want to rip myself open and let everyone see everything.’ It was no longer comfortable. ‘Enough! I gave you enough!'”
Still, Joel tells The New Yorker that he’s been working on a series of “tone poems” called The Scrimshaw Pieces, which are meant to tell the history of Long Island. However, he has no plans to release that music any time soon. In fact, he hasn’t actually recorded a lot of it, and says he’s even on the verge of forgetting some of it.
Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio
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