Elton John and Billy Joel hit a rocky patch
In the Rolling Stone interview, John said Joel was "coasting" as an artist.
"I always say, 'Billy, can't you write another song?' It's either fear or laziness," John said. "It upsets me. Billy's a conundrum. We've had so many canceled tours because of illnesses and various other things, alcoholism."
John also termed Billy's treatment for alcoholism "rehab light."
In the wake of that interview, Joel issued a statement taking the high road. "I've enjoyed our relationship too much to let something as random as these comments change my affection for him," Joel said. "Elton is just being Elton."
The saga took another turn on Thursday (2/11), when John appeared on NBC-TV's "Today" show.
"He hates me at the moment," John said when asked about his relationship with Joel. "He sent me a message and he's not happy. I understand that. I'm sorry I had to say it, but I'm saying it because I really want Billy to live a long life and be very happy. That's all it came from. I understand why he's mad at me. I'm only trying to help. Maybe I should have done it privately, but I've been so frustrated over the years.
"But I do love him and I want to stress that," John continued. "He may want to punch my face in at the moment, but it's okay."
In response to media inquiries, today Joel offered up another statement addressing John's latest assertions, point by point.
Joel's statement read:
1. I do not hate Elton John
2. I do not want to "punch him in the face"
3. If he wants to call me, my number is still the same
4. Good luck with the movie [in reference to "Gnomeo and Juliet," for which John wrote the music and sang]