By Jen Odell with reporting by Paris Hampton
Elton John's recent Rolling Stone cover story was ostensibly a reflection on his four decades in the music business. But given the buzz over Elton's comments that Billy Joel needs some "tough love" when it comes to his drinking, the Feb. 4 issue might as well have just run a photo of the two singers with the headline, "Elton to Billy: Get Some Real Rehab.'"
"He's going to hate me for this, but every time he goes to rehab they've been light," the "Rocket Man" singer and new dad said in the article. "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 ... You should be able to do something better than what you're doing now."
Since the issue was published, Joel has responded twice to his friend and colleague's statements. The first time, he quipped that "Elton is just being Elton," and the story wouldn't affect their relationship. He later released a second statement on the would-be feud, clarifying that he harbors no bad blood.
At New York Fashion Week on Saturday, Wonderwall caught up with Billy's daughter, Alexa Ray Joel, who shared her thoughts on Elton's comments and assured us that in spite of all the Rolling Stone controversy and his recent hip surgery, her dad is doing just fine.
Wonderwall: What did you think of the comments Elton made about your Dad?
Alexa Ray Joel: Oh god! Don't go there with me! No, I think my Dad is obviously -- he's done his work. He's paid his dues. And he guards his privacy more than anything. And I think it deserves to be respected. He's earned that right.
WW: Absolutely. But Elton is a friend. Your dad doesn't take what Elton said as an attack, right?
ARJ: No, I don't think he does. They have a lot of history together and I don't think it's particularly bothering him. He's in Miami recovering from his surgery.
WW: How is he feeling?
ARJ: He's doing much better, actually. He's doing much better! He's great!