Billy Joel: 'Retirement comments were taken out of context'

BILLY JOEL is reconsidering remarks he recently made about retiring from the road, insisting that if his upcoming concerts go well he'll mount a major tour.

The rocker has a couple of festival shows coming up at the end of the month (Apr13) and he told ABC News Radio in March (13) that the gigs would be "a big test".

He says, "I want to see if it's time for me to get off the stage. There's a time when an athlete says I can't swing the bat anymore. So I get to feel it out... I don't want to be that guy; I don't want to be Spinal Tap."

But now it appears Joel doesn't need the shows to see if he's still got what it takes to be a top showman, telling the new issue of Rolling Stone magazine, "If I was going to play again in places like New York, I would probably feature entire albums. It would give me a chance to do songs we haven't played... We'd do one album and then play some obscurities. I enjoy playing those more than I enjoy playing the hits... I'm thinking we'd do these shows in Philly, New York, Washington D.C., Detroit and Chicago."

He adds, "I have to make up my mind about what I'm capable of doing. When I sing, I'm singing really high. I've lowered the keys, but a lot of those things are really high. I need a few days to recover from every gig. But it would be silly to do just one gig every three months. You tie up the band and the crew... It would have to be more work than that.

"I did an interview, I think with an Australian newspaper. I said I'd consider retiring if I didn't think I could do it well anymore. I never said I intended to retire. I never said, 'I'm gonna hang it up'. I was just kind of wondering, 'Gee, I wonder what happens when a musician gets to a point where he realizes he's not as good as he used to be?' That turned into 'Billy Joel May Retire After His Next Gigs.' I just want to put those rumors to rest because people keep asking me if I'm going to retire... I just love the game too much to not play it well."

And he isn't opposed to going back out on the road with Sir Elton John, who he last toured with in 2010.

The two pianists famously fell out in 2011 when the Brit publicly accused Joel of not taking rehab seriously as he attempted to battle alcoholism.

He says, "It's absolutely possible I'd play with Elton again. Sometimes he runs off at the mouth... But I would always work with him again. I still love the guy. He's a great guy."

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