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Billy Joel chats with Nestor about sports and life and perils of rock and roll in Spring 1998


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When Billy Joel had to cancel a concert at the Capital Centre due to illness, he gave Nestor a call to apologize and talk about life and music.


billy joel, night, seats, heard, neck, billy, joe cocker, massage, move, worst, postpone, give, sports, tickets, day, stage, pinched nerve, cancel, play, mic stand


Nestor Aparicio, Billy Joel

Nestor Aparicio  00:00

Welcome back WNS G TAs in Baltimore. And wn s We are in the midst of wn S T rock week, and presenting many, many conversations 25 years on the radio, but much of the stuff that I have here is presented before it was on the radio when I was a music critic at the evening sun back in the 1980s and early 1990s, as well as the news American. This is an actual conversation. It stems one from the other side of the bridge as it were. Billy Joel sat with me at length. If you’ve heard that interview, one of the more extensive ones I think you’ll find anywhere from 1990 on the Stormfront tour, you’ll hear that as part of our rotator. This is a conversation later Billy Joel, I’ve had two or three conversations in my life with Billy Joel. This is one of them. This was a time when he called into my sports radio show in 1998 was a spring of 1998. I I was just about to buy wn st at that point, but I was still broadcasting at WL G on broker time. And Billy Joel canceled a show at the MCI Center in Washington and postponed it. And the shows actually took place in April and in May did three sold out shows at the MCI center in 1998. So you get an idea what kind of star Billy Joel was even then couple decades ago, and amazing. He’s still selling out stadiums today. But you know, he kind of felt bad about it. And I knew him and I reached to his management company. And he called in on the show. So you know, one afternoon there’s Billy Joel calling in on the program and we talked about that a lot of sports life music, rock and roll and getting back on the road. So well. Here’s Billy Joel, from the spring of 1998 as heard on the then Budweiser sports forum. All right. So I’m in the bathroom during the break, right and we were drinking a lot of Pepsi in here with tomatoes, pizza night we’re eating pizza. We’re talking sports like anybody should be doing in the middle of a Stanley Cup playoffs NBA Playoffs, Oreos in Chicago tonight, Steve sands, my son went into the bathroom, and my son screaming at the top of his lungs. Billy Jones on a phone, get on the bed. And you’re thinking it’s not April Fool’s. And I’m thinking what a Billy Joel we don’t call him me and Steve’s been working on this all day. But ladies and gentlemen, welcome to the Budweiser sports forum for the first time not the first rock star to do the show. But perhaps it’s certainly one of the coolest, but definitely one of the coolest despite being a Yankee fan. We got Billy Joel I Billy how are you?


Billy Joel  02:30

Well, I’ve been I’ve been better I’m not 100% But I but I’m okay, but where we’re gonna get to

Nestor Aparicio  02:37

see I got I started in we we we should watch what we say because like you’re ahead of us right now. So


you know what, I’m uh, I’m just a good game fan. I liked Yang so like the match. I like I like the Dodgers sometimes, you know, I just like a good game anymore.

Nestor Aparicio  02:55


Well, I’ll tell you why. Maybe come back here on May 11. Now after that postponement last night


I just heard the egg you had on before this about wrestling right Oh, dude, where do I go to see that? Oh my

Nestor Aparicio  03:05

god it’s like bigger than it ever was because there’s like there used to just be like one big Wrestling Federation now they’re to


go see wrestling go see me you know like hey, so people were brave go see me and without brains negotiator well thing is to bill you already got the tickets sold?


Nestor Aparicio  03:23

is no competition. They’re coming they’re coming either way. Tell us what happened last night because I want to give you the whole story. First off happened


last night at all actually what happened was I had to do this rainforest planet right? I woke up in the morning I had him a wake up like like in that car it’s like you got that King thing Have you slept right thing you go so like I gotta think so what and then it gets worse during the day. Now what happens is I’m a Carnegie Hall doing these rehearsals that are rain forest I got staying. You got Elton John you got your Madonna she got your James stills and everybody you’re not even like

Nestor Aparicio  04:01

in the top five of the most famous people in the room at this point, right whatever.



Famous massage technique. Now, when you got a pinched nerve that’s not necessarily the best thing to have done. He was a massage. No, I’m saying is he may pinch it more. Like yeah, you may you may make it worse so everybody’s giving me all only let me do it this way. Let me do it that way to Rubbermaid A massage me by the time is time for me to go on stage. I look like the Hunchback of Notre Dame right. So I got a sore neck now it’s down at the my shoulder. So I kind of slide on the stage looking like Charles what

Nestor Aparicio  04:35

do we consider chiropractic help at any point yesterday?


We considered it but it’s like you know, like I said, like, oh look, I played injured many times. I play sick all the time. I don’t cancel. I’m not a canceled guy. I don’t cancel. So you got to understand yesterday when I had to when I had to postpone the Washington gig. I was injured. I mean, I couldn’t get out of bed. woke up. I couldn’t move. I was paralyzed. And they called it a spasm. You know, you know what this is? Athletes probably get this

Nestor Aparicio  05:10

all the time. Well, I don’t know we got a half our baseball team on the DL right now we got a we get our star pitcher out with a wart on his pitching finger because he can’t throw that.



bone in my left thumb. I still played a friggin cat.

Nestor Aparicio  05:25

You can’t move.


I can’t move. I cannot move. I’m laying in bed. I said, hello. I can’t get out of bed. I go to the doctor. He goes, You gotta you’re in spasm. I said all right. So that was mean like,

Nestor Aparicio  05:42


what I get a shot. What do I do? Go home? Wait, take a pill.


Right. Exactly. So it meant essentially I couldn’t move my neck. I couldn’t move my shoulder and part of my back was I don’t know paralyse

Nestor Aparicio  05:57

Are you better today or is this just something that’s going to take a week to get over to though I know you got some shows in


hard not because I gotta get tomorrow night to and I don’t cancel i I felt terrible about blowing this up because we’ve had such great audiences that that MCI


Nestor Aparicio  06:10

we were there Saturday night. I was the guy on the left hand side you screw play piano play the piano. And you did it was? That was me that was that to


get rid of you? Oh, it didn’t work because he’s still here.

Nestor Aparicio  06:24

Man. I stayed. And if we would have waited about 10 more minutes, I’d have been at the top of my seats and play Captain Jack playing Captain Jack was that a great crowd? You know, and I want to say it’s not that easy. I was I was very frustrating for me and I I was saying to my date after the show, I said, you know if I ever get to talk to Billy I’m going to tell them one thing. The crowds are getting like younger, but they’re also getting older and like in the good seats. A lot of the guys that can afford the good seats. They don’t get up and dance I mean you’re up there doing a little I go to extremes. I’m up there doing the Bebop The Shi bop I’m all over the place dancing and these people Excuse me sir, could you please sit down you’re you’re wrecking my entertainment for the evening. And I said man, this is a dance show. This is I mean I remember the the Billy Joel shows in 8283 84 where you do about an hour that end segment where you do sometimes a fantasy you throw a little still rock and roll the place never sat down for a piano show which is amazing to me. I don’t know



if people know you know, we never put the first two rows on sale. You know why that is? You put your belt you’re putting up all you bring up beautiful women always get them and they somebody’s rich fat cats right? And they’re no fun. They’re with their big head girlfriends and they don’t move and they make for a crappy show. And all the real fans are in the back screaming their heads off. And they can never get the good seats. So we never put the front rows on sale. You know we do we hold the tickets. Wow, we hold the tickets to the front rows and the road crew fans out to the worst seats in a room and give the tickets to the people with the worst seats. You know, I’m

Nestor Aparicio  07:52

gonna do I’m gonna come to Philly. I’m like may 13. I’m gonna buy two of the worst seats. And I’m gonna hate my hair.


But bring a cute girl bring a kid there’s the road crew is old guys. And what do they do they pick the cutest girls they can find See, I

Nestor Aparicio  08:05

thought you had a part of that because I saw a girl on the subway the other night that was down in the front row. She said the damn thing happened. I was in the back and and Billy came up and and and and next thing you know, I got a drumstick from Liberty and I’m down in the front row and I said made a deadly single instruction



through is give the best seats to the worst seats. We know what the work but the Roku sky so naturally, what what guys do they’re gonna give to the cue cars. Now let me tell you something. I looked down the front row and she let it kick us. That doesn’t hurt the show. All right, you understand? I’m saying?

Nestor Aparicio  08:38

Absolutely. It did not hurt from my angle being that I was behind them. So I got a I got a good view. I cannot lie to you. But let’s start let’s talk about getting well and all that stuff. Just a little bit about the tour because I am such a big fan. I mean, as far as the songs you were doing the other night, you’re bringing out some you know some really old stuff and way back when and some stuff that I’ve never heard you I don’t think I’ve ever heard you do just the way you are, for instance. And I think there was a time in your career where you said you just weren’t gonna do it anymore. Right?


Well, I never said I would never do it again. I just said I gotta put this away. Because I was bored with it. I don’t I don’t really think that I should do a song that I don’t like to do because it’s a false reading. And I don’t know people pay so much money they go to so much trouble to get tickets. It’s such a pain in the neck to go to a show anymore. Why should I you know, why should I pull something out of the hat that I really don’t even like to do and and be phony baloney, and I should have a good time to know. Absolutely. And I think an audience knows how to perform is having a good time. So they we’ve had such good wages on this tool, but having such a terrific time. Which is probably you know, look I like I said I never postpone I hardly ever cancel. I had I could have actually caught gone on stage and I would have looked like Charles Lawton from the Hunchback of Notre Dame

Nestor Aparicio  09:57


right and it just would have been a piano show you wouldn’t have moved there to


And I would have said I wouldn’t have laid down on Rebecca it would have been like, like a Perry Como show we wouldn’t been able to throw the mic stand. You know, forget it. You know,

Nestor Aparicio  10:08

I think you may have pulled your neck out thrown that mic stand around the way you were the other night? Well,


no, I think it came down to the rain forest benefit, which I did on Monday. All day long. Like I said, I got a I got a neck ache and everybody backstage going oh, let me give you my Yogi massage or my herbal organic homeopathic massage. You know, that’s a bunch of crowns. You get too many nose, people rubbing your neck, they’re gonna like twist you into a knot. And then I go on stage and what’s the highlight of the show Joe Cocker the one I get by with little help from my friends.


Nestor Aparicio  10:42

And you’re looking for a little help from your chiropractor somebody so do you are you still like tonight? Looking like


Beatles. Oh really? Yeah. So like I’ve already taken a Vikon Motrin Hey, watch

Nestor Aparicio  10:54

the blanket and man to bless the sky. I got some athletes I know that taking the Vikings in and that’s you need that tomorrow the next day the next day. Next thing you know you’re you’re in Betty Ford on Viking and you know that’s not a good thing Brett for



whatever all I knew was when I was on stage I was in a Beatle the mood your name right? But then I do my Joe Cocker impression when I when it’s time for me to sing my verse have a little help from my friends. By the time I finished my verse. I’ve I’ve been imitating Joe Cocker with a spastic on moves. This did not help my neck. So I said to myself all brilliant. You know Tommy that really helped it neck. So what

Nestor Aparicio  11:32

has the homeopathic method been your the last 48 hours and get you better? Because like you said, You got another one tomorrow? Hartford? Correct tomorrow. I believe that is right. Hartford, Connecticut.


Well, I went I look I went to a regular doctor and he said you’ve got an inflammation. It’s like a pinched nerve and a muscle spasm in your neck and shoulder and back and I had to take a pain pill. And then they gave me a muscle relaxer, which is like, it really feels good. But I wouldn’t be very good on stage right now. Let’s put it that way. Well, I

Nestor Aparicio  12:03

tell you what, we wish you well and getting back



and getting back. In this amount of fact that day, I’m going to be back as May 11 11. Take WrestleMania

Nestor Aparicio  12:10

bid is going and we’re doing Raul is warrior, then I’m just gonna have to come to Philly on the 13th There are a couple days later because I know you’re coming in and I’m gonna have to see the show again, especially if you’re going to do Viana again. Have you been doing that every night? Or no?


We don’t do necessarily everything every night. We change the show all the time now. Not only for the audience, but also for us too, because we want to keep it fresh

Nestor Aparicio  12:32


for us. Well, that’s that’s great. And it certainly was fresh for us the other night hearing some of the old tunes and jargon the old memory. You watch any baseball these days. We do do sports talk here. So I got to sneak this a little bit in. You weren’t in Yankee Stadium when it fell down. Right. It wasn’t that concert you did a few years back that broke that beam. Right.


Well, good was

Nestor Aparicio  12:50

turning up a little bit louder. Well, yeah, I’d like to take credit for that. Basically, a small part in there


as long as there’s not a lawyer representing anybody sitting in that seat. Yeah, I did that. That’s right. That was me.


Nestor Aparicio  13:02

That was you. Yeah. Well, I’ll tell you what, we hope that you can carry Yankee Stadium on your back and your neck sometime real soon. But I really appreciate you taking a couple minutes and and I knew how badly you felt about that having to miss the show last night. But the good news is you’re coming back and everybody can


feel bad about postponing I never can’t. I played injured. I’ve played sick many many many times. I’m not a wimp. I you know when I got it when five to work, I gotta go to work. But I don’t want people to pay good money went to a lot of trouble hearing me moan and groan and says, Oh, I got a cold. I’ll feel good. I gotta get back a bite. You know, I’m fine with that. Right? But when I went back on the 11th Don’t be 100% and I you know, I just wanted people to know, you know, I’m sorry. I couldn’t make it but I’ll be back.

Nestor Aparicio  13:44

Well Bill it we really appreciate you taking a couple minutes for the sports for him tonight. And we hang on one second. We’re gonna send you a gift off in the mail but we’ll see you in May. Okay, okay, good. Well, soon, man. We the show was so good on Saturday night. I’d hate to think that you’re in any kind of pain on Monday or Tuesday. Hang on for me there

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