Elton: ‘Joel Wants To Punch My Face In For Alcoholism Comments’

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February 10, 2011 | 2:15pm EST

Sir Elton John has no regrets about airing his views about Billy Joel’s sobriety issues in the press, even though his rock pal has made it clear he’s far from happy with the Brit for speaking so openly.
The Rocket Man, who battled drug and alcohol addictions early on in his career, recently accused his on/off touring partner of “coasting” through rehab treatments and admitted he’s upset by Joel’s apparent reluctance to get tough with his alleged heavy drinking problems.

In the candid Rolling Stone magazine interview, Elton said, “I always say, ‘Billy, can’t you write another song?’ It’s either fear or laziness. It upsets me. Billy’s a conundrum. We’ve had so many cancelled tours because of illnesses and various other things, alcoholism…

“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.”

Joel issued a statement responding to the claims, brushing off his pal’s comments as Elton “just being Elton” – but the Brit admits the pair has yet to speak directly because the Uptown Girl hitmaker is “not happy” with him.

Opening up on breakfast show Today on Thursday, Elton said, “He hates me at the moment and I understand why. He sent me a message and he’s not happy and I understand that.”

But the 63 year old stands by his actions and insists he will take any comeback from Joel “on the chin” – because he’s only trying to help.

He continued, “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. I understand why he’s p**sed with me and I can take that on the chin. Years ago when people tried to tell me, I didn’t talk to them for years. Now I look back and they were only trying to help.

“Maybe I should have done it privately, but I’ve been so frustrated over the years at some of the things. I love the guy… I wanna stress that. He may wanna punch my face in at the moment, but it’s OK.”