Elton To Joel: ‘You Need Tough Love Rehab’

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February 2, 2011 | 2:25pm EST

Sir Elton John is urging his longtime pal and tour mate Billy Joel to get serious about overcoming his drink demons once and for all, because he’s “coasting” through life.
The Rocket Man battled drug and alcohol addictions early on in his career and only managed to kick his habits in the 1980s after attending a strict treatment programme in a hospital in Chicago, Illinois.

He has been sober ever since and has used his own experiences to advise and provide support to celebrity pals such as singer George Michael, the late Michael Jackson, and rapper Eminem.

Now, in a candid new interview with Rolling Stone magazine, Elton has expressed his fears for Joel and called on him to face up to the alcohol problem that has plagued him for years, prompting him to seek help in 2002 and 2005.

Elton tells the magazine,”At the end of the day, he’s coasting. 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.”

And the rocker insists the Piano Man needs to adopt a “tough love” approach to treatment if he is ever going to conquer his demons – because his personal troubles are affecting his ability to really perform at his best.

The Brit says, “He’s going to hate me for this, but every time he goes to rehab they’ve been light. When I went to rehab, I had to clean the floors. He goes to rehab where they have TVs.”

Addressing Joel directly, he adds, “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. People adore you, they love you and respect you. You should be able to do something better than what you’re doing now.”

But his words of concern appear to have fallen on deaf ears – Joel has issued a brief statement brushing off his pal’s comments, saying: “Elton is just being Elton.”