Has it really been 20 years since Billy Joel released his last pop album? Somehow, it’s true: Though the Piano Man has toured extensively, won a Tony, and even put out a collection of classical compositions over the last two decades, he hasn’t dropped an original chart-topper since 1993′s River of Dreams.
But why? Well, according to an extensive interview in this week’s New York Times magazine, the answer’s simple: “I got bored with it,” Joel says. “I wanted to write something other than the three-minute pop tune even though that’s an art form unto itself.” And though Joel sounds nothing but grateful for his success, he also seems to resent being pegged as a pop writer: “It’s a very nice box to be in for a while, but then it becomes like a coffin.”
And the revelations don’t stop there. Here are 10 other things you’ll learn while reading the piece, including why Joel calls himself “the Nixon of rock ‘n’ roll” and what Elton John’s hair reminds him of. (While the musician never does explain what a “real estate novelist” is, the Internet can thankfully help you out on that one.)