because you had to be a big shot

Monday, May 19, 2008

Last Friday night I was playing the piano at my cousin's 13 year old birthday party, but for the record, I wasn't playing it very well.

I'm quite rusty on the old ivory keys to say the least.

My sudden lack of skills made me think of a story of when I USED to rock at the piano.

I took piano lessons from 1st through 11th grade. Yeah, I was the girl who took lessons in everything, but piano was by far the trade I stuck with the most. In fact, I was pretty darn good at it.

To this day, these piano lessons are what makes me far superior in that game the kids are playing these days called Guitar Hero.

But I digress.

Thanks to my mother and father I was raised with quite an eclectic taste in music, and one of my all time favorites growing up was the great icon Billy Joel. I mean, duh, he's the piano man, and I kept taking pianos lessons to play just like him.

My first Billy Joel concert was at the old R
ichfield Coliseum in the tenth row (my mom is awesome), I sang every song and I still have my River of Dreams concert t-shirt from 1993. Old school baby.

So in 1996 or 1997 Billy (by this time we were on a first name basis), was doing a small venue concert series that was more of a teaching tour. It was a question and answer type show rather than a full blown concert. He would stop and answer some audience questions then play a song and so on and so forth.

My man billy made a stop with the aforementioned tour that year at University of Akron. I begged my mom for tickets and she obliged being my plus one. 

All I wanted was for Billy to pick me out of the audience to play the piano with him.

But since that didn't happen I at least wanted him to pick my 16-year-old self out of the crowd to ask him a question.

Pick me! Pick me! Pick me!

Well he did...

I got the microphone and chatted with him about how my mother was such a fan of his and that on the night I was born she was supposed to be going to his concert and was trying to hold off labor to make sure she saw him and that the doctor wouldn't let her.

He smiled awkwardly like okay, this girl is crazy.

It got worse.

I then said, "Well my name is ALEXA! just like your daughter's (Alexa Ray Joel) but I wasn't named after her because I'm older."

"Mmhmmm", he said - now officially weirded out.

Oh, it got even worse.

I FINALLY rambled to my question and I said, " Well Mr. Joel I have been playing the piano for quite sometime now and I have gotten to the point that I can play your songs. What I don't understand though is how you can stretch your hands so far to reach over an octave length of notes. I mean my hands don't reach and I don't get how yours do, you're not exactly a tall man."


Nervous laughter...

Finally Billy responds, "Wow, what are you going to say next, that I have small feet?"

The crowd erupts in laughter, I blush - kinda confused and sit down.

I later realized that I had called out Billy Joel not only on his height but his possible penis size in front of an auditorium full of thousands of people.

Quite the charmer I am.

Right after the incident he played "Downeaster Alexa" just for me - or his daughter, same thing. 

The whole time stretching out his hands. His really big manly, not small at all hands.

My face still gets red thinking about the story. Sigh.
I love you Billy.


  1. The River of Dreams tour was my first concert. My parents took Brother and I and to this day, Lullabye makes me think of my Dad to the point that I call him within the first few bars when it appears on my iPod.

    I was in 4th grade and we started walking about before the encore. By the time we got to the parking lot we saw a line of cars leaving and a conversion can tailing them. Billy was hanging out of shotgun in the van and waved at my brother and me. One of my favorite memories. And you were ON STAGE WITH HIM!

  2. Hehe. Awesome story. I love me some Billy Joel. Actually, I really love Alexa Ray Joel as well.

  3. only YOU would tell billy joel he has a small penis!!!

  4. you have a 13 year old twin cousin? or do you mean 13 year old twin cousins’ birthday party?

  5. Such an awesome story! I always hoped BabyFace would choose me to share the stage with him, but unfortunately, I was sky high in the rafters.

    Being a young piano prodigy myself, I grew to be more a Michael McDonald fan. You should have seen people laughing when I freaked out upon seeing his star on the Walk of Fame in St. Louis over New Year's. Classic.

  6. this for some reason does NOT surprise me. hahaha

  7. My father went to high school with him on Long Island and my mother used to go watch him at some dinky club when she was in high school (with his first band, "The Hassles")- I'm 100% convinced she would leave my dad if Billy asked her to.
    To this day, when she sees him she gets a glazed look in her eyes and no one can talk to her until he is off the screen.
    She also only refers to Christie Brinkley as "the bitch".

  8. Absolutely hysterical. I can't even come up with a remotely witty comment about this because it is perfect.

  9. You're the reason Billy drinks and can't keep a car on the road.

    You know that, right?

  10. tktc - i am going to listen to river of dreams all day today in your honor. and i feel the same way about lullabye, yeah i'll be the one crying in my laptop at work

    angela - i love her too! and she is beautiful not ugly like perez says.

    georgia peach - you act like you are surprised....

    grammar police - way to call me out on forgetting make something plural. lame.

    mel - i love michael mcdonald!!! i took my mom to see him and steely dan a couple of summers ago. SO GOOD.

    maxie - haha. duh!

    jar - that is so cute about your mom! my mom calls billy joel, "my man billy" like they are best friends.

    narm - i made you speechless, i like it, a lot.

    bloggin jason - omg, i never thought of it like that! am i the reason he married someone half his age too?

  11. That story is priceless. I laughed so hard I think I snorted!!! Alexa, sometimes the most embarrassing stories make the best ones.

  12. I'm just impressed you got any words out at all. And were then able to play the piano, to boot.

  13. That story is hilarious!! I wonder if he ever told that story to his daughter. Just think, you could have been the topic of conversation at the Billy Joel household!

    But, seriously, wow. I love his music as well, by the way. Love it.

  14. HAAAAAAAAAAA. oh that is SERIOUSLY awesome. well done you. hee.

    i also used to be a super piano player, am lame now, AND am surprisingly good at guitar hero due to residual skillz! we're like twins!

  15. That story is awesome. If you have to be embarrassed in front of a group of people, it might as well be while talking to Billy Joel...Err, while possibly insulting Billy Joel. I also heart Billy.

  16. Oh my god you're my hero. That's hilarious.

    AND. I am currently listening to "She's Always A Woman".

  17. This has got to be one of the funniest stories I've heard in a long time. You insulted Billy Joel! HAHAHA. I also love him - people don't give him enough credit.

  18. That is awesome! Have you ever read Chuck Klosterman's "sex, drugs and cocoa puffs?" There's a scetion in it where he talks about how great Billy Joel is and I think you'd appreciate it.

  19. OH. my goodness.. I don't think Billy will ever forget who you are.

    Not ever.


  20. I had the opportunity to speak with Billy in the lounge of the Ritz in Cleveland after one of his concerts. So from that meeting Alexa also has Billy's autograph. He also noted on it that it was a 'great name'. Do we sound like stalkers?


    It reminds me of a story not on the same celebrity scale though. When I was in college my friend Cindi ran into Brian Johnson who was a big IL bball player and she kept yelling "OMG you're Brian Johnson, YOU'RE Brian Johnson!" and he so politely says "yes, and you are??" while shaking her hand with both of his. And she says, "I'm NOBODY! I'm NOBODY!" hahahaha!

    I should mention Cindi was DRUNK at the bar when this happened but nonetheless hysterical!!

  22. Billy Joel hates penis questions. It was in his tell all book, "The Pen is Mightier? Please."

    Oh and I got your present! Whoo!

  23. Oh Billy I love thee....

    He kind of reminds me of Steve from SATC in that picture. Just a bit.

  24. I love this post for so many reasons. I played piano for 13 years. I played Billy Joel. I went to see him in concert with my parents when I was young. I went again when I was in high school. And, I just adore your ability to tell that story perfectly. It made me feel as if I was sitting there with you. Only, I'm not blushing. :-)

  25. Hands were to my face reading this one.


    But I bet he'll never forget you!

  26. haha, WOW. well i bet you made quite an impression!

    so cool that you got to meet him though, for reals.


  28. I love Billy Joel. I've just been listening to 'Vienna' on repeat the last few days, no lie!

  29. I swear that I don't even remember this hilarious story!

  30. Billy Joel is one of my faves too.

    I spilled a drink on him at a New Year's party in Miami a couple of years ago. I have a problem with spilling drinks on people. He did not take my apology well and actually flinched away when I tried to wipe him down.

    Your story? Way more terrifying and hilarious. I like you.

  31. The Minister Of CultureMay 22, 2008 at 11:11 PM

    I've got two great Billy stories.1st. I saw him at the Akron Civic in 1977 when nobody had ever heard of him . He opened up for believe it or not Todd Rundgren. He came out in a three piece suit, pounded the ivorys and played the likes of Piano Man ,Captain Jack,and others.When he was done he said "i'm Billy Joel thank you good night!"2nd.My gang followed his limo after a concert in Richfield to a bar at the nearby Holiday Inn we partied with him and his gang til the we hours of the morning,true story!Ask your Mom !

  32. LOL - OMFG - this is the best story ever. Maybe just made my day even! :)


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