March 24, 2011 by David Gillaspie
For some, it’s a state.
For others a state of mind.
If it’s a state, and you’ve been away, you’re not going home. You’ll cross the border into your home state and it won’t feel any different.
Convince yourself the air is fresher and water cleaner and you start on a trail to delusion.
That’s a state of mind?
Let’s ask Billy Joel.
Question: Mr. Joel, do you ever get tired of the east coast?
BJ: Some folks like to get away, take a holiday from the neighborhood.
Q: You live in a pretty nice neighborhood. Where would you go?
BJ: Hop a flight to Miami Beach, or to Hollywood.
Q: Like a snow bird from the Midwest heading to the sun. I get that.
BJ: But I’m taking a Greyhound on the Hudson River Line. I’m in a New York state of mind.
Q: Really? Instead of a sun run, you’ll get a window seat on a bus and cruise? Is that a good idea?
BJ: I’ve seen all the movie stars in their fancy cars and their limousines. Been high in the Rockies under the evergreens. But I know what I’m needing and I don’t want to waste more time. I’m in a New York state of mind.
Q: Okay, Billy. You’re in a New York state of mind in New York. It’s the same thing, isn’t it?
BJ: It comes down to reality and it’s fine with me ’cause I’ve let it slide. Don’t care if it’s Chinatown or on Riverside. I don’t have any reasons, I’ve left them all behind. I’m in a New York state of mind.
Q: I’m no doctor, Billy, but this doesn’t sound so good. No reasons because you’ve left them all behind?
BJ: I’ve paid good money to get a grip on this stuff.
BJ: Most people think I’d be Paul and he’d be John if we did. But to tell you the truth, Bruce and I are more like all the Beatles rolled into one. I can cover the Beatles and so can he. It would never work out, but I’ve had a great time playing his benefits.
Q: You’ve also dated and married some of the hottest babes on earth. What was that like?
BJ: I’ve paid good money to figure that out, too.
Q: Anything else you’d like to say?
BJ: One thing. I gave a speech when John Cougar Mellencamp went into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. I think it bears repeating. I said, don’t let this club membership change you, John. Stay ornery, stay mean. We need you to be pissed off, and restless, because no matter what they tell us—we know, this country is going to hell in a handcart. This country’s been hijacked.
You know it and I know it. People are worried. People are scared, and people are angry. People need to hear a voice like yours that’s out there to echo the discontent that’s out there in the heartland. They need to hear stories about it. They need to hear stories about frustration, alienation and desperation. They need to know that somewhere out there somebody feels the way that they do, in the small towns and in the big cities. They need to hear it.
And it doesn’t matter if they hear it on a jukebox, in the local gin mill, or in a goddamn truck commercial, because they ain’t gonna hear it on the radio anymore. They don’t care how they hear it, as long as they hear it good and loud and clear the way you’ve always been saying it all along. You’re right, John, this is still our country.
Q: Nice. It sounds like one of your long-form songs. Thank you, Billy Joel. I’ll see you on the bus.
BJ: You’d better be in a New York state of mind.
By David Gillaspie