Billy Joel’s Formula To Leadership, Mark Rivera Details

In a recent interview with 6abc, Billy Joel’s saxophonist Mark Rivera talked about Joel’s talents and his formula for leadership.

Rivera, a multi-instrumentalist, musician, singer, musical director and corporate entertainer; has been working and touring with Joel since 1982. Rivera started by explaining Joel’s leadership:

“First and foremost, Billie is the greatest leader to that day because anybody who’s been in a great position, in an organization or corporation, the smartest ones know the only lead by proper delegation. The fact that you delegate these band members and allow them to play, allow them to go out, and Billy just loves to have a good time and he loved to shine.”

The saxophonist clarified he was blessed to have him around. He said:

“I don’t know that I could say that with everyone that I ever worked with, but particularly Billy and Ringo [Starr] had been nothing but supportive. He’s great, he’s just the guyest guy, and what you see is what you get. He also has trouble taking a compliment, you tell him ‘That was great’, ‘Well, you know…’ No, Billie, it was just great. He’s that guy you’d be very blessed to be around all the time.”

Rivera, just when Joel parted ways with his ex-saxophonist, was asked if he would like to play a gig with Joel. After accepting the offer, Rivera had to learn only three songs and sing back vocals. At the end of one of his solos, Joel, reportedly, came up to him and told him he would always have a gig as long as he wanted to be in Joel’s band. Rivera has now been playing with Joel for more than 40 years.

See 6abc’s interview here.