Mark Rivera On Billy Joel Strategy To Avoid Financial Crisis
Goldmine Magazine recently caught up with Mark Rivera for an interview and asked him about Billy Joel’s abilities. While answering the magazine’s questions, Rivera mentioned Joel’s help with the band members’ finances during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Speaking of Joel’s humility with his piano skills, the saxophonist said:
“He’s very self-deprecating. But I agree with you; he’s incredible. It’s amazing because there have been so many times we’ve had a great show, and I said, ‘Hey Bill, that was awesome,’ and he will say, ‘Aw, this went wrong,’ or he’ll say, ‘That went wrong…'”
About the pianist’s generosity, he added:
“He’s done incredibly magnanimous things. I don’t know if you’re aware that he took care of the entire band and crew down to the truck drivers throughout the COVID situation. No one lost a dollar thanks to Billy Joel.”
Joel’s Treatment Of His Band
Rivera and his wife battled the coronavirus in early 2020, while musicians remained sidelined due to the lockdown and canceled shows. Meanwhile, Joel kept paying his band members’ full salaries for a year, and the saxophonist expressed his appreciation for the gesture during a chat with Rolling Stone at the time:
“I can’t say enough about what Billy has done for this entire … some people call it a community, but it’s a village we have that he’s created. He’s been so incredibly gracious and generous. I don’t have adjectives to describe. . . To be completely serious: a heartfelt thanks to him for taking care of this group of people.”
Comparing the pianist to some unnamed musicians, he went on:
“Everyone I speak to on the crew and the band feels the same way. I know other situations where guys have played with certain bands for years, and they made three-year commitments, and the rug has been pulled out from under them. I applaud our ‘Piano Man,’ and God bless him.”
After the pandemic, Joel and his band returned to the stage with a series of concerts. Now, the pianist has a set of dates planned for the rest of 2023 and 2024 in the upcoming months, in addition to his last Madison Square Garden shows.