Andrew Goldman: You had a double-hip replacement two years ago. I was watching old clips of you doing these jetés across the stage in the ’80s. Do you think your hip problems were from years of stage work?
Joel: I was probably born with dysplasia. In the old days, when they took a baby out, sometimes they used forceps. I was a breech baby, so the theory was that they displaced my hips. Over the years, jumping off the piano, landing on a hard stage certainly didn’t help. Way back in the early ’70s, I used to do somersaults, flips off the piano. I would climb up the cables and hang upside down, anything to get attention. When you’re an opening act, you gotta do whatever you can. But over the years it got excruciating. I couldn’t walk at one point; I had one of those little scooter chairs, banging into furniture. By the time I finished the tour with Elton in March 2010, I was in a lot of pain, and over that year it got worse and worse and worse. I’m glad I did the surgery, because my life changed. I’m able to be ambulatory again.