Billy Joel's Ten Most Pivotal Moments, According to Biographer Fred Schruers

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Photo by Myrna Suarez
Billy Joel: Forty-four years behind the mic.

It's easy for cynics to dismiss Billy Joel's decades-long career as nothing more than a continuing cycle of hot singles, alcohol abuse, and roller-coaster relationships. But he has also earned the distinction of being one of the most successful singer-songwriters in music history with indelible melodies that inevitably become standards.

A Miami homeboy until relatively recently -- he sold his palatial La Gorce Island estate in summer 2013 -- Joel has known both universal acclaim and awkward encounters. It's all laid out in Fred Schruers' new book, Billy Joel: The Definitive Biography.

Schruers first met the singer during an interview in 1985. The singer tapped him to be a ghostwriter for a proposed autobiography in 2008. That project was scrubbed, but Joel gave Schruers his blessing to pen a book of his own.

Here, then, in chronological order, are Schruers' picks for the top ten moments that define Billy Joel as both an artist and individual.

See also: Billy Joel Announces First Miami Concert in Seven Years

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Miami's Five Best Concerts This Week

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Photo by Alex Broadwell

Music is what gives meaning to life. Even Mondays.

Sure, waking up at the crack of dawn to face the workweek is no fun. But at least there are some pretty good shows coming up.

Just check out the five best concerts going down this week, from Napalm Death and party king Andrew W.K. at Grand Central to the "Piano Man" himself, Billy Joel, at American Airlines Arena.

See also: New Times' Concert Calendar

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Andrew W.K. on His Philosophy of Partying: "It's About Celebrating That You're Not Dead"

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Photo by A. Strasser
It's not an Andrew W.K. party till somebody's spurting blood.

There's nothing new about looking to a rock star for inspiration. From Bad Brains singing about positive mental attitudes (PMA) to Pink and Katy Perry singing about female empowerment, it happens all the time.

What is surprising is that a guy with songs called "Party Hard" and "Party Til You Puke" could turn out to be a rock 'n' roll Joel Osteen with partying as his religion instead of Jesus.

Andrew W.K. has spent the last decade and a half rocking crowds, giving speeches, writing books and an advice column, hosting television shows, and generally spreading happiness and satisfaction in life by talking about his philosophy of partying -- which he says can mean literally whatever makes you happy.

W.K. has played all over South Florida during all those years, but he will come to Miami proper for the first time since 2002 when he blows the roof off Grand Central on January 31. So we at New Times got him on the phone to chat about partying, politics, and perpetual positivity.

See also: New Party Rules for Millennials

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Rene Lecour Talks Amigo Skate Cuba's 2015 Trip to the Island: "Five Years Strong"

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Photo by Chris Miller for amigoskatecuba.com

Rene Lecour and Amigo Skate Cuba have sent over 1,000 skateboard wheels rolling through Havana, and now they're going back to donate more.

Born five years ago when Kaya Lecour convinced his dad to take a skate trip to Cuba, Amigo Skate and its crew's mission has grown into a yearly pilgrimage, delivering skateboards to an island with no skateshops. They also bring art supplies.

In February, they're flying back to Havana. And so far, they've got 20 volunteers and they're always looking for more. They're throwing a benefit show January 31 at Churchill's Pub too.

Here's what founder Rene Lecour has to say about marble, concrete, and doing it for the love.

See also: Miami Musicians on U.S.-Cuba, From "It's a Castro Bailout" to "Free Travel Is a Dream"

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Rat Bastard Talks International Noise Conference 2015

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Photo by Jason Finkbeiner

If you step into the South Beach apartment-turned-recording-studio of local underground music aficionado Frank Falestra, better known by his ubiquitous stage name, Rat Bastard, you've got to come prepared.

From the sundry rock posters, guitars and paraphernalia dotting the walls, to the full rack of records and the ceiling-high stacks of amps, Rat's been tirelessly playing and cataloguing music for damn near his whole existence. He can talk at a rapid clip about his latest musical ongoings, be it a Matador labelhead buying a tape of a recent recording project (local one-woman band Smut), or Paul Rodgers of Bad Company fame stopping by to record a couple one-off ditties for his girlfriend.

We at New Times sat down with the ever-industrious Bastard for a chat about his upcoming yearly experimental fest, the International Noise Conference.

See also: International Noise Conference 2015's 182-Act Lineup

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Miami's Five Best Concerts This Week

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Photo by George Martinez/gmartnx.com
Good music can change your life.

A cool concert on a Monday... Life doesn't get much better.

But when you throw in tuneage from English singer-songwriter Ben Howard at the Fillmore Miami Beach, Michael Bolton's kitschy classic jams at the Hard Rock Live, and Grand Hustle boss man T.I. at the BB&T Center, you're in for possibly one of the best weeks of 2015 thus far.

Just check out the five best concerts going down this week.

See also: New Times' Concert Calendar

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Lord of the Rings' Elijah Wood Is DJ'ing at Bardot Miami

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Via facebook.com/OfficialElijahWood
DJ Frodo Elijah Wood on the ones and twos.

What does a hobbit do after destroying the One Ring and saving Middle-earth from becoming slaves to the Dark Lord Sauron? Become a DJ, of course.

At least, that's what Elijah Wood's been up to since his Frodo days with The Lord of the Rings.

And this Thursday, he'll be hitting the Magic City for a DJ gig as Wooden Wisdom with Zach Cowie on the carpet stage at Bardot Miami.

See also: Miami's Top Ten Hipster Bars

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Miami's Five Best Concerts This Week

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Photo by Monica McGivern
Here's to kick ass music this week!

Waking up at the crack of dawn, having to deal with chatty co-workers way too early in the morning, and attending never-ending meetings ... Yeah, Mondays can be pretty brutal.

But when you live in Miami, there's one thing that'll make everything alright with the world: music. And when you've got the city's five best concerts to look forward to, you'll start to realize that maybe Mondays aren't so bad after all.

Check out this week's picks, from Periphery at Revolution to Ex Hex at Churchill's Pub and of Montreal at Grand Central.

See also: New Times' Concert Calendar

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King Tuff: "Rock Needs a Primitive Aspect to It"

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Photo by Dan Monick
How tuff is King Tuff... Perhaps too tuff.

King Tuff's Kyle Thomas does not have all the answers. Shit, why should he?

The Vermont native has already explored enough facets of the guitar-wielding arts to make any casual player seem innocuous. So why pester him in these nascent days of garage rock's revival? Oh yes, why not? He's a musical confidant of post-punk's most terrible enfant terrible, J. Mascis, in the stoner-doom outfit Witch. But more importantly, Thomas has invented and reinvented himself.

With the pop neo-surrealist psych of Feathers and the punkish punk of Happy Birthday, he was only looking for a voice.

We recently had a chance to pester the him about rock 'n' roll. Here's what he had to say.

See also: Five Signs You Might Be a Shitty Guitarist

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Grey 8s on Starting as a Church Band: "They Looked Down on Us Listening to Black Sabbath"

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Courtesy of Grey 8s
Grey 8s' Andres Bedoya, Danny Burns, and László Piringer.

"If you add up the numbers in 2015, you get eight," says Danny Burns, singer, guitarist, songwriter, and numerologist for Miami garage rock band Grey 8s, when asked about his plans for the upcoming year.

The group began in Dania, where Burns and drummer Andres Bedoya formed the foundation of a church band. According to the guitarist, it didn't take long for them to realize their musical tastes and religion might not be a holy union.

See also: Five Signs You Might Be a Shitty Guitarist

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