Whittie Joel: Whitman’s hottest Billy Joel Tribute Band

Carmel Stephan, prefers not to be perceived

“A cup coke, a cup of sprite
Perhaps two cans of Yerba tonight
We’ll find a table near the grill
In our old familiar place,
You and I face to face”

Illustration by Kimberly Auran.

That there is the first verse of Scenes from a Cleveland Dinner by Whitte Joel, a new Billy Joel Tribute band, created by and for Whitman students. Founding members and childhood next door neighbors Kai Allens (vocals, keys, accordion, saxophone, flute) and Owen Miller (bass) grew up listening to Joel in their hometown of Round Hill, VA.

Miller, more of a Rod Stewart fan, describes the band as “not just an exploration and personalization of Joel’s illustrious career, but also a tribute to many of Joel’s contemporariessuch as Rod Stewart….” and then I stopped listening because:
A. Every word spilling out of his mouth reeked of condescension and,
B. I couldn’t give less of a shit about Rod Stewart.

Allens, who considers himself the “real life piano man,” envisions the band as “the purest tribute to the best and most ingenious music maker this world has ever seen.” Allens himself has never heard any music that wasn’t written or performed by Joel, and learned how to play five different instruments by ear strictly from the songs “Vienna”, “Just the Way You Are” and “Movin’ Out”.

Come to think of it, I don’t believe Allens mentioned any songs that were not on Joel’s fifth and breakthrough album, The Stranger. It is possible that Allens has only ever listened to one album of music in his entire life.

The band is hoping to collaborate with some of the other on campus bands to recreate “the magic of the 1994 Face to Face Tour.” The band is also looking for a guitarist because Allens thinks plucking guitar strings hurts too much, and Miller is too busy talking about his “great taste in music” to people who’d rather drink piss than listen.