Billy Joel Drummer Liberty DeVitto is Musicians and Beyond Episode 71 Guest
Updated: Oct 25
New Yorker Liberty DeVitto was the "Drum Man" for the "Piano Man" for over 30 years. He collaborated with his life long friend Billy Joel on some of the biggest hits in Rock n' Roll. "Only The Good Die Young" and "New York State of Mind" are just a couple where you can hear the energetic, New York style drummer influencing the songs of a generation.
When they first met (Joel age 17 and Liberty 16) they were playing in different bands, but in the same underage club on Long Island. Years went by and Billy was moving back to the city from LA and looking to start a new band, Liberty was recommended by Doug Stegmeyer and the rest is Rock n' Roll history. Billy, Doug (bass) and Liberty began recording. Ultimately, they brought in fellow members: Russell Javors (guitar), Howie Emerson and Richie Cannata (saxaphone).
While he is credited as a drummer on 13 multi platinum records that have sold a combined total of 150 million units worldwide and he is as talented a drummer as they come, Billy Joel unceremoniously let him go, as he did with every other member from the original group that took him to stardom. Liberty tells us how he learned he was let go and what he believes led up to Joel's decision. Billy and Liberty have reconciled; Billy wrote the foreword to Liberty's book.
"Life, Billy and the Pursuit of Happiness" is a wonderful read that details Liberty's relationships; the good, the bad and the ugly. His looks back at his family history and his journey outside of the music world that made him the man he is. We learn what is was like to rise to stardom alongside his best friends and be on top of the world, only to tumble back down and lose just about everything. His memoir is honest, at times dark and other times reveals the highs that make everything worth the ride.
Liberty is at home behind his kit making music. His current projects the "Lords of 52nd Street" and "Slim Kings" are two drastically different projects that bring Liberty a lot of happiness. We also talk about the documentary film, "Hired Gun" and what is was like taking part in that process. Listen in to Episode 71 as Liberty takes us deep into a great conversation.
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