For roughly three decades, Liberty DeVitto was the quite literal driving force behind Billy Joel’s biggest hits and countless concerts. But the toll that level of success and excess eventually took on the New York-bred drummer was high – again literally and figuratively. As the touring miles and recording sessions piled up, so did the damage done to DeVitto’s personal life. The cliched cycle of sex, drugs and rock and roll led to the all-too familiar outcomes of too much drink, drugs, and divorces. Once a big shot drummer for one of the world’s biggest rock stars, DeVitto eventually found himself figuratively staring straight into the title of one of Joel’s many hits: “Only the Good Die Young.” Fortunately, DeVitto weathered the storm and is ready to share his life story, which as of today has a happy ending.
I recently spoke with DeVitto about his just-released new book, “Liberty: Life, Billy and the Pursuit of Happiness,” and his band The Slim Kings‘ upcoming album The Kings County Classic, available October 16. Listen to the entire conversation below.
“So now I’m in the eighth grade when The Beatles were on The Ed Sullivan Show. My parents get me a set of drums. And I asked my dad later in life, ‘why did you get me drums?’ He said because they didn’t make Prozac when you were a kid.”