Music News

Ex-Billy Joel drummer tells all in new book 'Liberty: Life, Billy and the Pursuit of Happiness'

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Leland Bobbe

It’s unlikely that Billy Joel fans will ever get a tell-all book from the Piano Man, but now we’ve got the next best thing: a tell-all book from his longtime drummer, Liberty DeVitto.

Liberty: Life, Billy and the Pursuit of Happiness features juicy stories about sex, drugs and rock ‘n roll, and life in the recording studio and on the road with Billy. But it’s also the story of DeVitto’s fascinating family, his childhood, and the inner workings of the music business.

“It’s about, ‘Hey, look, I’m the guy who never took drum lessons and I play on one of the top five albums that’s ever been recorded,” says Liberty.  “I’m a guy that barely made it out of high school, and now I wrote a book! So it’s like, ‘You can do it!'”

DeVitto and Billy recently rekindled their friendship after a long feud, which is why he says he’s releasing the book now, though he’s worked on it for more than 15 years.

I’m not angry [any more],” he admits. “I had to give up the anger because it was eating me up inside.”

Billy pronounced the book “really good,” and also wrote the foreword, in which he gushes that Liberty “provided the power that drove our song arrangements and live performances” and “propelled my music into another dimension.”  The drummer admits he cried when he read that.

“I’ve never been acknowledged as that guy that helped him so much,” he admits. “It kind of verified who I was…because a lot of people are always like, ‘Did you make up those drum parts or did Billy tell you what to do?’…And so now it’s like, everybody knows.”

“[F]or me, it’s a great, great thing,” says Liberty.  “I got my friend back.”

By Andrea Dresdale
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