Foreword by Billy Joel
For thirty years, Liberty DeVitto was the driving force behind one of the biggest pop artists of all time. With his intense drive, endless creativity, and New York swagger, Liberty created the grooves for 13 platinum Billy Joel albums that have sold over 150 million copies, and wrote and performed the drum parts on 22 of Billy’s 23 top-40 hits and all of his 6 Grammy-winning recordings. He toured the world multiple times as one of the most well-known drummers of his era.
The amazing success did not come without a price. This is Liberty’s story: a tale of an Italian-American kid who followed his dream and attained unimaginable success, only to see it crumble before his eyes, and ultimately experience a rebirth after passing through the fire of broken relationships, divorce, substance abuse, the death of a brother and a bandmate—and the pain of losing the persona the world knew as “Billy Joel’s drummer.”
In this compelling memoir, Liberty takes you back to his immigrant roots and ultimate settling on Long Island, a place he recounts in warm detail. He then traces a musician’s journey: early childhood bands, a rise through the local club scene, wedding bands, building a career, his first tours, and then a juggernaut of success, excess, and stardom with Billy Joel.
The making of each of Billy’s albums is recounted in detail, with specific memories from the recording sessions of every song on every album from Turnstiles through Storm Front. Liberty then shares stories from the production and tour for River of Dreams and the end of his tenure with Billy.
Liberty is a tale of following and fulfilling your dream, a love story of a drummer and his drum, and an inside look at the music and career of Billy Joel from the man who viewed it from the best seat in the house: the drum throne.
Liberty DeVitto recorded and toured with Billy Joel for over 30 years. His drum parts have been copied on Broadway and in theaters all around the world. Known as “the songwriter’s drummer,” Liberty appears on recordings that have sold over 150 million copies worldwide. Liberty currently performs with his bands the Slim Kings and Lords of 52nd Street, as well as writing, teaching, and producing music. He is an honorary board member of Little Kids Rock, a member of the Long Island Music Hall of Fame, and an honoree of the State of New York as an Italian American of Distinction (where he was recognized along with actor Tony Danza and NY Governor Andrew Cuomo).
In additional to Billy Joel, DeVitto has also performed or recorded with Stevie Nicks, Karen Carpenter, Paul McCartney, Mitch Ryder, Big People, and many others. Liberty currently resides in Brooklyn, New York, with his family, and loves what he was born to do—play drums.
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