He made a career creating the drum beat behind Billy Joel’s greatest hits, and there were many. It would have been enough for most people, but not Liberty!
To understand why is to understand Liberty. As a young boy, watching the Beatles on the Ed Sullivan show made a greater impact than anyone ever knew. And it wasn’t just the guys in the band… He was mesmerized by the instrument that seemed to hold the band together, the drums.
He knew he had to learn how to play, but there wasn’t enough money for lessons. So, Devitto taught himself, something that still amazes all who hear him.
He spent his high school years playing in local bands until near tragedy struck. Devitto was driving the equipment van back from a gig when he was nearly killed in an accident. He was unable to play the drums for over a year.
Instead of stilling his interest it only served to ignite his passion even more. As soon as he was able he was back at it with an energy and joy that was plainly evident to all who saw him perform.
He ended up in a band called Topper, which became Joel’s backup band. You know what happened next, a string of some of the most memorable albums in music history. Liberty became a highly sought after session player, recording with Meat Loaf, Carly Simon, Rick Wakeman, Mick Jones and many others.
When Joel curtailed his touring schedule and was looking for a new sound, Liberty took advantage by himself branching out. He’s collaborated with a number of musicians and can be frequently found playing live in venues all across the New York City scene.
They may be a far cry from sold out stadiums, but Devitto feels as proud of his work now as he ever did.