96: Liberty Devitto
Liberty Devitto says he was lucky to be the right age when The Beatles appeared on the Ed Sullivan Show. He learned to play drums by listening to Ringo Starr’s parts and playing along to records. Why the drums? “Because they didn’t make Prozac back then.”
Still, Liberty says he “likes music better than drums”. Maybe that’s why he’s often called a song drummer. In the recording studio, he’s much more likely to be reading the lyrics than the sheet music. Devitto played with Billy Joel for nearly 30 years, played on all the big records and hits, and toured the world countless times. His sound, style and feel are iconic.
Then, at age 50, Liberty was faced with a new reality. Here we talk about the journey from restless funny kid to veteran hit maker, and what makes him a “New York style drummer”. And we tackle the important questions, like do we choose to be musicians because we’re nuts, or does becoming a musician makes us nuts?
This episode features an additional bonus intro conversation with Michael Sackler-Berner, who plays in The Slim Kings with Liberty, and who helped to arrange the interview.