The Vulnerable Reason Billy Joel Refuses To Write New Songs, Liberty DeVitto Explains

Despite still being active in the music industry, Billy Joel kept from releasing new songs following his twelfth studio album in 1993. His former drummer, Liberty DeVitto, shed light on this decision during a recent chat on The Booked On Rock Podcast. He recalled:

“After ‘River of Dreams’ came out, the first thing we did was to play at the Letterman Show because [David] Letterman had just switched together a TV station. And I remember being in a dressing room, and I walked in on him, said, ‘I heard you’re not gonna write songs anymore.’ He said, ‘No, I’m done. I don’t wanna expose myself anymore.'”

Explaining Joel’s viewpoint, the drummer went on:

“Because all the songs were written about – I wanted to ask them. I said, ‘How do you write these songs?’ He said, ‘I write about life as it is or how I wish it would be. That’s how I write the songs.’ Then, he said, ‘I’m tired of exposing myself. Letting myself out there.’ And he was very discouraged with the business. You know, so many people ripping him off. It’s a terrible business.”

Earlier this year, the singer himself discussed his decision with The Los Angeles Times. He mentioned a lack of motivation to create new music and added:

“It also just got to a point where it was getting excruciating for me to write. The enjoyment went out of it. I just read an interesting quote by [Ernest] Hemingway. Someone asked him, ‘Why is it so easy for me to read your stuff?’ And Hemingway said, ‘Because it was so goddamn hard for me to write.'”

Recently, Joel also announced that he was ending his monthly residency at Madison Square Garden in 2024. Still, his 150th performance at the venue will not be his last live performance, as he made clear during the press conference in June.