“I don’t know what it is about my Tele, but it’s special. Roy Buchanan tried it and wanted to buy it! I said, ‘No way in hell I’m giving that up’”: Russell Javors on his wild ride with Billy Joel – and his friendship with Les Paul after he was let go

Russell Javors
(Image credit: Getty Images)

If you’re from Long Island, New York, three things remain constant: the pizza, the bagels, and the music of Billy Joel. Fans of the Piano Man know him for hits like My Life, Big Shot and Allentown, which fused doo-wop, rock, R&B and soul – a mix that defined a generation of listeners, especially from Long Island.

Joel might have been the voice, but without his band of New York musicians – Richie Cannata (saxophone), Doug Stegmeyer (bass), Liberty DeVitto (drums) and Russell Javors (guitar) – his music would be flavorless.

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Andrew Daly

Andrew Daly is an iced-coffee-addicted, oddball Telecaster-playing, alfredo pasta-loving journalist from Long Island, NY, who, in addition to being a contributing writer for Guitar World, scribes for Rock Candy, Bass Player, Total Guitar, and Classic Rock History. Andrew has interviewed favorites like Ace Frehley, Johnny Marr, Vito Bratta, Bruce Kulick, Joe Perry, Brad Whitford, Rich Robinson, and Paul Stanley, while his all-time favorite (rhythm player), Keith Richards, continues to elude him.