Russell Javors

Rock | 2014

Russell Javors was born in Brooklyn in 1952 and spent his childhood in Plainview. He developed his musical chops in a junior high school band, and at fifteen he began going to My House, a popular club in Plainview, to watch other local bands perform, especially two of his favorites—The Hassles, featuring Billy Joel, and New Rock Workshop, with drummer Liberty DeVitto. Javors and DeVitto became friends, and the two spent many afternoons at DeVitto’s house in Seaford trying to put a band together. Javors was introduced to Doug Stegmeyer in high school. With his parents’ support, Javors met with his musician friends regularly at his house—he and Plainview guitarist Howie Emerson would sit for hours working out guitar parts and arrangements to Javors’ songs. Eventually Javors, Emerson, DeVitto, and Stegmeyer would get together to play; recording sessions with Stegmeyer’s brother, Al, a musician and accomplished engineer, would lead to them forming a band known as Topper. In 1974, Stegmeyer began a fate-changing tour with Billy Joel. When Joel decided to record with New York musicians in 1976, he turned to Stegmeyer, who gradually brought DeVitto, Emerson, and Javors into the fold. The four musicians, with Richie Cannata, would bring their unique spark to the songs that formed Joel’s album Turnstiles. Over the years, Javors also worked with Karen Carpenter, Slash, Phoebe Snow, and Iggy Pop, among others. His work in the toy industry eventually landed him in Hong Kong as vice president of a large Chinese manufacturing company. This led to Javors sitting in with Billy Joel during the Piano Man’s first ever Hong Kong concert.

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