As Billy Joel's longtime saxophone player and Ringo Starr's occasional All-Starr Band music director, Mark Rivera is used to being in the background.
But he steps into the spotlight with today's (February 18) release of "Common Bond," his first-ever solo album.
The set features guest appearances by Joel, Starr, Nils Lofgren and Toto's Steve Lukather, among others.
Rivera's career also includes work with Foreigner, Daryl Hall & John Oates and playing on Peter Gabriel's "So" album, and he tells us that he fully appreciates what a charmed life he's led in music: "I still never lose the fact that I'm standing...Look, I have to say I'm with Billy 33 years, and every night the crowd light sup and every night when we start to play a song like 'Italian Restaurant' or the cheers at the end of 'New York State of Mind' or any one of the quintessential songs that he's written, every night it's the same, like, a thrill... So very night I kinda pinch myself. It's never gotten old."
Rivera continues to tour with Joel, who's next performs February 21 in Pittsburgh and is playing once a month at New York's Madison Square Garden.