Grammy-winning star Billy Joel and his drummer LIBERTY DeVITTO have split after thirty years performing together - because DeVitto accused Joel of having a drinking problem.

The drummer, who has played at every one of the Piano Man's gigs since 1974, claims the problems started at the end of their last tour, when Joel refused to help him out in a time of financial crisis.

Asked why he didn't accompany the singer at his recent show at New York City's Madison Square Garden, Joel's spokesperson tells the New York Daily News, "Artistic differences."

However, DeVitto says, "I guess that's what they call it when you try to tell a friend the truth. I told him I was getting divorced, my ex-wife was getting everything, could he help me out? I helped him create hits, but I wasn't getting any royalties.

"The next day, he had the tour manager tell me, 'No way.'"

Joel then failed to invite DeVitto to his marriage to Kate Lee in 2004, at which point DeVitto approached him about his drinking problem.

He says, "I wrote him a letter, confronting him about his drinking and certain management issues. People said I discredited him. But then he went into rehab and proved me right.

"Billy has said no one is allowed to talk to me."