Chris DeLisa has always drummed to his own beat.
The Los Angeles Processing and Distribution Center mail handler, 62, grew up in White Plains, NY, where he remembers creating music wherever he could.
“I was always banging on pots, pans and anything to pound,” DeLisa said.
His father, Aldo, a 35-year letter carrier, noticed his son’s interest in music and bought him a drum set from a pawn shop on his delivery route.
The gift ignited a love of music that led DeLisa to later start a rock band and eventually play a gig with one of his music idols.
At first, it looked as if DeLisa’s life might take a less musical turn.
Growing up, he worked off and on at the local Post Office alongside his dad. “I could have begun my postal career after [high school] graduation, but my passion was music,” he said.
At 18, DeLisa was playing drums for different up-and-coming rock bands in New York City before forming his own, Living Loud.
The band built a solid fan base and regularly performed sold-out shows on the club circuit.
His dad attended many of his shows.
“Our music was so loud. One time, his ears were ringing for three days,” DeLisa said with a laugh.
In 1995, Living Loud roared into second place among 2,500 bands at the Grammy Showcase, an annual competition that spotlights new and emerging artists.
DeLisa went on to record music with dozens of artists, including the hip-hop band Brand Nubian and Disney artist Shelby Cobra of KSM.
He said the “biggest highlight” of all came on the night he got to play with the late Billy Preston, who recorded with the Beatles, Little Richard, Sam Cooke and the Everly Brothers.
“It was a dream come true,” DeLisa said.
After more than 40 years in the music industry, DeLisa joined the Postal Service in 2002, finally following in the footsteps of his father, who died in 1997.
“My dad was my biggest fan. He was instrumental in my music career and supportive from the very beginning,” he said.
However, DeLisa hasn’t lost his passion for music. He has a new band, Monster Soul, and is grateful for a long music career that started with a used drum set.
Said DeLisa: “I had a blast. I wouldn’t change a thing.”
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