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Jimmy Destri is a born and bred Brooklynite having lived in around the New York City area his entire 54 years. He currently lives in Windsor Terrace with his wife Roberta and their children James, 11 and Rienna, 3. Though still a partner of the band Blondie, Jimmy is currently serving as a full time drug counselor/therapist at NYC's Carneige Hill Institute while pursing his drug and alcohol license at NYC's C.U.N.Y.
Jimmy Destri was born on April 13, 1954 in Brooklyn N.Y. He grew up in Boro Park attending local catholic schools and went to Bishop Ford High School. He was raised in his Grandmother's house to working class parents of Italian origin. His father was a promising novelist who wrote screenplays and then advertising copy to feed the family, his mother a housewife. His neighborhood was a diverse microcosm of ethnicities and religions. On his block alone he lived side by side with Italians, Jews, Irish, Poles, and Puerto Ricans. Jimmy spent a normal if fairly rough edged Brooklyn childhood, playing stickball and hanging out at the local candy store. Coming of age in the sixties, the British Invasion arrived with a heraldic crash and almost overnight, every kid wanted to be a band.
Jimmy's musical obsession, however, began a lot earlier with his uncle, who played drums for Joey Dee and the Starlighters whose hit record "The Peppermint Twist" landed them 15 to 20 minutes of fame. Having had a vicarious taste of that at 7 years of age, Jimmy started to dream very early on about getting there and lasting a bit longer. His fondest memory is going to see his uncle when he appeared on Dick Clark's American Bandstand. From that moment on, Jimmy started to teach himself to play the drums, bass and piano and put all his efforts into writing music and playing in neighborhood bands. When High School began to interfere with Jimmy's budding musical aims and pot smoking, Jimmy dropped out and formed his first band, the 86 Proof. They played local high schools and wherever else they could find a stage.
Through arduous practice, Jimmy got better and better until he found himself in the right place at the right time - early 1975 in downtown NYC where he met Debbie Harry, Chris Stein and Clem Burke, forming what was then a little known collection of like minded dreamers calling themselves "Blondie".
The rest is history... (see Blondie catalog at Amazon)
Toward the end of that history Jimmy, like so many other musicians of the era and even within his own group, found himself the victim of his own bad choices, leading to a serious drug addiction that nearly killed him and wound up sidelining him from a strangely unforgiving group of partners.
Jimmy left the road and still contributed songs to Blondie, but decided, at age 53, to do something radically different and give something back to others who suffered from the same horror of drug addiction. He returned to school to become a credentialed substance abuse therapist.
At Carnegie Hill Institute, a long established and respected outpatient recovery center in New York City, Jimmy spends 5 days a week helping some of the city's acute and chronically addicted find new life and hope, using the newest therapeutic tools of the trade. He claims that he's been incredibly lucky, not once in life, but twice, having found a new calling that he's equally passionate about.
(2012 Addendum: Jimmy's newest creative endeavor is the rock band "Jimmy Destri And The Sound Grenade", which play a mixture of new songs, Jimmy Destri solo songs, and Destri-penned Blondie hits. Watch for them in your town soon!)