Drummer Cafe

Over 25 Years of Drummer Cafe


Serving drummers and percussionists since 1996.

  Joey Covington

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Event Date:
Sunday, June 27, 2021 (This event repeats every year)

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Joey Covington (1999)

Joey Covington, born Joseph Michno on June 27, 1945 in Johnstown, Pennsylvania, was an American drummer, percussionist and vocalist, best known for his drumming with Hot Tuna (1969-1970) and Jefferson Airplane (1969-1972). Throughout his music career, Covington recorded over twenty-two albums — sixteen of those went gold and platinum. He was also a record producer and an award winning songwriter.

Joey was a self-taught drummer who began playing the drums at age 10. By the time he was a teenager, Covington was working professionally with a variety of bands, playing gigs with polka bands as well as taking gigs at local strip clubs.

In the early to mid-1960s, Covington was playing with bands that opened shows for the likes of The Rolling Stones, Dave Clark 5, Shangri' La's, Lee Dorsey (“Working In A Coal Mine”), Lou Christie, Chad and Jeremy, Jimmy Beaumont and the Skyliner's, and a stint playing drums backing up Dick Clark's Caravan of Stars featuring acts such as The Supremes.

As a singing drummer, Joey moved to Los Angeles in late 1966 and was soon discovered by producer/songwriter, Kim Fowley, who produced Joey's first single, a cover of The Who's "Boris The Spider" with the first song Joey ever wrote, "I'll Do Better Next Time," on the B side.

While in Los Angeles, Joey co-founded several bands — Tsong with Mickey Rooney Jr., and a yet to be named band with PaPa John Creach, Jimmy Greenspoon and Joe Shermie. PaPa John would later join Jefferson Airplane, Hot Tuna and Jefferson Starship as well as continue on to have a long solo recording career. Greenspoon and Shermie went on to become members of Three Dog Night.

In the middle of 1968, Jefferson Airplane founder, Marty Balin, brought Covington out to San Francisco to fill in for the current Airplane drummer, Spencer Dryden. In early 1969, Joey started performing with Hot Tuna, a duo formed by Jorma Kaukonen (guitar) and Jack Casady (bass) when Jefferson Airplane was on a hiatus while Grace Slick recovering from throat surgery. Joey played with Hot Tuna on several shows at the Airplane's original club, The Matrix, before Jefferson Airplane resumed performing live to support their Volunteers album, Covington's first recording (playing percussion) with Airplane.

In October 1969, Joey was playing drums with Hot Tuna as the opening act for Jefferson Airplane. In February 1970, Covington took over the drum chair for Jefferson Airplane after the band unanimously voted to let Spencer Dryden go.

Besides appearing on band members solo album projects, Covington's drumming can be heard on two additional Jefferson Airplane albums; Bark (1971) and Long John Silver (1972). He also co-wrote and sang lead vocals on "Pretty As You Feel" — the last hit song from Jefferson Airplane, peaking at #60 on the US music charts.

By mid-1972, Joey left Hot Tuna and Jefferson Airplane to record and produce his solo album, Fat Fandango, for Jefferson Airplane's label, Grunt Records. The album, along with the single, "Your Heart Is My Heart," were released worldwide resulting in high album sales and critical acclaim. Covington went on to co-write the award winning and multi-platinum hit “With Your Love” (1976) for Jefferson Starship and Papa John Creach's only top 40 hit, "Janitor Drivers A Cadillac."

Joey Covington died from a fatal car crash on June 4, 2013; he was 67.


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