by Lola Rossi-Meza
Show Producer and musician Alvin Taylor & The Joey Covington All Star Band take the stage on Saturday, August 31, at 8 p.m. to celebrate the life of Joey Covington at The Hood Bar and Pizza located at 73-850 Highway 111 in Palm Desert. (760) 636-5220. Tickets are $20 in advance by calling Promoter and Spokesperson David Ross at (760) 766-6733 or stop by Musicians Outlet or The Hood. Only 300 tickets are available. The good news, Live Streaming Video is being provided by Michaelz Media and QV Live Streaming for $6 done special for his fans all over the world. Log onto www.CovingtonTribute.MichaelzMedia.com. More information regarding the entertainment line-up will be in the next issue of the CV Weekly.
Born and raised with two brothers and three sisters in Johnstown, Pennsylvania, Joseph Michno legally changed his name to Joey Covington in the late 1970s because “he felt that having ‘no’ at the end of his name was negative,” said his wife Lauren Taines. “His mother was an aspiring country western singer and his father was signed to the New York Yankees as a pitcher before World War II. However, he was injured during the D-Day Invasion and was unable to continue with his baseball career.”
Covington became a professional drummer at ten years old, playing in polka bands at VFW Lodges while his parents chaperoned. At fourteen, he played in strip clubs in the area. He was part of the East Conemaugh High School Marching Band and played in a hot rod band that won a few Battle of the Bands and later started singing while playing the drums. At eighteen, he enlisted in the Navy because he was told he could be a tympani drummer in the Navy Band. Before he shipped out, he was in a car accident with the band and that changed the course of his life. He believed in his God given talent, and followed his dream.
The web-site link “So You Wanna Be A Drummer” has Joey Covington telling about how he first got started in New York City on his road to fame and fortune. It is a great story and adds another dimension to this great self-taught drummer, percussionist, singer, award winning songwriter, record producer and friend.
In the early to mid-1960s, he was playing with bands that opened shows for the Rolling Stones, Dave Clark 5, Shangri’ La’s, Lee Dorsey, 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.
Covington headed to Los Angeles in late 1966. He was quickly discovered and produced by famed producer/songwriter Kim Fowley as a singing drummer. The single released was a cover of the Who’s “Boris The Spider“ with “I’ll Do Better Next Time” on the B side – the first song Covington ever wrote. He co-formed several bands in Los Angeles during that time.
He was brought to San Francisco in mid-1968 by Airplane founder Marty Balin. A member of Jefferson Airplane, Covington at first co-formed Hot Tuna with Jefferson Airplane members Jorma Kaukonen and Jack Casady in late 1968 with Hot Tuna opening shows for the Airplane. In early 1969 Joey was playing in both Hot Tuna and augmenting, then ultimately replacing Airplane drummer Spencer Dryden. His first recording with the Airplane was the classic 1969 album Volunteers, appeared on the group’s final albums, writing and singing “Pretty As You Feel” the last hit song for Jefferson Airplane before the band splintered into separate groups, Hot Tuna and Jefferson Starship. He also appeared on the other band members solo album projects.
Covington recorded his solo album Fat Fandango for Jefferson Airplane’s record label Grunt Records. The single “Your Heart Is My Heart” and the album was released worldwide resulting in high album sales and critical acclaim. Never quite leaving the Airplane family, he co-wrote the award winning and multi-platinum hit in 1976 for Jefferson Starship, “With Your Love” and Papa John Creach’s only top 40 hit “Janitor Drivers A Cadillac”. He remained musically active throughout his life. For the most up to date information see JoeyCovington.com or JeffersonAirplane.com
Lauren Taines was born in Detroit, Michigan and raised in North Miami, Florida. She and Covington met in Los Angeles in 1989 at Nan and Max Gail, Jr.’s house during an Indian Sweat Lodge and Baby Shower. “It was love at first sight,” said Taines. “Joey didn’t give me a chance to say ‘no’ and we’ve been together ever since.”
Covington performed on June 1, 2013 during the Marilyn Monroe Birthday Celebration for his friend Keith McCormick. According to Taines, her husband wasn’t feeling good one week prior to the fatal accident, because he thought he had a mild stroke. June 4, 2013 was a very sad day. She believes he had another mild stroke and blacked out before impact. He was wearing his seat belt.
“Joey wore his heart on his sleeve. He never said ‘no’ to anyone needing help. He made himself very accessible to people and never had an attitude. He will be sorely missed by those who loved him, his friends and his fans.”