Jefferson Airplane Drummer Joey Covington Crashes and Passes in Palm Springs Accident

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Rock & Roll Drummer Hits The Wall & Dies

Joey Covington

PALM SPRINGS, CA – Rock and roll drummer Joey Covington died Tuesday night after his vehicle left the pavement and crashed into a wall.

Several years ago he relocated to Palm Springs where he was last heard beating the skins on Saturday June 1, 2013 in a community concert celebrating Marilyn Monroe’s 87th birthday beneath the gigantor Forever Marilyn statue in downtown Palm Springs.

Covington, age 67, died at the scene. Palm Springs police were called at 4:53 to Belardo Road and South Palm Canyon Drive. There the Honda Civic had crashed into a retaining wall, according to a Palm Springs Police Sergeant Paul Abshire. Although an attempt was made to revive the driver that was unsuccessful as the victim was not wearing a seat belt.

Covington was headed south on Belardo and crashed where the road curves to the east.

Joey Covington

“He left the roadway. We don’t know why he left the roadway,” said Palm Springs Police Sergeant Paul Abshire who explained that apparently Covington’s car hit a log at the bottom of the wall. The force of impact launched it onto an elevated driveway above the crash site outside the Best Western Inn At Palm Springs.

Abshire cautioned there is no reason to believe that alcohol and/or drugs were contributing factors. One of the former drummer’s friends told the Desert Sun newspaper that his wife believes that her husband could have suffered a stroke or heart attack just before the fatal accident, according to the London Daily Mail.

Joseph “Joey” Edward Covington was born June 27, 1945 in East Conemaugh, Pennsylvania and is a drummer, best known for his involvements with Hot Tuna and Jefferson Airplane.

As a self-taught drummer since the age of 10, Covington was also known in his childhood as Joey Michno. He helped found Blues-rock group Hot Tuna in 1969, alongside Jefferson Airplane members Jack Casady and Jorma Kaukonen, while the latter band was still in its beginnings.

Joey Covington Final Performance at Marilyn Monroe 87th birthday party in Palm Springs

Pamela Berry / Desert Vortex News

Joey Covington final performance at Marilyn Monroe 87th birthday party in Palm Springs

However, the recordings he did for Tuna were unreleased and he eventually rejoined Casady and Kaukonen with the Airplane and featured on three studio albums, the first being Volunteers; as he replaced Spencer Dryden midway through the recording process. He wrote and sang the last hit for the Jefferson Airplane in 1971’s “Pretty As You Feel” featured on the Bark Album.

Covington left Jefferson Airplane in mid-1972 to pursue a solo career, starting with Fat Fandango. He subsequently faded from view, only resurfacing sporadically, like in 1976’s Spitfire by Jefferson Starship, where he co-wrote the hit single “With Your Love”.

Throughout the 1980s and 1990s he toured with various configurations as The San Francisco Allstars. For more see


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Dean M Gray

Writer, Artist & Publisher at Desert Vortex News
Dean started in the newspaper business at the age of nine earning 90 cents a week walking 4 miles delivering a newspaper door to door. 500 miles later he began writing his way out of a paper bag and traveling uphill.

For over 40 years Dean has been published in a variety of small newspapers and magazines. As publisher he founded an alternative city weekly newspaper in 2008 and published over 200 uninterrupted issues over 4 years to over 20,000 readers via 800 locations (and online) before selling the business. Now online with over 4 million readers worldwide.

Dean is a Master Carpenter and the author of the biography of Hilda M Gray, desert homesteader. He served as Planning Commissioner for the city of Desert Hot Springs from January 2014 to January 2015 when he resigned.

Dean M Gray is a member of the Society of Professional Journalists and Investigative Reporters and Editors and lives in Palm Desert, California.
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