Drummer Joey Covington, who played with Jefferson Airplane from 1970-72 and later in the offshoot band Hot Tuna, died in a car crash in Palm Springs on Tuesday. He was 67 years old.
His death was confirmed by a post on Jefferson Starship’s Facebook page Wednesday that simply read, “Rest in peace, Joey.”
According to local paper “The Desert Sun,” Covington crashed his Honda Civic into a retaining wall near Belardo Road and South Palm Canyon Drive. The drummer, a resident of Palm Springs, was not wearing a seat belt.
A guest at a nearby hotel tried to resuscitate Covington, to no avail. The Desert Sun reported that police don’t suspect alcohol or drugs were involved. Friend Keith McCormick, owner of McCormick’s Classic Car Auctions, is quoted as saying that Covington’s common-law wife believes a stroke or heart attack led to the crash.
Covington paid his dues with several Bay Area bands in the 1970s — first drumming for Pacific Gas & Electric, known for the 1970 hit “Are You Ready?,” followed by Jefferson Airplane and then side project Hot Tuna, which featured Jorma Kaukonen, Jack Casady and Paul Kantner.
The self-taught drummer can be heard playing percussion on Airplane’s Volunteers album and Jefferson Starship’s “With Your Love,” which he co-wrote.
He was described as a “down-to-earth, kind, considerate and jovial person.”