Former Jefferson Airplane drummer Joey Covington was killed Tuesday afternoon in Palm Springs, California, when the car he was driving slammed into a wall near a curve at Belardo Road. He was 67 years old. A local ABC News affiliate reports that Covington had not been wearing a seat belt at the time of the accident, and was pronounced dead at the scene. He was identified later by the Riverside County Coroner’s Office. There were no passengers in his vehicle when it crashed.
In 1968, Covington joined Hot Tuna, the Jefferson Airplane spinoff group formed by founding guitarist Jorma Kaukonen and bass player Jack Casady. After appearing as a guest musician on the Airplane’s 1969 album, Volunteers, Joey was asked to become a member of the group in 1970 following the firing of longtime drummer Spencer Dryden.
Covington appeared on only one full Jefferson Airplane album, 1971’s Bark, which includes a song he co-wrote, “Pretty as You Feel,” that was the group’s last charting single. He also contributed to Airplane singer/guitarist Paul Kantner‘s star-studded 1970 solo effort, Blows Against the Empire.
Covington quit the Jefferson Airplane in 1972, having previously exited Hot Tuna in 1970, and eventually went on to form his own short-lived band, Fat Fandango. In addition, Joey co-wrote Jefferson Starship‘s 1976 hit “With Your Love,” which peaked at #12 on the Billboard Hot 100.
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