PALM SPRINGS, Calif. - In a video from 1970, Joey Covington hammers away on the drums with Jefferson Airplane. Just one of several bands that Covington contributed to throughout his career.
Keith McCormick is a friend from the valley who helps to put on the Marilyn Monroe Concert series at her statue. He tells us, "In the late 60s early 70s he was Jefferson Starship, Jefferson Airplane, Hot Tuna. He had hits with all those bands and boy does he have some gold records."
Covington helped write several hit songs with Jefferson Airplane and Starship before eventually landing in Palm Springs to retire.
McCormick says, "He was a very gentle individual and boy did he have stories. He could relive stories from the 70s and the 80s, he knew everybody in the music industry and they all appreciated his talent."
The illustrious drummer was still writing music, recently handing off his last song to be recorded by some local friends and artists.
Joann Carey is one of those friends, now waiting to record his last tune. She tells us, "He called Stormin' Norman and I down to Sammy G's and there was a contract with a song. His last song and it was dedicated, devoted to his dad. And it was about him growing up and how proud his dad was of him."
Joey agreed to play a free gig for a Marilyn Monroe celebration in Palm Springs last Saturday, a rare public performance which would end up being his last.
McCormick continues, "This was a great gig for him. The audience were on their feet, it was really stunning to see and when he came off stage signing autographs he just looked at me. He said Keith, this is like back in the old days when I was a big celeb."
Covington died after his car went into a wall Tuesday night but, something about the crash doesn't add up. There were no skid marks at the scene of the accident and no visible tire tracks in the loose sand filling the 30 or so feet between the curb and the wall.
McCormick describes his reaction, "I was devastated when I heard it on the news this morning and you know I went outside, looked and saw there was no real marks so I think he probably had a stroke or a heart attack because he made no effort what so ever to correct the car on that bend."
Flowers and drum sticks now mark the site of the crash where friends, family, and rock and roll suffered the loss of a great man.
A friend who wished to remain nameless stopped by to placed drum sticks at his grave. As he got in his car to drive away he says, "Very sad day. You know what, I have tears in my eyes. That man will be missed, he really will." He also suggested a mural be painted on the wall of Joey riding off on a Jefferson Airplane.
It still will take several weeks before the exact cause of the crash and Convington's death is determined.