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Joey Covington, 67, drummer for Jefferson Airplane

Updated: July 8, 2013 6:46AM

PALM SPRINGS, Calif. — Joey Covington, a former drummer for Jefferson Airplane, died in a car crash in Palm Springs Tuesday night.

Jefferson Airplane’s successor band Jefferson Starship posted “Rest in peace, Joey,” on its Facebook page Wednesday afternoon.

Police were called at 4:53 p.m. Tuesday to an intersection where Mr. Covington, 67, crashed his Honda Civic into a retaining wall, according to the coroner’s report. He was not wearing a seat belt.

A guest at a nearby hotel tried to resuscitate Mr. Covington, who died at the scene.

Mr. Covington replaced Spencer Dryden as the Airplane’s drummer from 1970-72. Before that, he was with the Airplane offshoot Hot Tuna and played congas on the 1969 Airplane album “Volunteers.”

Mr. Covington co-wrote several Airplane songs, including “Pretty as You Feel” and the 1976 tune “With Your Love.”

Producer and drummer Alvin Taylor met Mr. Covington while Taylor was with band Pacific Gas & Electric, known for its 1970 hit “Are You Ready?” Mr. Covington had just hooked up with members of Jefferson Airplane, having been one of the founding members of side project Hot Tuna. The two drummers were fast friends.

“Joey was just down-to-earth, the most honest person, loving — he really loved his wife, Lauren, with all of his heart — just a very kind, considerate, jovial person,” Taylor said in a phone interview, his voice cracking.

Police don’t believe alcohol or drugs were involved. Keith McCormick, a close friend of Mr. Covington’s, said Mr. Covington’s wife suspected he had a stroke or heart attack before the accident.

Gannett News Service, with AP contributing

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