June 27th 1945 - June 4th 2013
Though best known for his work with Jefferson Airplane, Electric Hot Tuna, and Jefferson Starship, Joey (born Joseph Michno) had a long career starting at age 10 as a self taught drummer/percussionist. Recording on over 22 albums, 16 went gold and platinum. Along his musical journey he became a record producer and an award winning songwriter.
Joey became a professional drummer at age 10, starting in polka bands, strip clubs, rock bands, and any situation to gain experience in his hometown Johnstown, Pennsylvania. The link “So You Wanna Be A Drummer” gives some of his early career memories.
In the early to mid-’60s, he was playing with bands that opened shows for the Rolling Stones, Dave Clark 5, Shangri' La's, Lee Dorsey (“Working In A Coal Mine”), Lou Christie, Chad and Jeremy, Jimmy Beaumont and the Skyliner's, and a stint playing drums backing up Dick Clark's Caravan of Stars featuring acts such as The Supremes.
Joey headed west to Los Angeles late1966. He was quickly discovered and produced by famed producer/songwriter Kim Fowley as a singing drummer. The single released was a cover of the Who's “Boris The Spider with “I'll Do Better Next Time” on the B side (the first song Joey ever wrote). He co-formed several bands in Los Angeles during that period. Tsong with Mickey Rooney Jr., and a yet to be named band with PaPa John Creach, Jimmy Greenspoon, and Joe Shermie. PaPa John later was brought in by Joey to Jefferson Airplane, Hot Tuna, Jefferson Starship and went on to have a long solo recording career. Jimmy & Joe went on to become members of Three Dog Night.
Joey was brought to San Francisco mid 1968 by Airplane founder Marty Balin. A member of Jefferson Airplane, Joey at first co-formed Hot Tuna with Jefferson Airplane members Jorma Kaukonen and Jack Casady in late 1968 with Hot Tuna opening shows for the Airplane. In early 1969 Joey was playing in both Hot Tuna and augmenting, then ultimately replacing Airplane drummer Spencer Dryden. His first recording with the Airplane was the classic 1969 album Volunteers, appeared on the group’s final albums, writing and singing “Pretty As You Feel” the last hit song for Jefferson Airplane before the band splintered into separate groups, Hot Tuna and Jefferson Starship. He also appeared on the other band members solo album projects.
Joey left Hot Tuna, Jefferson Starship, & Jefferson Airplane by mid 1972 to record his solo album Fat Fandango for Jefferson Airplane's record label Grunt Records. The single “Your Heart Is My Heart” and the album was released worldwide resulting in high album sales and critical acclaim. Never quite leaving the Airplane family, he co-wrote the award winning and multi-platinum hit in 1976 for Jefferson Starship, “With Your Love” and Papa John Creach's only top 40 hit “Janitor Drivers A Cadillac”.
Joey remained musically active throughout his life; 1970's through the 1980's he formed San Francisco All Stars and toured the U.S. along with touring with Quicksilver Messenger Service. The 1990's and 2000 brought Joey back down to Los Angeles where he recorded and toured with various All Star Line Ups. All throughout his career he gave back to humanity by making numerous appearances performing for charity.
A “time out” to Palm Springs, California in 2010 turned out to be 3 years. Just as Joey and his wife were packing up to move back to Los Angeles, on June 4, 2013 while driving home, lost control of his car and suffered a fatal accident. Initial Police statements to the media that he wasn't wearing a seat belt is now under controversy as photos of the seat belt show the indentation marks made by the car's airbag when it deployed.
Joey was a colorful outgoing personality, leaving more than a lasting impression on many. Surviving him are wife Lauren, stepsons Sean and Peter Stogel, sisters Sandy, Patti, and Angie, and brother Jimmy Michno. He will be sorely missed by those that loved him, his friends and his fans.
Sister Sandy's last birthday card to Joey, June 2013: “ Now that your birthday has come and gone I can honestly say you are causing the same racket in heaven as you did when we were young in our early teens.”
Click on the links below to navigate his website. And check back as we're working on updates for it.
Lauren, Sean, Peter & The Michno Family
I Thunk (what’s going on now)
ONE DAY AT THE UNION BOARD
WIPE OUT AKA “who rolled the biggest bomber?”
& more to come
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This site was last updated July, 2013