5 Drummerszone artists - Joey Waronker

Joey Waronker
* May 20, 1969
United States
Joseph "Joey" Waronker is an American drummer and music producer. He was a student of the renowned teacher, Freddie Gruber. He plays left-handed. Some of the most notable acts Joey has played with, include Beck, Paul McCartney, Johnny Cash, REM, The Smashing Pumpkins, Norah Jones, Elliot Smith, and Air.

Having famous forefathers can only get you so far. Hence Joey Waronker, son of legendary record producer and executive Lenny Waronker, decided to succeed on his own terms.

Joey's grandfather was professional violinist Simon Waronker, who in the 1950s founded Liberty Records, which counted Eddie Cochran, Bobby Vee and Johnny Burnette among its artists.

Joey's father, Lenny Waronker, made his mark as an executive at the Warner Bros label and as a producer of works by Randy Newman, Rod Stewart and James Taylon among other artists. Joey's mother meanwhile, recorded some pop tunes under the name Donna Loren, and appeared in beach party movies in the '60s.

On Drummers Unlimited Joey recalls his early days:
"My uncle showed me some basics when I was a little kid. He gave me Led Zeppelin IV, the Pink Panther soundtrack and a couple of other things. Basically he said, 'Listen to these and try and play along'. That was sort of it. Later on down the road, I hooked up with a teacher named Freddie Gruben. Now, he's sort of a legendary figure. He's just an amazing teacher educator and person. He's an old jazz musician - he and Buddy Rich I guess were really close friends. He was one of those music teachers, you'd go over to his house, and there'd be a bunch of other students hanging."
Over the past few years, Waronker has played drums for a wide variety of artists including Creeper Lagoon, Crumb, Cibo Matto, Beck, R.E.M., The Smashing Pumpkins, John Doe, Badly Drawn Boy, Idaho, Walt Mink, Semi-Gloss, Tracy Chapman, Johnny Cash, AIR and Elliott Smith. He also recently scored the independent movie Chuck & Buck and The Good Girl.

Joey Waronker got his first record deal at twenty-one with his college band, Walt Mink. After a few years on the road, he moved to my hometown of Los Angeles and began working with then unknown songwriter Beck. A few months later 'Loser' was released and Beck became a household name.

For a short time, Waronker was playing with both Beck and REM. However, in the end the schedules just conflicted too much. Hence he decided te leave Beck. About his time with R.E.M. Waronker reveils on ink19.com:
"When I first played with them at their rehearsal place, we didn't play any old songs. Peter [Buck] said, "I just wrote this song, it goes like this ... " and just played it. It was the most amazing experience for me. I just came up with a part for it and he was like, "That's cool, here's the next section." After a while we had worked out a rhythm track and recorded it. I'd always heard about this sort of mythical process, like wow, they write songs as a band. And there I was. That was enough for me. The next thing I knew I was doing a show with them, the Tibetan Freedom Concert, and doing more recording for 'Up'."

In an interview with Onion AV Club, independent artist and session musican Waronker states:
"I think I just kind of... well, I guess I am a session drummer by trade, yes. But I'm trying to do a lot more than that. (...) I'm sort of at a place now where I do more of my things and less of someone else's. Except, with certain people, it's kind of fun to pick their brain and see what all their ideas are. That's really cool. But generally, I try to do my own thing."
Joey's sister Anna is former frontwoman of That Dog, co-owns the new Five Foot Two label with sister-in-law and Go-Go Charlotte Caffey. Anna also plays in Ze Malibu Kids, a sort of McDonald brothers house band, and has recently been involved with producing albums (Imperial Teens On) and composing for TV and film (Josie & The Pussycats and the Clueless TV series).