Joseph "Joey" Waronker (born 20 May 1969 in Los Angeles) is an American drummer and music producer. He is best known as a regular session musician of both Beck and R.E.M., and as member of the experimental rock bands Atoms for Peace and Ultraísta.
Waronker is the son of producer Lenny Waronker and actress and musician Donna Loren, and is the brother of musician Anna Waronker. He was a student of the renowned teacher, Freddie Gruber.
Born in Los Angeles, California, Waronker's first professional project was the indie group Walt Mink in 1990, which he formed at the age of 21 while attending Macalester College. The band's name is taken from that of a former psychology professor at Macalester.
Left-handed Waronker first became known in the late 1990s for his work with Beck (on Odelay, Mutations, Midnite Vultures, Sea Change, Guero and Modern Guilt). He continues to tour and record periodically with Beck.
In 1998, Waronker played drums on two songs ("Bled White" and "Bottle Up and Explode!") on Elliott Smith's XO album. He also appeared on "Stupidity Tries" on Smith's next release, 2000's Figure 8.
In October 1997, R.E.M.'s drummer Bill Berry left the band in pursuit of a quieter life. Seven months later, as R.E.M. rehearsed in Athens, Georgia for a tour in support of that year's Up album, Waronker was asked to come and play with them. His first performance with R.E.M. was in Washington, D.C. at the Tibetan Freedom Concert at RFK Stadium.
Between 1998 and 2002, Waronker toured with R.E.M. and appeared on two albums, 1998's Up and the 2001 release Reveal.
Waronker has played on a wide range of albums since beginning his professional career in the mid-1990s. Highlights include recordings with Paul McCartney, Johnny Cash, Pink, Leonard Cohen, Dwight Yokum, Thurston Moore, Daniel Johnston, Doobie Brothers, Bat For Lashes, Pete Yorn, AIR, Charlotte Gainsbourg, Richard Thompson, Gnarls Barkley, Jeff Martin's Idaho, Brett Dennon, Tracy Chapman, Leona Ness, Sia, John Doe, Five For Fighting, Nelly Furtado, Yusuf (Cat Stevens), Lisa Marie Presley, Willie DeVille, The Vines, Badly Drawn Boy, Rufus Wainwright, and R.L. Burnside.
Some of his drumming can be instantly recognized on The Vines' "Get Free", Smashing Pumpkins' "Perfect", Beck's "Chemtrails" and Air's "Photograph", among others.
He has produced numerous acts, most notably "Tamer Animals" from Other Lives, as well as albums for Priscilla Ahn, Lisa Germano, Eels, and The Moth & the Flame.
In 2009, Waronker joined Thom Yorke, Nigel Godrich, Mauro Refosco and Flea to play material from Yorke's album The Eraser, as well as other original pieces, for three dates in Los Angeles in October 2009. The band, now named Atoms for Peace, then played a brief tour of America in April 2010. Their full length album Amok was released February 25, 2013 on XL Records.
He currently plays drums with his band, Ultraista, formed with bandmates Nigel Godrich and Laura Bettison. Their debut album is due out on Temporary Residence at the beginning of October 2012. A remix single of their song "Smalltalk" was released September 18, 2012 on Ghostly International.
He can be heard on the following releases for 2012: Norah Jones' Little Broken Hearts, Dwight Yoakum's 3 Pears, Leonard Cohen's Old Ideas, M83's Hurry Up, We're Dreaming and Tegan and Sara's 2013 album Heartthrob.
Waronker has an endorsement contract with Istanbul Agop Cymbals and C&C Custom Drum Company.
In 1996, Waronker scored Miguel Arteta's movie Star Maps, followed by Chuck & Buck in 2000 and The Good Girl in 2002. He has also scored several documentary movies for AMC, including 2002's Lost in La Mancha. Other Waronker compositions have appeared in the drama Alias, the sit-com Malcolm in the Middle and on FOX Sports.
His drumming performances have appeared in a number of scores, including Man on the Moon (1999), Badly Drawn Boy's About a Boy soundtrack (2002), Collateral (2004), Dawn of the Dead (2004), and Walking Tall (2004).
Waronker attended Macalester College, from which he graduated in 1993. He is married to the sculptor Lizzy Waronker, with whom he lives with their son in Los Feliz.
Text from this biography licensed under creative commons license