With a family tree this deeply embedded in music, Joey Waronker was practically destined to carry on the tradition. His grandfather, Simon Waronker, was a professional violinist who founded Liberty Records in the 1950’s, a label that counted Eddie Cochran, Bobby Vee, and Johnny Burnette among its artists. Joey's father, Lenny, made his mark as an executive at the Warner Bros. label and as a producer for Randy Newman and Rod Stewart, among other artists. His mother, meanwhile, recorded pop tunes under the name Donna Loren and appeared in beach party movies in the ’60s.
Joey was born on May 20, 1969 in Los Angeles, and was initially exposed to drumming by his uncle, who handed him a copies of Led Zeppelin IV and the Pink Panther soundtrack and suggested that he try and play along. That early exposure blossomed when he made contact with Steve Gadd and Jeff Porcaro, and began taking formal lessons from Freddie Gruber, the legendary drum teacher and close friend of the great Buddy Rich.
Waronker’s drumming career started off in an alternative pop-punk band called Walt Mink. The band's debut album, Miss Happiness, was released in 1992 and did well among college-radio audiences. Soon they were touring with acts like the Lemonheads, Soul Asylum, and Mudhoney.
But in the mid-’90s Waronker quit Walt Mink to work with Beck and to record The Smashing Pumpkins album Adore. Later Waronker went on tour with Beck, but due to the excessive down time, he was always in search of regular work in order to make ends meet.
When Bill Berry left R.E.M in 1998, Waronker found his steady gig. He toured with the band and played on two albums, Up and Reveal. In 2003, Waronker was back with Beck for his Sea Change tour, playing a few shows in Australia and Japan.
In recent years he has also delved into production, working with such artists as Eels and The Incredible Moses Leroy. He has also scored and composed music for movies, including 2000’s Chuck & Buck and 2002’s The Good Girl.