Joey Heredia is a remarkable drummer who blends a multitude of styles, impeccable timing, and unbelievable skill to achieve a unique level of playing making him one of the best in the business. His credits include luminaries like Stevie Wonder, Sheila E, Sergio Mendez, Herb Alpert, Tania Maria, Scott Henderson, Frank Gambale, and Dianne Reeves.
It's not surprising that Joey Heredia became a musician. His mother was a famous singer throughout Mexico, Central and South America in the 1940's and 1950's, and his father, a drummer, was a session player in Los Angeles. Although this appears the perfect recipe for creating a great musician, it wasn't. Joey's mother retired when he was born, and when Joey was only 4 his father had a stroke ending his father's drumming. Growing up in East Los Angeles was definitely rough, and his mother was extremely cautious of Joey's desire to become a musician. She knew exactly how tough the business was and wasn't sure about her son following that path.
Joey Heredia was persistent, and they struck a bargain. He could follow his musical path - if he kept his grades up. On his 16th birthday Joe's tenacity paid off and his parents relented and finally bought his a Slingerland drumset. He immediately began practicing to Blood, Sweat & Tears, Chicago, and Tower of Power records.
Blessed with an incredible innate talent Joey Heredia was playing gigs before his 18th birthday. Most of these bands were Top-40 bands playing for primarily Latin audiences in East Los Angeles., This meant the bands usually included from 2 to 5 horns, a full rhythm section, and played Salsa too. When they didn't have a full rhythm section Joey had to cover the timbale, conga, and cowbell parts. This came naturally to Joey, he'd grown up listening to the records his father would play and had started naturally imitating what he heard on the records on his kit.
The next step in Joey Heredia's evolution as a drummer came when he met his "mentor" Steve Loza (keyboard player/trumpeter) a professor of ethnomusicology at UCLA and author of the book on music of the Barrio and Chicano/Mexican artists from East Los Angeles. He broadened Joey's horizons by introducing him to jazz and classical music, changing Joey's direction from wanting to be the famous drummer playing huge stadiums, to being a formidable jazz drummer. Steve also reinforced Joey's father's desire that Joey should formally study music.
Joey Heredia enrolled in East Los Angeles Junior College, and then went onto Los Angeles City College, studying theory, reading, and the art of the big band. At one point he was playing in 5 different big bands a week.