Kirk Covington has become recognized as one of the most versatile and dynamic drummers in the world. He has performed and / or recorded with many of the most gifted and revered musicians of all time including Joe Zawinul, Allan Holdsworth, Scott Henderson, Gary Willis, Robben Ford, Leni Stern and Tribal Tech.
Kirk Covington is also an accomplished vocalist and keyboardist. He is the Wild Man From Texas that jazz fusion audiences all over the world are talking about. His energy is infinite and his crowd pleasing personality and vocal ability have been a driving force in the success of the world renowned jazz fusion group Tribal Tech featuring guitarist Scott Henderson, bassist Gary Willis and keyboardist Scott Kinsey.
Coming from a musical family in Midland Texas, and being the youngest of five children, Kirk Covington was encouraged to begin playing drums at age seven by his brother Kyle (who is now a guitarist in the Nashville scene).
By age twelve, Kirk Covington was a full time 'garage band junkie'. "Kyle made me play 'Wipeout' for the older guys all the time, which probably explains my penchant for using single strokes, or what I call 'blender fills'."
Encouraged by his grandmother to play piano in his elementary years, Kirk Covington opted for sports instead and decided to stick to the drums, leaving the piano behind until his senior year of high school.
At age fifteen, Kirk Covington was hauling his drum kit to rock 'n' roll and country gigs around the Midland, Texas region. "By virtue of my age, I was heavily influenced by sixties and seventies rock and was also introduced to jazz through my parents love of swing & big band. In those days you also had to sing if you wanted to land good gigs."
With little formal training, Kirk Covington entered the internationally renowned North Texas State University jazz program. He eventually landed the drum chair in the famous Two O'clock Lab Band, a position that would also create many musical relationships with now famous players, including a young bassist named Gary Willis.
After college, Kirk Covington and Willis continued to work together in Condor, one of the most popular jazz fusion bands in the North Texas region. Condor released an album in 1981 on Inner City Records that spent 4 weeks at #2 on the European Melody Maker Jazz charts. Several notable drummers followed in Covington's footsteps in Condor, including Greg Bissonette and Mike Baker. By this time Kirk had developed a naturally powerful and very soulful vocal style that, combined with his ever growing skills as a drummer and keyboardist, quickly made him one of the most sought after players in the Dallas area. Being a vocalist, keyboardist, songwriter and drummer also led to several national promotional spots, writing and performing corporate jingles and radio & TV spots.
Encouraged by the success that bassist Gary Willis and other North Texas musical associates found in relocating to Los Angeles, Kirk Covington decided it was time to pack up his family and make the big move. It was Covington's strong keyboard and vocal abilities that secured steady work for him in the first critical months. "Singing was really a normal thing for me" says Covington. "I've always been able to use it for its work value, but more and more I'm able to enjoy it as another avenue of musical expression."
In the spring of 1991, the jazz fusion band Tribal Tech, (a group that bassist Gary Willis and guitarist Scott Henderson had put together through their working relationships with such artists as Chick Corea, Joe Zawinul, Wayne Shorter and as instructors at Hollywood's now famous Musicians Institute), began a search for a new drummer. They needed a player whose technique was as flawless as their own; a visionary player who could help carry Tribal Tech into the next decade. The search ended with Willis's Texas buddy Covington.
Kirk Covington's success in Tribal Tech has propelled him into the spotlight as the animated backbone of 'Tribal' shows world wide. His inventive drumming has been captured on the last three 'Tribal' releases on Mesa / Bluemoon Records, Illicit (1992), Face First (1993), and Reality Check (1995). Two new Tribal Tech
recording's Thick (1998), and Rocket Science (2000) demonstrate the band's new direction into more of an improvised 'jamming' style.
Guitarist Scott Henderson has also recruited Covington onto his solo recording efforts. Henderson's Dog Party CD, released in '94, featured Covington on drums and also unleashed Kirk's vocal talents on seven tunes. Dog Party is Henderson's most successful recording to date, and was voted Best Blues Record of the Year by Guitar Player Magazine (Jan. '95 issue) receiving more votes than B.B. King's Blues Summit (#2) and Eric Clapton's From The Cradle (#3). Covington can be heard locking down the groove on Henderson's most recent burning blues release Tore Down House on Mesa / Bluemoon released in April 1997.
Kirk Covington's successful endeavors with Tribal Tech have led him to the calling of another of the 20th century's greatest guitar virtuosos, Allan Holdsworth.
Holdsworth enlisted Covington, Gary Willis (bass) and pianist Gordon Beck for his most recent release titled None Too Soon after having done a session with them for a Mike Manieri collection of Beatles tunes. None Too Soon finds this group of phenomenal players covering jazz standards by Django Reinhardt, Irving Berlin, Joe Henderson, Bill Evans, The Beatles, and four new tunes by Gordon Beck.
None Too Soon was voted CD Of The Year by Audiophile Imports in 1997.
Modern Drummer Magazine Aug. '96 issue featured A Different View with Holdsworth, in which Holdsworth speaks highly of Covington, commenting,"I would really look forward to playing with him (Covington) in a context that is outside the one we just did." (which is straight ahead modern bebop) "I would love to have a chance to play with him on my own music."
Covington headlined the 1995 Montreal Drum Festival in which his inspiring performance with bassist Gary Willis and Tribal keyboardist Scott Kinsey brought the enthusiastic crowd to their feet. Modern Drummers May "96 issue exclaims, "The entire Drum Fest was brought to a dynamic conclusion with the performance of Kirk Covington." The Montreal Drum Fest was recorded and is available on CD. Covington's stunning drum solo opens the Drum Fest CD followed by the Tribal Tech tune "Foreign Affairs" performed by Covington, Willis and Kinsey.
A 10 page feature story on Kirk can be found in the November '96 issue of Modern Drummer magazine with Bill Milkowski discussing Kirks past, present and future ambitions along with his many prolific accomplishments. Kirk was also the featured cover artist in the European drum magazine Slagwerkkrant (May/June issue 1998).
He is performing on the new solo release titled "Bent" from Tribal Tech bassist Gary Willis. Kirk can also be heard, along with Dave Weckl and bassist Victor Wooten, on the release from fusion bassist Adam Nitti titled 'Balance' on Renaissance Man Records.
In the summer of 1998 Kirk Covington was asked to join The Zawinul Syndicate, featuring the legendary keyboardist Joe Zawinul. Although Kirk spent half a year working with The Zawinul Syndicate, he continue's to work with Tribal Tech as well as Scott Henderson's blues project.
Eclipsing all that Kirk Covington has achieved will be his much anticipated solo release in which Covington will incorporate his drumming, vocal and keyboard talents into a variety of musical styles that will be sure to astonish many of the followers of The Wild Man From Texas & Mac176.