Raised in Santa Cruz, Joey joined his first band, The Adolescence, in 1980 at the age of 15. Meanwhile, his drum teacher, Rick Walker of Tao Chemical, was introducing him to the work of Miles Davis, John Coltrane, Tony Williams, and Jack De Johnette, leading him in a jazz and R&B direction. He moved to Los Angeles at the age of 20 and eventually formed Shiva Burlesque, which became Grant Lee Buffalo. He also toured with Carmaig de Forest, and was in the original line-up of Cracker. More recently, he has played with a New York-based alt-country band called Rusty Truck and worked on various film projects.