Saturday, January 30, 2016
They are going so damn fast. Paul Kantner died this week at age 74. The brains behind the Jefferson Airplane, the psychedelic rock, the guy who put out entire albums about the deteriorating political scene is gone. And we are worse off for it.
The Jefferson Airplane was born out of counter culture breaking free in San Francisco in the mid 60s. The Airplane, once the power joined in one Grace Slick, did break free and hit the national scene. Along with Marty Balin and Jack Casady and Jorma Kaukonen and a slew of Spinal Tap like drummers (why is it always the drummers who get fucked over) Kantner and the Airplane became headliners. The hits, of course, were the driving force, but Kantner was seemingly putting up with the hits to play his own spacy music. You could tell the Kantner songs a mile away. He sang rarely but when he did it was just attention getting. Slicks power voice and Balin's soft crooner voice were fine, but Kantner was the guy I wanted to hear on the albums.
I never saw the Airplane, but after the internal feuding took over and Kantner went forward with Grace to form Jefferson Starship, I saw them numerous times. It was just as spacey as ever when Kantner would launch into anything other than the hits. Have You Seen The Saucers, Ride The Tiger, and that entire album I would become obsessed with back in 1975, Blows Against The Empire. God I loved that album. Even though by the time I was into it it was already 4 or 5 years old, it blew my mind. The whole concept was just fascinating and the list of musicians was like a who's who of San Francisco treats. The Dead, David Freiberg, David Crosby, Graham Nash, god that was a cool time.
But Paul is gone now. The space has him and he knows the truth.
Who can forget Paul at Altamont sarcastically thanking the Hells Angels for punching Marty Balin?
Another one gone. Damn.