Slick roasts ad partner Chick-fil-A

Grace Slick and Chick-fil-A make for some strange bedfellows. Slick, possessor of one of the biggest mouths in rock, is an avowed leftie, famed in part for her radical antiwar stance in the late 1960s. Chick-fil-A draws fire on a regular basis for its right-wing affiliations, notably its ministry wing the WinShape Foundation, which has routed millions of its profits to Biblical Christian groups opposed to gay marriage. So when Slick agreed to license the Jefferson Starship hit "Nothing's Gonna Stop Us Now" to the Georgia-based fast-food franchiser, it raised a few eyebrows. Certainly during the Grammys telecast of a week back. Another '60s sellout? Nah. Slick had a plan, one she just shared in a blog post on the web site of capitalist cheerleader magazine Forbes. "I am … [Read more...]

No. 15: ‘Crown of Creation’

"Is it true that I'm no longer young?" Grace Slick sang in "Lather," the luscious and cinematic opening number of "Crown of Creation." Slick was singing about the arrested development of her lover, the Jefferson Airplane drummer Spencer Dryden, but by extension she addressed the fast-forward aging afflicting the San Francisco scene. That sunny Summer of Love had given away to the chill winds of LBJ's 1968. "Crown of Creation" finds the Airplane coming of age, wary but not yet transformed into the jaded radical-chic collective that rolled out "Volunteers" a year later. The erratic and playful psychedelia of "After Bathing at Baxter's" gives way to songwriting for adults: "Long time since I climbed down this mountain before," a weary-sounding Martin Balin sings on "In Time." "Things … [Read more...]

Cream, Tull, Prunes, Airplane spark Q2

Psychedelic music just turned a half century old. Far out. Record labels are celebrating with key rereleases from artists like Cream, the Electric Prunes, Jethro Tull and Jefferson Airplane. Here's a curiously curated preview of psychedelic/'60s music titles due in March and into the second quarter of 2016: Cream's "Disraeli Gears" made the cut as one of the first titles in Universal Music Group's upcoming revival of the half-speed mastered process. The psychedelic touchstone ("Sunshine of Your Love," "Tales of Brave Ulysses") was prepped for its latest audiophile vinyl outing at Abbey Road Studios. "This album was cut from a high-resolution digital transfer from the best known analogue tape in existence," says engineer Miles Showell. (Half-speed mastered albums were popular in the … [Read more...]

Signe Anderson of Jefferson Airplane dies

Signe Anderson, the original female singer in Jefferson Airplane, has died at age 74. Anderson, who sang with bands in Oregon over the years, had suffered from longtime health problems. Her passing of a heart condition in Beaverton, Oregon, came Jan. 28, the same day as the death of Airplane leader Paul Kantner. "One sweet Lady has passed on," Jefferson Airplane cofounder Marty Balin posted as the news broke. "I imagine that she and Paul woke up in heaven and said 'Hey what are you doing here? Let's start a band.'" Anderson sang on the first Jefferson Airplane album, "Takes Off." The album included her best-known song, "Chauffeur Blues." The singer, a new mother, found the road intolerable and decided to leave Jefferson Airplane in late 1966. Her final performances were at the … [Read more...]

Paul Kantner of Jefferson Airplane dies

Paul Kantner, who piloted the Jefferson Airplane through its peak years and beyond, has died. He was 74. Kantner had been in poor health in recent years. He suffered a heart attack a year ago and again in recent days. The cause of his Jan. 28 death was given as organ failure. The singer-guitarist's classic Jefferson Airplane songs include "The Ballad of You and Me and Pooneil," "Martha," "Won't You Try/Saturday Afternoon," "Crown of Creation," "We Can Be Together" and the music for "Eskimo Blue Day." He co-wrote many Airplane songs with singer Marty Balin. Within one year aboard the Airplane, Kantner experienced the highs of rock stardom -- the band's unleashing of "morning maniac music" at Woodstock -- and the lows -- the stabbing of an audience member at the Altamont music … [Read more...]

Airplane drummer Joey Covington dies

Drummer Joey Covington, who played on several late-period Jefferson Airplane albums, has died in a car accident. He was 67. Covington played on several songs on the classic Airplane album "Volunteers" and on all of "Bark." He co-wrote a haunting hit for the Airplane, 1971's "Pretty as You Feel," which he sang with Grace Slick. Covington was a resident of Palm Springs. His car slammed into a wall in the city on the afternoon of June 4. Update: A Covington tribute concert is set for Aug. 31 in Palm Springs. The drummer played with an early version of Hot Tuna, the Jefferson Airplane spinoff band led by Jorma Kaukonen and Jack Casady. For the Jefferson Airplane, he played percussion as a sideman on the "Volunteers" songs "Turn My Life Down" and "Eskimo Blue Day." He performed … [Read more...]

Jefferson Airplane: set lists

Jefferson Airplane songs played in concert, 1967-1974. View more San Francisco band set lists 
3/5 of a Mile in 10 Seconds 
Fat Angel 
Thing
 It's No Secret Hollywood Bowl Sept. 15, 1967
 Somebody to Love
 She Has Funny Cars 
Young Girl Sunday Blues
 Martha
 Two Heads
 It's No Secret Don’t Let Me Down
 Today
 Plastic Fantastic Lover
 Ballad of You and Me and Pooneil 
White Rabbit 
Golden Gate Park,
 San Francisco
 May 7, 1969
 The Other Side of This Life
 Somebody to Love
 The Farm
 Greasy Heart
 Good Shepherd
 Plastic Fantastic Lover
 Uncle Sam Blues 
Volunteers
 White Rabbit
 Won't You Try/Saturday Afternoon 
We Can Be Together 
Mexico 
3/5 of a Mile in 10 Seconds Fillmore East, New York 
Nov. 25, 1970
 Mexico 
3/5 of a Mile in 10 … [Read more...]

No. 10: ‘Anthem of the Sun’

In the fall of 1967, the Grateful Dead had a problem. One of the original big-buzz bands of the San Francisco scene, the Dead fell flat earlier in the year with their highly anticipated debut album. It was a thin and tinny collection dominated by blues and folk covers. The album's cover art was psychedelic all right, but nothing else on the album qualified. "The next one certainly won't be like that in any way," Garcia assured local radio listeners. The heat was on. The Bay Area already had produced a pair of heady psychedelic masterpieces: the Jefferson Airplane's "Surrealistic Pillow" and Country Joe and the Fish's "Electric Music for the Mind and Body." The Dead, however, seemed on course for mere local-legend status. Determined to capture the essence of their psychedelic … [Read more...]

Live Jefferson Airplane CDs sound familiar

CDs of the Jefferson Airplane's live performances have been pretty limited over the years, but that's about to change. The Collectors' Choice Music Live series plans a quartet of live albums from 1966-68, including one that captures Grace Slick's debut as the band's vocalist. The CDs are due Oct. 26. Knowledgeable fans won't get too worked up. These four recordings already are well-traveled on the Internet, most prominently on the authorized online music service Wolfgang's Vault. Meanwhile, on the Grateful Dead beat, Warner and Rhino get back to vinyl with "The Warner Studio Albums," a five-LP boxed set. It marks the 40th anniversaries of "Workingman's Dead" and "American Beauty." List price for the Dead LP set is $135; shipping starts Sept. 21. MP3 downloads of the … [Read more...]

No. 33: ‘Eskimo Blue Day’

"Volunteers" found Jefferson Airplane in a radical mood. The 1969 album was overtly political, while most of the San Francisco group's works to date had been concerned with romance, whimsy and matters of the head. "We are forces of chaos and anarchy," Grace Slick and Marty Balin sang on the opening track, "We Can Be Together." The song shocked the squares and delighted the freak faithful with its soaring cry of "Up against the wall, motherfucker." The band had plugged into radical chic. More widely quoting swearing followed on "Eskimo Blue Day," the seventh track, which saw the group embrace another social revolution: the nascent ecology movement. "The human name doesn't mean shit to a tree," the lyric went, this news just in from the closest redwood. The lyrics came from … [Read more...]

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