January has been a bad month to be a rock star it has seen the passing of David Bowie, Glenn Frey, Dallas Taylor, Dale Griffin (who played drums for Mott the Hoople and David Bowie) and now Jefferson Airplane’s Paul Kantner.
Kantner, who died yesterday (January 28) was a founding member of Jefferson Airplane. Kantner started playing with Marty Balin in a folk group that also had a lead singer in Toly Anderson. Soon Jorma Kaukonen and Jack Cassidy became part of the group which quickly metamorphosed into Jefferson Airplane and the addition of Grace Slick. Jefferson Airplane would soon become a band that defined the “San Francisco sound” with albums like “Surrealistic Pillow” and “Crown of Creation” (both of which went gold) and hit songs like “Somebody to Love”, and “White Rabbit”. By the early 70’s Jefferson Airplane was breaking Kantner went on to record a solo album, “Blows Against the Empire” with Grace Slick singing and he credited the album to Jefferson Starship and the band took its next step in their evolution. The 70’s were the biggest decade for Jefferson Starship receiving much more commercial success. Kantner played with the group until 1984 when he left for health reasons. He returned to the group in 1992 and played with them until his death.
Jefferson Airplane and The Doors had a shared history, The Doors frequently played in San Francisco and when Jefferson Airplane recorded in Los Angeles Doors producer Paul Rothchild asked members of the group to provide part of the cacophony for The Doors’ “Horse Latitudes”. The groups also toured Europe together in 1968 during which the bands would rotate as the opening and closing act. During this tour Kantner and Slick got a look into The Doors and in the video above Kantner has some insightful remarks regarding what he thought Jim Morrison was trying to accomplish in The Doors. The Doors quickly released a statement via Facebook on the death of Kantner saying, “Our condolences go out to the friends, family and fans of Paul Kantner of Jefferson Airplane on the news of his passing. Music would not be the same without the sounds of The Doors and Jefferson Airplane, which both contributed heavily to the signature sound of the Sixties and Seventies.”
It is being argued that January 2016 is seeing the death of the classic rock generation, or that 69 is the new 27, the death of Paul Kantner is another piece in the puzzle for that argument. Paul Kantner died of complications from a heart attack earlier in the week. For a full biography of Paul Kantner please read the Wikipedia note on his life.
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