Albie has alerted me to the death this week of Paul Kantner one of the founding members of Jefferson Airplane. Back in the lovely days of Rosemary they were such an important influence (along with the other ‘Frisco bands) and they made such wonderful music than even one of our favourite Blog Hippy sceptics apparently has one of their tracks as his ‘phone tone. I’ve always believed that to check whether you like the real psychedelia (forget the gnomes and pixies) you can’t go wrong with the two sides of the Airplane album After Bathing at Baxters. It’s a litmus test
I could write reams about the Airplane, SF etc – the whole business occupies a magical place in my life – but I’m going to attach one track by the Airplane’s successors Jefferson Starship with a Pompey Pop story. In truth I didn’t much like where Starship went in the 1970s – too much of rock band for my liking – but back towards the end of 1970 I was doing a gig at the Tricorn in Gilbey Twiss, almost certainly a Cromat gig supporting perhaps Dada (?). I went straight from work (on the seafront) got there early and met the guest DJ for the night, Jeff Dexter – ex-London mod and one of the IOW Festival guys.
He hadn’t eaten so I took him off somewhere (Tricorn? 1970? Tuesday around 5pm? hmm) and we shared a bit of this-and-that. We played our set and then I recall Jeff playing this track (although actually the full works) and me listening with significantly enhanced aural perception. It’s from what I believe was the first Starship album Blows Against the Empire. I was already ‘spaced out’ but this track took me further and it’s one of those tracks indelibly imprinted on what’s left of my brain.
I met Jeff Dexter last year at the launch of Smiler’s Mod book and told him the story. He had a vague memory of it all …
Here goes then – have you seen the stars?