Paul Kantner RIP


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?



Author: pompeypop

University lecturer, longtime local musician and recently historian of popular music - especially in and around Portsmouth. My blog is entirely about that topic

5 thoughts on “Paul Kantner RIP

  1. Happy memories of seeing Jefferson Airplane at the 1st IOW Festival

  2. Loved Jefferson Airplane and also bought Blows against the Empire when it first came out and that record was never off my turntable,a truly remarkable album..l am playing my cd copy right now..R.I.P Paul

  3. …and we’ve just lost Edgar Froese, founding member and keyboard artiste (“keyboard player” isn’t descriptive enough ) of Tangerine Dream. This pioneer of electronic music passed away after suffering a pulmonary embolism on January 20th. He was 70 years of age.

  4. Whoops….just found out Edgar died on Jan 20th LAST year. It must’ve escaped me then…. but in the end? He’s still dead.

  5. Time warp JR! It was reported here last year …

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