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Jefferson Airplane Frequently Asked Questions

Here's a list of Frequently Asked Questions concerning Jefferson Airplane that I had prepared with Jeff Zahnen and Catherine Molanphy. Please send any comments, corrections, additions or suggestions to

Revision History

1. What's Grace Slick doing these days?
Grace has declared that she has retired from performing. Her last public appearance was with Jefferson Starship in Long Beach CA on 29 Sep 2001 -- China also joined in on "Volunteers." Before that, her last appearance with JS (electric, w/ Darby Gould) was at the Papa John Creach tribute show (21 Jan 1995) in Los Angeles. This is the concert on Deep Space/Virgin Sky.

She didn't appear with the rest of the band at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction dinner (17 Jan 1996) due to minor health problems.

Grace sang on the track "Knock Me Out" on Linda Perry's 1996 album "In Flight".

Grace added backing vocals on "I'm on Fire" on the 1999 Jefferson Starship release, Windows of Heaven (USA release only!)

She signed a one million dollar deal with Warner to write an autobiography. It's in the stores now!. Titled "Somebody to Love? A Rock and Roll Memoir", cowritten with Andrea Cagan.

Jeff Tamarkin spoke with Grace in 1997, here's a link to see a summary of her comments.

2. Didn't someone else publish a Grace Slick biography?

Grace Slick - The Biography. Barbara Rowes, Doubleday, New York, 1980. 215 pp., 16pp. photos (b&w).

Out of print.

see also : Jefferson Airplane Booklist

3. Did Jorma and Jack originally want to call their band 'Hot Shit'?

Jorma denies this allegation. (See Relix, Aug. 1996, pg. 23)

4. From where did Paul Kantner lift the lines for Crown of Creation?

Much of Crown of Creation is lifted from the short novel Re-Birth published by British writer John Wyndham in 1955. This work has also been published with the title The Chrysalids.

A 2400Fulton post from Steve Finney explains it all.

5. Where did the name 'Jefferson Airplane' originate?

A friend of Jorma had named his dog after an imaginary bluesman - 'Blind Thomas Jefferson Airplane'. According to Paul Kantner, the shortened 'Jefferson Airplane' became the band's name almost by default - they didn't have time to think up a better one.

6. Where are they now?

Skip Spence - Deceased.

Signe Toly Anderson - Living in Oregon; performed with acoustic editions of Jefferson Starship in 1993/94.

Spencer Dryden - Appeared with the rest of the band at the 17 Jan 1996 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction dinner. Has declared that he has retired from performing.

'Papa' John Creach - Deceased, from complications following a heart attack.

David Freiberg - Appears on the 1996 release Shape Shifter by Gary Duncan/ Quicksilver 96.

Pete Sears - Has been performing with Hot Tuna and the Jorma Kaukonen Trio for the last several years.

Craig Chaquico - Has recorded three albums of guitar instrumentals - Acoustic Highway, Acoustic Planet, and A Thousand Pictures. These albums have been categorized as 'New Age' music.

Bill Thompson - Still manager of Jefferson Airplane .

Matthew Katz - Living in Malibu.

Joey Covington - Threatened to sue the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame for their failure to induct him as a member of Jefferson Airplane. Re-released Fat Fandango a few years back.

Mickey Thomas - Occasionally tours as "Starship featuring Mickey Thomas"

Ansley Dunbar Toured with Whitesnake in the late 1980s.

John Barbata

Will Scarlett

Sammy Piazza

Bob Steeler

Gary Cambra - Left the Acoustic Explorer to become musical director for the now defunct televison program Saturday Night Special

Tim Gorman - Working on movie soundtracks.

Darby Gould - Back with Blind Tom, also performing with the acoustic duo Goo Bonnet (Holding Together, #21)

7. What's this I hear about Grace Slick dosing Richard Nixon?

Grace Slick was invited to attend a tea at the White House on 24 April 1970. This event was sponsored by Tricia Nixon, for fellow alumnae of Finch College. The women attending were not allowed to bring escorts on to the White House grounds. Grace decided not to attend when her escort, Abbie Hoffman, was denied entrance. Afterwards, Grace claimed that she was hoping to drop some LSD powder in the President's teacup. She would have been thwarted anyway, since Richard Nixon didn't attend the event. (see Chapter 17, Grace Slick - The Biography, by Barbara Rowes)

This link provides more details on this incident.

8. Is it true that Paul Kantner has had half of his brain removed?

Paul Kantner has suffered at least two serious traumas to his brain, but has probably never undergone surgery.

From a Rolling Stone interview (18 May 1978):

>   After China leaves, Kantner begins to talk. In discussing Bruce Lee, whose
> _Enter the Dragon_ is playing downstairs on the Videobeam, he reveals that
> he suffered a cracked skull in an accident some eighteen years ago, "so I
> can't fight."

>     Although others in the band may look to him as a leader, he says, "I'm
> totally nonbusiness.  I take some of it onto my shoulders out of necessity,
> but I could never handle the stuff that Thompson has, maybe because my
> accident was on the left side of my head.  I'm totally right-brained as far
> as dealing with figures, logic and general organized business." 

In October 1980, he had a brain aneurism, which he talked about on the Howard Stern radio program (6 Oct 1995). He implied in that interview that there was NO surgery performed.

Jeff Tamarkin talks about both of those events above, at this link.

For a medical opinion on Paul Kantner's vascular event, go here.

9. Why wasn't Paul Kantner credited as co-author of "Wooden Ships" on the CSN recording?

Paul Kantner declined the writing credit to insure that Stills and Crosby's royalty payments would not be held up in connection with the Airplane's lawsuit versus Matthew Katz. This 2400Fulton post explains it in detail.

Paul Kantner talks about writing "Wooden Ships" here.

10. Where can I find Lyrics / Guitar Chords/ Tablature for Jefferson Airplane / Jefferson Starship?

One useful source is The On-Line Guitar Archives (OLGA).

Just go to: and search for Jefferson Airplane or Jefferson Starship.

11. Where can I find information on Starship - not Jefferson Starship -- but the band with Mickey Thomas?

Check out these links:

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