vrijdag 29 januari 2016

Paul Kantner (1941 - 2016) IM

Just now I saw a tweet announcing the death of another rock giant: Paul Kantner of Jefferson Airplane and Jefferson Starship fame. The rhythm guitarist and co-singer in two bands that I used to be a huge fan of. Alhtough Kantner was an integral part of the bands's sound, with his characteristic voice and songs, most attention in general was paid to singers and songwriters Grace Slick and Marty Balin.

Paul Kantner was the man of the cosmic escape and the swollen songs, that could be a bit too much when the song wasn't that particularly good. If it was, then his songs were phenomenal. My favourite is 'Wild Tyme' from 'After Bathing At Baxter's'. That song has all that makes a Paul Kantner song good. Strong, joined vocals and an unstoppable drive. And the excruciating lead guitar of Jorma Kaukonen.

Jefferson Airplane came into my life with the joint single 'White Rabbit'/'Somebody To Love' in 1970, with 'Volunteers' on the Woodsock soundtrack album soon after. It took another eight years before I learned more. On board of the Nedlloyd Mississippi in the docks of London, now London City Airport, one of the ship's mates played 'Flightlog', a double compilation album. I liked so much what I was hearing, that soon after I had most albums by Jefferson Airplane, the stuff in between, some Hot Tuna and Jefferson Starship. The love cooled in the second half of the 80s when the Jefferson Starship albums became very formalistic AOR.

The comeback Jefferson Airplane album in 1989 was fantastic. After that I lost track with Starship, where Kantner was not a part of. That is over 25 years ago. In 2016 I am more a fan of pleasant memories that an actual fan. Every once in a while an old album goes on the record player and things are quite alright. 'Surrealistic Pillow', "Baxter's", "Baron Von Tollbooth And The Chorme Nun", "Dragonfly" will always remain among my favourite albums and that compilation album of course, my very first Jefferson Airplane album, 'Flightlog'.

The only regret is that I have never seen the bands play live. In the summer of 1989 they were where I was not in the U.S.. After that I can't even remember whether they ever played over here.

My heroes seem to be thinning out fast these past years. Now Paul Kantner. Time to listen to 'Wild Tyme' or 'Last Wall Of The Castle', 'Have You Seen The Stars Tonight'.


You can listen to 'Wild Tyme' here:


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