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Posted by Keith on 04/21/02 - 01:46:48
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1: You get to see JS at a venue not too far from you.

Over the pond here, we might get to see them do one show per country every 5 years if you're lucky!!

I haven't come across a shop in the North of England yet carrying "ATSOS"; and the CIA albums are just a dream since I don't have a credit card.

Europe is basically JS-less. So, Yanks, shut the fuck up and enjoy what you got!

2: Scott has been making perfectly valid points that, to prosper in the music business, you need CDs and other merchandising to promote.

My belief is that, one of the great mistakes PK & Co made in the early 90s was not to get a CD out within a year to 18 months of resurrecting the name. (Was Paul holding out for a deal with a big label?) And when one did eventually come out, it was a (n admittedly superb) live album. Superb live albums make brilliant souvenirs but they are rarely chart-topping multi-platinum sellers. ("FRAMPTON ALIVE" in 76 excepted!)

There was a lot of interest in the first 2-3 years of the JS revival in what (Casady, Gorman, Gould) was one hell of a hot band. That initial energy waned, without the sustaining of larger scale interest through having albums to promote. Coincidentally, we now no  longer have those 3 people who made early 90s JS such a hot band.

New material and new albums are essential if a longstanding act like JS is to escape the "oldies/nostalgia" type tagging.

A lot of the longstanding acts are getting new material out - usually via small, independent labels - and selling them at shows (as well as through the normal retail channels).

I've said it before but I think Michael would do well to look at Fairport Convention as a model of how to make a longstanding act - without a major record label deal - highly viable financially.
(They're not exactly rich folks; but they make a good living out of it and have maintained themselves at the centre of the British folk-rock scene for over 15 years, touring regularly, putting out a new album every couple of years and attracting 20,000 people to their own annual festival. Oh, there's one aspect to the Fairport model I'm not sure JS could manage...Every now and again they have to get ex-members to guest with them. Richard Thompson getting up and jamming with FC would be the equivalent of Craig or - oh, shit! - Jorma taking the stage with JS. Still, it would be wonderfully ironic if JS learned some lessons from FC since FC started off imitating JA all those years ago!)

To pick up the Scott thread again, Michael (and others) have been making perfectly valid points about the variety of material in current JS sets and the variety in formats - a feature of JS ever since Paul coaxed Signe out of retirement for a tour. (Though I'm sure there was an element of putting a finger up to Grace in that since she refused to participate!!)

What Michael describes sounds perfectly wonderful - so why can't we have some of it this side of the pond?

Michael also makes the point about JS playing sheds and fairs to make some money. Major point. And, in the glory days of JA/JS, they didn't always headline the festivals they played at.

Michael's perhaps being disenguous - have I spelt that right? - though when he says the sheds and fairs allow JS to play the smaller venues. I suspect a lot of JS playing smaller venues is because promoters don't believe they could fill medium-larger venues. Perhaps, if JS integrated some of Scott's strategy or took on board some of what FC do, they might get to play more medium venues. (FC rarely play clubs and they avoid the larger venues like the plague - even when promoters harrass them to do it! FC's strategy is built on the middle ground. Or as Dave Pegg put it when FC reformed in the mid-80s: "We're going to be a very big fish in ponds for smaller fish!")

So, both Michael and Scott are making valid points. So, why the nastiness, Michael? Do you actually want JS to have one less fan? Not too surprising, the way you dissed it, that Scott's over-reacted in his response!

And, as for Mickey-bashing, I'm definitely with Scott. Mickey is too different a singer to stand comparison with Marty - it's like 4-octave emotionless robot versus passionate 2.5 octave crooner. But, when Marty was doing his Mr Arrogant act, it was Mickey who was there entertaining the crowds - hey, remember them?!? - and doing a much better version of "Light The Sky On Fire" than Marty did. It was Craig, more than Micky who pushed the band in the direction of imitative pomp-rock. Mickey-era JS and, dare I say it, Jefferson-less Starship had their moments and are legitimate parts of the JA story. And, now, let's really commit treason: "NO PROTECTION" is a better-crafted, more enjoyable album with better tunes than "KBC BAND".

So, we all love this band, its music, its history and its frequently - though less these days - odd juxtapositions of very-different personalities. And, I, for one, certainly, respect the work Michael puts into managing what are still, even in their old age, an ornery bunch of critters. (Some of MC's tales of how difficult PK still can be are not only hilarious but scarily similar to some of the things Bill Graham used to say about him!)

If we're critical, it's because we feel the band - and its management, Michael - are missing something they need to take note of. Criticisms by lovers of the band shouldn't be dissed but considered carefully, to see if there's any merit in them. Anything to be learned.

So, Yanks, shut the fuck up and enjoy what you got!

Love from Keith, still the man who makes the longest posts on A-deck and now on the run from the Kantner Police for commiting treason!

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