Stalinist Revisionism


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Posted by The Fundamentalist From Before Time on 01/05/02 - 04:23:30
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Yep, we all interpret and reinterpret history to suit our current purposes.  

Governments do it all the time. (Little mention now of supporting the Contras when we're waging a war on terrorism, huh?)

I do it. I've gotten very good at explaining to new girlfriends why previous relationships didn't work out. Just enough shit stuck to me that I don't come off like I'm trying to smell of roses - but, hey,it was really the bitch's fault! Really?

And, guess what, Kantner's an ace at revising his own history. Steggie's at it, too, now - though Michael's got a way to go yet to reach Paul's levels of expertise. (Technique needs some refinement!)

I've been trying to write a history of the Airship now for around 25 years off-and-on .

My last serious attempt was in 98-00. Jeff Tamarkin was going to look over it for me once he got his opus out of the way. When I abandoned it (again!), I had around 1,000 pages of pt 10 Times New Roman and had only got as far as early 69!

Apart from Peter Kaukonen - who told me to bugger off - he wasn't interested in things Jefferson anymore! - wow, wonder who upset him? - I never attempted to contact the musicians directly.

(Interesting (?) aside: Kangaroo told me he reckoned Joey Covington's brain was as static as his web site!)

Jeff would do all that - and I hear he's doing an excellent job of it (having even dug up Jerry Peloquin!)

What I wanted to do was go back to what the musicians said to the press at the time. I then included the later revisions - courtesy of Jeff and others - as footnotes.

In this way, I wanted to create a broad history that took into account how the musicians were influenced by their own and others' agendas of whatever moment.

Doing Marty's pre-Airplane career this way was kind of surreal since he's contradicted himself in print so many times!

Of course, my approach had one fundamental flaw. "Facts" which weren't known at the time get revealed and sometimes automatically revise the original history.

For example, courtesy of the 98 biography, we now know Grace fucked Jorma in 72. (It's pretty clear why that didn't come out in Rowes' 80 book, since Jorma was still married to Margareta and Paul - at least, according to Grace in a 79 DARK STAR interview - was still wounding over their break-up.)

What effect did the Slick-Kaukonen one-night stand have on a bunch of musicians who were virtually living in each other's pockets on tour - and had an ailing record company back home?

If Jorma hadn't enjoyed it, it might help explain why he pretty much avoided the rest of the Jeffs - Jack excepted - throughout 73. Was he trying to avoid Grace in case the crazy broad wanted another go? (I've always thought the "too busy for the Airplane" theory didn't hold up too well, since Tuna didn't gig between February and November 73 - and it can't take that long to record an acoustic guitar album!)

If Grace and Jorma did enjoy it, did they want more - and, if so, how did they deal with it? Even if nobody was admitting to anything, it must have affected things. ("All thought produces behaviour" - Alan Pease - and Rowes' book makes it pretty clear that the Slickantner relationship was deteriorating from Fall 72 on.) More would have endangered Jorma's always-tempestuous marriage with Margareta as well as exacerbating an increasingly-tense relationship with Paul.

So there are histories and there are histories. Histories - like art - are a reflection of their moment in time. I've got mine - the true one, of course!!!!!! - and Michael's got his - the Stalinist revision!!!!!!

And little of it means shit to a tree.

So, let's put Steggie to the test. OK, whose names were on the contracts as "Jefferson Starship" for the 76 and 79-80 re-signings? And who was "Jefferson Starship, Inc"?

Last time I asked this kind of question: Michael said the answers were in private codicils he couldn't and wouldn't reveal. Let's see how he gets on with this one!

Bill Parry used to call my style "combative" and reckoned he got 5 years worth of hate mail for publishing my put-down review of CSN's "LIVE IT UP"!


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