Grace & Jorma


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Posted by Keith E Rice on 01/07/02 - 01:32:13
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Wow, it sure seems like that one upset a few people!

As I've said before, the Airshippers themselves put these things into the public domain. Not me.

I'm not like that guy who used to refile through Bob Dylan's dustbins. All the things I've repeated about what Airshippers have done to and said about each other, I've picked up from interviews and books in which one or more Airshippers willingly co-operated - or from e-mail posts made onto public message boards by Airshippers.

Grace put the revelation about Jorma into a major-league, big-time promoted book which everyone pretty much knew would be a big seller. (It certainly was!) And for which she was paid handsomely. (I recall something like a million-dollar advance.)

Since I personally prize sexual fidelity, I was a bit taken aback by the Grace and Jorma thing. But I never even suspected it until Grace put it into the 98 autobiography.

In addition to threatening publicly to ban my posts, Michael has asked me off-board to post a public appology.

Well, I will appologise to the degree that I never deliberately thought to offend - and wouldn't really want people like Eth and Don - whose contributions I value - to be upset by what I posted.

But I'll ask this question: did Grace clear the revelation with Paul and/or Jorma before putting it into a multi-million-selling book? If she didn't, has she appologised to either or both since?

Eth asks about my motives. They were the same that's driven me off-and-on for 20+ years to try to write a book about the Airship.

These folks have made some of the most wonderful music of the second half of the 20th Century. At times that music has actually transcended the limitations of the genre and shown new possibilities. (In its review of "FLIGHT LOG" in Jan 77, MELODY MAKER reckoned the Airship were never so influential as, say, The Byrds because their style and their sound were so unique they couldn't really be imitated, Which makes the JS Boston-Foreigner imitation policy of the early 80s quite bizarre!)

The Airship also occupied a unique position culturally in that the lyrics of their songs frequently reflected the concerns of their generation. So:-
"White Rabitt" for the fun and exploration of the new chemical and hippie era
"We Can Be Together" for rallying the troops against the stupidity of the Johnson-Nixon era governments and the war in Vietnam
"Miracles" for a post-Vietnam, post-Watergate return to the eternal values of men and women getting giddy in love
...and the most potent centre of the Airship's social commentaries has always been Paul Kantner, once dubbed "the voice of a generation".

In its "HISTORY OF ROCK", ROLLING STONE said that the Dead might have been more of what the San Francisco hippie era was really about; but it was the Airplane who could take it to the masses and make it Top Ten.

As Grace said in the "LOVES YOU" liner notes, the Airplane should have become established in rock mythology at the same level as The Beatles and the Stones.

On the quality of the music and the topicality of the lyrics, I would have to agree.

But it never happened.

Instead we've had stunning success followed by complete breakdown, followed by comeback followed by total failure - how many times?

Balin hasn't been on a hit record since 81 and Kantner hasn't been on one since 84. Now the voice of a generation and the man who made millions of women get a little ooey in the nether regions with "Miracles" are playing small halls and clubs and doing some mid-bill festival gigs.

Oh, and they have a message board with at most a dozen regular correspondents - one of whom is to be banned.

(Long-time observers will note that many of the early contributors to the board have given up and confine themselves to 2400 Fulton where they don't seem to be frightened of a bit of rough. Where's that Martyphile Lauren these days? - and the rancorous Juicy Brucie is conspicuous by the infrequency of his contributions.)

1966-84: 16 gold albums - the fourth largest-selling American band - and this is all that's left? (I've seen posts on this board despairing of getting 70 people to a gig!)

Michael is doing a pretty good job from what I can tell; but so much has been squandered so many times.

Why? How?

Since we have had umpteen personnel changes a Tuna, Jefferson Starship and the Jeffersonless Starship - and ongoing wars frequently conducted in public - the relationships are a key element.

The relationships, the trysts, the power struggles, the walkouts, the sackings, the legal battles, the broken settlements...they all seem at times to have contributed to the fierce energies which have made such astonishing music. At other times, they have brought this great band into total dissolution.

So, when trying to understand how so much has been achieved and then squandered so many times, the relationships are legitimate for investigation - especially when the band members put so much of it themselves into the public domain. Usually with something approaching glee!


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