Lapdog, Lapcat, & Who is the Master?


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Posted by kevin r schmidt on 03/01/02 - 18:50:45
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I believe many fans forget when Paul, Jorma, Jack, Marty, and anyone else who passed through the Jefferson's that the first time they accepted payment of money for playing music it became a job. The band became a business venture. What were once friends suddenly crossed the line and became business partners and employees.


As any fan I see things from a perspective that will put me at variance with other fans. But as a fan I also see things objectively as an outsider who will not see issues in the same light as Paul, Jack and Jorma and everyone else who is intimate to the situation.


The situation between Paul and Jorma is nothing new. They have been going at it since the 60's.  I believe the root of the problem is two fold. From the business side of the Jefferson Airplane. Bill Thompson should have been shown the exit door back in the 60's and a professional business manager should have been hired in his place. About four years ago Craig Chaquico sued Thompson for accounting irregularities over royalty payments. There is a lot more that we do not know about Mr. Thompson that has never been shared with the public. Had the business side of the band been better handled in the 60's to the present day. I believe much of the rancor between everyone would much less than it is today.


The other part of the problem is something we can all relate with. At work we have coworkers we like, don't care for, know more about their private life than we care to know, hate, love, etc.. The Jefferson Airplane was the same way. Everyone got to know each other and it was the same dynamic as working in an office. On one level Jorma and Paul have issues with each other. Part of it business and the other part personality. They have work out those problems between themselves like any rational adult.  But more importantly they have to do it outside the public scrutiny of their fans.  Too often well meaning fans can exacerbate a problem without realizing it.    


Twenty years ago Jorma had serious financial difficulties where he was living from check to check. Towards the end of the 80's he began to get his act together and his career went on the upswing. With the help of his wife he has turned Hot Tuna and FPR into a successful business venture. If he didn't get his act together he would be broke or dead today.


As far as Jack goes. He always struck me as an individual who was frugal, more of a follower than a leader, and a person who doesn't like to engage in confrontation. I believe his departure from the JS was over economics. He's a bottom-line person: Pay me or I don't play.


I have to agree with the decision about not having a bulletin board for posting messages on the official Jefferson Airplane web site. Its thirty years since they split up as a performing unit. They have their place in history. The idea of an official Jefferson Airplane web site is to preserve the memory of the band and act as a generic resource center for current activities of all parties involved.  A message board where fans can make post would run counter to the history of the Jefferson Airplane.  It would eventually turn into a forum by fans to improperly debate who is better, right and wrong, etc.... That isn't the place for that kind of fan exchange.  A-Deck and 2400 Fulton are better equipped to run those contentious discussions.  


I'm going to see Hot Tuna at the Fillmore.  I don't have a problem with Jack & Jorma performing together.  Sure, I'll laugh when I see Jack and think, Lapdog.  But its not an insult to Jack at all.  If he feels it is then he'll just have to deal with it.  The relationship between Jack and Jorma isn't exactly what I would call close lifelong friends.  They have been more business partners than friends over the last few years.  So if he has a problem with being known as Lapdog then he has to examine all his relationships with everyone to understand why fans feel its appropriate.  He has a sense of humor so he should be able to laugh at himself.  If he cannot do that then he needs a serious reality check.  


In the end it all comes down to Paul, Jorma, and Jack have to work out their differences behind closed doors and outside the scrutiny of the fans.  


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