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Posts Tagged ‘Jefferson Airplane’

RIP, Paul Kantner (January 28, 2016) Jefferson Airplane, Jefferson Starship

Posted by themusicsover on January 28, 2016

Paul Kantner
March 17, 1941 – January 28, 2016

Paul-KantnerPaul Kantner was the original lead guitarist for influential ’60s counterculture rock band, Jefferson Airplane.  Although the group was founded by singer, Marty Balin, Kanter quickly took over running things, and when Balin left, he lead its new incarnation, Jefferson Starship to even greater heights.  Formed in San Francisco in 1965, Jefferson Airplane was arguably the flash point of what would become known as psychedelic rock – rock music that was created to help enhance the experience of acid, and in particular, LSD.  Along with bands like the Grateful Dead the Jimi Hendrix Experience, and Big Brother and the Holding Company, Jefferson Airplane came to represent all that was associated with the Summer of Love.  But of all the bands on the scene, it was Jefferson Airplane that was the first to gain worldwide fandom and huge success.  Besides being the only band to play at all three major American rock festivals of the era – Monterey, Woodstock, and Altamont, they scored early hits with “White Rabbit” and “Somebody To Love.”  In spite of their initial success, the band suffered from turmoil from within.  When the original Jefferson Airplane disbanded in the early ’70s, Jefferson Starship resurfaced and went to release such hit albums as Red Octopus, Earth, Spitfire and Freedom at Point Zero.  Their hit singles during this period included, “With Your Love,” “Jane,” “Miracles,” and “Count on Me.” They broke up in 1984, but Kantner and Balin reformed it in 1991, with Kanter continuing to perform and record under this moniker as recently as 2013.  In 1996, Kantner and his Jefferson Airplane band mates were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.   In March of 2015, Kantner suffered a serious heart attack but was able to take the stage with the band later that year to celebrate the 50th anniversary of Jefferson Airplane.  In January of 2016, Kantner again suffered a heart attack but this time it led to his death just days later. He died of multiple organ failure on January 28, 2016.  He was 74.

Thanks to Harold Lepidus for the assist.

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Died On This Date (March 15, 2015) Mike Porcaro / Bassist For Toto; Session Great

Posted by themusicsover on March 15, 2015

Mike Porcaro
May 29, 1955 – March 15, 2015

mike-porcaroMike Porcaro is perhaps best remembered as the longtime bassist for Toto, however, he didn’t become an official member until he replaced original bassist, David Hungate, in 1982.  He went on to tour and record with the band until his retirement in 2007. He can be heard on such Toto albums as Isolation, Fahrenheit,  The Seventh One, and their popular soundtrack to the motion picture Dune. As an in-demand session player, Porcaro’s list of credits reads like a who’s who of popular music of the past five decades.  That list includes albums by Aretha Franklin, Cher, Country Joe McDonald, Dan Fogelberg, Donna Summer, Jefferson Airplane, Santana, Sparks, Steve Perry, Stevie Nicks, and Wanda Jackson.  In 2007, Porcaro retired from playing due to a numbness he was feeling in his fingers, and three years later, it was announced that he was suffering from Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), or as it is more commonly known, “Lou Gehrig’s Disease.”  On March 15, 2015, Mike Porcaro finally lost his brave battle with the disease.  He was 59.

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Died On This Date (June 4, 2013) Joey Covington / Drummer For Hot Tuna & Jefferson Airplane

Posted by themusicsover on June 4, 2013

Joey Covington
June 27, 1945 – June 4, 2013

joey-covingtonJoey Covington was a journeyman drummer who is perhaps best remembered for his tenure with both Jefferson Airplane and Hot Tuna.  Playing since the age of 10, Covington found his influence in jazz drummers of the day.  He also took a shine to the playing of the great Sandy Nelson.  By the time he was 14, he had already been playing with local polka groups for a couple of years, often chaperoned by his parents.  He soon gave his parents the slip and found work playing in strip club bands, which was fairly common for up-and-coming rock drummers during the ’50s and early ’60s.  During high school, Covington started playing with fellow students in rock bands.  When he turned 20, he went to New York City where he found work playing in back-up bands for such visiting acts as the Supremes, the Fenways, and the Shangri-Las.  He also played in the band for a Dick Clark cavalcade-of-stars type roadshow.  By the late ’60s, Covington found himself in Los Angeles and playing around with violin great and Jefferson Airplane member, Papa John Creach which lead to his relationship with the band and other musicians in their inner circle.  In 1969, Covington helped form Hot Tuna, a side project for Jefferson Airplane’s Jorma Kaukonen and Jack Casady who needed something to do during a break while singer, Grace Slick recovered from a surgery.  The Hot Tuna recordings that featured Covington were not released at the time.  In 1969, Jefferson Airplane hired Covington to replace Spencer Dryden. He played on Volunteers, Bark, and Long John Silver and wrote or co-wrote a number of the band’s songs including the hit, “With Your Love.”  After leaving the band in 1972, Covington formed Fat Fandango.  In later years, he participated in various Jefferson Airplane/Starship configurations called the San Francisco All-Stars.  On June 4, 2013, Joey Covington was reportedly killed when his car crashed into a wall in Palm Springs, California.  Details of the accident were not immediately released.  Covington was 67.

Thanks to Ben Anderson for the assist.

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Died On This Date (September 2, 2012) Mark Abrahamian / Lead Guitarist for Starship

Posted by themusicsover on September 3, 2012

Mark Abrahamian
February 23, 1966 – September 2, 2012

Mark Abrahamian was the most recent lead guitarist for the iconic American rock band, Starship.  Originally formed as Jefferson Airplane in 1965, the band was known by a few different names over the years – Jefferson Starship, Starship, and ultimately, Starship Featuring Mickey Thomas.   It was with Thomas’ incarnation that Abrahamian had played since 2000.  After graduating from The Musicians Institute in Hollywood, California, Abrahamian went on to play live with the likes of Christopher Cross, Pat Travers, and Chuck Negron.  Immediately following a Starship performance in Nebraska on September 2, 2012, Mark Abrahamian reportedly collapsed back stage and was taken to an area hospital where he was pronounced dead of a heart attack.  He was 46.

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Died On This Date (August 7, 2011) Joe Yamanaka / Lead Singer For Japanese Prog Rockers, Flower Travellin’ Band

Posted by themusicsover on August 7, 2011

Akira “Joe” Yamanaka
September 2, 1946 – August 7, 2011

Joe Yamanaka was a singer who is perhaps best remembered as the lead vocalist for Japanese prog rock group, Flower Travellin’ Band.  Formed as a cover band in 1968, their intent was to introduce Japanese audiences to the sounds of such western rock artists as Jefferson Airplane, Cream and Jimi Hendrix.  Yamanaka joined the group the following year as they were beginning to record original music and after they relocated to Los Angeles, California.  Flower Travellin’ Band broke up in 1973, but reunited for good in 2007 with Yamanaka on board as the front man.  Outside of group, Yamanaka released several solo albums, one of which included his biggest hit, “Proof Of The Man,” which sold in excess of 500,000 copies and made him a household name throughout Asia.  In early 1982, Yamanaka became the lead singer of the Wailers as replacement for the recently deceased Bob Marley with whom he was good friends.  He fronted the Wailers for the better part of the next five years.  Yamanaka was also an accomplished actor, appearing in several Japanese films and at least one American one – mostly in “tough guy” roles.  During the spring of 2010, Joe Yamanaka was diagnosed with lung cancer.  He was 64 when he ultimately died from it on August 7, 2011.

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