I can’t even go back far enough for my first memory of Jefferson Airplane. So I’ll go to my last. Last night I was idly watching a sitcom on TV about 10:00 or 11:00 at night and on the show, two characters were at a karoake bar and the man told the woman to get up there and sing. She said, “Why?” And he said, “Because you can.” My idle mind immediately went to “What would you sing?” and immediately came the opening acappella opening line, “Throw dow-ow-ow-own a-a-all yo-ur sil-verr spoooons.”
One summer in the early ’70s I lived and took care of a small ranch in the middle of nowhere. There was a wooden step ladder built to go over the fence. I would open the doors, put an album on the stereo, that summer, mostly Jefferson Airplane “Bark,” “Sunfighter,” and Grace Slick “Manhole,” go sit on the top of the stepladder and sing along. My favorites were “Silver Spoons” and “Lawman,” plus the entire “Manhole” album to sing along to.
You know, they say that until you’re somewhere in your mid-twenties, your brain is still growing. If so, it would account for why this music seems such an innate part of me, like my brain formed right around it.
And of course, way before that, there are the memories of my school days, listening to “White Rabbit” and “Somebody to Love” and dancing in my black fur micro-miniskirt.
This band is one of a few that is truly in my DNA. And now the brilliant revolutionary Paul Kantner has passed. But what an impression he made. He will forever be woven into the fabric of America, and America is better for it.