Paul Kantner, R.I.P.

12592433_963525990388200_429408369954160107_n

Photograph by Roger Ressmeyer.

The musical heroes of my youth are dropping like flies. In this instance, it’s one of my San Francisco homeys, Jefferson Airplane/Starship co-founder Paul Kantner who has died at the age of 74.

I met Kantner several times back in the day, and would describe him as cordial but gruff:

A sometimes prickly, often sarcastic musician who kept his own counsel and routinely enraged his old bandmates — they sued him for trademark infringement (and settled) after he started his own version of Jefferson Starship in 1991 — Mr. Kantner became something of a landmark on the San Francisco music scene, the only member of the band still living in town.

“Somebody once said, if you want to go crazy go to San Francisco,” he said. “Nobody will notice.”

I only last long in cities where that’s true; as it is for both my home towns, San Francisco and New Orleans.

Along with Roger McGuinn and Pink Floyd, Kantner was one of the creators of sci-fi rock, but he’ll also be remembered for such counter-culture anthems as Won’t You Try/Saturday Afternoon,  Wooden Ships, Volunteers, and We Can Be Together.

The best way to remember someone like Paul Kantner is to share his music. so let’s tear down the wall motherfucker, and post some tunes that he wrote, co-wrote and/or sang lead vocals on:

Finally, a track from a short-lived band Kantner formed in the 1980’s with his old Airplane band mates Marty Balin and Jack Cssady:

Long live rock, be it dead or alive.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: