My new ES-345 needed a little bit of tweaking and Myron didn’t have his tools with him. He found David Neely Guitars who spiffed it up in the blink of an eye!..Thanks David!
Now, Vanessa is part of, or whatever the right word is, a Jefferson Airplane fan site and there has been some discussion about the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award ceremony and the selection of songs. I was accused of trying to ‘rewrite’ Jefferson Airplane history in terms of Jorma and Jack Hot Tuna World. Because I have a proclivity for being a wise ass… my first thought was, “What’s it to you?’ But since over the years I have learned to try to exercise restraint of tongue and pen… when given a moment of quiet reflection I do understand how deep people’s feelings may run where good old Jefferson Airplane is concerned. First of all, obviously the JA part of the show was the most important part for us. In the total scheme of things we were just one of the many. That’s all right. My pals and I have been traditionally outsiders for all of our professional life. That I was actually able to garner a Grammy nomination in 2003 in the now defunct Traditional Folk category was a fluke of confluence and will probably never be repeated. Anyway, to be honored by one’s peers is an honor I could have never imagined and I think my Airplane brothers and sisters feel the same way… although I would never deign to speak for anyone other than myself.
We were given eight minutes of music and ninety seconds of acceptance speech for everyone including Spencer and Paul’s surviving children. We obviously needed a Grace song so we picked Somebody To Love. That song and White Rabbit were instrumental in our getting into the R & R Hall Of Fame. The second song we picked was Marty singing Volunteers. It’s an Airplane anthem… and we could jam out on it. At the very last minute… and I mean the very last minute… Marty informed us that he would not be able to make it. I later found out it was doctors orders. Now as the surviving members of the almost original band, we spoke to Don Was who was in contact with the shows producers and we all agreed on Embryonic Journey (all two minutes of it) and Come Back Baby. Embryonic Journey was on Surrealistic Pillow and Come Back Baby which was written by blues pianist Walter Davis in 1940 can be found on a couple JA albums. Well… Jack and Grace and I all agreed that under the circumstances a living member (me) who still played and sang should do one of their own tunes… hence the choice.
Now this is all going to be a PBS Special… and the performances will live, if not forever, for a very long time. I wasn’t going to do Feel So Good… I would play it in concert but not for posterity… I can’t hit those high notes anymore. So be it. Well… it was our award and that’s what we did.
I know some fans like Paul, some like Marty, some Grace… well you get what I’m saying. That’s all good. We all appreciate that. Remember though that we were all band members. Jack and Spencer and I were not side men… I repeat… we were all equal members. That was one of our enduring strengths. Regardless of how the ‘public’ perceived us there were no ‘front’ men. A little tough for the industry to understand but, oh well.
I was so fortunate to be able to rekindle my friendship with Paul Kantner last year. We enjoyed each other’s company… and at the end of the day, were old and dear friends. As Connie Caldor said in her great song Chinatown, ‘Life is a thin thread, it’s a thin little hand on a hospital bed… it’s all the things you left unsaid… life is a thin thread.’
We left little unsaid.
So… speaking for myself, I appreciate being appreciated on any level. If you like us, or me on any level… bless you. If not, oh well.
Last but not least… we did the best we could with what we had and that’s all we got.