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Now We Are Three

September 29th, 2018 Jorma Leave a comment Go to comments
Window in time...

Window in time...

Thanks to Bob Sarles for these fotos…

Now We Are Three
Requiem For A Friend
Marty Balin
30 Jan. 1942/27 Sept. 2018

Life is a thin thread
It’s a thin little hand on a hospital bed
It’s all the things you’ve left unsaid
Life is a thin thread

It’s a fine line between loving and not
Between holding it back or giving all that you’ve got
Feeling you’re free, thinking you’re caught
It’s a fine line

(Thin Thread by Connie Kaldor)

I was more than saddened yesterday to hear of Marty Balin’s passing. Jack and I were in Northampton, Mass. at the Academy Of Music and we were just getting ready to do our sound check. I knew that Marty had been sick and I knew in a general way that he had grievous issues but I did not really know what they were. Marty always kept a lot of shade on himself. I stood there in the little room in the wings, stage left… struck dumb. What can you say? We always say and hear, ‘I’m sorry for your loss,’ but what does that really mean? We say it. We have to say it and then in the confines of our hearts we try to process the sorrow and search for the words that really convey what we feel. It is an imperfect process.

Marty and I were young together in a time that defined our lives. Had it not been for him, my life would have taken an alternate path I cannot imagine. He and Paul Kantner came together and like plutonium halves in a reactor started a chain reaction that still affects many of us today. It was a moment of powerful synchronicity. I was part of it to be sure, but I was not a prime mover. Marty always reached for the stars and he took us along with him.

I always felt that he was somewhat guarded… the quiet one. Perhaps that’s because I was one of the noisy ones… I don’t know. It’s probably not for me to say. His commitment to his visions never flagged. He was always relentless in the pursuit of his goals. He wrapped those he loved in sheltering arms. He loved his family. Times come and go but his passion for his music and his art was never diminished. He was the most consummate of artists in a most renaissance way. I always felt that he perceived that each day was a blank canvas waiting to be filled.

It was fortuitous that we were able to stay connected in a loose way over the years. He and his friends graced our stage at the Fur Peace Station in Ohio and he was able to join us at the Beacon Theater in NYC the year we celebrated Jack’s 70th birthday.

Very good stuff!

Coming to grips with reality is a process that starts at birth. I am always stunned when one of my friends passes and yet, it would seem that at some point we will all take that journey. It’s almost like, ‘How can this be? There are things I need to say.’ There were indeed things I needed to say and the fault for that lack lies on me and me alone. I don’t think any of us really think that we will live forever yet often that thought lies dormant in the back of our minds. At my age my world is starting to be surrounded by passing. I will miss my friends who rest on the banks of the River Of Time and I am reminded to make the most of every moment as I am swept downstream! Marty’s passing reaffirms the power of love, the power of family, the power of possibilities.

So many of our brothers and sister from that time are gone. Skip Spence, Spencer Dryden, Joey Covington, Papa John Creach, Paul Kantner, Signe Anderson and now Marty have all joined the Heavenly Band as Rev. Davis would say.

We were young together. I would like to think we made a difference. As for Grace Slick, Jack Casady and myself…

Now we are three…

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  1. Douglas
    September 30th, 2018 at 06:04 | #1

    This is my first time reading this blog. Found it as I searched for reactions to Marty Balin’s passing. I’m a child of the 60’s. (63 years old) my childhood was monstrous in a dysfunctional family and extreme physical violence experienced by me. Fear of being drafted and shipped to Vietnam was omnipresent. The music of the Jefferson Airplane was an island of sanity and hope I clung to for dear life. “We can be together”, “Good shepherd” and “Volunteers” gave me reasons to live for a better time. Marty Balin’s voice became synonymous with my own inner voice, prayers and attempts to reason out the insanity around my life. He and the artistic creations of Jefferson Airplane/Starship have had a profound effect on people they will never meet or become aware of. I am one of those. Thank you and Marty for being a light in a dark struggling life. I still need and am greatful for the sounds of joy, hope and fun you have brought into my existence.

  2. Snarne
    September 30th, 2018 at 07:10 | #2

    RIP Kim Larsen, the singer from the great Danish band Gasolin.

  3. billyjinsa
    September 30th, 2018 at 08:24 | #3

    Beautiful tribute. If I may submit, a gentle and heartfelt comment about ‘So many of our brothers and sister from that time are gone. Skip Spence, Spencer Dryden, Joey Covington, Paul Kantner, Signe Anderson and now Marty have all joined the Heavenly Band as Rev. Davis would say.’ One more to add: ‘Papa John’ Creach. May they all rest in peace… Deepest sympathies, Jorma. A life long fan, billyjinsa

  4. Randy M
    September 30th, 2018 at 09:47 | #4

    Beautiful tribute for your friend. It warms my heart to see you and Jack still playing together after all these years. Thanks for the music. It makes the world a better place.

  5. Steve Rosen
    September 30th, 2018 at 10:53 | #5

    I too turned 63 last Wednesday and have reflected since Friday on Marty Balin’s life and his influence (along with yours.) Thank you for your heartfelt thoughts, your touching remembrance. Wishing you good health and many days to share your talent and soul with us all.

  6. The Airplaner
    September 30th, 2018 at 12:31 | #6

    A friend of mine asked me
    Where has he been
    Where is he now?
    I said he’d been set free
    Shares a little joke with the world somehow

    Sounded like he’d make a halo
    When I heard his laughter floating
    It’s all for fun you know
    He said he just let go
    Shares a little joke with the world

  7. chuck n
    September 30th, 2018 at 13:17 | #7

    It is for Marty a last trip home. To be with friends and lovers. It is, for those of us remaining, a chance to remember to cherish friends and lovers. I still believe in the difference that Marty,Paul,Jorma,Jack,Signe,Skip,Spencer and Grace and all the rest have made in this world. I always will. The three remaining still make a difference every day. They always will.

  8. Skorpion
    September 30th, 2018 at 13:52 | #8

    Lovely elegy, Jorma. You’re one of my favorite rock lead guitarists, and you’re as eloquent on the keyboard, as you are on the six-strings.

    Marty had a lovely voice and stage presence — he will be missed. Requiem en Pace.

  9. Abba W
    September 30th, 2018 at 14:43 | #9

    Touching tribute
    Was fortunate to have heard Marty with the starship and at Jacks

  10. September 30th, 2018 at 17:02 | #10

    My first live Airplane show was at Woodstock,I was 16 and one of the purported 10% that we’re not blitzed .
    As a stoned sober lifeguard ,I walked up to the white picket fence 35’ from the stage and watched all the bands after a Leslie west’s mountain from that vantage.After the Airplanes early Sunday morning show ,I hitchhiked back to Ct,as I had to guard Monday morning on the Sound,it was unfortunate as I really wanted to see the Band &CSNY.But the realization that the Saturday show ended Sunday morning at 9:30 +~ suggested that the schedule was extended( blown),and I decided to hitchhike home.
    In the spring of 1970( April or May ), I cannot recall ,I was previewing colleges and the Airplane played a Saturday night show while I visited Mount St Marys college in Emmitsburg Md.
    That catalyzed my decision to attend the school.
    I was on the mall in DC ,to watch the Airplane show there.
    Started attending Hot Tuna shows in 71,in DC area.
    John Hurlbut was kind enough to extend season tickets to Fur Peace ,and we got season tickets for three seasons ,but we had to let them go as it’s a 3-1/2 drive from Lex .Ky
    One of the best shows was Marty’s show,Wendy had been to many Tuna shows that we attended,Jamaica,Beacon,Waanee,Lock-in,Capitol on and on.
    But she had never seen Marty.
    We would gladly drive cross country to see him.
    He had a rare presence and authenticity,how could one contest his songwriting muse and his great voice.
    I come at this from a different angle,In the DVD,ride the music ,Marty talks prophetically about his disdain for the direction the tenor of the band was going,he emphatically says he was fatigued with the harangue of political revolution that was being espoused and reinforced his affinity for the revolution of love and pursuit of freedom as an ideal.
    That’s the reason ,I started listening to JA,and it was that freedom notion that kept me coming back .
    The energy of the band ,Embodied by Marty ,was infectious.
    I believe Jorma &Jack left to pursue a more authentic musical experience (HT), I’m sure I’ll be corrected if I’m wrong .
    I had to fold the tent at Bark ,with Lawman.
    At that point ,I decided that I couldn’t indulge the harangue,I was into the music for its lyrical sound,the exclamation of freedom,and to be entertained by the likes of inspired musicians .
    Marty ,Jack and Jorma kept that message alive.Now there are three.Thanks Jorma and Jack for keeping the music alive.
    Thanks Marty for Riding the music
    There were many nights where we rode along.Rest in eternal peace.

  11. September 30th, 2018 at 17:03 | #11

    Hi, Jorma…
    Didn’t know you had a blog.
    Very nice tribute to Marty, indeed.
    Advantages of classical education.
    Hope to reminisce at some future time.
    Ormond Otvos
    SF bay.

  12. Ant
    September 30th, 2018 at 17:58 | #12

    So sad to hear that Marty has passed away,such a great singer,Jorma your tribute was beautiful,i am just giving thanks for everything that you all created,and all the lives including mine that you all changed.

  13. Steven Meilleur
    September 30th, 2018 at 20:24 | #13

    Wonderful words to your friend, Jorma … well said. For me, I heard Marty as the vocal soul of the band … at times his voice would just stop me in my tracks. I wish you Godspeed on the next leg of your journey, Marty … 3/5ths of a mile in 10 seconds.

  14. Tom Fabry
    September 30th, 2018 at 20:30 | #14

    Jesus Christ, my Jewish Boss, Brother and Savior please bless the soul of Marty Balin (Martyn Jerel Buchwald born in Cincinnati, Ohio) and all our deceased loved ones.

    GREAT you had him around FUR PEACE and elsewhere Jorma. As he transitioned out of this world toward eternity, he went “With Your Love.” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Gyp0f8L5nd4

    Saw him in Central Park w the Starship free concert 1975 or 1976.
    Saw him w the Dinosaurs in 1985 in Marin County.
    Was he at the Radio City shows w The Airplane get together?

    PRIME MOVER may be now saying to Martin, ‘Coming Back To Me.” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hziG-cLZW1Y

    Now Marty may have a better understanding of “Miracles”, and from where and how they come. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7Byt2uHSe7E

    I believe brother Marty would advise us now that Christ said many words to the effect of “You Count On Me. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mXOhpfA7tNc

    Oh Yeah, All Right


    Somewhere Singing in Glory…. Say Amen.

    May Brother Marty intercede for us as we pray for him.

    All will be well… The time has come for us to pause….and then press on.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K01EAM2TtD4 PRESSING ON

    Pressing On. *** :-) +++

  15. Tom Steinberg
    September 30th, 2018 at 21:20 | #15

    Thanks, Jorma. Well said.

  16. Robert Burke
    September 30th, 2018 at 22:07 | #16

    Gasolin was the opening act for my 1st Hot Tuna show. Cherry Hill. Jan Hammer group was between the two.

  17. Daniel Mulloy
    September 30th, 2018 at 22:26 | #17

    That was beautiful. Music is powerful, music can heal. I was walking down the Haight, under an October sky… My mind went back to the year of my birth. I wondered what it must have been like to have been there at the height of it all… All the songs, the people, the energy (Good and bad.) I knew Marty like most of us did, through the art, the music, the songs… he touched the world that way….

    “Miracles” reminds me of my mother, the 1970s and being a little boy… I hear that song and it takes me back to a place in time… I can see my mother’s face and hear her tender voice… That’s the power of music, the beautiful, terrible, healing sound of music.,. R.I.P Marty God bless your soul.

  18. wolf h
    October 1st, 2018 at 05:01 | #18

    a wise saying by a wise man, sorry for your loss of a good friend.

  19. Betty Durnin
    October 1st, 2018 at 06:15 | #19

    Beautifully expressed. Saddens me that yet another of my musical heroes is gone. RIP Marty-you will never be forgotten. ❤️

  20. HOGAN
    October 1st, 2018 at 10:54 | #20


  21. October 1st, 2018 at 11:58 | #21

    Godspeed Marty!

    October 1st, 2018 at 11:58 | #22

    I was not around (born in’71) when the Airplane was in its prime, but I have always felt a deep spiritual connection to the group’s bonding music and its message. I am deeply saddened to hear of Marty’s passing. His voice along with Grace’s will eternally provide the vocal soundtrack to the most important and relevant music in my life. My sympathies go to you on the loss of your friend. And thank you for the continued sharing of your musical gifts with your fans today.

  23. Brian
    October 1st, 2018 at 12:30 | #23

    Thank you Jorma for this beautiful reflection.. keep pushing on through.. we love you and jack in Philly.. please come back to the Keswick!

  24. Brian Doyle
    October 1st, 2018 at 13:01 | #24

    It’s like the full impact of Marty’s death hasn’t been expressed and, like Jorma said, it is hard to put into words…It seems like the Airplane tried to amplify what was best about the 60’s by playing its gilded machine’s form of music even more intensely and catalyzing the vibe…Marty might have gotten fatigued by the “political” end of things but there’s no doubt the band was at its fullest when it was playing as an organ of that movement…There’s a certain palpable illumination the band takes on when it is playing to the freedoms it helped create…Maybe Marty felt like they became secondary to and defined by that…But what doesn’t get expressed is prime mover Marty was such a big part in creating that temporary utopia that was the sparkling magic 60’s that Jefferson Airplane was such a warm and heartfelt integral part of, putting musical infusion to it and becoming one of its freakier annexes…Once you came that close to heaven on Earth as a kid in your twenties in hip clothes it is just as hard to go back as it is to lose to eternity…

  25. Susan
    October 1st, 2018 at 13:31 | #25

    A beautiful tribute from Jorma…I read one online from Jack as well, and so many beautiful tributes written, and great memories shared, in here on the blog. My condolences to Jorma, Jack , Grace and to Marty’s family and friends. I hope that they see the remembrances and tributes shared here and take comfort in knowing how much joy Marty brought to so many with his music.

  26. Martin Hill-Wilson
    October 1st, 2018 at 14:18 | #26

    I experienced the music in a far away universe – Oxford UK. It transported our spirit across the stars. We tasted immortality. Still tt’s the best we can do as mortal beings. Thank you all who have passed in that tribe for bringing something new and wonderful to so many

  27. October 1st, 2018 at 14:37 | #27

    My tribute to Mr. Balin is my ever lasting love of his music and and the Jefferson Airolane that I adored when I was 14. Now at 65, I appreciate him even in more.

  28. Jim
    October 1st, 2018 at 14:39 | #28

    …Into the future we must cross, must cross. I’d like to go with you…

  29. Sian Steed
    October 1st, 2018 at 19:20 | #29

    “Miracles” is my favourite song. I hardly know what to say. I saw Jefferson Starship in 1978 at Knebworth Park in England. I lived in the next village. It must have been bad timing for me and for the band. “Miracles” was not on the set list… I understand that things had gone wrong for the band… How I wish that I’d known Marty… R.I.P. to the guy who sang my favourite song.

  30. October 1st, 2018 at 22:36 | #30

    Marty was a hero of mine from the end of the Airplane through Bodacious DF (my favorite of his solo projects) and his chart busters with the starship. He seemed irreverent, quirky, and he wrote and sang music I loved. His Crawdaddy article was so narcissistic…I was confused. I admired Grace’s non-judgmental response (something to the effect that “I don’t think that was helpful…”). Then, as his solo recordings dropped – I couldn’t put them together with the recordings I loved. Then: the internet. More info, more testimony. The published author who wrote (in a personal email) that Marty didn’t tell the truth; that private side where irony and reality is unclear? Who knows? I read about the early Tuna in which Marty was in the studio when Jorma and Jack weren’t, and he “caught them in the lie…” Then, a few years later, I read one lone line about autism. Really?! Hmm. I detoured music when my ex wanted a child and I needed a steady income, went for a psychology BA and a Social Work MSW, and come to understand what diagnoses can (and often don’t) mean – but something clicked. Then Marty said in an interview that his co-musicians didn’t like him when KBC split. (What does that mean?
    What on earth?) Then, much later, the (cheap, almost embarrassing) public service video in which Marty was by a swimming pool talking about autism… I wondered why his solo career didn’t soar, and felt, “oh……” So, what to make of all this? Everything I admired is still admirable. Everything that was difficult – well, I don’t know the details, but was able to get a sense, we were able to see the indications. He sang Volunteers at Fur Peace – and in the video, it appears that Jorma was impatient with Marty’s continuing, not letting go, when the song could be over. Marty was interviewed in the portrait tower, and one could experience the difficulty of being WITH him. I felt sad. There are many more examples on the web. But what I’m left with is the wonder of the music I love, what he created, what he organized and what all that led to. He was an odd wonder. For example: when Crown of Creation was released, I had no idea what “Share His Little Joke with the World” was about – but now it’s clear – and so real and insightful! From a man who lacked some social skills – that are probably essential for sustaining a career in the unforgivable, ever changing, music world. I had always wished Marty could have worked more successfully with Hot Tuna, but it wasn’t meant to be. I wouldn’t have to live through the ongoing, cooperative (and conflictual) relationships that would entail. No matter. What Marty did accomplish was wonderful, and what I didn’t love, well, I don’t have to purchase. What a world! We are so complex – our relationships, what we have to give… Plastic Fantastic Lover hasn’t aged a minute since it’s conception. It’s a long time ago, but it still lives. …and he WAS exciting. I came to SF from PDX when KBC had a free concert in Golden Gate Park. It was wonderful. Children wandering around the stage, excellent performances, great community feel…and Marty running toward the front of the stage, repeatedly pretending, over and over, to fall down. I couldn’t explain what was so wonderful and funny about it, but it was. Wonderful, and funny. Without diminishing “America,” or the classics they were (powerfully) playing. Marty could be bitter, judgmental, sarcastic, repetitious, but also – really, really (exceptionally) wonderful. I saw him perform in Seattle not long before his medical conditions overwhelmed. He didn’t have that Olympian high range anymore, but his voice still sounded rich and beautiful. He didn’t need to strain for the high notes. He didn’t need to as for the audience to help him with “Call On Me,” He could have accepted his range and made it work. Some of his new material had choruses that repeated over and over…and over again. …which I now imagine to be the insistence that comes from Autism and a certain social disconnect with others that is the essence of the disorder. Now, of course, I’m grateful I went. I wish he had a full band, I wish many things, but he was who he was, and his shining moments were just that – bright, shining, and amazing. he’s a part of our history. He’s a part of me… Goodbye!

  31. Sian Steed
    October 2nd, 2018 at 06:34 | #31

    R.I.P. Marty Balin. “Miracles” is my favourite song. Beyond beautiful.

  32. October 2nd, 2018 at 06:43 | #32

    Thank You for your kind words, Jorma. We will all miss Marty but will keep him close in our hearts. I was fortunate to see him with Jefferson Starship at my first concert evah when I was 15 years young. The show was on the Great Lawn in Central Park, NYC on July 7, 1976. It was a beautiful day of music full of Miracles, Rabbits and Revolution…RIP Mr. Balin !!

  33. Marla Bloch
    October 3rd, 2018 at 03:54 | #33

    Beautifully stated as always Jorma. So grateful you and Jack are still around, sharing your insights and your lovely music. Thank you.

    RIP Marty Balin.

  34. bruce kelso
    October 3rd, 2018 at 07:09 | #34

    its so nice to see all the love and true feelings being written here. my wish is for the remaining three, jack ,jorma and grace to reunite and celebrate the music spirt and life of what once was. that being jefferson airplane flight log 2018.

  35. JeffersonCampervan
    October 3rd, 2018 at 11:09 | #35

    Thank you Marty for being the Prime Mover in 1965; I’ve been dwelling in the expanding musical universe that you ignited ever since. R.I.P. Frank in Toronto

  36. Peter Stone
    October 4th, 2018 at 18:42 | #36

    Very thoughtful Jorma……totally agree with your reflections. Been listening a lot lately to Crown of Creation 50 years after it’s release. Was thinking mainly of Paul but then this……..

  37. October 4th, 2018 at 19:51 | #37

    I knew it then, but feel it even more now, that was a privilege to see and hear Marty Balin perform at the most glorious weekend I spent at FPR. Thank you Jorma and Marty for your part in making the soundtrack of our lives!

  38. George Anthony
    October 4th, 2018 at 21:29 | #38

    A long way from Friday the 13th, Aug 1965…

    Marty in NY 1984:

    We got to interview Marty for CW Post – LI College radio in 1984 wcwp.org Marty was accommodating and charming. Marty gave us two Comp ticket to Lone Star, 13th St. and 5th Ave, hanging by the front revolving door with hid Dad Joe. Marty’s band was pre-KBC days and included Slick Aguilar and Keith Crossan on sax. We plugged in, got a fine board tape. In retrospect, Marty was so young and vibrant.

    I’ve been playing ‘Jefferson Airplane Loves You’ 3 CD Box Set this week. It’s helped with the mourning. The JA Box Set has many rarities, including the first time hearing “Things Are Better in the East”. Marty, wonderful poet. We all get a lift from certain songs, that song does it for me. Jorma, thanks for playing Boulton Center in Bayshore and for your Book. Be well Brother.

  39. Jim
    October 5th, 2018 at 09:53 | #39

    Glad I was able to experience a bit his magic at the Beacon for Jack’s 70th -

  40. Howard Wade
    October 6th, 2018 at 04:28 | #40

    I’ve been trying to find the words to say what Marty (and you guys in general) meant to me and my friends way back then. We are younger than you all and, as musicians, looked up to you. His clear tenor was one of the most powerful voices i’ve heard. His ability to convey feelings in song was unparalleled. I think of songs like Coming Back to Me and tears almost come to this day. Back then we were searching for a way to be in a world that seemed to have no place for us. When Marty, Paul and Grace sang “We can be together my friend, oh you and me” it gave us something to hang on to. I feel it’s power still as i remember it. So safe journeys to brother Marty. And, for my part, you guys did make a difference and still do.

  41. Mark
    October 7th, 2018 at 00:38 | #41

    God speed, to all of the JA. I loved you guys since the first album. I had to take the bus from the East Bay to the ball rooms, and sometimes be told I was too young. It seemed the JA would always be there.. you were our anthem. Best wishes to you all, here and those gone.

  42. Hash Brown
    October 7th, 2018 at 19:27 | #42

    Favorite band, great voice. Comin’ home to you

  43. Rinaldo
    October 12th, 2018 at 17:55 | #43

    The fact that all the members of the Jefferson Airplane stayed in touch with each other over the years was truly amazing. It’s discouraging when old friends no longer see eye-to-eye and leave each other behind. But with all their differences, love and friendship seemed to endure among members of the band. And the beautiful words expressed by Jorma regarding Marty and his bandmates were heartfelt and inspirational. In a song called “Hold Me”, written by David Evan and Gene Heart, Marty sings the line: “There must be something wrong, because you and I still get along.” May the memory of the kinship they had for each other carry on.

  44. Christine Terbrock
    October 17th, 2018 at 20:44 | #44

    I loved Marty = still do. My favorite song is still We Built This City on Rock And Roll – his eyes and expression I will never forget. When I was young, I always felt he was singing to me! I know he is at rest with the Lord. I just turned 70 and still love his music! So sorry to his family. Please accept my condolences. My prayers are with you – please take care.
    Chris Terbrock

  45. Patrick Filacchione
    October 24th, 2018 at 21:04 | #45

    My experience with Marty began at 8 years old when I discovered my older brothers records and listened to them. I fell in love with Volunteers and have been a life long fan of Jefferson Airplane and subsequently Hot Tuna, ever since. His voice will live on in all of us. I’ve been priveledged to see hundreds of Hot Tuna Shows and loved the birthday bash at the Beacon. RIP Marty and Jorma, Ill see you and Jack in Ridgefield CT. 11/25

  46. Gary Dion
    October 26th, 2018 at 13:46 | #46

    Thank you, Jorma, for your wonderful words about Marty. Marty’s voice and lyrics were instrumental in drawing me in to the Airplane’s music.
    I also thank you again, Jorma, for your music and thoughts over all these years. You’ve made my life much, much richer.
    – Gary

  47. Gary Dion
    October 26th, 2018 at 14:03 | #47

    Oh, BTW. My friends, John and Tom, and I were in the audience at the Northampton concert. Thank you, Jorma, and Jack, for the gift of a wonderful performance that evening as you both were dealing with the news about Marty. I’m sure you both were playing through considerable emotion while on stage. The news about Marty stunned us as well. But your words and music that evening helped to make some sense of things, and helped to ease the feelings of loss.
    – Thanks again, Gary

  48. Rob Smith III
    September 13th, 2019 at 20:55 | #48

    Hi Jorma,

    This is an odd question/request. I am 36 so was not around for the San Francisco music scene in the 60s, but I got into it by way of Moby Grape whom I heard of through Robert Plant talking about the group and Skip Spence in interviews. It piqued my curiosity, and through that I ended up hearing about the Airplane, heard Embryonic Journey, and felt my heart burst open for the music. My wife, eight month old son, and I went camping up and down the Pacific Coast Highway from Big Sur to Oregon for two weeks in November and stopped in Soquel to visit Skip Spence at his final resting place.

    There is some information on the internet about him — mainly from his time with Moby Grape through OAR — but not a lot about his early years in San Francisco music or what he was like. Do you have any stories to share about him in the early years of Airplane or in general around town? Anything that can expound upon him as a person? Does Jack have any stories? I would like to hear something about him along these lines. Even though he had some troubles, I would like to hear personal memories of him as a person and as a musician.

    Thank you and blessings while you are on the road and off the road. I am in Richmond, Virginia — I hope to catch you and Jack at LOCKN — did not get to go in ‘15. Also hoping to make some time to sign up for a lesson and go out to the Ranch next year — it would be an honor.


  49. September 16th, 2019 at 10:50 | #49

    There is a lot written about Skip… a wonderfully talented human being and artist. I never really hung with him after he left the Airplane in ‘66 or thereabouts. His story is fractured and tragic. It did not look like a happy ending to me. Very sad to say.

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