Thursday, July 29, 2021

Grace Slick, Van Morrison, and Rotating Band Lineups - Hippie Love Turbo Radio Show - Code Word "Watercress"

On this episode of Hippie Love Turbo, on KUCR 88.3 FM we got twisted up in some crazy band drama as I tried to understand the confusing history of the bands Starship and Them. 

Whenever you see reissues and compilations featuring Them, Van Morrison's name is plastered everywhere, which makes sense as Morrison is not only a founding member but also the most famous since he later had a series of top hits including Brown Eyed Girl. However, when you dive deeper into the band's history, you'll discover how they had a million line-up changes, not including all of the studio musicians featured on their early work, all of which makes it appear as if the band was never really a cohesive group. There is a fantastic timeline on Garage Hangover which goes through all of the band's intricacies better than I ever could. The whole thing makes my head spin. 

As for Starship, the band came from the ashes of Jefferson Starship, which itself was comprised of members of Jefferson Airplane. Checking out the lists of former musicians from Starship and Jefferson Starship's makes you wonder how anyone in the band could keep track of who was supposed to show up and preform on any given night. For Starship, the only real consistent member was Mickey Thomas and Jefferson Starship's longest lasting member was Paul Kantner before he died in 2016. As of today, the current lineup of Jefferson Starship only includes one original member, David Freiberg, and Freiberg had left the band for a big chunk of time between 1984 and 2005. 


Grace Slick's power move in the music video for Starship's We Built This City

Although the three bands had a wide variety of sounds and personnel, one thing that ultimately tied them all together is how singer Grace Slick is featured in their most popular works. Slick was featured on Jefferson Airplane's Surrealistic Pillow which is often listed as one of the best psychedelic albums of all time, Jefferson Starship's first four albums which all had singles that reached the Billboard top 10, and most unfortunately, Starship's top hits We Built This City and Nothing's Gonna Stop Us Now (which was featured in the bizarre romantic comedy Mannequin). 

While this is my personal opinion, I do believe it's one that many people share; Starship is hokey as hell and it's a tad bit sad knowing the band is tied to Jefferson Airplane. In fact, Grace Slick herself said the following in an interview with CBS is 2009: "I don't like Nothing's Going to Stop Us Now 'cause I can Stop you with a big truck. We're going to be together forever? Come on, please."

You can check out this episode's playlist below:


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