Thursday, January 28, 2016

Paul Kantner dead at 74

Paul Lorin Kantner
March 17, 1941 - January 28, 2016

Paul Kantner, guitarist and co-founding member of Jefferson Airplane, died today from multiple organ failure and septic shock. Kantner had also suffered a heart attack earlier in the week and had suffered another in March of last year. Kantner was 74. 

Kantner was one of the founding members of Jefferson Airplane, one of the many psychedelic bands coming out of the San Francisco music scene in the late 1960s. From 1965 to 1974, Jefferson Airplane were able to release seven studio albums. The band's hits included psychedelic rock classics such as "Somebody to Love," "White Rabbit," "It's No Secret," "Embryonic Journey," "Lather" and "Volunteers." The band went through a number of line-ups but their classic line-up is considered to be the line-up consisting of Kantner, singers Marty Balin and Grace Slick, guitarist Jorma Kaukonen, bassist Jack Casady and drummer Spencer Dryden. The band also have the distinction of having played all three of the major music festivals of the late 1960s: Monterey Pop in 1967 and Woodstock and Altamont in 1969. 

Dryden left in 1970 while Kaukonen and Casady would go on to form Hot Tuna. Kantner and Slick, along with Balin and David Freiberg would form a spin-off band- Jefferson Starship (a name Kantner had used in 1970 for his debut solo album, Blows Against the Empire). As Jefferson Starship, the band were able to achieve some success in the 1970s with hit singles such as "Miracles," "With Your Love" and "Jane." Jefferson Starship initially broke up in 1984, although Slick and singer Mickey Thomas would continue under the name Starship. The band reunited under the Jefferson Airplane name in 1989 for one album and then as Jefferson Starship: The Next Generation in 1992. Before his death, Kantner was still a member of the band. Kantner is survived by three children: Gareth, Alexander and China. Kantner's oldest, China, was the child Kantner had with band mate Grace Slick. 

It's sad to hear of Paul's death. Jefferson Airplane made some great music. I liked hearing him talk in some music docs that I've gotten the chance to watch over the years. He seemed like cool guy. 

RIP, Paul.  

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