Thinking About Paul Kantner

Thinking About Paul Kantner


In junior high and high school, my musical imagination became sparked by Jefferson Airplane. I think the wit of the lyrics and the interplay of the vocals caught my ear. I know VH1 Closet Classics hammered on “White Rabbit” and that inspired me to buy the Worst of Jefferson Airplane. In high school, my friend and fellow musician, Jason Heires, loaned me one of his parents records, Flight Log by Jefferson Airplane/Jefferson Starship. That’s when I started to appreciate Paul Kantner as a songwriter.

Over time, my tastes have changed and revolved, yet I find myself coming back to the unassuming Paul Kantner. His recent passing got me to listen to some Airplane and Starship. That’s how I stumbled upon this latter-day Jefferson Starship album Deep Space/Virgin Sky. I’ll admit that I didn’t expect much from this album, but I wanted to hear Paul in the spotlight. Except for the really dated Korg and Yamaha DX7 synth tones, I am digging this album. Bonus, not only does Marty Balin join in on a few songs, but Grace Slick does a mini-set.

It’s weird. I don’t consider Kantner a superstar, he was too low key. I even kind of took him for granted in a way I don’t take other musicians for granted (And this year, I’m definitely learning not to take anyone for granted!). He was Paul Kantner, and he would always be there giving the needed quotes on the Haight Asbury culture. I think the new generation has the potential to fill his shoes. I’m just waiting for the next Jefferson Airplane.

Jefferson Starship Deep Space/Virgin Sky