rest in peace brother paul kantner...

My heart is sad tonight:  brother Paul Kantner co-founder of Jefferson Airplane is
dead. I LOVED the Airplane and came of age listening to them in the 60s. When my baby was very young in San Francisco and we lived in the Haight, we would greet him walking through Golden Gate Park by the Carousel.  He once smiled and said, "Beautiful little girl, man." Decades later, when I was doing doctoral work at San Francisco Theological Seminary - and would come into North Beach to hang at my brother's apartment - I would see him at The Saloon or Vesuvius or sometimes Cafe Trieste. Apparently, Kantner was cantankerous and surly - but damn if he wasn't a blessing in the music he helped bring to birth. I felt a stab in my soul upon reading of his passing tonight. 

(check out what the SF Gate had to say here:http://www.sfgate.

Back in the day, Surrealistic Pillow  blew me away. That summer our garage band, Creepin' Jesus, welcomed a young singer by the name of Molly Cheek into the band as she wanted to do songs off that album - so we were happy to oblige for the next two months.. Not only was she delightfully alluring and attractive, but she could sing like Grace Slick and rock the house in a miniskirt, too. What more could a bunch of goofy guitar playing adolescent guys want in that grand summer of love 1967! 

Then came my all time favorite: After Bathing at Baxter's. I can't begin to count how many times I played that vinyl LP over the next few years. About three years ago I repurchased this gem on CD and found myself enchanted over and over again. Other great tunes kept coming with Crown of Creation, Volunteers, Bark (w/Poppa John Creech on electric violin) and the cosmic Live at the Fillmore East. For a moment in time, and it was really just a moment, the world of politics, religion, culture and art came together and it felt like love was stronger than cash or war. It didn't last long and the drugs made it so much worse. But, there was a moment...

And crazy at it sounds in 2016 I still hold that moment close to my heart. Sometimes people say to me: Dude, you are just an old hippie. But that isn't a slam: it is a badge of honor. For those who can remember beyond the haze of acid and ganga, there really was a connection of heart and soul for a moment that was cosmic. And while there are a ton of reasons why it all went down the tubes, there are still sisters and brothers out there who tasted the magic - and are keeping it real all these years later. They didn't cave to the market and they didn't sell their souls to the highest bidder. They kept making music - and sharing love - and I give thanks to God that some of them are still alive (and actually make music with ME from time to time!
Kantner's "Ballad of You and Me and Pooneil" was one of my favorites (along with "Saturday Afternoon/Won't You Try) as it was free-form, wild, sensual and so alive! When Paul put out his solo album during my freshman year in college, I think I wore out the grooves of "Blows Against the Empire." And then there was David Crosby's solo outing that brought his buddies from the Airplane into the studio for two of my all time favorites:  What Are Their Names and Music Is Love.
Tonight I give thanks to God for the music and untamed spirit that Kantner shared with us - and continued to share with us. I honor his brokenness, recognize his obnoxious arrogance and will always value his tender generosity and commitment to being real, too.  Thank you, music man, you brought blessings to my world and I hope I can give to others just a bit of what you shared with me in your day..I am so wishing I was with my brother Phil and sister-in-law Julie right now: we'd head down to the Saloon and hoist a few in Paul's honor. Hope you guys make it happen!


Judy Zimola said…
That's a nice story.

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