Live Preview: Jefferson Starship

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Guitarist Paul Kantner discusses celebrating the 50th anniversary of Jefferson Airplane on a new tour from Jefferson Starship.

**Fifty years is a milestone that takes you into an exclusive club whose members are The Who, the Stones and almost nobody else. **

I’m sometimes amazed that I’m still here.

Why does Jefferson Airplane’s music still resonate with many people?

We were well taught by Pete Seeger’s original group The Weavers, who made extraordinary music and had a good time but were also socially responsible.

Jefferson Airplane haven’t existed since the mid-90s, and you and singer David Freiberg are that group’s only members in Jefferson Starship, so what form will the anniversary take?

We’ll be concentrating on the songs I was involved with, everything from Let’s Get Together to The Other Side Of This Life and Have You Seen The Saucers?. It’ll be a blend of the two bands.

But you’ll steer well clear of Starship’s pop-era songs?

None of that shit. That’s why I left the band.

Cathy Richardson is into her seventh year as Jefferson Starship’s lead singer. That’s only a year less than Grace Slick did.

We are a very stable, strong band, and Cathy is a great performer. The three-part harmony thing of her, David [Freiberg] and myself is at the core of what we do, and I took that from the Weavers.

The band’s last album, Jefferson’s Tree Of Liberty, was six years ago, and was the group’s first new recording in twelve years.

[Laugh] It’s not that I think the art-form is dead, I just take a good long time to write. Sometimes a song takes a week, others three years.

The tour starts in Derby on January 28.