Kantner co- piloted Je≠ erson Airplane
san francisco » Paul Kantner, an original member of the 1960s rock group Jefferson Airplane who stayed with the San Franciscobased band through its transformation from hippies to hitmakers as the eventual leader of successor group Jefferson Starship, has died at age 74.
Kantner, who drew upon his passion for politics and science fiction to help write seminal favorites such as “Wooden Ships” and “Volunteers,” died Thursday of organ failure and septic shock at a San Francisco hospital where he was admitted after falling ill earlier in the week, his former girlfriend and publicist Cynthia Bowman, the mother of one of his three children, toldTheAssociated Press.
His death first was reportedThursday by the San Francisco Chronicle.
Fewbandswere so identified with San Francisco or sowell- embodied the idealism and hedonism of the late ’ 60s as Jefferson Airplane, its message boldly stated on buttons and bumper stickers that read “The Jefferson Airplane Loves You.”
The band advocated sex, psychedelic drugs, rebellion and a communal lifestyle, operating out of an eccentric, Colonial Revival house near Haight- Ashbury. Its members supported various political and social causes, tossed out LSD at concerts and played at both the Monterey and Woodstock festivals.
Formed by veterans of the folk circuit in the mid-’ 60s, the Airplane combined folk, rock, blues and jazz andwas the first group from a Bay Area scene that also featured Janis Joplin and the Grateful Dead to achieve mainstream success, thanks to the classics “Somebody to Love” and “White Rabbit.”
Besides Kantner, who played rhythm guitar and added backing vocals, the Airplane’s best- knownlineup included singers Grace Slick and Marty Balin; lead guitarist Jorma Kaukonen; bassist Jack Casady; and drummer Spencer Dryden. Jefferson Airplane, named in part after blues artist Blind Lemon Jefferson, was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1996.
Kantner and Slick became one of rock’s most prominent couples. In 1971, Slick gave birth to their daughter, whom the couple originally wanted to call God, but decided to name China. Slick and Kantner broke up in the late 1970s.
rhythm guitar and added backing vocals.