Classic Rock Bottom

More Jefferson Starships? We've seen at least three incarnations in the previous post, though of those three the variation were minor. Lets explore the more radical changes that were to come after my favorite JS albums (Earth) was released...

A US and European tour followed which resulted in an audience riot in Germany after the band decided not to play without Grace Slick who was ill. They lost all their guitars and equipment during the riot and played one more tense show on German TV in Hamburg after which Grace left the band for one album. Marty Balin fronted the band for one more show at a Genesis concert at the Knebworth Festival in England using rented equipment. When they returned to the USA drummer John Barbata left the band after a serious car accident. This would be the end of the 1970s line-up and several new members joined the band, as well as a new record producer.

And now, the rest of the Jefferson Starships (except for the ones that showed up way later than these - Jon's already covered those) ...


Freedom At Point Zero

1 - Rock Music

Since the band's previous album, the Top Ten, million-selling Earth, the group had lost its two lead singers, Grace Slick and Marty Balin, and they had been replaced by Mickey Thomas. Marty Balin actually practiced "Jane" with the group prior to his leaving the Freedom at Point Zero sessions. Aynsley Dunbar plays drums on this album; he had left Journey the previous year. Reluctant leader Paul Kantner came back to the fore. Although Freedom at Point Zero demonstrated that the group could soldier on, the band without its quirky individualists was ultimately too generic, which made Slick's return on the next album welcome.

Modern Times

2 - Alien

Grace Slick appeared on this album after a three-year absence. She returned near the end of the recording sessions, providing background vocals on some tracks as well as lead vocals on the single "Stranger" as a duet with lead singer Mickey Thomas. Although not appearing in the band picture on the gatefold cover, she is listed on the back cover of the LP with the credit "Introducing Grace Slick" and her picture is on the lyric sleeve with the note "Grace Slick courtesy of Grace Slick." She joined the band officially for the 1981 tour.

Winds of Change

3 - Can't Find Love

It was the first studio album produced after Grace Slick rejoined the band as a full member. Aynsley Dunbar plays drums on the album, but was replaced by Donny Baldwin for the supporting tour. The dearth of Paul Kantner material (save for "Out of Control" and the obtuse and confused politics of "I Came Back from the Jaws of the Dragon") means that this album, more than any previous effort, relies on the input of outside songwriters.

Nuclear Furniture

4 - Layin' It on the Line

Let's close it with a hit!

It holds up better than previous efforts Modern Times and Winds of Change, though, due to improved songwriting and the temporarily revitalized presence of Paul Kantner (who would acrimoniously leave the band, taking the "Jefferson" with him, after this album). As the album was being recorded, Paul Kantner became frustrated with the album's direction. Before the sessions came to a close, he stole the master tapes, put them in his car and drove around San Francisco for a few days and wouldn't bring them back until the band mixed the album in a way more to his liking. All told, Nuclear Furniture is most notable in the Jefferson lexicon as the album that made permanent the schism between Paul Kantner's lingering political punditry and Mickey Thomas's desire for disposable arena rock. The tension between the two angles makes for an intriguing if uneven album.

Couple questions...

  1. So which Jefferson Starships do you prefer? First batch or second batch? 
  2. Favorite album from Batch 1?
  3. Favorite album from batch 2?
  4. Favorite overall album?

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1. Second batch.

2. None, really. But I don't know the albums, only the songs you've posted.

3. I don't know, since I haven't heard the albums, only the songs you've posted.

4. I don't think I've ever heard a full album by this/these bands(s)

ROCK MUSIC - Well, it sounds better to me, than the songs from last week, even though it's straightforward early 80's "rock'n'roll". I mostly dislike songs from the 80's and on with the word "rock" or "Heavy Metal" in the title.

ALIEN - This sounds okay to me. It also sounds very dated, but I might had liked it back then. It's almost Prog at times.

CAN'T FIND LOVE - Nah, this is not really me. Too slow, and too un-interesting. Oh, that was only the start, the speed was turned up a bit. Hmmmm, I'm not impressed. Sounds like the B-side to some single.

LAYIN' IT ON THE LINE - A hit, you say? I've never heard this song. Wait, maybe I've heard it once or twice, either decades ago, or here on CRB(?). It's okay, in a dull way. Nothing special. Maybe I would had like it better back then.

Bottomline: I don't care at all for Airplane/Starship's output from the 70's and start 80's. I still have some interest in their outpout from the 60's, and I still like "We Buildt This City".

Before I start listening to this, I guess I should answer the questions:

1. So which Jefferson Starships do you prefer? First batch or second batch? They're all Jefferson Starship, so this is a silly question and I shall not waste my time with an answer other than this one. 
2. Favorite album from Batch 1? That's really none of your business.
3. Favorite album from batch 2? Seriously? Are you starting a quiz show or something?
4. Favorite overall album? Now it's getting personal. No more answers (or soup) for you!

Of course Jon already covered their stellar 1999 release. He's cool.

So I have all of these remastered and non-remastered, except for MT which I have a Japanese version as well as the latest remaster.  Actually, they probably were remastered in some way for the original cd release but not truly remastered.

WOC was the one in need of a remaster. I had the cassette and it sounded pretty bad even way back then, the original cd sounds about the same but the remaster sound quite good.

Used to dislike NF but kinda like it now.

I should end this with some questions of my own, but I won't. It's not like we're in school and need to do homework.

If I was a teacher I'd give you an "Incomplete" and then I'd call Sister Mary Elephant to get you straightened out.

SHUT UP!!!!!!

Thank you

I certainly cannot imagine the song Jane with Balin on lead vocals.  Mickey Thomas truly kills it on that song.  The first song here, I've actually heard, but it doesn't do much for me.  I have this album on vinyl.  I picked it up a while back for a dollar.  Still haven't listened to it.

The song Alien comes from the best ever Jefferson Airplane/Jefferson Starship/Starship album ever.  But it's not a great song, just okay.  Stranger may be the best song by the band, or maybe it's Save Your Love.  Craig Chaquico is amazing on that song.

Can't Find Love would have fit nicely on Modern Times.  It's a terrific song.

Layin' It On The Line isn't all that memorable either.

  1. So which Jefferson Starships do you prefer? First batch or second batch? 

First batch.  Better individual album in batch 2, but overall better songs in batch one.

  1. Favorite album from Batch 1?

Not sure.

  1. Favorite album from batch 2?

Seriously?  Modern Times by a nuclear mile...

  1. Favorite overall album?

See previous answer.

Finally someone willing to discuss....  Clearly my favorite is the first batch and, but I prefer Winds of Change form the second batch if I had to pick, its production and songwriting is better suited to my tastes, and it features Grace Slick more than the others...  But Earth gets my vote for best of the bunch, but Ive been saying that every time we talk about this band...

Just a shame that the person willing to discuss is Rjhog........


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