Archive for Modern Times

R.I.P. Paul Kantner

Posted in Death, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on January 29, 2016 by 80smetalman
Paul Kantner- Jefferson Starship

Paul Kantner- Jefferson Starship

Now I am convinced the apocalypse is upon us. Not even a week since the death of Dio bassist, Jimmy Bain, another rock legend departs our world. Yesterday, it was rhythm guitarist Paul Kantner of Jefferson Airplane/Starship, who passed away from a heart attack, aged 74. Paul Kantner was one of the major reasons I was such a big Jefferson Starship fan throughout the 1970s and early 1980s. It was only after he departed the band in 1984, they ceased to be my favourite band.

Paul was not only one of the best rhythm guitarists in rock, (he was nominated for the Hugo Science Fiction Award for his efforts on Blows Against the Empire), he was also a damn good song writer. Whenever I got a new Jefferson Starship album, it was his songs that I usually liked the most on that album. His songs always tended to be more hard rock, especially during their days of mellow out rock in the late 70s. Unfortunately, many of the songs he wrote weren’t the ‘big’ singles so I doubt if they will release an album with just his songs. So what I am going to do in tribute to this great musician is to listen to all the songs he wrote or had a major hand in writing for the band and list them here if you should want to do the same.

Dragon_Fly_(Jefferson_Starship_album_-_cover_art)

From Dragonfly

  1. Ride the Tiger
  2. Caroline

redoc

From Red Octopus

  1. I Want to See Another World
  2. There Will Be Love

is

From Spitfire

  1. Dance With the Dragon
  2. St Charles
  3. Song to the Sun: Part I- Ozymandias, Part II- Don’t Let it Rain

jsearth

From Earth

  1. All Night Long

FreedomAtPointZero

From Freedom at Point Zero

  1. Lightning Rose
  2. Things to Come
  3. Girl With the Hungry Eyes
  4. Freedom at Point Zero

untitled (4)

From Modern Times

  1. Wild Eyes
  2. Modern Times
  3. Stairway to Cleveland

WindsOfChange_Jefferson_Starship

From Winds of Change

  1. Out of Control
  2. I Came Back From the Jaws of the Dragon

Nuclear_Furniture

From Nuclear Furniture

  1. Connection
  2. Rose Goes to Yale
  3. Champion

Jefferson Starship did not release an album in 1983 but Paul Kantner did put out a solo album that year, which I liked. That will be the next post.

R.I.P. Paul

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Great Rock Albums of 1982: Jefferson Starship- Winds of Change

Posted in 1980s, Heavy Metal, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on June 1, 2015 by 80smetalman

WindsOfChange_Jefferson_Starship

No, I haven’t fallen down a hole nor was I kidnapped by a raging gang of Boy George fans on account of my April Fool’s joke. The reason why I haven’t been around for the past few weeks was down to technical difficulties. Having a computer under warranty has distinct advantages but one disadvantage is that I had to wait nearly two weeks to have my new keyboard delivered. My stepson was kind enough to lend me his laptop from time to time so I was able to follow many of you whose blogs I get directly through email but he wouldn’t let me download photos or give me enough time to write a post. But that’s all over and I’m back! What no fanfare?

One very annoying misconception about hard rock and heavy metal is that every album from such an artist sounds the same. Yes, I scream “Bullshit!” when I hear this and the same was said back in 1982 when Jefferson Starship released their album “Winds of Change.” To the uneducated, it sounded just like their previous albums “Freedom at Point Zero” and “Modern Times.” I bet if they actually listened to all three albums, they would realise that they couldn’t have been more wrong.

First of all, when I listen to this album, I am reminded why Jefferson Starship was my favourite band from 1977-84. “Winds of Change” contains everything I liked about the band back then and it adds a few surprises. What I like most about the album is that Craig Chaquico is given free reign on the guitar. Every song has a killer solo or guitar break and in many cases, both. If you ever wondered just how good a lead guitarist he is, then listen to “Winds of Change” because it shows him at his best.

Let’s not take anything away from the rest of the band. Pete Sears still lays down some of his keyboard magic in songs like “Be My Lady” and “Can’t Find Love” as well as working well with Paul Kantner and Aynsley Dunbar to provide a cool rhythm section. Mickey Thomas is at his vocal best and this was the album that marked Grace Slick’s complete return to the band. Her vocals make one believe that she never left the band in the first place. She also leads the band with a small departure from the norm with the punk like “Out of Control.” Every time I hear that song, I just want to start pogo dancing.

While there’s not a bad track to be found on the album, the ones that stick out for me are the title track, the previously mentioned one, “Black Widow” where Grace makes the mating ritual of the black widow spider sound almost erotic and Paul Kantner makes his usual fine contribution with “I Came Back From the Jaws of the Dragon.” The song starts out about Kantner’s brain hemorrhage that might have killed him and his near miraculous recovery but in the Kantner style, goes political on Central America and crime and punishment. For the Jefferson Starship fan, there is everything to like on this album.

Track Listing:

1. Winds of Change

2. Keep on Dreamin’

3. Be My Lady

4. I Will Stay

5. Out of Control

6. Can’t Find Love

7. Black Widow

8. I Came Back From the Jaws of the Dragon

9. Quit Wasting Time

Jefferson Starship

Jefferson Starship

Mickey Thomas- vocals

Grace Slick- vocals

Craig Chaquico- lead guitar, backing vocals

Paul Kantner- rhythm guitar, vocals

Pete Sears- keyboards, piano, synthesizer and bass on all tracks except “Be My Lady”

David Freiberg- vocals, keyboards, bass on “Be My Lady”

Aynsely Dunbar- drums, percussion

*Note: While Aynsely Dunbar played on the recording of the album, he would leave before the tour and was replaced by Donny Baldwin

A few years down the line, Mickey Thomas would use the observation I made earlier to justify the Starship’s later change in sound. But that story’s for another day. “Winds of Change” showed that Jefferson Starship could rock with the best of them.

Next post: Great Rock One Hit Wonders of 1982

To buy Rock And Roll Children, go to http://www.strategicpublishinggroup.com/title/RockAndRollChildren.html

Also available on Amazon, Barnes & Noble and Froogle and on sale at Foyles Book Shop in London

 

 

Great Rock Albums of 1981: Grace Slick- Welcome To The Wrecking Ball

Posted in Heavy Metal, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on January 26, 2014 by 80smetalman

WelcometotheWreckingBall

In 1981, even after her contribution on the “Modern Times” album by Jefferson Starship, Grace Slick was reported to have said that she was going to blow herself up if she got kept on being asked if she was going back to the Starship. I don’t blame her, there was still quite a bit of discord between her and the band at this time. Additionally, it was a month after the release of “Modern Times” that I saw her album “Welcome to the Wrecking Ball” for sale in the shops. This was one of those albums I wanted to listen to but never got around to it. I really liked her more progressive sounding “Dreams” which she put out the previous year so the precedent for buying was certainly there. But I didn’t, and now thanks to You Tube, I was able to finally listen to the album and now I’m really kicking myself.

Maybe it was because “Dreams” was more progressive and my musical tastes were becoming harder is why I didn’t buy it. Lousy excuse, because “Welcome to the Wrecking Ball” is nothing like “Dreams.” This entire album is (and I can’t put it any other way) is one hell of a rocking album. It starts with the title track and then avalanches into a thrilling pool of bang your head style rock that some people could mistake for heavy metal. The only reason why I won’t call it that is the track “Shooting Star.” This song could have been written by Paul Kantner and used on either of Jefferson Starship’s albums “Red Octopus” or “Spitfire” from the mid 70s. The song is more of a trippy way out there kind of song but it does fit in well with the album. It’s the only song, save for “Lines” that doesn’t begin by a pounding guitar riff. “Lines” starts with a reggae sound before exploding into your face in likewise hard manner. One thing for sure is that given Grace’s powerful vocals on these songs, it is clear that she definitely can sing hard rock. Just listen to “Round and Round” and you’ll see what I mean. Maybe a metal band should give her a guest vocal spot on a song, I know it would sound superb.

The unsung hero on this album is Scott Zito. He wrote all of the songs along with Slick and after hearing what he can do on the guitar on first, “Dreams” and now this album, I’m glad that she kept him on to play guitar because he can play.

Track Listing:

1. Welcome to the Wrecking Ball

2. Mistreater

3. Shot in the Dark

4. Round and Round

5. Shooting Star

6. Just a Little Love

7. Sea of Love

8. Lines

9. Right Kind

10. No More Heroes

Grace Slick

Grace Slick

Grace Slick- lead vocals

Scott Zito- lead guitar, harmonica, backing vocals

Danny Guilino- rhythm guitar

Phil Stone- bass

Bobby Torell0- drums

Paul Harris- keyboards

I’m not finished kicking myself for not buying this album but I will start searching Amazon and like places. The problem is that I don’t get paid till Friday. “Welcome to the Wrecking Ball” by Grace Slick is definitely the most underrated album that I have come across for 1981, if not for all time. I’m glad she just let herself go on this one for this is a fantastic album.

Next post: Joe Walsh- There Goes The Neighbourhood

To buy Rock And Roll Children, go to http://www.strategicpublishinggroup.com/title/RockAndRollChildren.html

Also available at Amazon, Barnes & Noble and Froogle and on sale at Foyles Book Shop in London

Great Rock Albums of 1981: Jefferson Starship- Modern Times

Posted in 1980s, Heavy Metal, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on January 14, 2014 by 80smetalman

untitled (4)

When Jefferson Starship released their previous album, “Freedom At Point Zero,” Rolling Stone magazine commented that they had become just another heavy metal band. We all know that any one who has heard that album can deduce that the person from Rolling Stone who said it obviously has no understanding what heavy metal is but that’s beside the point. In response to that statement, Paul Kantner, wrote back saying, “Fuck You, We Do What We Want.” Those words became immortalised on the closing track of this album “Modern Times.”

It was a wise thing to let Jefferson Starship do what they wanted for this album follows on nicely from the last one. While not heavy metal, there is a great deal of hard rock on the album to be loved. The first two tracks, “Find Your Way Back” and “The Stranger” were both singles for the band but in no way are either of these songs pop. Probably why the highest they charted was the former of the two, which peaked at 29. “Wild Eyes” is a typical Jefferson Starship rocker and the last track on side one (I only bought cassettes at this time), “Save Your Love,” Craig Chaquico demonstrates why I rant on about his guitar playing so much. Side two gives us three shorter in length powerful rockers. The opening riffs of “Mary” have stuck in my mind for over thirty years now the way that familiar riff of “Smoke On the Water” has. The fourth song, “Alien,” goes a little more on the progressive side and some say that it’s a little way out there. Then comes the closer, “Stairway to Cleveland.” “While not a piss take of the Led Zeppelin classic, the reason why Jefferson Starship gave that title to the song was because they thought that Cleveland was the direct opposite of heaven at the time. I knew a few guys from Cleveland back then and they wouldn’t debate them on that. The song also makes good digs at politics and some of the institutions of the time as well as Rolling Stone.

One of the hypes behind the release of “Modern Times” was it marked the return of Grace Slick to the band. Not particularly true. She does sing backing vocals on most songs and lead on “Alien” and as a duet with Mickey Thomas on “The Stranger.” That’s one reason the song is so good. Of course, you can never fault the musicianship of this band on any album and definitely not here. Chaquico shines with his guitar throughout with Paul Kantner laying down the reliable rhythm for him. Pete Sears does his normal keyboard wizardry and Aynsely Dunbar shows why he was considered a brilliant drummer back then.

Grace Slick

Grace Slick

Track Listing:

1. Find Your Way Back

2. The Stranger

3. Wild Eyes

4. Save Your Love

5. Modern Times

6. Mary

7. Free

8. Alien

9. Stairway to Cleveland

Jefferson Starship

Jefferson Starship

Mickey Thomas- vocals

Craig Chaquico- lead guitar

Paul Kantner- rhythm guitar, vocals

David Freiberg- piano, organ, synthesiser, bass, vocals

Pete Sears- bass, piano, synthesiser, moog

Aynsley Dunbar- drums, percussion

Grace Slick- vocals

There was one time back in 1981 when I didn’t watch Fridays solely to see Melanie Chartof. I watched because Jefferson Starship was appearing on it that night. They were my favourite band back then and the “Modern Times” album reminds me why.

Next post: Jim Steinman- Bad For Good

To buy Rock And Roll Children, go to http://www.strategicpublishinggroup.com/title/RockAndRollChildren.html

Also available on Amazon, Barnes & Noble and Froogle and on sale at Foyles Book Shop in London