Artist: Paul Kantner and Jefferson Starship

Paul Kantner and Jefferson Starship ~ Have You Seen The Stars Tonite?

paul-kantnerPaul Kantner is an American rock musician, known for co-founding the psychedelic rock band Jefferson Airplane and its spin-off band Jefferson Starship.

Although the band was originally formed by Marty Balin, Kantner eventually became the main man of Jefferson Airplane and captained the group through various successor incarnations of Jefferson Starship. Kantner has the longest continuous membership with the band; at times he was its only member. A political anarchist, Kantner once advocated the use of psychedelic drugs such as LSD for mind expansion and spiritual growth, and is a prominent advocate of the legalization of marijuana. In a 1986 interview, Kantner shared his thoughts about cocaine and alcohol, saying, “Cocaine, particularly, is a bummer. It’s a noxious drug that turns people into jerks. And alcohol is probably the worst drug of all. As you get older and accomplish more things in life in general, you realize that drugs don’t help, particularly if you abuse them.” When Kantner suffered a cerebral hemorrhage in 1980, his attending physician at Cedars-Sinai, Stephen Levy, was quick to point out it was not a drug-related issue, saying: “There is zero relationship between Paul’s illness and drugs. He doesn’t use drugs.” Kantner’s primary instrument is the rhythm guitar, and he also sings lead or backup vocals.

Have You Seen The Stars Tonite?

Beginning in 1965, Paul Kantner had recorded five studio albums with Jefferson Airplane, but by 1970 internal problems began taking their toll on the band, including the departure of drummer Spencer Dryden in 1970 and a rift that was forming between founder Marty Balin and the rest of the band that would lead to Balin’s departure in 1971.

In 1970, the Airplane released only one single, and Kantner took advantage of the hiatus to work on a solo album. Blows Against the Empire is his concept album recorded and released in 1970, credited to Paul Kantner and Jefferson Starship. This marks the debut of the Jefferson Starship moniker, though not of the band of that name itself, since Blows predates the actual formation of the band Jefferson Starship by four years.

The album was recorded in at Pacific High Recording Studios and Wally Heider Recording Studios in San Francisco by Kantner and Slick with a collection of musician friends that included members of Jefferson Airplane (Jack Casady and Joey Covington), The Grateful Dead (Jerry Garcia, Bill Kreutzmann and Mickey Hart), Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young (David Crosby and Graham Nash), David Freiberg of Quicksilver Messenger Service and Harvey Brooks of Electric Flag. Also appearing was Jorma Kaukonen’s brother Peter Kaukonen, and Phill Sawyer, the engineer at Pacific High Recording studios. The credit to Jefferson Starship reflected many things — the ad-hoc all-star line-up, the album being an evolutionary progression from Jefferson Airplane, and finally the story it relates of the hijacking of a starship.

Have You Seen The Stars Tonight?
Would you like to go up on A-deck and look at them with me?
Have You Seen The Stars Tonight?
Would you like to go up for a stroll and keep me company?

Do you know
We could go?
We are free
Anyplace you can think of
We could be

Have you seen the stars tonight?
Have you looked at all the family of stars?

 

  • Audio from the 1970 album, Blows Against the Empire:

 

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