Paul Kantner and Jefferson Starship Take Off in SF’s RRazz Room

Last month the band did a six-day run, selling out almost every night. This is the first time the club has featured a rock band on an extended run. It was very special, and I hope they do more rock bands in the future.

Rock icon and Hall of Fame inductee Paul Kantner leads the current version of Jefferson Starship, with David Freiberg (co-founder of Quicksilver Messenger Service, and sometime member of both Jefferson Airplane and Jefferson Starship) on vocals; Cathy Richardson on vocals; Donny Baldwin, longtime Starship drummer; Slick Aguilar, who has played lead guitar with the band for 28 years; and Chris Smith on keyboards. A formidable cast of characters!

I have been a fan since Jefferson Airplane first took flight, with all the variations throughout the years. I have been very fortunate to have photographed them many times. My very first photo on any album was of Donny Baldwin on Elvin Bishop’s Juke Joint Jump. Hell, I did Donny’s wedding photos! The Jefferson Airplane/Starship musicians have become friends as well as clients.

One of my favorite images I have taken is of the Kantner/Balin/Casady Band (a.k.a. The KBC Band), which is another variation. I shot it with B&W Infrared film and processed it a special way. God, I miss shooting film…

One of the the things I have always admired about Paul Kantner is his constant updating of the band entity, trying new things and players, instead of merely resting on his laurels.

Things were no different at the RRazz Room. Newer songs were added to their amazing list of classic songs. At 70 years old, Paul is still kicking ass. He used two different Rickenbacker guitars to pull out sounds only a Rickenbacker can get (plus, they look cooler than hell). I loved the entire set, but the highlights for me were "Crown of Creation," "White Rabbit," and the encore "Somebody to Love"/"Volunteers." Watching the audience singing along to " Gotta Revolution, Gotta Revolution" while holding martinis was really an only-in-San-Francisco moment.

Paul Kantner has always been a voice of a generation, sort of like San Francisco’s own John Lennon. He encouraged the audience to become a part of the "Occupy" movement — gotta love it!


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