Celebrating Jefferson Airplane: A Conversation With Jorma Kaukonen And Jack Casady

Update: Grace Slick will no longer be appearing at this program

In 1965 Marty Balin pulled together a group of musicians that would become one of the first and most important bands to emerge from San Francisco. On August 13, Jefferson Airplane played their debut show at The Matrix, a music club Balin started and which was later credited as a catalyst of the San Francisco music scene.  The first performance featured founding members Marty Balin on vocals, Paul Kantner on vocals/rhythm guitar, and Jorma Kaukonen on lead guitar. Signe Anderson, (who sang on Jefferson Airplane's first recording, Jefferson Airplane Takes Off) also performed. Bass player Jack Casady and drummer Skip Spence (who was later one of the original members of Moby Grape) joined the band two months later. Spencer Dryden became the drummer in June of 1966 and Grace Slick joined as vocalist in October of 1966. The band performed the first concert for Bill Graham at the legendary Fillmore Auditorium in San Francisco in February 1966. Jefferson Airplane performed at the Berkeley Folk Festival, Monterey Jazz Festival, Monterey Pop Festival, Woodstock, and Altamont. Their hit singles included "White Rabbit" and "Somebody to Love," from the album Surrealistic Pillow, which was inducted into the GRAMMY Hall Of Fame in 1999. In the summer of 1968 the band co- headlined a European tour with the Doors. They subsequently toured with bands such as Grateful Dead, Santana, Jimi Hendrix, Creedence Clearwater Revival, The Who, Janis Joplin, Steve Miller, and many others. The band was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1996. In celebration of their recent honor with a Recording Academy Lifetime Achievement Award, the GRAMMY Museum welcomes Jefferson Airplane's Jorma Kaukonen and Jack Casady to the Clive Davis Theater for an intimate conversation on their esteemed career, hosted by Scott Goldman, Vice President of the GRAMMY Foundation and MusiCares. The GRAMMY Museum would also like to congratulate Grace Slick and founding member Marty Balin, who could not attend the program, on their Lifetime Achievement Award honor.

Photo: Maury Phillips/