Jefferson Airplane co-founder Paul Kantner dead at 74

Paul Kantner and Jefferson Airplane
Tim Ellis/Flickr
Paul Kantner, a founding member of the 1960s San Francisco-based pyschedelic rock group Jefferson Airplane, died last Thursday. The New York Times reports the cause of death was “multiple organ failure brought on by septic shock,” according to his publicist. Kantner, who was a guitarist, vocalist, and songwriter for the band, was 74.

Kantner’s passing away is one more in a string of rock icon deaths this year. David Bowie passed away on January 10, after an 18 month battle with cancer and just two days after his 69th birthday. Eight days later Eagles co-founder Glenn Frey succumbed to his own ailments at the age of 67. Coincidentally, Kantner’s former Jefferson Airplane bandmate Signe Anderson died the same day he did, after a long struggle with her health.

Along with lead singer Marty Balin, Kantner co-wrote some of the Airplane’s biggest hits, including Today, Young Girl Sunday Blues, and Volunteers. He was also behind most of the songs on the band’s third album, the universally acclaimed After Bathing at Baxter’s. He contributed to the title track of the fourth album Crown of Creation.

Kantner’s musicianship connected the bold, innovative sounds from the other band members. “Paul was the catalyst that brought the whole thing together,” said the band’s lead guitarist Jorma Kaukonen. “He had the transcendental vision, and he hung onto it like a bulldog. The band would not have been what it was without him.”

Tensions within the band and a clash of creative directions caused Jefferson Airplane to break up in 1972. But even before then, Kantner released a concept album under the name of Paul Kantner and Jefferson Starship. The album, Blows Against the Empire, featured a star-studded lineup including members of some of the greatest rock acts in history. Grace Slick, Jerry Garcia, Bill Kreutzmann, Mickey Hart, Joey Covington, Jack Casady, David Crosby, and Graham Nash all contributed to the album.

Kantner later assembled a new group, Jefferson Starship, which put out nine albums between 1974 and 2008, and remains active to this day. The lineup changed with each album over the years and included many guest musicians for recording and touring, with members of the original Jefferson Airplane also contributing.

Kantner left Jefferson Starship in 1984, and the group spun off as Starship, which is still recording and touring. Starship’s hits include We Built This City and Nothing’s Gonna Stop Us Now. Kantner rejoined Jefferston Starship when it came together again in the early 1990s.

Kantner’s early relationship with bandmate Grace Slick produced a child, actress China Isler. Kantner also has two sons from another marriage. Recently, the news broke that Jefferson Airplane will be receiving a Lifetime Achievement Grammy Award in February.

Movies & TV

It’s gonna be a long, cold winter: AT&T yanks HBO from Dish and Sling TV

An HBO blackout on AT&T rival Dish Network raises serious questions about the future of television access in a media landscape where content producers also control access. And the loser of this fight could be you.
Movies & TV

The best movies on Amazon Prime right now (November 2018)

Prime Video provides subscribers with access to a host of fantastic films, but sorting through the catalog can be an undertaking. Luckily, we've done the work for you. Here are the best movies on Amazon Prime Video right now.
Movies & TV

The best shows on Netflix, from 'The Haunting of Hill House’ to ‘The Good Place’

Looking for a new show to binge? Lucky for you, we've curated a list of the best shows on Netflix, whether you're a fan of outlandish anime, dramatic period pieces, or shows that leave you questioning what lies beyond.
Music

A wealth of rich tunes: Cash in with the best songs about money

There may not be as many songs about money as there are songs about love, but it's a close second. If you're looking for a skrilla-inspired playlist, check out our picks for the best songs about money.
Music

Rapper Mac Miller died of accidental overdose, autopsy report finds

According to an autopsy report, rapper Mac Miller died September 7 at age 26 of a drug overdose, following a longtime struggle with substance abuse. Miller was scheduled to begin a nationwide tour in October.
Music

The best free music download sites that are totally legal

Finding music that is both free and legal to download can be difficult. We've handpicked a selection of the best free music download sites for you to legally download your next favorite album.
Home Theater

As Amazon turns up the volume on streaming, Spotify should shudder

Multiple players are all looking to capitalize on the popularity of streaming, but it has thus far proved nearly impossible to make a profit. Could major tech companies like Amazon be primed for a streaming take-over?
Music

It’s about damn time: Spotify is coming to Apple Watch

Spotify subscribers will soon be able to jam out to their favorite tunes on their favorite workout accessory, as the Swedish streaming service has begun beta testing its official Apple Watch app.
Music

Spotify is the best streaming service, but its competitors aren’t far behind

It can be hard to decide which music streaming service is for you, so we've picked out the individual strengths of the most popular services, aiming to make your decision a little easier.
Home Theater

Images found in iOS 12 beta reveal new details on next-generation AirPods 2

Apple plans to release new AirPods much the same as it does new iPhones, and a wireless charging case, water resistance, and better Siri integration are among the improvements we can expect in future models.
Music

Tune in to the best internet radio stations for your listening pleasure

Even in the streaming era, radio stations get some of the best exclusives and curate some of the finest handpicked playlists around. Here are the best internet radio stations, for your listening pleasure.
Home Theater

Keep those albums sounding great by converting your vinyl to a digital format

There are all sorts of reasons for ripping records and storing them digitally, but what's the best way to do it? We cover the different types of equipment and software available for ripping records at any price in this guide.
Home Theater

No subscription, no problem. Free Spotify users can soon use Spotify Connect

Spotify Connect, which allows users to stream their favorite tunes to any Connect-enabled speaker, has long been one of the best premium-only features on the Swedish streaming service. Soon, free users will get it too.
Smart Home

How’s your Spanish, Alexa? Some Amazon Echo devices pick up a new language

Amazon's Alexa voice assistant and Echo devices are now available for customers in Mexico. Alexa has been customized for the Mexican market with local knowledge, a new voice, and support for the Spanish dialect spoken in Mexico.