Tuesday, September 21, 2010

The Day I Met Grace Slick

In the summer of 1967, the Jefferson Airplane and the Grateful Dead were on tour. Yes, Dearly Beloved, the Grateful Dead was the opening act.

In Toronto, they did two concerts on successive days. I had a boyfriend whose name I can't even remember now. He was very pushy and narcissistic, and had the bad habit of reciting pages and pages of his own poetry in a husky, fake-Dylan voice. Damn, he was annoying!

He attended the first concert, and showed up at my place during the night, all excited. He had met the band, and said that the lead vocalist, Grace Slick, wanted to see some of his poetry. I was appalled. I thought, "Oh, my God! You didn't read her that stuff, did you?" No, he hadn't. He was saving that for concert #2. I really only half-believed this entire story...truth was not his strong suit, either.

Turns out he was being honest. We went to the venue and made our way around the back. He said to the security guard at the door, "The Airplane is expecting us." We were waved through. This was, of course, long before bar codes and badges. Boyfriend had his dog-eared notebook of poems.

We were shown into Grace's dressing room. While I sat on a couch, all tongue-tied, he proceeded to try to sell his poetry. Even his colossal nerve failed him, and rather than reading the stuff aloud, (to my immense relief) he just handed the notebook to Grace and let her peruse it.

"Oh, I like this line," she said. "And this one."

Boyfriend began to visibly quiver with excitement. He decided to be magnanimous. "You don't have to pay me anything," quoth he, "just make sure my name appears on the album cover..."

From somewhere in the cleavage of the beautiful psychedelic caftan she was wearing, Ms Slick produced a $2 bill, which she handed to him without a word.

There could have been no better set-down. I shall remember it always.

We watched the concert from the wings. It was awesome!


  1. Wow, the supreme arrogance of those safely ensconced in success! Not that I would deny Grace Slick the pleasure, not one bit of it. But I almost never felt that confident of my position.

    When I toured as a single girl-with-guitar, I usually accepted local hospitality instead of shelling out for a motel. This often involved sitting up past midnight with a host who wanted to talk about songs (his) and play some music for me (his). Not for me the pleasures of dissing someone!

  2. I also had a boyfriend who was deeply into the TV series Kung Fu. He used to recite lines from the script as if they were ancient wisdom. He also was an artist, and one of his treasured paintings was a self-portrait of himself meditating (headband, sandals, Chinese pajamas). The biggest thing in the picture were the representation of music: two stereo speakers rendered in loving pencil detail, down to the "Sansui" on the front. They floated, he floated, it was all captured for the world to see.

  3. And the boyfriend who wrote obscene songs for Howard Stern: he said he always wanted to be part of a romantic singing duo, and he'd call it . . .


  4. LOL! Single-girl-with-guitar is a far cry from the psychedelic party that was the Airplane/Dead tour! Believe me, the guy needed dissing! She was magnificent!

    The band had been paying up and down the coast on the college circuit since the beginning of the Summer, at least. Always the same pattern: freebie in the park, followed by college concert. The concert in Toronto was the first time I'd seen them in such a large venue.

  5. "Afterglow!" Bwahahaha!

    It is surprising to me, the length some guys will go to, in order to "invent" themselves...