Acid-Rock Flashback | Night & Day | South Florida | Broward Palm Beach New Times | The Leading Independent News Source in Broward-Palm Beach, Florida

Acid-Rock Flashback

To think, it's been more than 30 years since the Summer of Love. Where has the time gone? All that can be done now is mourn that lost era with the old fogies at Orbit tonight. The Spirit of '67 features a few original members of three bands that long ago lost whatever relevance they may have had: Quicksilver, Big Brother and the Holding Company, and Jefferson Starship.

Quicksilver Messenger Service formed in 1965 around singer-songwriter Dino Valenti, who was jailed on a possession charge before that band went anywhere. In an ironic twist, the band released three solid albums before Valenti's emancipation. But when Valenti returned after 1969's Shady Grove, he, guitarist Gary Duncan, and their crew couldn't record a good album to save their lives.

Big Brother and the Holding Company, on the other hand, produced one of the great achievements of acid rock with 1968's Cheap Thrills, but then Janis "The Great White Hope" Joplin went solo, dealing the group a wound from which it has never recovered. Three founding members, along with a rotating roster of band members, continue to perform the sloppy acid blues that made them perfect backers for Joplin's anguished wail.

Finally this version of Jefferson Starship boasts Paul Kantner and Marty Balin, two of the founding members of Jefferson Airplane, from which Jefferson Starship eventually evolved. In fact, if anyone can be called the creator of the Airplane, Balin -- who recruited guitarists Kantner and Jorma Kaukonen and singer Signe Anderson to play a few shows at the Matrix, a legendary club of the early Haight-Ashbury scene -- deserves that honor. (The better-known lineup, including drummer Spencer Dryden, bassist Jack Casady, and rock icon Grace Slick, soon came but eventually went.)

Of course the salad days of all three of these bands have long since gone from green to brown, but hey, that's nothing that a few puffs of an entirely different sort of plant won't cure.

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Dan Sweeney
Contact: Dan Sweeney

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