Sep 202013

I know the first Moby Grape album and like it enough, but I don’t think I’ve ever heard a lick of their next album. (Or a third album, if one exists.) I’ve never even seen a second Moby Grape album in anyone’s collection.

The Jefferson Airplane comparison is appropriate, right? The bands had a connection through Skip Spence, who I believe started at the Airplane’s drummer. They probably drank from the same Electric Kool-Aid and traded underwear and ponchos, as part of that San Francisco scene. Is someone’s mic turned off on this performance of “Omaha,” or is the band not bothering to sing the lead vocal that responds to the “Listen my friends” chant? Their version of the next song (the title is a numeric time of day, right?) is fine, but it may have been a good thing that Moby Grape didn’t have the staying power of Jefferson Airplane. Or maybe you think it’s a shame they didn’t reach the heights of Airplane performances, like the following:

If Moby Grape had stuck together longer would they have been better or worse than Jefferson Airplane?

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  14 Responses to “Had the Band Stuck Together Longer, Could Moby Grape Actually Have Been Worse (or Better) Than Jefferson Airplane?”

  1. mockcarr

    I think I would have liked a band named the Moby Grapes better Mr. Douglas. Can I add another S to your name so it looks better too?

  2. mockcarr

    Hey, NSFW dude, I saw five boobs or so in that second clip. Not all in the band either. Ha! I’m not here all week, don’t worry.

    Have to admit when Grace Slick is telling you not to keep f’ng up, you know things are bad, although am I wrong for still feeling vaguely attracted to her 60’s self after knowing what she would become?

  3. mockcarr

    I won’t dodge the question you pose any longer. Yes they could have been better or worse, but I believe at least one could have had work with Fruit of the Loom. Also, why is there no Moby Raisin on the nostalgia tour?

  4. hrrundivbakshi

    Good GOD, but that Moby Grape song is shitty. On the positive side of the ledger, Mockcarr surely wins an award for his “Moby Raisin” crack — post of the month for me!

  5. I’m there with you on 60s era Grace. I love her chanting . . . “Easy . . . easy . . ” in that clip.

  6. mockcarr

    HVB, the next band name must be “Bearded Kasem”.

  7. 2000 Man

    Somebody outta punch that Marty guy. Oh, wait! They did! Altamont. Good times.

  8. cliff sovinsanity

    They certainly would have been better than The Grateful Dead in the long run.

  9. Yes, the lead singer’s mic, in this case it was Skip Spence, the one playing the Strat, is not on. is not on.I doew sound like hell, but I blame the TV situation, not the band. The live stuff I’ve heard from them is really something.

    They were ostensibly a San Francisco band, but not really. The band was recruited by a Svengali manager, Matthew Katz, to form a band around Skip Spence, who was drummed for the Airplane early on because Balin thought he looked like he had star power. By all accounts, he did. the other guys were picked up from all sorts of places, but none were really quintessential SF hippie/folkie types. Peter Lewis, who was Loretta Young’s son, was a fingerpicking singer songwriter from LA. The drummer and lead guitarist were long time bar band musicians from the Pacific Northwest scene that spawned the Raiders. The bass player was another long time bar band guy from San Diego that originally hooked up with the the drummer and the guitar player in a group called The Frantics and recommended them when he was recruited by Katz. None of these guys really was from the San Francisco scene.

    I was told a way back in the mid-70s they were the best live San Francisco band ever by a guy who had seen some of their Philadelphia shows. You may also remember that the Colonel on the original RTH Mercury raved about how great they were and he was certainly no fan of hippie-dippy rock.

    In short, no they would never have become the Airplane. I like the Airplane, but what Moby Grape was about would have had much more appeal to the hippie haters than the Airplane.

    But the reason they fell apart was that Spence, the focal point of the band, was just too crazy. Much like Syd Barrett, he was exciting and combustible, but destined to blow. Could they have ploughed on without Spence and, maybe, rose like Pink Floyd from the rubble? Spence flew the coop as they were completing the second album, Wow. Moby Grape ’69 was just the other four guys and I like it, but it is not the same.

  10. Good stuff, Thx. I had no idea there were starmakers in that scene.

  11. One mere thing about Moby Grape. The bass player, Bob Mosley, was great, like Bruce Thomas great. And on top of that he was a scary good singer.

    He didn’t write this one but I think he might be singing. He’s definitely playing the bass.

  12. Few plays have a higher success rate on me than a Bruce Thomas reference. That is a killer bass part. I may have to revisit this album from that perspective.

  13. misterioso

    Damn, some funny comments here. I never quite got the Moby Grape thing, but I tend to think they had a ways to go to achieve Airplane-like levels of annoyance.

  14. – 60’s Grace Slick is better in photos than on albums or video.

    – Jefferson Airplane made two good songs (Volunteers and Somebody to Love). Moby Grape made one GREAT album (arguably one of the best debut albums ever).

    – I’ve never listened to anything aside from the first album and I’m assuming that they strayed into annoying hippie territory, but unlike their contemporaries, the songs on that first album were concise, melodic and full of energy. Here’s another gem with Mosley singing and playing a great bass line, albeit not quite as frantic as the one Geo posted:

    In 1969, Mosley quit the band and joined the Marines, but he got bounced out when they realized that he was schizophrenic.

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