Oct 022012

…not exactly my cup of tea, musically. – Mickey Thomas, on the Jefferson Starship’s mid-’70s output.

Here’s a story that needed to be told: living legend Mickey Thomas discusses his move from the Elvin Bishop Band to Jefferson Starship. I can’t tell you, when I’m out and about and run into fellow Townspeople, how frequently the band’s late-’70s rebirth comes up in discussion. “Can you believe they bounced back with a smash hit like ‘Jane’?” someone might ask. Or, “What forces do you think came together to reboot the Starship? It’s a topic that’s completely overlooked in rock history books.” Well, this interview may provide the answers you’ve been seeking.

…The more I didn’t want to do it, the more they wanted me. – Mickey Thomas, on his initial indecision about joining the band.


  31 Responses to “Rock ‘n Roll Holy Grails: How Mickey Thomas Saved Jefferson Starship”

  1. misterioso

    Thanks, Mod! This answers so many questions that have troubled me since the 70s. I am in awe of a great man–a living legend–like Mickey Thomas giving us a glimpse into the magical, almost alchemical process of creating what was undoubtedly the greatest rock and roll band not only of the period but likely of all time. High five, Marty!

  2. I’ll finally be able to sleep soundly at night, now that Mickey’s addressed all the questions that have been haunting me in the wee small hours.

    I’m glad “Jane” exists, if only because it is the perfect soundtrack choice for the opening scene of this movie:


  3. hrrundivbakshi

    That is truly superb!

  4. misterioso

    What makes me so suspicious that this movie is like one of those SNL sketches that is absolutely hilarious for the first 30 seconds or so and then proceeds to wear out its welcome really fast?

  5. I don’t know…maybe because I enjoyed it. I mean, it isn’t “Tartuffe”, so someone of your exceedingly lofty standards would most likely be unamused.

  6. misterioso

    il est probable

  7. Oooh, withering!

  8. misterioso

    J’en pourrois, par malheur, faire d’aussi méchants; mais je me garderois de les montrer aux gens.

  9. mockcarr

    Wow. Y’know. It’s one of my couple dozen shames that Iiked “Jane” when I was 15.

  10. mockcarr

    What color is Mickey’s hair now? Is it similar to the McCartney auburn?

  11. Really? It doesn’t show. Or do you really believe that NOT voicing disdain and contempt at every conceivable opportunity would be a less predictable and boring tact than the one you currently practice 95% of the time on here?

  12. When you were 15? I’m 48 and I still think that “Jane” is one of the top five songs by any iteration of the Jefferson [insert flying machine]. It’s not a good song by any stretch of the imagination but they are not a good band by any stretch of the imagination either. After Somebody to Love and Volunteers, what’s left? The White Rabbit Song? The Mod’s beloved Miracles? Sarah?

  13. I gotta say, the Airplane are a huge blind spot in my rock knowledge, by and large, but I think their two Big Hits — “Somebody to Love” and “White Rabbit” — are still great and miles better than anything Starship-related.

  14. Oops. I meant to write “more”, not “less” in that comment. Doing other things…

  15. misterioso

    BB, I thought I was at least at 98% in the disdain and contempt department. Thanks for the heads up. High five!

  16. Jefferson Starship’s Top 5 has to include “Miracles,” “Count on Me,” and “Runaway.” After that, unless I’m forgetting something else good I’m forgetting from that pre-Mickey Thomas period, it EXcludes the #4 and #5 slots. “Ride the Tiger” is pretty funny, though, as a last-gasp from their Manson Family Pep Rally beginnings.

  17. Wow, an old-fashioned slapfight broke out while I was in endless meetings. Impressive! Even more impressive was the participants’ willingness to nip it in the bud. Rock on, folks!

  18. misterioso

    Nip in the bud, my ass, Mod! Do you realize how many more Moliere quotes I have lined up and ready to go, mon frere?

  19. hrrundivbakshi

    How quickly we forget “We Built This City (On Rock and Roll).”

  20. hrrundivbakshi

    By the way, I just have to say: this is probably the most important rock-related interview I have ever seen.

  21. If that’s true, I’m really glad I didn’t go with “Lysistrata”.

  22. cliff sovinsanity

    How could you all forget the bombastic silliness of “Find Your Way Back”. It’s the best song Boston never wrote.

  23. ladymisskirroyale

    I’m all over that font choice.

  24. Aren’t you guys both in Boston? Can’t you just meet up and duke it out like Boston folks are supposed to (in my mind)?

  25. Mod, I’m not just talking Starship. I want to know your top five of songs from ANY iteration of those turd farmers. I might include Runaway in the top five by the way

  26. My Top 5 Jefferson Whatever songs (in order):

    1. Volunteers
    2. Runaway
    3. Miracles
    4. Somebody to Love
    5. Watch Her Ride

  27. misterioso

    Knife fight!

  28. misterioso

    Mod, I can see “Miracles,” I can even see “Count on Me.” But “Runaway”? Jeez, that’s pukey. And, obviously, I don’t mean that to sounds contemptuous or demeaning.

  29. I wasn’t familiar with Watch Her Ride so I just listened to it on youtube and it exemplifies one of the most perplexing things about the Jeffersons: How do they manage to harmonize when there is no discernible melody?

  30. Come and get one in the yarbles, if ya have any yarbles, you eunuch jelly, thou!

  31. mockcarr

    Hmm, I had figured Starshite must have thought Foreigner was the band to emulate.

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