The Dallas Morning News November 2, 1968
Airplane Gal Liked Europe
By marge Pettyjohn
Europe's a gas, according to Jefferson Airplane aviatrix Grace Slick.
The Airplane flew (naturally) to Europe for a 2-month gig recently involving some shows, some promotion and some "getting acquainted" as Grace put it, and she called us last week to talk about the jaunt, the Airplane and just about anything.
A lot of people were under the impression that they were on the same tour with the Doors simply because they did a few shows together, but Gracie straightened that out. They just happened to wind up on the same bill together a couple of times (Can you picture that?).
Did the audience show a preference when they did play together?
"Not really," said Grace. "The best reaction either of us got was when Morrison got sick but the rest of the Doors went on anyway and just did instrumentals. They were really good."
This was more of a "get-acquainted'' trip, she pointed out. "It was mostly so they could look at us and find out who we are. We didn't have that many records out there (in Europe) and they'd only heard of us. Now they really know who we are and, to an extent, we know what they're like.
"We played a couple of concerts free and that just knocked them out. They couldn't understand why we played without pay or why we liked to do things like that for audiences."
The only difference between American and British musical scenes, noted Grace, was that the British groups are much more blues oriented.
The real difference is with the people themselves. "Europeans seem to be less demonstrative as a general group than Americans," she observed. "Americans talk more and talk louder than Europeans and they're also more unsettled - they move around more."
The 29-year-old songstress, who was voted No. 6 girl singer in Britain's recent Melody Maker poll ("I don't know why," was her only reaction) sees nothing new in female singers with otherwise all-male groups.
"Women have been singing thousands of years," she pointed out. "Men dominated the rock music scene only for a short time. Men and women both like to watch female singers, I think. So it's natural for women to start singing again."
Gracie has been looked upon as a new breed of songstress, paving the way for more females to make it in the hardcore business of pure rock. But she doesn't credit herself with starting anything new. She just does her own thing&emdash;and does it well, we might add.
But what about competition?
"Sure it's competition, " she admitted. "But that's good. It's not so much competition as the fact that everybody has something to say and they're saying it in their own way.
"It's kind of corny to compare me and, say Janis Joplin, because we're two people, completely different. Now, she may worry about other female blues singers and I'm more inclined to get nervous about someone singing the same thing I do the same way I do. "
While we were off on this tangent, we discussed Grace as a person and a singer. Are there really two different people under the guise of Grace Slick? What is this communication thing she has with an audience?
"I'm fully conscious of the difference in myself onstage," she said. "I don't really turn into a different person. It's the environment that does it - the volume of music, the volume of people. All of these things working together seem to increase your existence to a much higher level and maybe you act different.
"It's like combing your hair in the bathroom," she continued with an example. "You're going to do that differently in the bath room than if you were onstage, aren't you? I mean, there's nothing going on in the bathroom."
The Airplane left this week for a tour of eastern states and hopes to come to the South again soon, said Grace. They've taped a performance for the Nov. 3 Smother Brothers Show.
And what about the rumors of Gracie leaving the Airplane and going out on her own as a soloist?
"No, not now," she answered very definitely. "In every group there's the possibility that sooner or later the people in it will go separate ways without any animosity involved. One individual will just get interested in, say Ubangi music, and no one else does. So he quits so he can pursue that for a while."
Gracie, a charming and easy talker on the telephone, had much more to say about many more things, some of which we'll feature in another column soon.
MEANWHILE, there are some erroneous reports going around about the Beatles' new album which need prompt correction.
The 2-record set, originally set to be released Nov. 16, will be delayed at least 10 days as final work was not completed until Oct.. 8. The title of the album has not been decided, but Apple spokesmen say it will be something simple. "After the intricacies of Sgt. Pepper," said a spokesman, "the Beatles want to be completely straightforward with a lot of rock 'n' roll. George Harrison has written three or four songs; Ringo wrote one by himself, co-wrote another and sings lead on them.
The album entitled "Two Virgins" doesn't involve the other Beatles, but is "music and musical experience" from John Lennon and his Japanese girlfriend, artist Yoko Ono.
And a Christmas album is planned for December release, the soundtrack to "Yellow Submarine," the cartoon-movie.