Marty Balin was opening a new club in San Francisco in 1965. One of the things h…

Written by on July 7, 2018

Marty Balin was opening a new club in San Francisco in 1965. One of the things he wanted was to have a house band. On July 6, 1965, Marty got together with Paul Kantner, Jorma Kaukonen, Bob Harvey on bass, Jerry Peloquin on drums and Signe Toly Anderson on vocals for the first time to form the band Marty needed. Over the next year or so, the line up changed to include Jack Casady on bass, Skip Spence on drums and Grace Slick on vocals.

The origin of the group’s name is often disputed. “Jefferson airplane” is slang for a used paper match splint to hold a marijuana joint that has been smoked too short to hold without burning the fingers – an improvised roach clip. A popular conjecture suggests this was the origin of the band’s name, but band member Jorma Kaukonen has denied this and stated that the name was invented by his friend Steve Talbot as a parody of blues names such as Blind Lemon Jefferson. A 2007 press release quoted Kaukonen as saying:

“I had this friend [Talbot] in Berkeley who came up with funny names for people,” explains Kaukonen. “His name for me was Blind Thomas Jefferson Airplane (for blues pioneer Blind Lemon Jefferson). When the guys were looking for band names and nobody could come up with something, I remember saying, ‘You want a silly band name? I got a silly band name for you!'”

Happy 53rd Birthday to “Jefferson Airplane”!!!!

(The picture we are using was taken by Chuck Boyd in either late 1965 or early 66. Jack and Skip were in the band by this time and Signe was still there.)

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