Jefferson Airplane Members To hold 50th Anniversary celebration

Bassist Jack CasadyJefferson Airplane Members To hold 50th Anniversary celebration

Jack Casady and Jorma Kaukonen will play Lockn’ Festival tribute

By David Sands
July 21, 2015

The Grateful Dead isn’t the only trailblazing psychedelic rock group hitting a mind-altering milestone this year. This fall, Jefferson Airplane will also be soaring into its 50th anniversary.

Unlike the Dead’s recent arena-filling performances in Chicago, however, the surviving members of the pioneering San Francisco band won’t be reuniting to mark the occasion.

Instead two members of the group’s classic lineup, bassist Jack Casady and guitarist Jorma Kaukonen, will be holding a one-time tribute celebration to commemorate the anniversary at this year’s Lockn’ music festival in Arrington, Virginia. The two friends currently play together in the blues rock band Hot Tuna. They’ll be playing the anniversary show on Sept. 11 with an all-star roster of musicians. Jefferson Airplane’s iconic singer Grace Slick, has declined to participate in the show, as have other surviving band members.

Founded in 1965, Jefferson Airplane served as a touchstone for the 1960s counterculture, conjuring up Love Generation anthems like “Somebody to Love” and acid rock serenades like “White Rabbit.” The original group disbanded in 1972.

Jefferson Airplane’s acclaimed bassist Jack Casady spoke of the impact joining the group had on him in a July 15 Daily Beast article.

“I came out of Washington, D.C., playing in very rigid formats doing club work,” he told the publication. “To find a band of completely nutty people from all kinds of influences of music, who let me try different approaches on the bass and different types of songwriting and directions on material, that’s what was great about that band.”

Promoter and fan Dave Frey lobbied hard to bring Casady and Kaukonen to the festival to commemorate the anniversary. Organizers are calling the show “Jorma & Jack celebrate 50 years of Jefferson Airplane.”

Joining the two Jefferson Airplane players on stage will be singer Rachael Price of Lake Street Dive, guitarist G.E. Smith, multi-instrumentalist Larry Campbell and his vocalist wife Teresa Williams, guitarist Jeff Pehrson and Grammy-winning drummer Justin Guip. Bill Kreutzmann of the Grateful Dead will also be appearing as a special guest.

Fans can order tickets at the Lockn’ Festival website.

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Jon Liebman

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