The Paul Kantner Science Fiction Rock & Roll Motion Picture Show!
London, UK - 'Roswell UFO Parade & Festival Hosts Jefferson Starship Sci-Fi Extravaganza', read the headlines for the annual July 3rd event that took place in Roswell, New Mexico, in 2009. Jefferson Airplane founder Paul Kantner and his legendary band Jefferson Starship, and special guests, which included original Grateful Dead keyboardist Tom Constanten, performed a one-of-a-kind sci-fi concert at Pearson Auditorium in Roswell in honour of the town's famed annual parade. The group was also bestowed the honour of being the parade's 'Grand Martians' that year and rode atop a special float especially built for them.
The entire concert was filmed and recorded, and in addition to such iconic hits as White Rabbit, Somebody To Love, Volunteers and Wooden Ships, recorded by its forebear Jefferson Airplane (the last two penned by Kantner), a special programme of science-fiction-themed compositions and select recordings were performed, some for the first time ever!
Now, much to the excitement of Jefferson Starship fans across the globe, UK's Gonzo MultiMedia is releasing the the entire concert in an extravagant 4-CD box set.
In 1971 the band's first album (Paul Kantner's first solo album actually), Blows Against The Empire was also the first rock music recording ever nominated for literary science fiction's prestigious Hugo Award. In addition to Kantner, Blows featured a Who's Who of Bay Area musicians including David Freiberg from Quicksilver Messenger Service. Freiberg and Kantner later launched the ongoing Jefferson Starship, eventually writing the hit Jane. David rejoined the band full time in 2005.
In 1991 the late great rock impresario Bill Graham signed on to produce Blows from a 'scripted stage play concept' co-written by Paul Kantner and his (then) new manager Michael Gaiman, a lifelong fan. Sadly, Bill was killed in a helicopter crash and the idea was shelved until Sony Pictures pitched an 'option' for a Blows motion picture in 1996.
“That was a big year for sci-fi,” recalls Gaiman. Stemming from a shared interest in 1950s science fiction film and literature, Paul and Michael have worked together for nearly 25 years. In 2008 they co-produced (along with David Freiberg), Jefferson's Tree of Liberty, Jefferson Starship's first studio recording in a decade. The album garnered stellar reviews worldwide. In 2009 Jefferson Starship headlined The Heroes of Woodstock, the authorized touring commemorative of the 1969 Woodstock Music & Arts Festival.
“On July 3rd, 2009, thanks to the Roswell UFO Festival Committee and Cool 94.9 Radio, we got to scratch that itch and assuage a long time desire to stage a mosh of rock music and science fiction,” says Gaiman.
Along with Paul Kantner and David Frieberg, Jefferson Starship also features lead singer Cathy Richardson (who played Janis Joplin on Broadway in Love, Janis) and longtime band members Slick Aguilar, Chris Smith and Donny Baldwin. In addition to Grateful Dead's Tom Constanten, special guests include Pete Sears (the band's former bass & keyboard player on all their hits), Barry Sless (guitar & pedal steel with Phil Lesh & Friends), former lead vocalist Darby Gould and legendary folk artist Jack Taylor, one of Paul Kantner's early musical influences.
Renegade Productions, the band's frequent collaborator (Jefferson's Tree of Liberty was the first album ever recorded in their new studio at the time) staged the production and provided custom sound, lighting and image projection. Karl Anderson of Global Recording Artists filmed the event dubbed 'Tales From The Mothership,' a joint production of The Roswell UFO Festival Committee and Jefferson Starship. “It's not a documentary, not a 'rockumentary', not a 'mockumentary'...it's a 'Spockumentary,” Gaiman quips.
Along with the entire concert from July 3, 2009, the 4-CD set also includes rehearsals from 6/27/2009 and the band's soundcheck before the show.