Wednesday, December 2, 2009


GRUNT .. The vanity label started by the Jefferson Airplane in 1971. The band was reaching the end of it's contract with the RCA label and Kantner negotiated a deal with them that gave the band creative rights to their LPs as well as being able to sign Frisco artists to a record label to present their music to the industry. This also kept the Airplane aligned with The RCA label who did not want to lose their creative talent and star power.
The first Grunt release was the Jefferson Airplane's seventh LP, titled Bark, in September of 1971. Because of disagreements among the group, the album was their first in two years. By this time Marty Balin and Spencer Dryden were gone. The new lineup for the Jefferson Airplane was Paul Kantner, Jorma Kaukonen, Jack Casady, Grace Slick and Joey Covington plus an unofficial member Papa John Creach. The album reached number 11 and was one of the Airplane's best sellers. At the same time Bark was being recorded, Paul Kantner and Grace Slick recorded Sunfighter which was released in December and reached number 89. Also in December, Papa John Creach released his first solo album.
In 1972 the Jefferson Airplane recorded its eighth album titled Long John Silver and at the same time Jorma Kaukonen and Jack Casady recorded the third Hot Tuna album titled "Burgers" for the Grunt label. Hot Tuna's LP "Burgers" was released in April, and went to number 68 in the charts. Three months later, Long John Silver was released and reached number 20, earning a gold record.
Acts not part of the Jefferson Airplane to appear on Grunt were woodwind player Jack Bonus in 1972, a Richmond Talbott album titled "Gettin' Plenty", and an album titled "Child of Nature" by the band Jack Traylor & Steelwind, which featured Craig Chaquico on guitar released in June of 1973.
Albums continued to be released on the Grunt label into the early 1980's but almost all of them were by Jefferson Airplane, a later (and even more successful) incarnation called Jefferson Starship, then simply Starship, or by members of those bands.
" Squat On My Grunt" was the working title to the Airplane's "Volunteers" LP. This gave them the title to their label.
By 1974 RCA dropped all artists on the label except for The Airplane Family( Airplane, Starship, and Tuna)

Parts of this story are copyright 2006 by Mike Callahan


warlock said...

This was a really informative post.Wasn't Jorma's brother on that label also?I remember something called"Black Kangaroo"but don't remember the label.Seems like it should be.

warlock said...

I love it. Reminds us of how big the JA + SF family was and a lot of artists I had forgotten. You DO know how to pick cool theme. Thanks

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