Tuesday, March 20, 2012


The contribution of Skip Spence to the Airplanes early years should be noted. Appearing on the first LP only, he contributed several songwriting contributions with Marty. It should also be noted that a couple of Skip's songs actually carried over to the Airplane's next album, One of these songs was chosen as a single release even after Spence had left to co-form the Moby Grape.

In the summer of 1965, Jefferson Airplane decided to dismiss their first drummer, Jerry Peloquin. That's when a golden boy named Alexander "Skip" Spence came waltzing into the Matrix club and was immediately signed up by Marty Balin, the band's co-founder. Spence had little experience as a drummer but Balin just knew he'd be right for the group. He sent Spence home with a pair of drumsticks and he soon debuted with the band, going on to play on their first album, Jefferson Airplane Takes Off. Spence wasn't one for staying in one place too long, though, and he took off to Mexico one day with a girlfriend or two, neglecting to tell the band he was going. They decided he wasn't going to work out and Spence was soon replaced by Spencer Dryden, who remained the Airplane's drummer throughout their key years of 1966-70. In the summer of '66, Skip resurfaced with a new band, Moby Grape, this time playing guitar, his first instrument. Notes from the Jefferson airplane The Hanger.

Blues From An Airplane

Words and Music by Marty Balin and Alexander Spence

Do you know how sad it is to be a man alone
I feel so solitary being in my home without you
I don't know what to do and
I don't know where you are
Just to be a simple man who sadly goes his way
I can see my life is meant to fall apart some day
I got no words that I'll say
got no girl so
hey hey woman make me happy like i've never known before

I got no world and
I feel something new,
say you have ever known no heart fore me anymore
something new, what's that sound around my heart
I'm sure your love you've given must be real I know and
I'm sure of how I can be the man I feel,
I can be the man I feel


Anonymous said...

One of the many Airplane myths is that Skip Spence took off for Mexico without telling anyone. The truth is he quit the band after a show with another lousy PA to form his own group. He hung around long enough to help Dryden into the band, then took off for Mexico on a VACATION.

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