Paul Kantner, guitarist and co-founder of Jefferson Airplane, was 74 and passed away on Thursday this week. According to sources, long time friend and publicist, Cynthia Bowman, confirmed Kantner’s death saying he died from, “multiple organ failure and septic shock”.
As one of the founding members of Jefferson Airplane, Kantner helped build the mid-to-late-sixties rock scene in San Francisco. Alongside The Grateful Dead, Big Brother and the Holding Company, Moby Grape and Quicksilver Messenger Service, the Jefferson Airplane was another one of the influential Bay Area groups to surface during this time.
Kantner’s left his first mark on music history nearly sixty years ago with Jefferson Airplane’s 1967 album, Surrealistic Pillow, contributing to the psychedelic rock sound and style of the sixties. During this period, Jefferson Airplane recorded and released two of their most classic songs, “White Rabbit” and “Somebody To Love”.
Ultimately, inner-band drama, led to the band’s separation, with Kantner moving forward to form Jefferson Starship in 1974 with Slick, David Freiberg, Craig Chaquico, Pete Sears and Papa John Creach. This band was Kantner’s primary focus throughout the following years. He did reunite with Jefferson Airplane, including their induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1996.
UPDATE (02/03/16): Jefferson Starship will continue touring without Paul Kantner. The current band includes David Freiberg, Donny Baldwin, Slick Aguilar, Chris Smith, Cathy Richardson and Jude Gold. The tour will visit New York City on March 20, 2016 at BB King’s.