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Somebody to Love?: A Rock-and-Roll Memoir

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Candid autobiography of the great rock diva of Jefferson Airplane & Jefferson Starship revealing her wildly outlandish life in the Sixties & the Seventies. Candid autobiography of the great rock diva of Jefferson Airplane & Jefferson Starship revealing her wildly outlandish life in the Sixties & the Seventies.


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Candid autobiography of the great rock diva of Jefferson Airplane & Jefferson Starship revealing her wildly outlandish life in the Sixties & the Seventies. Candid autobiography of the great rock diva of Jefferson Airplane & Jefferson Starship revealing her wildly outlandish life in the Sixties & the Seventies.

30 review for Somebody to Love?: A Rock-and-Roll Memoir

  1. 5 out of 5

    Lynx

    Grace always knew she wasn’t meant for a more “conventional” lifestyle, but it wasn’t until she began seeing live music and started her own band that she finally felt she’d found her destiny. When her bandmates in The Great Society decided to find their own path, Grace was asked to join her friends in the already popular Jefferson Airplane. Grace was well known for her outspoken and badass ways onstage, and audiences loved them. Their music filled the airwaves from the ’60’s – ’80’s (and then so Grace always knew she wasn’t meant for a more “conventional” lifestyle, but it wasn’t until she began seeing live music and started her own band that she finally felt she’d found her destiny. When her bandmates in The Great Society decided to find their own path, Grace was asked to join her friends in the already popular Jefferson Airplane. Grace was well known for her outspoken and badass ways onstage, and audiences loved them. Their music filled the airwaves from the ’60’s – ’80’s (and then some!) and their presence at 3 of the biggest and most notorious music festivals (Monterey Pop, Woodstock and Altamont) solidified their place in music history. It was a wild ride and Grace embraced all that the 60’s has come to be known for, free love (wait until you hear her Jim Morrison story!), drugs and a whole lotta rock n roll! Grace also opens up about her battles with addiction, her thoughts on aging & shares a ton of fun stories about her adventures over the years. I recently talked about Grace and her book on my podcast Muses and Stuff. Click the link to hear more!

  2. 4 out of 5

    Ian "Marvin" Graye

    A Rock-and-Roll Delusion The 60's are so different from now, the past is another country. Even if you love that period of music and culture, it's still possible to say that the two bands from that period that are the most over-estimated and the most under-estimated are the Doors and the Jefferson Airplane. They both do things that get right up your nose, but they both did things that took you to the top of the mountain. My taste in music is firmly rooted in the Velvet Underground, Lou Reed and John A Rock-and-Roll Delusion The 60's are so different from now, the past is another country. Even if you love that period of music and culture, it's still possible to say that the two bands from that period that are the most over-estimated and the most under-estimated are the Doors and the Jefferson Airplane. They both do things that get right up your nose, but they both did things that took you to the top of the mountain. My taste in music is firmly rooted in the Velvet Underground, Lou Reed and John Cale. Just about all of the music over the last 40 years that I love can be traced to the influence of the Velvets. So I judge the west coast music scene with an east coast bias. I have always found it wanting. It was the soundtrack to a scene that thought it was eternal, but ended up being ephemeral. It was self-consciously groovy, but ended up passé. It got into the wrong groove. The Doors The Doors divided opinion, even at their peak. You either loved them or you hated them. You either loved Jim Morrison or you hated him. Morrison has to be the ultimate self-mythologiser, even to the extent of putting his life on the line for the sake of the myth. I hate this practice in contemporary bands, I hate it in the distant past, I hate it in the recent past (e.g., the Go-Betweens). Ultimately, a band should just make their music and put it out there for us to enjoy and judge and understand. Still there is something that I love about the music of the Doors (I'll come to the Airplane). It was way more complex than the pop and rock music that surrounded it. It integrated jazz and classical into a rock vehicle, without being prog rock or disappearing up its pretensions. It still had an intellectual and physical drive about it that I find modern, possibly even better than modern. If someone made this music now, I would still want to listen to it. The Doors were the soundtrack to a million acid trips. Both when they were performing and when an attempt was made to resurrect their music and their myth in the 80's. If you got into them in the 80's to be part of a scene, man, then you probably dumped them when you moved on from acid to some other opiate or politics or normality or weariness. If you map out your life according to the compass of cool, then you will either get lost or move on when true north changes, even temporarily. Divorced of cool, the music of the Doors is still there, and I like it. That's just a personal opinion. You don't have to agree with me. Jefferson Airplane My other favourite band from the west coast was the Jefferson Airplane. I listened to them a lot through the 70's, 80's and 90's. Superficially, I wondered why they weren't more popular, why they were never as big as the Doors, why nobody had tried to resurrect them or impersonate them (like the Cult and Ian Astbury impersonated the Doors). But in my rock 'n' roll heart of hearts, I knew that they weren't as good as the Doors, they weren't even that good at all, a lot of the time. They were too much of the time, rather than timeless. If you weren't there at the time, then you have really lost your opportunity, you really missed it (man). You just can't catch yesterday's wave. Some things deserve to be ephemeral. There is another attempt to resurrect their legacy happening now. An unprecedented amount of bootleg material is being released officially. Most of it won't find a home, even with aficionados. When I try to define why some 60's or 70's music hasn't travelled well, I keep coming back to beats per minute. Some of it is just too slow, it plods along, it has no sense of urgency. Quite apart from the west coast hippie subject matter, the Jefferson Airplane are behind the pace. "Greatest Hits Live" I did get very excited a few years ago, when I picked up a semi-official bootleg of a live gig called "Greatest Hits Live". It was fast, it was speedy, it was a precursor to the Stone Roses. Grace Slick was in top form, gutsy and dynamic and modern. If she was contemporary, she would be Chan Marshall and PJ Harvey combined. But the joke was on me. The planespotter in me has tried and tried to find when this concert happened. If I could find out, I could get more, I could get the boots from around the same time. I could prove to the doubters that the Airplane were great, at least live in one phase of the band. I went to the top of the mountain and I consulted the oracle, and I came away dissatisfied. The oracle believes that what I thought was the quintessential Airplane is probably not the Airplane at all (we know it's not Starship). Indeed, he even wonders whether the singer was actually Grace Slick. So my attempts to mythologise this band might have come to nothing, in fact less than zero, I might have gone backwards. I have deluded myself. Grace Slick I read Grace Slick's book when it first came out. I learned a bit about her and Jim Morrison and Janis Joplin. I learned a bit about the person as opposed to the star. I re-lived my memories for a few days. I liked the book, because it was some evidence I could use in my one man crusade to mythologise the Airplane. But I read it before I consulted the oracle. I go back to the music now and again. But I have to admit that I go to Greatest Hits Live. I go back to the band I wanted the Airplane to be, not the real thing. I like my version better. I don't like their myth. I prefer my own delusion.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Caroline

    There was a small part of me that was worried that reading the Slick autobio would maybe make me like her and force me to retract every bad thing I've ever said about her. Instead, it added fuel to the fire of hatred, and I am now armored with an arsenal of self-involved hippie anecdotes that will keep me seething until death.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Mel

    I was really into Jefferson Airplane in high school. I've kind of outgrown them since then, so they're just good memories now. I totally idealized Grace Slick back then... So I really wish I never read this. After finishing I had this whole "my life is a lie!" moment; she comes across as super full of herself and, well, dumb. Owell, I've moved on.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Steve Bolen

    I hit puberty about the same time as the Summer of Love hit so of course I was in love with Grace Slick. I kind of wish I had never read this book now. I was hoping for a little more insight about some of the great Airplane songs and the band dynamics. What the book contained however was a bunch of very short chapters without going into much depth about anything. There really wasn't much here that I couldn't have gleaned out of a few Rolling Stones back in the day. Well I did learn that Jim Morr I hit puberty about the same time as the Summer of Love hit so of course I was in love with Grace Slick. I kind of wish I had never read this book now. I was hoping for a little more insight about some of the great Airplane songs and the band dynamics. What the book contained however was a bunch of very short chapters without going into much depth about anything. There really wasn't much here that I couldn't have gleaned out of a few Rolling Stones back in the day. Well I did learn that Jim Morrison's Johnson was above average but I could have guessed that. It was also pretty clear that the editor took the first manuscript and said " we need more chapters" so there was some fluff in there about PETA and other stuff. Gracie I still love ya but the book was... meh. I did think Andrea Cagan her ghost did a nice job of the actual writing though. I was never real bored. I just didn't learn anything.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Andy

    Not a bad autobiography on the legendary Jefferson Airplane singer. She confesses to fooling around with all of the members in the band except Marty Balin (for obvious reasons), growing up in society circles, and picking up the big bucks to sing in “Starship” until her stomach couldn’t stop turning. I enjoyed her “after the fall” vignettes as I do in most show biz biographies, and this one doesn’t disappoint, like the shotgun standoff she had with San Francisco’s finest.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Jase

    You know sometimes you get a book you can't put down, well this is the opposite. I had to force myself to keep reading it and wish I hadn't bothered. Bored me to death.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Melly

    Wow. Ever wish you could go back in time and not read something so that you could keep thinking that person is really cool and interesting? Enter: this book. What a weirdly written bunch of crap this is. I mean, parts of it are entertaining just by sheer stupidity (her life as a vapid spoiled debutante, her theory of Blondes vs Brunettes, her inane drawings, her "Strawberry Fuck" with Jim Morrison, and the printing of lyrics to some of her solo material- did you know she wrote a song about Panda Wow. Ever wish you could go back in time and not read something so that you could keep thinking that person is really cool and interesting? Enter: this book. What a weirdly written bunch of crap this is. I mean, parts of it are entertaining just by sheer stupidity (her life as a vapid spoiled debutante, her theory of Blondes vs Brunettes, her inane drawings, her "Strawberry Fuck" with Jim Morrison, and the printing of lyrics to some of her solo material- did you know she wrote a song about Pandas?) but on the whole it's a real unimpressive read. She (and her crappy ghost writer - I won't lay all the blame on Grace) manages to make every major event in her life sound blah and detached. She also comes across as the lamest member of Jefferson Airplane; the most she seemed to accomplish was fucking almost every other member of the group, missing crucial performances, and selling out with Starship without a mite of guilt. Also, I hate it when women go out of their way to tell people they're not "feminists". If it's not an issue for you, then omit it. But blatantly branding yourself as "not one of them" (as if you will have a wider popularity that way) is pretty lame-o if you ask me. The only good part of the book was the last couple chapters, (not just because the book is almost over) when she stops trying so hard to make herself entertaining and cool, and just talks frankly about getting old and dying. Just be real, Grace. And please stop with the drawings.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Jimmy

    Another high school, drugged out read. She fucked Jim Morrison, and wrote a chapter about it entitled it Strawberry Fuck, which is curious at best. She is a poor artist, but remains a 60's, pop-culture icon. Maybe I'll throw on Surrealistic Pillow one of these days, but I doubt that I'll ever listen to any other Airplane records. My friends always made fun of me for it, and they were right.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Tracie

    I love a celebrity autobiography and I love a tale of 60s rock and roll, but somehow this managed to be almost unreadable. Grace Slick (and her co-writer) couldn't even make her anecdote about fucking Jim Morrison interesting. It was missing a lot of context, and there's a weird bit near the end where she won't stop talking about biomedical research. Not worth reading.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Violet

    Grace Slick is a fantastic singer. That being said, this narrative rambles on like a drunken uncle, winding up only slightly ahead of, in terms of skill displayed, Grace's paintings: http://www.gallery-319.com/slick.html . Grace Slick is a fantastic singer. That being said, this narrative rambles on like a drunken uncle, winding up only slightly ahead of, in terms of skill displayed, Grace's paintings: http://www.gallery-319.com/slick.html .

  12. 5 out of 5

    Keith

    Monday, October 31, 2016 4:05 PM Having recently read Bruce Springsteen's memoir Born to Run. and in the mood for more musical reflections I picked up Grace Slick's 1997 autobiography. As a teenager in the psychedelic era Jefferson Airplane's albums were among the first American bands I bought. (Before that I was all English invasion - Beatles, Stones, Animals, Who etc.) Surrealistic Pillow, Jefferson Airplane's second album was my first and it was something completely different to my young ears. Monday, October 31, 2016 4:05 PM Having recently read Bruce Springsteen's memoir Born to Run. and in the mood for more musical reflections I picked up Grace Slick's 1997 autobiography. As a teenager in the psychedelic era Jefferson Airplane's albums were among the first American bands I bought. (Before that I was all English invasion - Beatles, Stones, Animals, Who etc.) Surrealistic Pillow, Jefferson Airplane's second album was my first and it was something completely different to my young ears. The song "Somebody to Love" was being played on Top 40 radio but then I heard Grace Slick singing "White Rabbit" and that sealed the deal. I immediately joined what I imagine were legions of young men completely in love with Grace Slick. My love affair lasted through two live concerts and six albums in five years. Not bad. To get all familiar, reading Grace after reading Bruce is interesting as each book presents a different way of telling the "life in music" or "life with a band" kind of story. Springsteen's book is more ambitious, he relates musical influences, learning an instrument, beginning to sing and the type of music he wanted to make. There's interesting discussion about managers, agents, making and keeping money. Favorite songs are examined with some discussion about arrangements. Grace's book is more a series of anecdotes, beginning with her parents, early life, friends, college, first loves and dumb jobs but eventually we get to the time she looked in a music hall, saw Jefferson Airplane rehearsing, and thought that being in a band seemed a much more interesting activity than anything she'd been doing so far.  For this reader that's where the story takes off. There is some discussion of the music Jefferson Airplane created, details on her approach to songwriting, certain famous gigs (Monterey, Woodstock, Altamont), encounters with rock personalities (Jim Morrison, Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin, Mick Jagger and more). Tremendous detail, perhaps too much, but I imagine this is the core interest of many readers, about drugs taken , loves both brief, lengthy and famous. Later chapters detail the decline of the Airplane, the rise and fall and rise of Jefferson Starship. And with all the talk of drugs it is interesting to discover that Grace's drug of choice was alcohol. She received a number of DUIs, all described, and was ordered by the court into AA (She didn't quit drinking but kept returning to AA for the group dynamics). The last chapters are concerned with life after her retirement from music, raising her daughter, escaping her last marriage, discovering new activities such as animal welfare and painting, while the last two chapters offer up reflections on aging and death. Although there's the scent of padding here they're sensible, reasonable explanations and reveal that the acid queen, as some called her, retains a sharp wit and an observant mind. That same intelligence is clearly displayed in the middle section when she talks of the rise and fall of the psychedelic culture. It's not an irrational defense of those times but a clear eyed acknowledgement of what motivated it and importantly, why it failed.  Reading some of the reviews on Goodreads reveals a fair amount of dissatisfaction with the book. Part of this is the problem with autobiography, even with a talented cowriter, it's usually a chronological trip down memory lane. Padded, yes, but childhood and maturity are part of the story. The fact that those events are the less interesting parts of the tale seems inherent in the enterprise. For my part I would have liked more details on the music, Jefferson Airplane's music was often filled with cryptic lyrics and strange arrangements that could have been discussed. Maybe that would have been a biography of the band and not exactly relevant to the project. Grace's book is 384 pages, Bruce's is 528 pages but it isn't better just because it's longer it's better because it's deeper. You sense his efforts to make sense of the past, to reflect on his childhood and indeed, the entirety of Freehold, New Jersey. While Grace is quite analytical when discussing her childhood, it's obvious she had a fairly idyllic California upbringing. One might speculate that it's that fact that made her such a rebellious anti-establishment figure. Still, if you're a fan of Grace and the Airplane there's some great stories here. 3.5 stars

  13. 5 out of 5

    Jibralta

    Very disappointed. I loved Grace's voice & actually saw her sing w/ Balin & the rest of the Jefferson Airplane when she was pregnant. Grace and Marty had incredible voices, Balin could have sung opera. I had a feeling she wasn't a nice person, this book confirms it. IF you love Slick, don't read this book. Grace is a misanthrope; she has contempt for all of humanity. Her fling with Jim Morrison gets a few lines, she never details her sex life with any of the MANY men she claims to have bedded. I Very disappointed. I loved Grace's voice & actually saw her sing w/ Balin & the rest of the Jefferson Airplane when she was pregnant. Grace and Marty had incredible voices, Balin could have sung opera. I had a feeling she wasn't a nice person, this book confirms it. IF you love Slick, don't read this book. Grace is a misanthrope; she has contempt for all of humanity. Her fling with Jim Morrison gets a few lines, she never details her sex life with any of the MANY men she claims to have bedded. It was interesting to read how Grace and Marty had ZERO rapport while they sang love songs to one another for 30 years. Grace paints (awfully) & depicts herself as a nasty star who doesn't like other women. Very entitled. To make matters worse, Grace gets into the fascist PETA-movement & spouts stuff about biomedical research that is NOT factual. She cites a bogus PETA-offshoot as a great source, when it's been debunked. Luckily for Slick, she hasn't needed chemo, anti-stroke drugs, hip or knee replacements, vaccines, Hep C treatment or other medicines because they're ALL products of biomedical research with animals (mostly rats/mice) & eventually humans. The last 1/3 of this book is ALL about the lies of PETA & that's what she's doing with her time, that & making awful art. Joni Mitchell she is not. The biggest disappointment is that Slick never details her complex relationship with Paul Kantner; songwriting partner, father to her only daughter, the fascinating BLOWS AGAINST THE EMPIRE album the duo recorded with some of the Grateful Dead, Crosby & Nash, Quicksilver Messenger Service (a great album that still holds up). Grace is an entitled, mean spirited person with nothing nice to say about almost anyone. She never apologizes for all her DUI driving.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Gary

    Hilarious, outrageous, eye opening, tough, energized. My favorite part is plans for Tricky Dick. Too bad they were foiled,and she mentions Trump. Really enjoyed this one. I also saw her in concert. Singing WHITE RABBIT in the 80s. I think that I saw God. Chilling!

  15. 5 out of 5

    Robert

    Really liked this book . . . but then I always really liked Grace Slick. I always found her sarcasm to be endearing. Other than her relationship with Paul Kantner, I had no idea she slept with the other band-members(minus Marty Balin)until I read her story. She is very candid about her ongoing substance abuse problems and the problems it lead her into over the years. It was good to hear that she has maintained a wonderful relationship with her daughter, China Kantner. She was also very revealing Really liked this book . . . but then I always really liked Grace Slick. I always found her sarcasm to be endearing. Other than her relationship with Paul Kantner, I had no idea she slept with the other band-members(minus Marty Balin)until I read her story. She is very candid about her ongoing substance abuse problems and the problems it lead her into over the years. It was good to hear that she has maintained a wonderful relationship with her daughter, China Kantner. She was also very revealing about her broken marriage with Skip Johnson and how it affected her life. A good read for people that followed Jefferson Airplane and the rock-and-roll period of the mid-to-late 60's.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Brad Zerkel

    I loved this book if for nothing more than Graces sense of humor...she is intelligent and very funny. The 60's were a completely different universe. I grew up in them, but wasn't old enough to appreciate what was going on other than living in the Deep South and de-segregation in my school.. Would I take the oaths she has? probably not, but she seems to appreciate life and is happy which is more than most people trudging through the daily grind can say. I think she would be someone I would love to s I loved this book if for nothing more than Graces sense of humor...she is intelligent and very funny. The 60's were a completely different universe. I grew up in them, but wasn't old enough to appreciate what was going on other than living in the Deep South and de-segregation in my school.. Would I take the oaths she has? probably not, but she seems to appreciate life and is happy which is more than most people trudging through the daily grind can say. I think she would be someone I would love to sit down with and have a coffee and laugh and listen to her stories

  17. 4 out of 5

    Pewterbreath

    People who know who Grace slick is either love her or Loathe her. It's a pity that bands that went commercial get judged so harshly for those times, but aren't really given the credit deserved for the good times. One does not take away the other. This Acid queen's personality changed America--though she didn't always do it with good taste--but if you wanted tasteful you'd read the life story of Julia child or something.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Melody

    Surprisingly engaging. I feel like this book captures the Grace Slick I've known through the rock press for years, and adds some besides. There's nothing here for the non-fan, but for those of us who grew up with Slick, there's plenty. I wish she didn't hate her old-lady body so much, or so vocally, but it was all interesting. Not nearly enough photos, but lots of background info. Well worth a read if you love her music.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Lysergius

    Quite revealing self expose by Grace Slick. Jerry Garcia called her "The Chrome Nun" to Paul Kantner's "Baron von Tolbooth". Somehow the band seemed happier in their Hot Tuna incarnation without her. The revelation that her house and everything she owned had been destroyed in a brush fire made her human again. Quite amazed at her ability to reinvent herself and get back on it again...

  20. 5 out of 5

    Stewart Sternberg

    It is a fun read from a woman who is obviously full of herself. Grace comes across as an entitled hippie. Her talent and contributions to her era's music are undeniable, her self-indulgence screams "spoiled brat." Or maybe borderline personality disorder.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Jennelle

    This lady has had an amazing life.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Nicole

    I love Grace Slick so I loved this book! Can't remember when I read it, but it's about her life and what a drug trip it was!

  23. 5 out of 5

    Sarah

    This is a great biography. Grace Slick is witty and has a great sense of humor. A very interesting read!

  24. 4 out of 5

    Meg

    Lots of juicy bits of rockstar bad behavior. Oh, to have lived in her shoes for a little while...

  25. 5 out of 5

    Shirley Hines

    Any one who lived through the late 60's and 70's will love this book. Very honest and accurate for the time.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Joy

    I love her singing, don't like the personality expressed in this book. Not even when I went back and tried it again years later.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Mark

    Five stars for Grace Slick, but two for the book. I think the co-writer and editor let her down a bit as well.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Teresa

    Fun book!! Just what I expected totally!! Grace slick unapologetic 60's icon!

  29. 4 out of 5

    Deodand

    3.5 stars. Better than most rock memoirs of this era I've read. The author devotes quite a bit of page space to discussing her weight - a bit more than I needed as a reader. I like to read the biographies of disruptive people who had enough money and fame to be permitted an infinite quantity of shenanigans. It's called living vicariously and it's the best I can do for now.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Matthew Pritchard

    With this book, Grace Slick proves that her writing is as idiosyncratic as her singing, and her acerbic, anarchic humour is evident on every page. However, she falls into the usual clichés when dealing with rock star autobiographies (what drugs she took, how much of them she took, who she slept with, how big their penises were, etc.) and, confusingly, covers the Monterey Pop (1967), Woodstock, and Altamont (both 1969) festivals, before jumping back to late 1966 to cover the recording of Surreali With this book, Grace Slick proves that her writing is as idiosyncratic as her singing, and her acerbic, anarchic humour is evident on every page. However, she falls into the usual clichés when dealing with rock star autobiographies (what drugs she took, how much of them she took, who she slept with, how big their penises were, etc.) and, confusingly, covers the Monterey Pop (1967), Woodstock, and Altamont (both 1969) festivals, before jumping back to late 1966 to cover the recording of Surrealistic Pillow. This is where the book really falls flat, as she does little more than skim the surface of the recording of other seminal Jefferson Airplane albums (some of which aren't even mentioned) and seems far more interested in talking about pandas and her marriage to a lighting technician than in giving dedicated Airplane fans detailed breakdowns on her song writing.

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