Taking off with Jefferson Airplane

Grace Slick backstage at the Meadowlands in 1983 (Rich Lee photo)

As I announced last week, each one of my radio shows this semester will focus on a different recording artist I had the privilege of interviewing while I covered rock’n’roll in the early 1980s.

This week, I will be playing music by Jefferson Airplane and its various offshoots.

I’ll share stories about my conversations with Jack Casady, Jorma Kaukonen and Mickey Thomas.

The show airs from Thursday from 3 to 4 p.m. on WSBU-FM and is streamed online at http://player.listenlive.co/37351.

Here is a preview of some of the stories I plan to share:

1. My first paid job as a journalist was covering a Hot Tuna concert at St. Bonaventure University in 1975 as a freelancer for the Olean Times Herald.

2. I interviewed Mickey Thomas for a cover story in the Aquarian Weekly in 1982 while he was a lead vocalist in Jefferson Starship.

3. When I interviewed Jack Casady and Jorma Kaukonen about their Hot Tuna reunion in 1983, we had to end our telephone conversation early because one of the musician’s dogs was barking so loudly we could not hear each other.

4. When I got to attend a backstage party with the band in 1983, Grace Slick looked fantastic in person.

5. Paul Kantner did not.

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Back on the airwaves

studioI am returning to the airwaves today with a slightly different format that I am very excited about.

As many of you know, I spent a few years in the early 1980s covering rock’n’roll and had the opportunity to speak with many recording artists who were popular during that period. Since I started my WSBU radio show in 2011, I have occasionally shared stories about my time as a music journalist.

For the new academic year, I have decided to focus each show on a different recording artist I had the privilege of interviewing. I’ll talk about the conversations we had back then and what has ensued in each artist’s career in the 30 or so years since we spoke – all backed by appropriate musical selections.

I’m naming the new show Talk to Me because the title fits, and it guarantees that each show will feature at least one Bruce Springsteen composition. (Some things will never change.)

I’ll kick off the new show today at 3 p.m. As always, you can listen live at http://player.listenlive.co/37351

Just to make it more interesting (or confusing), I’m starting off today with a show about a band I never interviewed – the Beatles. I had some near-misses, and they will provide the soundtrack today.

Guy A. Lee (1922-2017)

This is the last photo I took of my father, who would have turned 96 today.

In many ways, it says a lot about who he was. He was a proud WWII veteran and an avid Mets fan who loved to read and enjoyed the outdoors.

If he touched your life as he did mine, consider yourself blessed.

Chris Collins Dilemma in Western NY is Deja Vu for NJ

Since election laws severely limit the ability to replace candidates close to Election Day, Western New York Republicans are searching for a way to replace three-term Congressman Chris Collins, who has suddenly dropped out of the 2018 campaign due to his indictment on insider trading charges.

Although the circumstances are not identical, the situation reminds me of the way New Jersey Democrats managed to add Frank Lautenberg to the ballot for U.S. Senate in 2002 after Sen. Robert Torricelli dropped out of the race on Sept. 30 amid formal Senate ethics charges that that threatened to derail his re-election chances.

New Jersey Republicans challenged the late addition, but the state Supreme Court rejected their argument. Lautenberg remained on the ballot and won the election by 10 percentage points.

Although Republicans were unsuccessful at the ballot box, they did produce a memorable campaign ad, cleverly poking fun at Lautenberg‘s late entry into the race.

In England, a Familiar Source Provides Bona Students with a Lesson on the Beatles

lauta petersonOXFORD, UK — A visit to England provides a great way to learn about the Beatles, but for a group of American college students studying in Great Britain this summer, their best lesson about the Fab Four came from a familiar source – one of their professors from the states. Continue reading

A Dissenting Voice on Coverage of Politicians’ Families

I may be in the minority, but I generally disagree with the unspoken rule that politicians’ family members are off-limits to the press.

If politicians use warm and fuzzy images of family members to score points with voters, they can’t cry foul when the media subjects them to scrutiny – as is the case with today’s nj.com story about the legal troubles of New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy’s son Joshua.

According to the story, the younger Murphy “actively campaigned for his father, appearing on his behalf on college campuses and in television commercials with his family.”

By virtue of his father’s office and his public role in the gubernatorial campaign, Joshua Murphy is a public figure, and his troubles with the law are legitimate news.