At the time of this interview with Lisa Robinson, Kantner was recording an album, with help from various members of Jefferson Starship, to accompany his novel-in-progress, Planet Earth Rock and Roll Orchestra. There are real nuggets here about his recollections of the 60's, the constantly rotating membership of the band, their in-fighting, and his relationship with Grace Slick and their daughter, China Kantner.
The other main thematic element of this interview was based on a recent debate Paul had with Reverend Wesley Ates before a Jefferson Starship concert in Normal, Illinois. The Reverend had asked to discuss the "satanic messages" contained in various Jefferson Airplane/Starship songs, and Paul, with nothing to do that night, obliged. Besides discussing this event, the two go on to talk here about other songs accused of supporting satan, the pros and cons of the religious attack on rock n' roll, and how it all fit into the general picture of America at the time.
Throughout, Paul is blunt, philosophical, and, in his way, hilarious.
00:00 - Thoughts on religion
01:20 - A debate on satanic lyrics in rock n' roll
03:12 - The danger of religious fanaticism for rock n' roll / joys of extremism
05:32 - The danger of rock n' roll for religion
06:26 - The potential danger of religious fanaticism for the world
07:01 - Planet Earth Rock and Roll Orchestra: The solo album and novel
09:17 - The story of the novel
09:52 - Technology for amplifying mental telepathy; why children are better at using it
11:22 - What keeps Jefferson Starship going
12:08 - What else would Paul do for a living?
13:12 - Folk music and the civil rights movement responsible for Paul's career
14:37 - The implications of not having to fight to survive
16:16 - What China Kantner listens to at age 11
17:22 - Is rock n' roll still more than the music?
19:35 - Avoiding feeling dated by branching out
20:48 - The pitfalls of planning in advance / Grace Slick's desire for structure
22:15 - Why Aynsley Dunbar left the Starship
22:39 - What they thought Mickey Thomas would add
24:03 - Other considerations for a female singer for the Starship (Pat Benatar!)
24:59 - The decision making process in Jefferson Starship
25:46 - In-band tensions' effect on music / how the Jefferson groups made it through
29:10 - A history of head traumas
29:39 - Reacting calmly to bad situations
30:06 - Thoughts on death
31:56 - The unedited version of "Stairway to Cleveland" / Letter to Rolling Stone
34:17 - Difficulty with romance and comedy
35:18 - Writing songs with energy, new directions for writing (continued on part 2…)
01:16 - Thoughts on Marty Balin's "Miracles" / radio-friendly songs
02:59 - The state of the music industry / thoughts on "free" music
04:36 - The Jefferson Starship's current audience
05:32 - Still crusading / dangerous dance rituals
06:46 - The bizarre punk scenes in L.A. and N.Y.
07:26 - A man of extremes
07:59 - Not taking stupid risks / evolution of drugs of choice
08:47 - Recollections of 1967 / what China knows about the time
09:33 - China's lyric writing
10:14 - Thoughts on media attention when living with Grace
11:05 - A confused timeline of the Jefferson Airplane/Starship
11:56 - Different directions for Starship members / "How-to" books
12:42 - How-to books: Playing the 12-string guitar; Getting revenge
14:33 - Backwards songs - "Stairway to Heaven," "A Child is Coming," "Another One Bites the Dust"
17:45 - Grace's comings and goings / in-band sexism
18:54 - How the band members are getting along / like a family
20:25 - Reflection on the Jefferson Airplane/Starship overview: a soap opera
21:55 - Kurt Vonnegut's conception of karass / America's youth as a nation
22:57 - The Grateful Dead's audience
24:30 - "Belief" in weapons
25:37 - Made in Japan vs. Made in America
26:09 - Responsibility for performing benefits / How Jerry Lewis stayed up all night