Balin and rabbits and West Fest

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September 29, 2018 by jacklovelace

Marty Balin, original member of Jefferson Airplane, died this week.

I have two distinct but very different memories of Marty.

My first was back in my college days when Jefferson Airplane, red hot with Somebody to Love, came to Kiel Auditorium in St. Louis. Their new song was White Rabbit.

KXOX was the place to hear pop music in those days, and the lyrics to White Rabbit had them banning the song, or so the story goes.

Airplane is on stage and Grace Slick is mesmerizing us when she begins to introduce White Rabbit.

Marty goes ballistic. He starts a rant about what the fuck was wrong with us living in a place that would ban White Rabbit. Grace stepped in with something like “Cool it cool it, everything is ok.”

And sure enough it began, “One pill makes you larger” from her voice, and everything was ok.

Move down the line, way down the line.

We live in Fort Collins and they have an annual festival called West Fest. Free and fun.

In its early days, around the turn of the century, they often had “vintage” names and acts on side stages.

One year it was Marty Balin. I was pumped.

Comes the day and sure enough here is Marty with a band singing in that great voice

for a small gathering of us. To hear him start “Today” is almost unearthly.

I was enthusiastic but it was afternoon and I remember it was hot and there wasn’t much vibe.

I seem to remember at one point Marty’s band leader saying something like “Folks, this is Marty Balin!”

She didn’t need to remind me.

Miss you Marty.


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