Jefferson Airplane were at the forefront of Sixties psych-rock – helping define the movement not only with mind-altering music, but trippy album covers and offbeat fashion. According to The Hollywood Reporter, licensing agency Epic Rights is preparing for an expansive merchandising campaign based on the band’s “free your head” image, just in time for their 50th anniversary.
The psychedelic deal is expected to launch in 2015 based on two platforms: more affordable products, including “buttons, incense, stickers, decals and metal jewelry” and higher-end items such as “handbags, scarves, T-shirts, tops, sleepwear and other accessories, home décor, stationery/paper goods, collectibles, gifts and novelty and publishing.”
The company’s CEO, Fell Furano, says the merchandising deal is also inspired by the spread of legalized marijuana in the U.S., and he’s hoping a younger generation of black-light-owning soul-searchers will be inspired by the psych revival. “It’s the baby boomers now in their mid-60s, and a lot of the younger people who are part of the revival of interest in this culture,” he says. “Everything vintage is hot at retail.”
Furano heard the band’s definitive anthem “White Rabbit” on the radio several months ago and began reminiscing about the song’s cultural significance (as well as its commercial potential). “Every once in a while you see a real nugget in terms of influence that hasn’t been exploited,” he says.
Furano then made contact with Jefferson Airplane’s manager, Bill Thompson, who owns the band’s rights along with lead singer Grace Slick. Thompson also claims to be “in conversations” with Sony Music about potential re-releases of the band’s LPs.
Last year, former Airplane guitarist Jorma Kaukonen also took advantage of the growing interest in psychedelia by opening the Psylodelic Museum, a showcase of hippie artifacts from the Woodstock era.