Marty Balin, former vocalist of psychedelic rock pioneers Jefferson Airplane, has issued a funny, poignant statement about band mate Paul Kantner, who died Thursday at age 74. “So many memories rushing through my mind now. So many moments that he and I opened new worlds,” Balin wrote on Facebook, accompanied by a vintage picture of the two musicians.
“He was the first guy I picked for the band, and he was the first guy who taught me how to roll a joint. And although I know he liked to play the devil’s advocate, I am sure he has earned his wings now. Sai Ram ‘Go with God.'”
Kantner died Thursday of multiple organ failure and septic shock after suffering a heart attack earlier in the week. The Jefferson Airplane guitarist/co-founder had been battling health problems in recent years and was struck with a previous heart attack in March 2015.
Balin and Kantner appeared together on six Jefferson Airplane studio albums, stretching throughout the 1960s (from the band’s 1966 debut, Jefferson Airplane Takes Off, to 1969’s Volunteers) and including their final, self-titled 1989 LP. The duo also played together frequently over the years in Jefferson Starship.
Following the news of Kantner’s passing, fellow psychedelic pioneers the Doors issued a statement honoring the guitarist, whose musicianship also helped shape the rock music of their era. “Our condolences go out to the friends, family and fans of Paul Kantner of Jefferson Airplane on the news of his passing,” members of the band wrote on Facebook. “Music would not be the same without the sounds of the Doors and Jefferson Airplane, which both contributed so heavily to the signature sound of the Sixties and Seventies.”