Legends: Grace Slick
What do you say to a legend? That crossed
my mind when saying hello to Grace Slick in a recent interview. Fortunately
there was a good topic to talk about, quelling my panic. When the former
Jefferson Airplane/Starship vocalist put down her mike in 1989, she picked
up a paint brush. And never looked back. Today, Grace is known world-wide
for her amazing artwork which has found favor with all audiences, not just
her rock following. She frequently does exhibits at galleries from coast
to coast. This weekend she has one in Orange County at Wentworth Galleries
in Southern California. See the end of this interview for dates, times
Talking with Grace is like having lunch
at one of those buffets where the food is paraded in front of you. You
get a bit of this and a bit of that. While we talked about her art and
how she got started, we also touched on a pile of other subjects. Well,
we had to. Man, this gal has lived. She's seen things and done things.
When she does something, she does it all the way. That's what makes her
art as inviting as her music. Read along and get a unique perspective on
life from one of rock's hell-raising originals – Grace Slick.
antiMUSIC: Hi Grace. How you doing?
Grace: Okay. For an old person I'm
doing ok (laughs)
antiMUSIC: This is a complete and utter
thrill to have the honor to get to speak with you. It's almost too weird
to be talking to somebody I've listened to since the late '60s. The very
first rock mag I ever picked up in my early teens was Circus and you had
just done one of the most interesting interviews with Scott Cohen I had
ever read and I was fascinated from then on. (laughs.)
antiMUSIC: First of all I have to say,
I think your artwork is excellent.
Grace: Thank you
antiMUSIC: When you hear that some people
are painting who have been in music or other fields, you just kinda go,
yeah right. I mean, there's some people out there that when I see their
paintings I just wonder what they're thinking showing them to people.
Grace: A whole bunch of musicians
and actors and so forth do that. Like Jane Seymour, Jonathan Winters, Anthony
Quinn , Tony Bennett, Marty Balin, let's see, the guy who shows in the
same galleries as me, is one of the Rolling Stones…come on, come on Grace…
antiMUSIC: Ronnie Wood.
Grace: Yes, thank you. I faded out
there for a minute…um, Joni Mitchell, and you know…and Myles Davis and
some of these people are really good. Jerry Garcia was good. He drew and
unlike me, he's a multi-tasker. I'm not. So he used to take his paints
and stuff on the road. But I've seen some of his stuff and some of it's
good. But I think it's kinda normal because it's all the same part of the
brain. The arts. But you don't want any of us doing your accounting or
fixing your television set, right? Because we uh suck in those areas. (laughs)
Pretty much. Some don't. Gene Simmons is a musician but he doesn't do any
drugs. His addiction is sex. I don't what he's doing any more, but I know
my ex-husband was the lighting director for KISS for a while and we went
over to talk to Gene about something or other. Money or, you know, the
tour or something and he asked, "Do you want to see my Polaroids?" And
he shows Polaroids of every woman he's ever screwed.
antiMUSIC: Yeah right, the famous scrapbook.
Grace: And I'm just going, 'Ah,
Jesus do I have to look at this?' I so don't care, you know. My ex husband
pretty much cared because he was kind of a sex addict or you know whatever
they call they call that kinda stuff. But you know, a woman (pfff) I could
care less. But Gene's very good at business. Frank Zappa was pretty good
at business. And Frank Zappa didn't do drugs either. Drugs really get in
the way of paying attention to what your accountant's saying because it's
so boring. Jefferson Airplane, when we first started making, you know,
big money, we brought in a financial advisor who advised that we buy train,
cargo cars for trains in the south somewhere, and we looked at him, like,
'Are you fucking serious? Do we give a flying…?' You know, so we didn't
do that and consequently, you know Paul Kantner is having trouble. He has
to go around the country pretending he's Jefferson Starship and so does
Mickey Thomas…and basically I own the name along with our manager. And
so it's illegal for them to be doing it but I don't care. They have to
make money. As long as they don't do product. Once they do product, then
I'll step in and say, 'Okay we get a percent. You know, you can't do that'.
So you know it's a little gnarly, but I don't care if they use the name.
I didn't care for Starship anyway. Like the '80s version of Starship was
just all…songs were written by other people and ah, God, it was just dumb.
antiMUSIC: You weren't big on "We Built
This City" and all that?
Grace: Yeah, we had a lot of number
ones, but I don't really care about number ones. I'd rather do music that's
interesting and different and is written by the band, not somebody else.
So I'm kind of a stickler on that kind of stuff.
antiMUSIC: When did you first start
feeling comfortable enough to share your art with the public?
Grace: Well I was just doing it,
I was living with this guy in 1992-1993 who I'd known for a long time and
I just thought he was eccentric and he's lived in Rio for about 30years.
So he said I'd like to come up and visit, and I thought, oh cool, cause
he's REALLY good looking. He used to be a male model and he's got an IQ
of about 185. He used to be a quiz kid in the '40s. So I've known him for
a long time, he was married to my best friend, but they're obviously no
longer married. But I said yeah, sure come on up and I thought 'oh boy',
you know, 'screw him for a while, that'll be good'. But he's bipolar. So
he gets physically violent and he'll start sweating and turn red and for
no reason start shoving me around. And I thought okay, 'I'll argue with
people forever, but I don't do shoving.' So I had to...I said maybe you
ought to go back to Rio cause your kids miss you and so forth. And he,
when he left I said, 'Geez what a waste of a brilliant mind', you know
and a beautiful man, but he's just crazy. And he wouldn't take the drugs
for bipolar because sometimes it affects getting a hard-on, okay? So he'd
rather screw and be crazy, which I can kind of understand. (laughs) But
I don't do shoving around, and his wife who lives Rio, she's Portuguese,
or whatever everybody is down there, and they're used to it. The man shoves
you around, that's what men do. And I'm American, so no, I'm sorry, you
don't shove ME around. But when he left, I was sad. So I started painting
animals, just to make ME happy. I put them up all over my house, cause
I like animals and they make me feel good. So my friend said, wow, you
ought to do that professionally. And here I am. (laughs) I thought I was
retired in 1989. You know, I was studying bio-medical research fraud and
for about 4 years, various facets of producing drugs and medicine and so
forth. I'd go on television and argue with the researchers at the University
of California and one time I went on, and there were about four researchers
and I said to the producers: 'Okay, is there anybody on my side or is it
just me against all these guys?' And I didn't care. I just wondered. You
know, it was kind of imbalanced. And he said 'Oh, yeah, we got somebody
on your side.' 'Who is it?' 'Gordon Liddy' (laughs) So Gordon Liddy is
almost right up there next to Hitler being right wing. And I'm just to
the left of a Sandinista. So at the end of the show, I said, look this
is probably confusing for the audience, talking about medicine and it's
kind complicated and everything. But if Gordon Liddy and I can agree on
something, you better look into what that is. (laughs) and Gordon Liddy
laughed. He was very knowledgeable about it. And for some reason, like
me, he was fascinated with how shitty drug testing and pharmaceuticals.
More people are killed in this country coming from doctors than all the
street drugs combined. And when I read things like that I thought, 'Ok,
I've got to figure this one out. This is just crazy.' They are drug dealers
in suits. And they really don't care. Like the drug dealers we had in the
'60s, one of them lived in our office. He did some carpentry and he was
a black belt in karate and he was a really sweet guy. And he dealt coke.
But our dealers were kind of our friends. I mean it wasn't cheesy the way
it is now. You know, it's just brutal now. The drug dealers we knew wouldn't
sell you bad stuff that was cut with baby laxative and everything. We used
to get it straight. Cocaine straight from the factories in Germany. Uncut
and sealed, ok? I think all drugs ought to be legal and have the government,
regulate them. They're not very good at it, but have them regulate it so
that you can't sell crappy stuff that's been cut with weird things, you
know what I mean? And if people want to do it…get crazy on their own time,
fine. The only place where I think it ought to get real serious is driving
because a car is a weapon if you're loaded. So yeah, come down...I wouldn't
be alive if the highway patrol hadn't have come down hard on me driving
drunk. And I appreciate them doing that, you know? They were the ones who
said, either you go to AA or you lose your license. Now in California,
you don't want to not be able to drive. (laughs) I'm more addicted to cars
than to drugs, so I said fine, I'll do that. And I liked AA, I thought
it was neat. So I was lucky.
antiMUSIC: What were some of your first
pieces and can you describe the process of putting them together --- how
long they took and that kind of thing.
Grace: Yeah, I'm sorry. We're supposed
to be talking about painting aren't we? (laughs)
antiMUSIC: No problem. (laughs)
Grace: (laughs). Mostly animals.
And there's this thing, that most artists don't use, I don't know of any
who uses it, I'm sure there are some but I've got the kinda corner on it.
It's a thing called a slate board. And it looks like a blackboard. And
what you do is you etch into it and anything you carve, and you use these
little tiny points, there are tools for it. I use a safety pin because
I prefer how it acts to the professional tools. Anything you scratch in
there with a safety pin turns white. So it's the opposite of what you normally
draw, which is a pencil or pen, black on white. This is white on black.
So instead of doing the hollows of things, where it's dark, which is what
you do with a pencil or pen. This one you do whatever's lumpy. In other
words, whatever's shiny. The tip of the nose has got more strikes of white,
you know, than say around the nostril area, which is dark. So it's the
reverse of drawing. And it lends itself very well to animal fur. You've
got to be a compulsive nut to do the fur because it's like about a million
scratches per painting.
antiMUSIC: I would imagine that it's
very unforgiving also.
Grace: That's it. Yeah, you don't
make mistakes with that. So I like it for that reason. And I like it because
I like doing animals and it really lends itself to fur. It's just amazing.
So I do a lot of animals, pandas and polar bears and whatever or people
dressed in...like the bad red queen in Alice in Wonderland. She's bad so
she's wearing a fur coat. So I can do fur on her. It doesn't lend itself
in particular to skin because you're making strikes, right, so it's a little
crude when it comes to skin. I do dots. I'll just do little, tiny dots
for skin, but it's still, I prefer really not to do many humans with that.
antiMUSIC: How did you start working
Grace: I'd never heard of a slate
board. And my agent, he wanders around in art stores and he sends me stuff
occasionally. He's great. And he sent me this stuff, and he said I don't'
even know what this is; I've never seen it before so I thought maybe you
could fool around with that. And I thought okay, so it'll be black and
white. So the first thing, obviously, I did to make it easy on myself,
was a panda. But the copies of that panda in just regular copy, it's not
scratch board. Tons, you know, hundreds of copies, are selling like crazy.
And it's called: self-esteem. And he's got a great look on his face because
animals don't have what we do which is all these goddamn issues. And I
have an issue with the younger generation because: 'Oh, I just can't go
to work today, I'm having a panic attack. And I'm obsessive compulsive.'
And oh just get your goddamn socks on. Go ahead and have all your problems,
because we ALL have problems. But that doesn't mean you stay in bed, ok?
Get the hell out of bed. Get a job and shut the fuck up. Because they're
all entitled. Like, 'I shouldn't have to work at Starbucks, because'…no,
sorry. You've gotta work at Starbucks and work your way up to either managing
it, or going somewhere else. But you can't lie around, you know, and I
supported my daughter for a long time and finally I said ok that's enough
of that. That's stupid, but she and a friend of hers had this entitlement.
And I just think, where did they get the idea that you don't have to do
anything and it'll all just sort of fall in your lap, you know?
antiMUSIC: I guess it all starts with
Grace: Apparently, because I'm a
shitty parent because I didn't pull it real early and say 'Ok, guess what,
it's hard knocks at the beginning.' But my daughter had a job as a VJ for
MTV, in the middle '80s when she was about 15. And wow, what a job for
a kid, right? And then she got a recurring role on Tim Allen's thing, it
was the no.1 sitcom in the country at the time. And then she and I got
sober about 9 years ago, again. I mean I've done this off and on all my
life. But she and I…she has too, off and on, but we've both been sober
for 9 years. But after she got out of rehab she said, 'Oh I'm just not
going to do acting any more.' It's just too stressful. I can't handle it…and
I thought, ah, Jesus. So then a little later on, she decided to go back
to college. Now she has a 4.0 average so she's real smart. But that doesn't
mean she isn't hammered by this weird shit that the younger generation
thinks they ought to hang out, you know. (laughs) 'I think I want to be
Paris Hilton." Well, okay most people don't have the Hiltons for parents,
so, uh, get a job.'
antiMUSIC: You've written a great deal
of music over the years. Do you find the process of painting is similar
to songwriting or does it come from a different part of you?
Grace: The same person is knocking
the stuff out, so the joy or passion that I have, I'm really focusing on
this kinda stuff in either music or art. But if you said to me, I'm sorry,
you can't paint anymore, I'd say okay, then I'll be a set designer. I'm
sorry you can't be a set designer. Okay, then I'll be a writer. I'm sorry
you can't be a writer. Okay I'll be a character actress. I really don't
care. Any of those...because I've noticed that anything I do, if it's in
the arts, I'm obsessed with it. And I just love it. And I've been fortunate,
most of my life, people pay me to do stuff I like anyway. So yes it's coming
from the same person. And it's quite similar, in that the paintings are
rock and roll because it's not like jazz. They're very easy to understand.
They're strong colors. They're in your face. And they're simple.
antiMUSIC: When did you start moving
away from animals and doing people and characters?
Grace: The suggestion of agents.
A book agent about 10 years said 'Ok, we're doing this book which is an
autobiography, you know. I wrote and then I sent it to the co-writer to
have it correct the English. My English and spelling are just god-awful.
I don't use semicolons and stuff. I mean, I just do dashes. That's it.
Sometimes I'll put a period in there, or a comma but I don't do, you know,
grammar. So I'd fax it over to her and she'd correct all the English. But
the agent, the book agent, said, okay, now I want you to draw a couple
of rock and roll people for the book…and I said, 'Oh, isn't that cute.
Rock and roll draws rock and roll.' And I said, 'No I'm not doing that.'
And she said 'Just do a couple.' So I thought okay, I did…I don't know
Garcia and Hendrix or something, but I found, when I did them, I really
enjoyed it. So whenever my agent, the art agent now suggests stuff, I pretty
much do it cause he knows what sells, and it is a business. And so 50 percent
of what I do is just some screwing stuff that comes out of my head, that
I just want to do. And the other 50 percent is the combination of my agent
or commissions. Like the last commission that I did, was a man who wanted
me to draw Elvis Presley from the movie Jailhouse Rock for his daughter's
bar mitzvah. (laughs) And I never did like Elvis Presley, every body else
did. And I thought, 'Okay, this is a challenge. I didn't even like the
guy.' But I like being pushed. So I like it when they bring up stuff that
I would have never thought of. One woman had a commission and the copies
just sell like crazy. So she knew was doing. She said okay, I want a picture
of the Golden Gate Bridge. And I thought oh, man. This is the 850 gazillionth
picture of the Golden Gate Bridge. She said I want the Golden Gate Bridge
from the point of view of China Beach, and I knew what she was talking
about because I lived there, on top of China Beach, from the viewpoint
of China Beach with a bunny in it. And I went 'ah Jesus. This is too corny
and you know, a bunny and the Golden Gate Bridge.' But she got the original
and my agent made copies and people love that picture. So I thought, okay,
they know something I don't know. So I do 50 per cent of what I'm told
to do, and the other 50 is my own stuff, my own head.
antiMUSIC: The rock stuff is just great.
Your Jerry Garcia, the black and white one is phenomenal.
Grace: Thank you
antiMUSIC: And the Jim Morrison one
as well. Particularly his eyes are bang-on. How many attempts do you make
on each one or are they one-offs?
Grace: Well they're all one offs,
but here's how it goes. I'll start with a three by five file card because
I'll be driving along and I'll get an idea. I'll pull over, pull out a
file card and draw a real quick pencil sketch of what I had in my mind.
Then I get home, pull out the file card and do a more detailed copy on
an 8 by 10 blank you know, drawing…sketch pad. Then I will erase it, and
do it again, and erase, and oh, I don't like the way that fingers goes,
and I'll do it until I get it the way I want it. Then I'll take it down
to MailBoxes and have it blown up. Then I'll put carbon paper underneath
it and trace the outline, or not trace, I guess, impress the outline onto
a large canvas. And then I keep the 8 by 10 to see what I wanted to do
with the paints. So it is one-off in the sense that the 8 by 10, that's
it. I mean I work on it until I get it the way I want it in pencil. So
it's one off. I don't do it a couple of times on a canvas. It goes one
time on the canvas.
antiMUSIC: Can you describe your studio
Grace: Ah, let's see. It's got a
fireplace which I never use because I don't do heat. I do cold. I'm Norwegian.
So there's a big plasma screen in front of the fireplace. I have it on
CNN because can you can listen to it while you're painting. You don't have
to look at it really. All the doors and windows are open, because like
I said, I like a lot of cold and it's not that cold in Southern California
so I gotta keep it open here. There are three air conditioners, small air
conditioners, aimed at my feet because I have a really rare condition that
only about 300 people in the world have. If my feet get over 65 degrees
Fahrenheit it feels like someone poured boiling water into them. Now because
there are so few people with this they can't make any money, even if they
do find a cure, so nobody's studies it. But it doesn't kill you, it's just
annoying. So I've got the air conditioners in front of me. A table on which
to put the drawings. Mostly I just hold them on my lap. And then two cabinets
filled with all different colors of acrylic paint and a telephone and a
flashlight, and some anti-itch lotion. I'm just looking around at what
I've got. A calendar, an address book, books that I'm reading, Norman Mailers
The castle and the forest' Some catalogues because I hate shopping, unlike
most women, I don't like it at all. So I just order shit out of a catalogue.
I need a pair of underpants, I order them out of the catalogue. Don't have
to go into the stores. So I save the ones that I want order. There's some
of those in there. There's a pillow to rest my feet on. My purse. A bunch
of liquid pencils with very fine tips, because you want to fill in some
color but there isn't really a brush that can do it. Because brushes...you
can get small pointed brushes but sometimes they're kinda blobby. The paint's
too thick. So I'll fill in with these liquid kinda pencils. Then there's
chairs. There's a small trampoline which I mostly don't use because I hate
exercise. There's a couch. There's one of those massage chairs that you
turn on. Several lamps. A kitchen. It's actually a family room, not a studio.
It's family room in my house and that's where I work
antiMUSIC: And you're out of California,
Grace: Yeah, I live in Malibu.
antiMUSIC: Are you one of those people
that just loses track of time and paints from sun up to sun down on one
piece or can you have several on the go, completing them within different
Grace: Yeah, I'm obsessive about
it. I draw until, because I'm looking down, right? I draw until my nose
runs. And then I figure, okay it's time to go do laundry or go get some
groceries because my head's been in that position for so long that my nose
will actually run. (laughs) Or my back gets funny because you're sitting
in the same position. Now one thing that I've never had, which is weird,
is anything with my wrists or hands. I don't get carpal tunnel. My hands
and arms can do it forever, but my back hurts or my nose will run and then
I'll stop and do something else. So that the body gets a chance to re-correct
itself or whatever it does.
antiMUSIC: Do you paint regularly or
only when you're so inspired?
Grace: No I don't have writer's
block or whatever you want to call it. I have several large envelopes full
of ideas that, I will not…I don't have enough time… my problem is time
because I'm 67. I'll never be able to complete all the stuff I want to
do, so I don't have a problem with, gee I don't have anything I want to
do. I've got a problem with do I have enough time to do any of this? Because
I have to go around to all these galleries all the time, which I think
is something of a pain in the ass, simply...I like talking to people, I
like that part, but airports and flying is just god-awful now. Last night
I was wandering around and they kept changing the carousel that it's on.
The guy who was supposed to pick me up couldn't find me because they changed
the terminal. Ok we're supposed to be at 6 but we're actually going to
be at terminal 7 and I thought oh, god the guy's never going to find me.
And they say, 8 flights are going to have their bags on carousel 4. Eight
flights! And I thought, 'ah Jesus, they're going to change it to four different
carousels for the eight flights.' And then they change it again. Then you
have stand in line and show them your…and I just though, oh man, I'm just
going to kill somebody. (laughs)
I hate flying. And if I could just be
magically transported or whatever that stuff was in Star Trek or whatever,
it would be fine, because I like taking to people. But there's a lot of
screwballs that come in and they want their shirts signed from 1967 and
galleries won't do that. So they get all pissed off because they say, 'No
she's not signing anything.' 'We'll I saw her signing…' 'Yeah, the person
bought a painting. That's why the signing.' Yeah, we have those sorts of
arguments, but for the most part I like talking to people. I just don't
like the traveling at all anymore. I used to love flying and it was great
fun. And the seats were big and the food wasn't that bad, particularly
SAS or something like, Scandinavian Air Systems was really good. And the
stewardesses would get fucked up with the guys and the guys would give
them tickets to concerts and screw them and you know it was great. And
now the stewardesses are usually almost as old as I am and fat like I am
or they're gay and young really don't have anything to do with the guys.
So it's completely changed. The stewardess doesn't even have to look good
anymore. They used to have to kinda look good. And the food and the chairs
are getting smaller because they want to jam more people on the plane.
The galleries pay for first class. I'm sorry, first class isn't first class.
It's just the same as everything else back there, except there are only
two seats rather than 4. That's it. That's the only difference. And the
food is just god-awful and I told my agent, I'm not doing this shit. Next,
year, starting in September I'm doing 2 flights to the East coast. The
art people can't get their stuff together. What they do, the art people,
is okay we're going to Philadelphia, then back home. Then we're going to
New York, then back home. Then we're going to DC. then back home. Then
we're going to Boston. I said no, no, no. here's the way you do it. Do
it rock and roll. Fly to the East coast. You do Philadelphia. Then you
do Boston. Then you come down to New York. Do Manhattan. Then you do DC.
Then you go down to Florida. Do Orlando. Then you do Tampa. Then you fly
over to Miami. Then you fly to Texas. Then you do...you don't go back and
forth. They're spending money…it's crazy shit, you know, I was (laughs)
yelling it in this morning. He said well I'll work on that. I thought,
hmmm, I really do like him but they're making money off me. So I told him,
I've got to be my manager. I've got to be my personal manager because I
know, you want to make money. The galleries want to make money. And I know
you're a sweet guy, but at the same time somebody's got to look out for
no. one too. And I don't have a personal manger so I'm it.
antiMUSIC: And you've got to stay home
and actually get some painting done.
Grace: Exactly, that's what I told
him. I said I'm doing so much traveling and interviews and shit, I'm not
painting. I've got four paintings sitting in front of me that I'm working
on right now and I've got to speed it up a little bit
antiMUSIC: You lived more lives than
a lot of people I know in your time in the musical spotlight. A portion
of what fuelled you was an apparent rebellious streak. You certainly never
backed down when you were confronted with various situations. Was there
anything that you regret never speaking out about back then. Maybe something
that you just didn't have a chance to address or were perhaps strongly
encouraged to be quiet about by legal advisors or whatever? Something either
political or social?
Grace: Mmm nope. Not that I can
think of. No because I sang a song like, 'Why can't we go on as three',
and that would be a three way and my political views are real obvious,
just real left. My idea of a good government is Norway which is socialism.
It's not communism because communism doesn't work. But I think everybody
should be equal. In other words, everybody in Norway, if you don't have
money, if you've got money obviously there's no problem, but everybody
in Norway gets equal education, medical and housing, and then when you're
18 and you want to live under a bridge, fine. If you want to be Donald
Trump, fine. But you take care of your own people. This country has not
done that. Generally when you have a problem, which we do with medical
and housing and education and our kids are stupid and everything. If you've
got a problem you look at a country who has got it right. Now, why don't
they look at Norway? If you want to be a ballet dancer you look at Nureyev,
you don't look at the guy next door.
antiMUSIC: I had the pleasure of speaking
with Linda Perry not too long ago…
Grace: You probably got an earful
antiMUSIC: I was asking her about your
collaboration. You could just hear the awe in her voice. What was it like
contributing to that track?
Grace: Ah, that's really funny.
That was actually my daughter's idea. My daughter knows Linda Perry. They're
about the same age. And she thought it would be an interesting thing to
do and so did Linda. And I really enjoyed it. I like being around people
who have real strong views. If you're sitting around saying, 'Well gee,
I don't know'…well figure it out and then call me back. (laughs) So I like
it, when people are strong. Either men or women I don't care. I'm not this
big womens libber. As a matter of fact I named a solo album Manhole
just to piss off the women's libbers. But the interesting thing is I never
got one letter saying well, how dare you or any of this kind of stuff and
I did it because I thought 'Oh, this will be fun. I'll get a whole bunch
of letters.' Nothing. They didn't respond at all. I don't know if they
didn't get it. I don't know if they didn't see it. I don't know what the
deal was. Most people didn't see it, but (laughs) the album just went up
in the air, you know
antiMUSIC: I think most people knew
better than to send you a letter…
Grace: Well, there's that too. But
letters at that time, they're harmless. You can always send something really
hideous to somebody and not have a return address.
antiMUSIC: Yeah, right, not like the
Grace: Yeah. But I never got anything
so I was surprised at that.
antiMUSIC: I know you've said that all
rock stars over 50 should retire but do you not feel periods of just wanting
to get behind the mike at least and record?
Grace: No because if I do something
I do it. All of it. In other words, showing up at the galleries, getting
on the planes…I don't like it but that's part of it. If you make a record,
you have to do the videos; go on the road to support it; do all the interviews,
and I'm not a multi-tasker. Either I'm doing the painting thing, or I'd
be doing music. But there's only two forms, one of them's rap and it's
not even old enough to have anyone that's old, and the other is rock and
roll. And they are young people's things. Now you can do classical music
or rhythm and blues till you're 150 but not rock and roll and rap. It pains
me to see old people leaping around trying to act like their 25. It's embarrassing.
I just think 'Oh, god, honey. You don't have to get out of the music business:
become a producer, write songs. But don't leap around and try to look like
you're 35.' It's like those women on Hollywood boulevard who are about
a million years old and they've got little cinch belts on and their hair
beach blond and they're wearing spike heels and a big fancy skirt and you
just think 'Oh, Jesus; give it up. You're a million years old and you look
like a jerk.' If you're 24 years old and you go back to grammar school
and you say 'Hi, can I play jacks with you guys?' The kids would look at
you like 'Oh, Jesus', you know? It is harmless and if the Rolling Stones
or Fleetwood Mac or whoever want to get up there and play and people want
to see them, that's fine with me. I just don't want to do it. I felt like
a jerk doing it when I was in my 40s.
antiMUSIC: I was just going to ask you
about Mick and Keith then.
Grace: Well, Keith, now Keith, he
can play forever because he's looked like he was about 150 since he was
25 and he's rhythm and blues so he can keep going for ever.. Mick, I learned
how to be on a rock and roll stage from him. I didn't imitate him. But
the only thing at the beginning was, a girlfriend called me up and said,
'Oh you've got to over because these new guys from Britain are going to
be on Ed Sullivan and they're called the Beatles'. And / she had this big
party about it. And I looked at her, and I thought, 'Here are four guys
in their 20s dressed in these cutesy little suits, with cutesy little hair,
singing… "I want to hold your hand?', and I'm going, 'I don't think so'.
But then I saw the Rolling Stones. That's rock and roll. So how do you
behave on the stage? You have to own the stage. If you don't own it, sorry,
you're out of the picture, you know? You just can't get up there and play
with the side of your pants a little bit and kinda turn your back on the
audience and act shy. No no no. That's not rock and roll. So I learned
a lot from Keith, but I mean I also learned from Mick Jagger on how to
front a rock and roll band. But there's a time to give it up. For every
season, turn, turn, turn. There is a time, blah, blah, blah. And you've
got to know when that is, otherwise you look kind of sappy. And if you
turn on the comedy channel, a whole bunch of other people feel the same
way. Even about the Rolling Stones and people love them. But it's
time to give it up. That doesn't mean people can't listen to your music,
of course they can. They've got records, they have cds. They got ipods.
Yeah, you can listen to the Rolling Stones, but you don't have to look
at them when their 66 years old, with tight pants on. Oh please.
antiMUSIC: This was awesome and a real
pleasure. Thank you so much for taking the time.
Grace: It was my pleasure. Thank
you very much.
Grace Slick will be making appearances
at the following exhibits:
Friday, March 23 from 6-9 pm
Wentworth Gallery, 305 Forest Avenue in
Saturday, March 24 from 6-9 pm
Sunday, March 25 from noon to 3pm
Wentworth Gallery, 271 Newport Center
Drive in Newport Beach
Friday, March 30, 6 p.m. to 9 p.m.
Saturday, March 31, 6 p.m. to 9 p.m.
Sunday, April 1, noon to 3 p.m.
Wentworth Gallery, 1025 Prospect Street
in La Jolla
Morley Seaver and antiMUSIC thank Grace
very much for speaking with us.
Grace Slick's Artwork and learn more about her by clicking here
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