The Crowd Buzz

Story by David Schwartz
Photo by Robert Altman

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[Summer of Love '97 Crowd]

A big question here is just who will comprise the Jefferson (fill in the blank) band. Or, as former bass player from the Starship, David Freiberg, just referred to it backstage:The Jefferson Wheelchair.

As many realize, the Jefferson _________ was noted for having, among other oddities, one of the most modular sets of players in R&R history. With the possible exception of Paul Kantner, each spot in the band has been covered by at least two or three players through the years. Drums: Skip Spence, Donnie Baldwin, Prarie Prince, Sammy Piazza. Bass: Jack Cassidy, Pete Sears, David Freiberg. Lead guitar: Jorma Kaukanon, Craig Chaquico. Lead singer: Grace Slick, Marty Balin, Mickey get the drift.

So the gamblin' money is flying on what today's incarnation will look like. According to event creator/promoter Chet Helms, the group will show up with Paul Kantner, Jack Cassidy, Pete Sears, Prarie Prince, and a woman named Diane who sings with Paul's other bands. The backstage buzz suggests she may be a knockout as Grace's stand-in. Other than that, it's all up in the air.

It sounds pretty certain that Marty and Grace won't show. Marty never got his plane ticket from Florida and Grace seems to have decided against making the appearance. Another buzz backstage is that a few of those formers who weren't invited to join today's stage version of the band will still show up in the grand jam at the end of the day.

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