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Starship Biography

Home > Music > S > Starship > Biography

Birth Place: San Francisco, California, United States
Years Active: 1974–1984, 1992–present
Genres: Hard Rock, Arena Rock, Album-oriented Rock

Starship is a soft rock band that formed in 1984 from the ashes of another band, Jefferson Starship, which began as the world famous Jefferson Airplane. When the last remaining member of Jefferson Airplane, Paul Kantner, left the spin-off band, Jefferson Starship, a legal battle ensued for the rights to the band name. Kantner sued his former bandmates for the rights to the name Jefferson Starship, but agreed that neither party would use the names “Jefferson” or “Airplane” in their current band line-ups, unless all members of Jefferson Airplane (Bill Thompson, Paul Kantner, Grace Slick, Jorma Kaukonen, and Jack Casady) were a part of the same band.

The new incarnation of Starship consisted of singer Grace Slick, co-lead singer Mickey Thomas, guitarist, keyboardist David Freiberg, bassist Pete Sears, and drummer Donny Baldwin. Freiberg, however, quit the band, with Gabriel Katona replacing him on keyboards and saxophone in 1984. The band is most famous for their international hit songs, “We Built This City” and “Nothing's Gonna Stop Us Now.”

Their first album under their new name, “Knee Deep” arrived in 1985 and spawned the hugely successful, “We Built This City,” The album peaked at #7 on Billboard's 200 Albums chart and went platinum. Two years later saw a s second world wide hit single emerge, “Nothing's Gonna Stop Us Now,” which was featured in the film “Mannequin.”

When the album, “No Protection” arrived in 1987, Sears left the band to go on and play keyboards with former Jefferson Airplane members Jorma Kaukonen and Jack Casady in Hot Tuna and Brett Bloomfield was brought in to replace Sears on guitar while Mark Morgan filled the keyboardist slot. Slick left Starship in 1988 to join the reformed Jefferson Airplane. She remained with them for one year before announcing that she was retiring from music in 1989. Thomas became sole lead singer of Starship after Slick's departure, releasing “Love Among the Cannibals” in 1989. That same year Thomas and drummer Baldwin got into a serious fight that landed Thomas in hospital and requiring reconstructive facial surgery. Baldwin was subsequently fired from the band.

The band embarked on a tour in support of the “Cannibals” album, with drummer Kenny Stayripolous, replacing Baldwin, and the addition of backup singers, Christina Marie Saxton and Melisa Kary. Chaquico, the last remaining original Jefferson Starship member, left the band in 1990. The band went on hiatus for two years until Thomas reinvented Starship as “Mickey Thomas' Starship” featuring Mickey Thomas with various musicians from album to album.