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Thread: R.I.P. Airplane/Starship vocalist Marty Balin

  1. #26
    Member Vic2012's Avatar
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    That was a beautiful eulogy by Jorma.

  2. #27
    Yeah, Hearts was the only solo tune I recall which really was a big hit, surprised he didn't have more.
    Will have to pull out my Criterion Monterey Pop DVD sometime this weekend.

  3. #28
    Quote Originally Posted by Scrotum Scissor View Post
    I also believe it was actually him who took on the Angels at Altamont when they started fucking up the place - and that's no small treat..
    I believe Marty himself said the Angels started beating the crap out of this guy right in front of the stage, while the Airplane were playing. So Marty jumps off the stage, and starts pulling Angels off this guy. So one of the Angels apparently didn't appreciate Marty's invention, and this sort of turned into a fist fight. Marty said he figured he could "take" the guy, but he got hit from behind, and woke up in an ambulance, "with boot prints all over me".

    I remember Grace being asked about what happened, and she said "I didn't have my contacts in, so I didn't see anything".

  4. #29
    That's Mr. to you, Sir!! Trane's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by progeezer View Post
    This one really hurts here. I saw JA 8 times over the years and even talked to Marty outside the Cafe A Go Go in 1967. I even covered both "Today" and "It's No Secret" acoustically as a folkie.

    RIP to one of my favorites (until Miracles).
    Yeah, it hurts, but maybe not so bad for me as Kantner's (totally overshadowed by Bowie's death the day before).

    Sw him once with JS some 10/15 years ago (the next time, it was Freiberg in). TBH, while an integral of Airplane and Starship, I tended to prefer Jack, Jorma, Paul, Spencer and Grace to him, but I do think he gave Starship siome Jefferson legitimacy when he joined them. Miracles and Count On Me were the last I really paid attention to him, though.

    Sorry, Marty, but a big RIP anyways.
    Last edited by Trane; 09-29-2018 at 08:35 PM.
    my music collection increased tenfolds when I switched from heroin-addicts to crazy ones

  5. #30
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    Playing "Today" at weddings in the late 60s and early 70s financed my first Rickenbacker bass, among other things. Marty's voice has been singing in my head for more than 50 years. I expect it to continue. Thanks for that, Marty Balin.

  6. #31
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dan Roth View Post
    "Hearts" was a pretty big solo hit for him (Top 10, I believe) - I always enjoyed this one:

    Yes, I had completely forgotten about "Hearts". Nice tune. As good as Yacht Rock gets! I will have to check out the whole album. Once again RIP.

  7. #32
    So sad that Paul and now Marty are gone, in the space of two years. I still love the Airplane's music and attitude. RIP Marty. Thanks so much for all of it.

  8. #33
    Quote Originally Posted by Buddhabreath View Post
    Sad news indeed. RIP and thanks for those wonderful songs and performances. It's seems the spirit of the 60s is fading into the mist with each passing day in this transient veil of tears. Fly Jefferson Airplane gets you there on time...
    But the spirit of the 60's is not fading because of the musicians passing away in old age - it's because no one else carries the torch today, it's because the message of the music is waning in our times.

    the message is freedom in all aspects of human life

  9. #34
    Member chescorph's Avatar
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    RIP. Jorma really hit it out of the park with his eulogy. Balin wrote and sang some amazing songs. And as mentioned he certainly gave the Starship a huge lift when he returned.

    Miracles was probably played on FM radio as much as Stairway and for better or worse has a certain unique vibe to it, largely due to Marty’s soaring voice.

  10. #35
    Jazzbo manqué Mister Triscuits's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by arturs View Post
    I was just surfing through wiki's Jefferson pages and I was surprised that he played with Kantner and Freiberg in the reconstituted JS until 2008! I remember seeing several announcements for their shows in the early 00s but I never bothered. Had I known Balin was a part of that I would have checked them out. Well, too late now. RIP.
    I saw them in 2007 at the 40th anniversary of Monterey Pop. I had the impression that Marty wasn't a regular part of the lineup at the time but was appearing a a guest. Apparently he performed with the band only at special gigs during that period.

  11. #36
    Progga mogrooves's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Zappathustra View Post
    But the spirit of the 60's is not fading because of the musicians passing away in old age - it's because no one else carries the torch today, it's because the message of the music is waning in our times.
    I suspect you'll get some pushback on this, but not from me. This music we call "rock" was a generational music, both reflective and inflective of its specific time, place, and zeitgeist; music AS culture as well as music in culture. Paraphrasing Brecht, rock in the 60s was not merely a mirror held up to reality but a hammer used to shape that reality. Marty was of that generation; he urged us to open our minds as well as our ears. RIP........
    Michael: "Harold, don't you have any other music, you know, from [last] century?"
    Harold: "There is no other music....."

  12. #37
    Geriatric Anomaly progeezer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mogrooves View Post
    I suspect you'll get some pushback on this, but not from me. This music we call "rock" was a generational music, both reflective and inflective of its specific time, place, and zeitgeist; music AS culture as well as music in culture. Paraphrasing Brecht, rock in the 60s was not merely a mirror held up to reality but a hammer used to shape that reality. Marty was of that generation; he urged us to open our minds as well as our ears. RIP........
    Nothing short of perfectly stated.
    "My choice early in life was either to be a piano player in a whorehouse or a politician, and to tell the truth, there's hardly any difference"

    President Harry S. Truman

  13. #38
    Quote Originally Posted by mogrooves View Post
    I suspect you'll get some pushback on this, but not from me. This music we call "rock" was a generational music, both reflective and inflective of its specific time, place, and zeitgeist; music AS culture as well as music in culture. Paraphrasing Brecht, rock in the 60s was not merely a mirror held up to reality but a hammer used to shape that reality. Marty was of that generation; he urged us to open our minds as well as our ears. RIP........
    Yes, in what way do I say anything different than you? You say that he urged us to open minds and ears (I would even add hearts), I say he urged us towards freedom. Do you imply that the 60's have some exclusive rights on the issue? The issue is still relevant today as always.

    I did not suggest to magically transplant the 60's culture into today. I understand this is over. I said that the message is not being expressed with the same intensity and energy in our days, regardless of the form it might take. Our age is also in need of a hammer.
    Last edited by Zappathustra; 09-30-2018 at 04:47 PM.

  14. #39
    Had to listen to “Caroline” in his honor. He kind of gets a lot of flak for steering JS in a MOR direction on the Spitfire and (especially) Earth albums (indeed, even back in the Airplane days, a lot of his input consisted of borderline-sentimental love songs), but I’m tempted to give him a pass because he was a phenomenal singer. As much as I like Grace, he seriously could sing circles around her. Probably the best singer of the SF scene. And he gets too little credit for “Miracles,” which gets written off as “typical 70s romantic balladry” which it absolutely was not!

    Quote Originally Posted by arturs View Post
    Yes, I had completely forgotten about "Hearts". Nice tune. As good as Yacht Rock gets! I will have to check out the whole album. Once again RIP.
    Kind of a guilty pleasure because my God, it is the apotheosis of late 70s/early 80s MOR balladry. You could picture this as an Air Supply number. But I kind of have a soft spot for it anyway. Call it nostalgia if you must.

    I never knew it had a music video until recently. Enjoy!

    Confirmed Bachelors: the dramedy hit of 1883...

  15. #40
    Quote Originally Posted by Zappathustra View Post
    Our age is also in need of a hammer.
    Yes. Too bad that the younger generations of today would never bother to pick up anything heavier than their damn cellphones. So that they can photograph themselves and have others give feedback on themselves and thus ponder more about themselves and dream of themselves and become even more "aware" of themselves - although most youngsters nowadays wouldn't be able to define individual integrity if their lives depended on it.

    Here in Scandinavia nearly all educational programmes have reduced the discipline of history to minimum narratives of severe simplification, seeing as younger folks can't bring themselves to understand why their efforts should be marred by bad grades in topics that aren't even "about themselves". The maxime of 'ignorance as bliss' has long been elevated into legitimate doctrine. Overall, the endeavour of cultural globalization has served disaster on contemporary Western identity.
    It's basically all coming apart.
    "Improvisation is not an excuse for musical laziness" - Fred Frith
    "[...] things that we never dreamed of doing in Crimson or in any band that I've been in," - Tony Levin speaking of SGM

  16. #41
    Quote Originally Posted by Scrotum Scissor View Post
    Yes. Too bad that the younger generations of today would never bother to pick up anything heavier than their damn cellphones. So that they can photograph themselves and have others give feedback on themselves and thus ponder more about themselves and dream of themselves and become even more "aware" of themselves - although most youngsters nowadays wouldn't be able to define individual integrity if their lives depended on it.

    Here in Scandinavia nearly all educational programmes have reduced the discipline of history to minimum narratives of severe simplification, seeing as younger folks can't bring themselves to understand why their efforts should be marred by bad grades in topics that aren't even "about themselves". The maxime of 'ignorance as bliss' has long been elevated into legitimate doctrine. Overall, the endeavour of cultural globalization has served disaster on contemporary Western identity.
    It's basically all coming apart.
    I hate to have to agree with you on this one. I am very concerned about what you say. I don't find any counterargument though.
    Maybe the whirlwind of change has dazzled us and we miss something important, something that hasn't established itself yet. Or maybe that is my hope. I am a parent of two young kids and not very old myself.

    Anyway, your post has been fully digested here. Over.

  17. #42
    Quote Originally Posted by GuitarGeek View Post
    I believe Marty himself said the Angels started beating the crap out of this guy right in front of the stage, while the Airplane were playing. So Marty jumps off the stage, and starts pulling Angels off this guy. So one of the Angels apparently didn't appreciate Marty's invention, and this sort of turned into a fist fight. Marty said he figured he could "take" the guy, but he got hit from behind, and woke up in an ambulance, "with boot prints all over me".

    I remember Grace being asked about what happened, and she said "I didn't have my contacts in, so I didn't see anything".


    The whole scene was captured in the Gimme Shelter Rolling Stones documentary filmed that year (1969). What surprises about this statement of Balin's that he woke up later in an ambulance is that after the fight is over, he appears again in the scene standing up and looking on. .

  18. #43
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    I had not heard the Altamont story before. Add extreme courage to Marty's resume. Imagine that: A group of Hell's Angels are beating up an innocent guy. You are one not particularly big guy. You reflexively jump into the fray to help the guy out. Guts.

  19. #44
    Quote Originally Posted by arturs View Post
    You are one not particularly big guy. You reflexively jump into the fray to help the guy out. Guts.
    I've known a couple of folks like that myself in my life. And yeah there's definitely guts and you're ALWAYS surprised, so kudos to them - yet in all cases there was a certain sense of impulsive instinct in their actions; as if they didn't see themselves as having a choice in the matter. All the more to them, and it's still a question of character and integrity. The act of defence of weaker parts has in latter days been sent off as expression of some kind of unfashionable, biblical ethos. But I don't think it is.
    "Improvisation is not an excuse for musical laziness" - Fred Frith
    "[...] things that we never dreamed of doing in Crimson or in any band that I've been in," - Tony Levin speaking of SGM

  20. #45
    Quote Originally Posted by yoyiceu View Post
    The whole scene was captured in the Gimme Shelter Rolling Stones documentary filmed that year (1969). What surprises about this statement of Balin's that he woke up later in an ambulance is that after the fight is over, he appears again in the scene standing up and looking on..
    It's been a long time since I've seen Gimme Shelter, so I couldn't quite remember exactly how it played out in front of the cameras. The main thing I remember about the film was Paul Kantner sarcastically thanking the Angels for punching out Marty, and then whichever Angel grabs a mic and starts yelling at Paul.

    Most of the reiteration I quoted (or paraphrased I guess might be more accurate) was from an interview he did in Relix magazine back in the early 90's (as I recall, they did a series of interviews across several issues, each one with a different member of the "classic" lineup, that's where I remember Grace's "I didn't have my contacts in" line from), but the "I woke up in an ambulance" line came from the Behind The Music show.

    That whole day was a complete catastrophe. I think it was Bill Wyman who was asked if he learned anything from Altamont, and he said "Don't do free shows in the States". I would have thought the lesson was "Don't hire a motorcycle gang with a reputation for violence" as your security detail. Or at least, make sure you're hiring the right bunch of bikers. Or maybe it should have been "don't pay the obnoxious twats we hired to do security in beer". Or maybe the lesson should have been all of those put together.

    VH-1 did a thing where they dissected the whole Altamont debacle back in the late 90's. Seems like there was a whole lot of bad decision making involved in that whole deal.

  21. #46
    Quote Originally Posted by GuitarGeek View Post
    That whole day was a complete catastrophe. I think it was Bill Wyman who was asked if he learned anything from Altamont, and he said "Don't do free shows in the States". I would have thought the lesson was "Don't hire a motorcycle gang with a reputation for violence" as your security detail. Or at least, make sure you're hiring the right bunch of bikers.
    The Stones and their management were already acquainted with the UK branch of the Angels, who were essentially all adolescent hippies themselves and rather on a "prospects" kinda list; you can see them in dancing action on the Hyde Park concert film. I believe the band addressed the possibility of hiring the Angels through negotiations with The Grateful Dead, seeing as they knew about the Dead's fraternization with selected chapters of the SanFran HA, more specifically the one in which Pigpen was an honorary member. But Garcia would always stress how this was not a bond to be fully trusted, as there had been trouble with the Angels on several occasions, prompting Bill Graham to ban them from the gig districts (The Carousel, Winterland et al.).

    So Yeah, the decision was a bad one.
    "Improvisation is not an excuse for musical laziness" - Fred Frith
    "[...] things that we never dreamed of doing in Crimson or in any band that I've been in," - Tony Levin speaking of SGM

  22. #47
    Progga mogrooves's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Zappathustra View Post
    Yes, in what way do I say anything different than you?
    You weren't; I was agreeing with you.
    Michael: "Harold, don't you have any other music, you know, from [last] century?"
    Harold: "There is no other music....."

  23. #48
    Quote Originally Posted by mogrooves View Post
    You weren't; I was agreeing with you.
    Lol. Sorry. Non-native speaker here and just checked what "pushback" means. A word I use everyday in my work, but in a completely different context.

  24. #49
    Quote Originally Posted by Scrotum Scissor View Post
    But Garcia would always stress how this was not a bond to be fully trusted,
    Interesting, given that he apparently hung out with at least some of the Angels. On the Grateful Dead Movie DVD audio commentary, there's a story that Susan Crutcher tells about how they were working on editing the movie one day, when a couple of Jerry's Angel friends came to visit. So the Angels are sitting on a couch or whatever in the back of the room, while Jerry and Susan have these ongoing debates about each bit they're working on, over the course of whatever duration of time. Finally, one of the Angels leans over to Jerry and says "Hey, Jerry, who is this bitch?!" and Jerry sort of matter of factly says, "Oh, she's my editor!".
    as there had been trouble with the Angels on several occasions, prompting Bill Graham to ban them from the gig districts (The Carousel, Winterland et al.)
    Graham wasn't involved in the Carousel, well, not when it was actually called the Carousel Ballroom. That was the Dead, the Airplane, and Quicksilver's attempt to run a venue themselves, only to figure out that they were better off letting Graham rip them off (which was the whole purpose of the venture) because at least that way, the bands didn't have to deal with the business side of the music business (which none of them had had no interest in to begin with). After the bands reverted to just playing music, Graham took over the Carousel and renamed it the Fillmore West.

    There's that bit in the Grateful Dead Movie where one of Graham's employees is explaining to an Angel why Graham won't let them wear their colours inside the Winterland. The employee guy says it's not so much the guys who were at the show that they're worried about so much as people, who let's say were at the receiving end of an Angels beat down, who then freak out when they see someone, anyone, wearing Angels colours.

    The Angel then says something like, "Well, Sandy's flying in from NY, and he's not taking his patch off, so he's coming an awful long way for nothing". If I remember correctly, "Sandy" was the head of the NYC Angels.
    So Yeah, the decision was a bad one.
    Well, like I said, there were a whole lot of bad decisions. It's been suggested the Stones weren't aware that some of the Angels chapters in the US were more violent than their UK counterparts, or that there are even rivalries between different chapters. There's talk of how the Angels "leaders weren't there", which never made any sense to me. You're gonna just send a bunch of young guys who are out to prove how bad ass they are, and not send someone who might be able to exert any kind of control over these idiots?! And as I understand it, Sonny Barger, the head Hell's Angel, was there, so apparently at least one of "the leaders" was present, but he either had no control over his minions or couldn't be bothered to exert said control.

    And like I said, paying the Angels in beer, was really stupid. Yeah, take a bunch of guys known for violence, tell them they're "security" and then giving them a few cases of Miller or whatever, and you've got the makings for a rumble. Period.

    But I still think the best part of that whole story is how the Angels were so offended by Mick Jagger blaming them for what happened at Altamont that they attempted to send a hit squad to kill him, at the house he was living in at the time, on Long Island. Reportedly, the assassination attempt failed because the would be hitmen were trying to approach the house from the water, and their boat capsized when a storm hit. What a bunch of idiots.

  25. #50
    The main problem with the Angels, as I recall reading, was that they asked to be paid in unlimited access to beer. At least a precaution was taken in making them use billiard sticks as their weapons of choice to impose order.

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