Grace Slick recently collaborated with indie artist Michelle Mangione on the latter's latest album. Mangione has used social media and even learned about SEO to promote herself as an artist. Slick, the iconic songwriter and lead singer for Jefferson Airplane (later Starship), has remained stubbornly low-tech. Her preferred medium these days is a scratchboard.
Slick describes the scratchboard canvas as looking similar to a blackboard, and uses anything sharp, such as a safety pin, to scratch a white image into it. The pin scratches away the black in the board turning the image white, so it's "ass backward," she says, adding everything she does in life appears to be that way, so she's comfortable with it.
How do you get your media?
Slick: I'm pretty much a CNN junkie. I have it on all the time. When I listen to music it's always in a car because of the way a car surrounds you. I don't like sticking things in my ears. We called them "cans," which are headsets, in the studios when we made records, and I didn't like having stuff pilled into my ear. I like to have sound coming in strong, but want my ears free to also hear a siren in case I need to move over, so they can go by me on the road. People don't understand how I get along without all that equipment like the iPod, but people have been doing it for hundreds of years. On the other hand, I think computers and tech stuff is fabulous for business. It's instant for news information. Mangione: I do not own an iPod. I listen to music in my car, too. When it comes to carrying gadgets, I really just carry around a tape recorder.
How do you expect to listen to music in five to 10 years?
Mangione: Unless I have a chip implanted in my brain, which I doubt will happen, it won't change for me. But I do think soon we're going to walk into a Starbucks and they will scan our eyeballs to tell us how much we have left on the card.
Do you think someday people will consent to have something implanted in their bodies to consume video and music?You could forgo the "cans."
Slick: I'm sure some people will. And I'm sure it will be sooner rather than later, because you might want to plant the devices in people with Alzheimer's disease. About once a month here in Los Angeles, there's always some dude wandering the streets lost and confused. Their friends and family cant find them. Maybe if they had some sort of GPS device implanted in their bodies it would be easier to locate them. It would likely start with medical use for people who want it.
If you had to name Jefferson Airplane today what would you call it? Slick: I'm not sure. Look at Led Zeppelin, for example. Today, that sounds like a lead machine that never gets off the ground. To this day, I still don't know what the "Led" in the name stands for. I wasn't with Jefferson Airplane when they named it. I think it's a combination from blind Thomas Jefferson, the blues singer. Our lead guitar player liked the blues. And, Paul Kantner liked outer space travel and airplanes. But even that doesn't make much sense from a marketing perspective. Naming things isn't easy. The name Twitter, for example, is really stupid if you think about it. I don't know, given the choice, what I would have called it.