Grace Slick, an American painter and former musician with a four-decade musical career, was born Grace Barnett Wing on October 30, 1939. In San Francisco’s psychedelic culture from the middle of the 1960s to the beginning of the 1970s, Slick was a significant character. She played with the Great Society before becoming well-known through Jefferson Airplane and its subsequent spinoff bands, Jefferson Starship and Starship. The top-ten US Billboard songs “White Rabbit” and “Somebody to Love” were featured on the 1967 album Surrealistic Pillow by Slick and Jefferson Airplane, which helped them become well-known. Both tracks feature lead vocals by Slick.
She performed the co-lead vocals for the number one singles “We Built This City” and “Nothing’s Gonna Stop Us Now” with Starship. She is an independent musician who has released four studio albums. Slick stopped making music in 1990, although he’s still engaged in the visual arts. As a member of Jefferson Airplane, Slick was honored by being inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 1996.
Grace Slick Early life
Grace Barnett Wing was born on October 30, 1939, to British-born parents Ivan Wilford Wing (1907-1987) and Virginia Wing (née Barnett; 1909-1983) in the Chicago suburb of Highland Park, Illinois. Her parents got married after meeting while they were both students at the University of Washington. Chris, her brother, was born in 1949.
She lived in the Chicago metropolitan area, Los Angeles, and San Francisco before her family moved to Palo Alto, California, in the early 1950s. Her father, who worked in investment banking for Weeden and Company, was transferred several times when she was a child.
Wing first attended Palo Alto Senior High School before transferring to Palo Alto’s elite all-girls Castilleja School. After graduating, she spent 1957–58 at Finch College in New York City and 1958–59 at the University of Miami in Coral Gables. Gerald “Jerry” Slick, an aspiring filmmaker, and Grace Wing wed on August 26, 1961. After a temporary separation from San Francisco, Grace Slick spent three years working as a model at an I. Magnin department shop. Slick also began writing music, and one of his compositions was used in a short film.
Grace Slick Career
1965–1966: The Great Society
Slick read a piece about the newly formed Jefferson Airplane in the San Francisco Chronicle in August 1965. Slick didn’t seriously consider music as a career while living in San Francisco’s expanding musical district until she saw the band perform live at The Matrix. The outcome was the formation of the Great Society, which consisted of Slick (vocals, guitar), her husband Jerry Slick (drums), his brother Darby Slick (lead guitar), and David Miner (bass guitar).
The group gave their first performance at the Coffee Gallery on October 15, 1965. The psychedelic song “White Rabbit” was soon after written by Slick. The song, which she is said to have composed in an hour, is an examination of the hallucinogenic effects of psychedelic drugs; when it was performed live, it had a faster tempo and quickly became a hit with the band’s fans.
Darby Slick pushed the Great Society in the direction of becoming a raga-influenced psychedelic act, despite the fact that Slick contributed equally to the band’s original work. They had established themselves as a well-liked Bay Area attraction by late 1965. The Great Society joined Golden State Recorders between October and December 1965, where Sylvester Stewart (also known as Sly Stone) oversaw the recording of numerous recordings. The demos resulted in one single, the Darby Slick-penned “Somebody to Love” (the “B” side to “Free Advice”), which was released locally on the “North Beach” label of Autumn Records’ subsidiary. Grace Slick performed on guitar, piano, recorder, and sang.
1966–1972: Jefferson Airplane
Slick was asked to join Jefferson Airplane by Jack Casady after Signe Toly Anderson, who was the band’s singer at the time, wanted to quit to raise her infant in the fall of 1966. Slick claimed that she joined the Airplane because, in contrast to the Great Society, it was managed professionally. With Slick on board, Jefferson Airplane started writing and recording new music, departing from their previous folk-rock sound and moving toward a more psychedelic sound. New versions of “White Rabbit” and “Somebody to Love,” both of which rose to the top 10, were included on Surrealistic Pillow.
Slick gained recognition as one of the most significant female rock musicians of her period as Jefferson Airplane rose to become one of the most well-known bands in the nation. Slick played “Crown of Creation” in blackface on The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour in 1968, capping the performance with a raised fist of the Black Panther. She made history by saying “motherfucker” for the first time on television during a performance of “We Can Be Together” in a 1969 episode of The Dick Cavett Show.
1970–1984: Jefferson Starship and solo career
Slick founded Jefferson Starship with Paul Kantner and other band members after Jack Casady and Jorma Kaukonen made the decision to quit Jefferson Airplane in order to concentrate on their project Hot Tuna. Slick also started a series of solo albums with Manhole, which was followed by Dreams, Welcome to the Wrecking Ball!, and Software. Pete Sears, a pianist and bassist who later joined Jefferson Starship in 1974, was also a member of Manhole. Early Jefferson Starship tunes like “Hyperdrive” and “Play On Love” were written by Sears and Slick.
The most intimate of her solo albums, Dreams, produced by Ron Frangipane and nominated for a Grammy Award, integrated many of the concepts she learned while attending twelve-step program sessions. Slick’s music at the period can be heard in the song “Do It the Hard Way” from the album Dreams.
David Crosby gave the moniker “Baron von Tollbooth” to Kantner and “The Chrome Nun” to Slick. The name of the record she and musicians Kantner and David Freiberg released in 1973 features their nicknames: Baron von Tollbooth & the Chrome Nun.
1984–1989: Starship and Jefferson Airplane reunion
Starship achieved three chart-topping smashes in the 1980s while Slick was the only surviving member of Jefferson Airplane. These songs were “We Built This City,” “Sara,” and “Nothing’s Going to Stop Us Now.” Slick has since made disparaging comments about the encounter and the album, despite its popularity. Slick contributed background vocals on the songs “Be My Baby” and “Da Doo Ron Ron” for the 1987 television special The Legendary Ladies of Rock & Roll, which she also co-hosted. 1988 saw her leave Starship soon after the publication of No Protection.
Slick and the other former Jefferson Airplane band members got back together in 1989. Before breaking up, they put out a self-titled reunion album and went on a successful tour.
After the Jefferson Airplane reuniting, Slick left the music industry. Slick, who was never afraid to admit she was getting older, stated in a 1998 interview with VH1 for a Behind the Music episode featuring Jefferson Airplane that the major reason she left the music industry was because “all rock and rollers over the age of 50 look stupid and should retire.” It’s silly to perform a song that has no relevance to the present or expresses feelings you no longer have, she said in a 2007 interview, adding that “You can do jazz, classical, blues, opera, country until you’re 150, but rap and rock and roll are really a way for young people to get that anger out.”
Slick has performed twice with Kantner’s updated Jefferson Starship despite her retirement; the first time was in 1995 when the group performed at Los Angeles’s House of Blues, which was captured on the live album Deep Space/Virgin Sky. The second was for a performance after 9/11 in late 2001, when she initially entered the stage dressed entirely in black—a handmade burqa—from head to toe. She then took off the burqa to expose a garment carrying the words “Fuck Fear” and an American flag. “The outfit is not about Islam, it’s about oppression; this flag is not about politics, it’s about liberty,” she said in response to comments from admirers regarding the attire.
Slick stopped making music and started creating art. She has performed numerous covers of songs by various singers from the 1960s, including Janis Joplin, Jerry Garcia, and others. Before switching to music, Slick was always passionate in the arts. She started showing and selling her artwork around 2000. She frequently makes it to her art exhibitions across the country. Although she did sing on the song “Knock Me Out” from Linda Perry’s 1996 solo album In Flight, a former member of the band 4 Non Blondes and China’s friend, she has generally shied away from the music industry. The song was also featured on The Crow: City of Angels’ soundtrack.
In 1998, Slick released her autobiography, Somebody to Love? A Rock and Roll Memoir, and recorded an audiobook of the book. Grace Slick, The Biography, written by Barbara Rowes, was published in 1980 but is no longer in print. Slick stated, “I’m in good health and people want to know what I do to be this way,” in a 2001 USA Today article. I’m a vegan; that’s why I don’t eat cheese or duck. She said that she is “not strictly vegan, because I’m a hedonist pig, though. I’ll eat a large egg-based chocolate cake if I see one.
Slick experienced diverticulitis in 2006. She had a relapse after her original operation, necessitating another surgery as well as a tracheotomy. She had to re-learn how to walk after being in an induced coma for two months. Also in 2006, Slick delivered a statement at the launch of Virgin America, a new airline that given its first plane the name Jefferson Airplane. To raise money for cleanup efforts after the BP oil spill, Slick and vocalist Michelle Mangione co-wrote the song “Edge of Madness” in 2010.
Grace contributed background vocals to the song as well. You can hear her clearly in the middle of the song singing, “On the edge of madness.” Slick has made rare appearances and conducted radio interviews recently. She appeared at the band’s star’s unveiling on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 2022 and accepted Jefferson Airplane’s Grammy Lifetime Achievement Awards in 2016.
Grace Slick Personal life
From 1961 to 1971, Slick was wed to filmmaker and percussionist Gerald “Jerry” Slick; from 1976 to 1994, she was wed to lighting designer Skip Johnson. Actress China Wing Kantner, who was born on January 25, 1971, is her daughter. Paul Kantner, the guitarist for the Jefferson Airplane, is the father of China. Slick dated him from 1969 to 1975.
Slick suffered serious injuries in 1971 when the automobile she was driving slammed into a tunnel’s interior in San Francisco. She was drag racing Jorma Kaukonen at the time, and both of them were traveling at a speed of above 100 mph.
Slick has openly admitted to being an alcoholic and using drugs like LSD (for which she was given the moniker “The Acid Queen”) and marijuana. In her autobiography, several interviews, and several published celebrity addiction and recovery books, she talked about this as well as her experiences in treatment. The latter includes Gary Stromberg and Jane Merrill’s The Harder They Fall and Dennis Wholey’s The Courage to Change. During the band’s 1978 European tour, Jefferson Starship’s drunkenness became a problem.
She was too drunk to play on the first night in Germany, forcing the group to cancel, and the audience rioted. The following night, she played with the band, but her level of intoxication prevented her from singing correctly. Along with attacking the crowd, she made fun of Germany for losing World War II and touched both female audience members and musicians inappropriately. The following day, she broke away from the group, and for assaulting the competitors, she was “dragged off” a game show in San Francisco. At least twice, once in the 1970s at Duffy’s in Napa Valley and once in the 1990s with daughter China, she was admitted to a detoxification clinic.
Grace Slick Legal incidents
Tricia Nixon, the daughter of President Richard Nixon, and Slick are both graduates of Finch College, and in 1969, Slick was invited to a tea party at the White House for the alumni. The party had been advertised as a “all ladies” occasion, but she recruited anarchist Abbie Hoffman to be her escort and intended to add 600 milligrams of LSD to President Nixon’s tea. Hoffman’s presence in the line instantly raised security concerns at the White House. He claimed to be Slick’s “bodyguard and escort,” but the security guards did not believe him and informed him that the event was “strictly for females.”
The White House gate was then covered with a black flag that Hoffman had decorated with a colorful marijuana leaf. Once Hoffman was turned away, Slick decided not to go, and the two hurried across the street to a waiting automobile. Later, Slick conjectured that the only reason she was invited was because the invitation was made out to “Grace Wing”—her maiden name—and that she would not have been if the Nixons had realized she was Grace Slick.
Slick was taken into custody at least four times for “drunk mouth” and “talking under the influence,” or “TUI.” One incidence involved a policeman who came saw her reading poetry, eating bread, and sipping wine while seated against a tree trunk in Marin County, California. She responded sarcastically to the officer’s question about what she was doing, was detained, and then was arrested. She pointed an empty gun at a police officer, which led to her being detained in 1994 for assault with a deadly weapon. She said that the officer had unexpectedly entered her premises.
Grace Slick Visual art
Slick started painting and drawing animals after retirement, as well as following a house fire, a divorce, and a breakup, mostly for her own amusement and because it helped her feel better at a trying time in her life. Soon after, she received a request to write her autobiography, which eventually became Somebody to Love? A Memoir of Rock & Roll. After noticing her artwork, her agent requested that she paint some pictures of some of her various rock and roll contemporaries for the memoirs. She was initially hesitant because she believed it to be “far too adorable. She ultimately consented since she discovered that she enjoyed it (“Rock-n-Roll draws Rock-n-Roll”), and the finished autobiography included color depictions of Janis Joplin, Jimi Hendrix, and Jerry Garcia.
The book includes several sketches and a painting with an Alice in Wonderland theme. Her drawings of Jorma Kaukonen and Jack Casady served as the inspiration for the album cover for The Best of Hot Tuna, released in 1998. Although Slick has been drawing and painting since she was a youngster, she acknowledges that she did not do much of it when she was concentrating on her singing career because she is unable to multitask. One notable exception is the artwork she signed “Child Type Odd Art by Grace” on the sleeve of her debut solo album, Manhole, which was released in 1974.
Slick doesn’t always create visual art in the same style or medium and has no interest in doing so. She uses canvas, pen, ink, scratchboard, pastels, and pencil in addition to acrylic paints (she complains that oil paints take too long to dry). Her mixed-media pieces are prevalent. Her subjects and styles range from the whimsical Alice in Wonderland themes found in children’s books to realistic rock and roll portraits, scratchboards of animals, and minimalist ink wash-styled nudes.
Her many depictions of the White Rabbit and the portraits of her colleagues in the music business are her best-selling prints and originals. Due to the success of her Alice in Wonderland works, Dark Horse Comics, Inc. and she partnered to produce stationery and journals with an Alice in Wonderland theme in 2006.
Slick is unconcerned about the criticism despite the mixed reviews of her work. She sees her visual artistry as simply another extension of the creative nature that first attracted her to the music industry, as it enables her to continue to create art without having to deal with the physical demands of performing nightly or touring with a large group of people.
When questioned in 2007, Slick admitted to visiting many of the art galleries where she exhibits, sometimes more than 30 shows year. Although she claims to like interacting with the visitors to her art exhibitions, she does not enjoy traveling, especially flying.
Grace Slick Legacy
Along with her close friend and fellow rock icon Janis Joplin, Slick, a well-known rock ‘n’ roll vocalist, was a significant contributor to the growth of rock music in the late 1960s. Stevie Nicks, Patti Smith, and Terri Nunn (of “Berlin” fame), among others, were influenced by her unusual vocal style and commanding stage presence.
Slick held the record for the oldest female vocalist on a Billboard Hot 100 chart-topping song between 1985 and 1999. On November 16, 1985, not long after she turned 46, “We Built This City” peaked at number one. Before this, Tina Turner held the record for the oldest female vocalist to have a hit single that reached the top of the charts when she released “What’s Love Got To Do With It” in 1984 at the age of 44. Two months after the song reached the top of the charts, Turner, who was a month younger than Slick, turned 45. When “Nothing’s Gonna Stop Us Now” reached the top of the US charts in April 1987, Slick shattered her own record. She was 47 years old. Cher, who was 53 in 1999 when “Believe” reached the top spot, eventually beat her record after it stood for 12 years.
A series of animated shorts on the numbers two through 10 known as “Jazz Numbers” (a number-one short was never produced) that broadcast on Sesame Street featured Slick’s vocals. On November 10, 1969, Sesame Street aired its inaugural broadcast, which featured the number two segment. For her solo album Dreams, she received a 1981 Grammy Award nomination for Best Rock Female Vocalist. She also gave a performance of “Panda” at the March for Animals in 1990.
She was a part of Jefferson Airplane when they were elected into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1996.
She read the short story “You Know They Got a Hell of a Band” by Stephen King for his Nightmares & Dreamscapes audiobook in 1993.
On VH1’s 1999 list of the 100 Greatest Women in Rock & Roll, she was voted number 20.
Because she disagrees with Chick-fil-A’s corporate views on same-sex marriage, Grace Slick licensed the Starship song “Nothing’s Gonna Stop Us Now” to be used in a TV commercial in 2017. However, she donated all of the proceeds from that deal to Lambda Legal, a group that works to advance the civil rights of LGBTQ people and everyone living with HIV.
Who is Grace Slick?
Grace Slick, real name Grace Barnett Wing, was born in Highland Park, Illinois, on October 30, 1939, in the United States. Her parents were of Norwegian and Swedish ancestry. She started her youth in Highland Park, a wealthy Chicago neighborhood, together with her younger brother. However, because of her father’s job as an investment banker and repeated transfers to various business branches, she moved about a lot as a child. She had previously resided in the Chicago metropolitan region, San Francisco, and Los Angeles before beginning high school. She temporarily attended Palo Alto Senior High School before transferring to the exclusive Castilleja School for girls after the family relocated to Palo Alto, California.
She travelled to New York City after finishing high school and enrolled at Finch College. She moved away from Finch in 1958 and spent one year studying at the University of Miami in Coral Gables, Florida. In 1961, she wed aspiring filmmaker Gerald Slick, and the two of them settled in San Francisco. She started writing music while she was in California and worked as a model for I. Magnin & Company department shops.
Where is Grace Slick from?
young age. Grace Barnett Wing was born on October 30, 1939, to British-born parents Ivan Wilford Wing (1907-1987) and Virginia Wing (née Barnett; 1909-1983) in the Chicago suburb of Highland Park, Illinois.
Did Grace Slick ever marry?
She and Jerry Slick were married, but they divorced in 1971. Later on, she dated Paul Kantner, with whom she had a daughter. She wed Skip Johson in 1976, but they later divorced in 1994. Slick has struggled with smoking and drunkenness to the point where it has negatively impacted her performance.
What is Gracie Slick doing now?
Slick, who is now retired from music but still works as a visual artist, painted Casady and Kaukonen’s likenesses for their CD The Best of Hot Tuna.
Does Grace Slick have a good voice?
When separated from the band’s hard rock sound, Slick’s siren-like and hypnotic vocal strength is expertly emphasized.
What is Slick real name?
Kenneth Wayne Johnson, better known by his ring name Slick, is a retired American professional wrestling manager who was born on December 8, 1957.