Grace Slick and rock-and-roll hedonism

Grace Slick: Somebody to Love?: A Rock-and-Roll Memoir
By Grace Slick with Andrea Cagan
Warner Books, 1998, 370 pages

Back a few weeks ago, I posted about one of my favorite rock bands of the 1960s, the Jefferson Airplane (see here). That motivated me to borrow this book from the library that I’ve been meaning to read for the past twenty years.

Grace Slick (b. 1939) was the co-lead singer of the Jefferson Airplane and its subsequent incarnations, Jefferson Starship and Starship, from 1967 to 1987. She was raised in an upper-middle-class family and even attended a hoity-toity finishing college for women; Finch College in Manhattan. But the rebellious Slick embraced the burgeoning hippie movement in 1960s San Francisco and her untrained but impressive vocal talent eventually earned her a place with the city’s most-popular of several psychedelic bands, the Airplane. When the band gained national prominence in 1967 with their second album, “Surrealistic Pillow,” Slick became rock-and-roll’s first female lead vocalist. As a young, red-blooded teenage boy, I think I may have had a bit of a crush at the time, along with millions of other guys.

Slick’s story can be pretty much summed up by the mantra of the 60’s counter-culture; “sex, drugs, and rock-and-roll.” By her own account, she was frequently either high or drunk. Drugs and/or alcohol abuse were a part of her daily routine for decades. Sex was as casual and impersonal as choosing a restaurant for dinner. Slick was the poster child for 1960s and 1970s counter-culture hedonism.

“They have given themselves over to sensuality so as to indulge in every kind of impurity, with a continual lust for more.” – Ephesians 4:19

People tend to idolize celebrity entertainers, but when we look beyond the glitz we see that they’re unhappy people thrashing about to find some kind of direction and meaning to life. Ever read the Book of Ecclesiastes in the Bible? Chasing after fleshly pleasures through sex, drugs and alcohol, and entertainment can be fulfilling for a short time, but it doesn’t endure. Slick is now 79-years-old and in poor health, and sex and substance abuse are definitely no longer on her priority list. What is her hope?

Slick does mention “spirituality” here and there in this book, but as you might expect, what she refers to is the mysticism of Eastern religiosity. Interesting how hip culture rejects Christianity out of hand, but eagerly embraces various aspects of Hinduism and Buddhism. Slick is pretty upfront about all of her faults/sins. My thought throughout reading this book was how much she needs the Savior and Shepherd, Jesus Christ. This is a sad book. Slick has lots of questions, but no answers.

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10 thoughts on “Grace Slick and rock-and-roll hedonism

    1. Thanks, Fran! Yes, reading a book like this – about an unbeliever thrashing about searching for lasting joy, peace, and meaning – helps us appreciate even more God’s Word and our unchanging Rock! Blessings to you as well!

      Liked by 4 people

  1. 1.) ” been meaning to read for the past twenty years.”
    Whoah 20 years is a long time mate!

    2.) What interesting names of the bands she was in!

    3.) You were a red head??

    4.) It’s sad to see the sex, rock and roll out of control idol and its fruit. I lappreciated you pointed out its unhappy fruit and pointed towards Jesus

    Liked by 2 people

    1. 1. Just a blip on the radar when you’re an old guy.

      2. Yeah, Jefferson Airplane and Jefferson Starship were considered to be very cool because the names were so outlandish.

      3. Red-blooded not red-headed!

      4. Yup, all of it just shifting sand.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Speaking of red-heads, some Bible scholars claim David was a red-head from 1 Samuel 17:41-43 “And the Philistine moved forward and came near to David, with his shield-bearer in front of him. And when the Philistine looked and saw David, he disdained him, for he was but a youth, ruddy and handsome in appearance.” Why wouldn’t this just be referring to his complexion rather than his hair?

        Liked by 2 people

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