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Lifestyle

May 23, 2013

Mickey Thomas pilots Starship to Beverly

(Continued)

“She has a great voice, a lot of stage presence and a lot of personality,” Thomas said. “People comment that she seems to be channeling Grace — everything except for the blue eyes.”

Slick sang lead on “White Rabbit” and also “Somebody to Love,” hit songs that both appeared on Jefferson Airplane’s 1967 album, “Surrealistic Pillow.” She left Jefferson Starship before Thomas was brought on board, but rejoined them later and sang with Thomas on the No. 1 hit “Nothing’s Gonna Stop Us Now,” and many other songs.

Thomas got his own start as a singer at age 15 by channeling John Lennon, after he and two friends saw the Beatles perform in Atlanta in 1965.

“Like a lot of people my age, I was a Beatles fan, a Beatles freak, I had Beatlemania,” he said. “And I was lucky enough to see them. That was the biggest factor in inspiring me to pursue music as a career.”

Although the concert had a huge impact on his life, when Thomas looks back from his vantage point as a professional musician, he recalls that it was a disaster in many ways.

“The Atlanta show was two or three days after their famous Shea Stadium show the same year. Stadium concerts were unheard of in those days. The sound system was horrible. They weren’t prepared to put on a show like that,” he said.

“The concert was exactly like all the old black-and-white things you’ve seen. You could barely hear the music over the screaming. It was chaos.”

Even if they couldn’t hear the songs, the show motivated the three young musicians to form a band modeled on the Beatles.

“One friend was left-handed, so he played bass like McCartney,” Thomas said. “I liked Lennon, and I played a bit of guitar and knew a few chords, so I was rhythm guitar and vocals.”

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