Interview: A Slick Transition

By W.C. Moriarity

Former Jefferson Airplane singer Grace Slick was recently inducted into the Guitar Center’s Rock Walk on Sunset Boulevard in Hollywood.

But the compulsively creative sexagenarian is now making her living in the art world by bringing her psychedelic sensibilities to popular portraits of former rock contemporaries like Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin, Jim Morrison and Bob Dylan.

WC: So if you were starting over, would you go into rock & roll again or would you prefer to go into the art world?
GS: I’m too lazy for rock & roll today, because the kids now have to change their clothes every five minutes and know how to dance and work out so their abs are okay and do all the videos and all this other stuff. They have about eight billion awards shows, and I’m too lazy for all that. So I don’t know that I’d go into it.

Grace Slick
Grace Slick

WC: So art might suit you a little better at this point?
GS: Art might suit me a little better, because rock & roll’s way too much trouble. The only person who just kind of does rock & roll without all the exploding chickens is Dave Matthews, who’s very good. That’s old-fashioned rock & roll–you just put your clothes on and do your thing! But women in particular have to deal with all this stuff about how you look, and your abs, and your outfits?

WC: So you’re not ready to be Britney Spears at this point, huh?
GS: No! I mean, I couldn’t have done that. I don’t look like that anyway. I never have. A lot of us were real ugly in those days! There were no videos then, so we had pockmarks and fat guys and everything.

WC: So thankfully, you weren’t being run on MTV twenty times a day at that point!
GS: That’s right! And we started with MTV when I was about 40. And I just thought, “Oh, shit!”

WC: How do you feel about all these old rock stars who are still out there strutting around?
GS: That would be their problem. But it’s not my problem! I’m not comfortable leaping around and having my wrinkles follow me when I jump, but some people are. And if they are, and people want to show up, go right ahead!

WC: But that’s not you.
GS: No, I’m just not comfortable with that. I also would not have been comfortable, when I was 25, playing jacks in a schoolyard with a bunch of 8-year-olds. Just not interested. I’ve been there, I’ve done that, and I had a great time. But it’s over!