Spencer Dryden passed away last night

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Postby Michael on Thu Jan 13, 2005 11:37 am

Rest in Peace Dryden..
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Postby Spacepig on Thu Jan 13, 2005 1:38 pm

Spencer Dryden -- Jefferson Airplane drummer

Joel Selvin, Chronicle Senior Pop Music Critic
Thursday, January 13, 2005

Spencer Dryden, the drummer for the Jefferson Airplane who once appeared with his group on the cover of Life magazine but had fallen on hard times, died Tuesday from cancer. He was 66 years old.

Mr. Dryden, who had health problems in recent years, retired from performing music 10 years ago, although he hadn't been working much long before that. "I'm gone," he told The Chronicle in May 2004. "I'm out of it. I've left the building."

A benefit last year at Slim's starring Bob Weir of the Grateful Dead and Warren Haynes of Gov't Mule raised some $36,000 for Mr. Dryden, who was in the middle of two hip replacement surgeries and was facing heart surgery at the time. His Petaluma home and all his possessions had been destroyed in a fire in September 2003. He was diagnosed with stomach cancer later last year.

Mr. Dryden was inducted in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1996 for his work with the Jefferson Airplane during the band's glory years -- from the breakthrough 1967 "Surrealistic Pillow" album through historic rock festivals such as Woodstock and Altamont. He sat out the band's performance at the Waldorf Astoria that night, watching from the table. "He was always fragile," said Airplane vocalist Marty Balin.

Born in New York City, Mr. Dryden moved with his parents when he was an infant to Los Angeles, where his father went to work as an assistant director for Mr. Dryden's uncle, movie star Charlie Chaplin. One Chaplin biographer described a scene of idyllic domesticity at a family Christmas party in 1943 when 5-year-old Spencer Dryden read "The Night Before Christmas."

After attending Glendale High School, he graduated from the Army and Navy Academy in Carlsbad (San Diego County) in 1955. He played in some early rock 'n' roll bands but soon drifted toward jazz and was working as a drummer at the Hollywood strip club the Pink Pussycat when session drummer Earl Palmer recommended him to the Airplane's manager.

He replaced Skip Spence, who went on to start another Fillmore-era San Francisco rock group, Moby Grape. Mr. Dryden conducted an affair with the band's female vocalist, Grace Slick, and his marriage to the former Sally Mann was covered extensively in Rolling Stone magazine. He recorded on a number of the Airplane's most famous albums, "Surrealistic Pillow," "After Bathing At Baxter's," "Bless Its Pointed Little Head," "Crown Of Creation" and "Volunteers," before leaving the band in 1970.

He replaced Mickey Hart in the Grateful Dead sideline country-rock band, New Riders of the Purple Sage, in February 1971 and stayed with that group until 1978, recording a number of albums including the 1973 gold album "The Adventures of Panama Red."

In the '80s, he joined a group of psychedelic rock veterans called the Dinosaurs that played informally around Bay Area clubs along with former members of Big Brother and the Holding Company, Quicksilver Messenger Service and Country Joe and the Fish. When the other band members reunited for a 1989 Jefferson Airplane reunion album and tour, Mr. Dryden was not invited to participate.

"Spencer had a flow," said Mickey Hart of the Dead, "a way of going, an impulse power that was irresistible and unique. He was capable of creating a churning, loving rhythm machine for ecstatic dancing."

"He was just the greatest guy," said ex-wife Sally Mann Romano of Houston. "He was so quirky, and he never intentionally hurt anyone."

He last appeared in public in November, after he was already being treated for cancer, signing autographs and shaking hands at a release party for the recent DVD of Jefferson Airplane video clips at the Great American Music Hall.

He died at his Petaluma home, little more than a shack really, that he rented on the back end of somebody else's property outside of Penngrove.

He was married three times and is survived by three sons; Jeffrey, Jes and Jackson Dryden. Plans for a memorial concert are pending.
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Postby Pooneil on Fri Jan 14, 2005 3:48 am

What sad news to be confirmed. I hope his family and friends are able cope with the loss. I do wish for him to rest in peace. I also hope he realized how significant his life was to so many people.
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Postby Willard on Fri Jan 14, 2005 4:17 am

Goddamn... This is really awkward and even though I never knew the guy, I feel that I knew him. All due to JA's world of music I can attach and respect to.

Rest in peace!!! :cry:
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Postby Lilla on Fri Jan 14, 2005 7:19 am

Thank you for the music, Spencer.
RIP
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Postby Johannes on Fri Jan 14, 2005 10:43 am

Rest In Peace
:(
Favorite Bands:
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Postby crazybrain on Fri Jan 14, 2005 12:04 pm

It's really sad news. Rest in peace Spencer.
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Postby pep on Sun Jan 16, 2005 10:14 am

R.I.P. Spencer :(
gaaba! gabba hey!
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Postby jett on Sun Jan 16, 2005 11:33 am

he will be missed, for sure. thanks for a lotta great beats, Spencer!
check out my band Betty Machete
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Postby VoodooChile in Wonderland on Sun Jan 16, 2005 4:25 pm

Some words from his bandmates, first Grace from a Rolling Stone article:

Slick Remembers Dryden
Jefferson Airplane singer reflects on former bandmate, boyfriend


Image


When Spencer Dryden succumbed to cancer Tuesday, San Francisco rock legends Jefferson Airplane lost the drummer who kept time for them during their pinnacle: from their 1967 classic Surrealistic Pillow album through gigs at the three landmark Sixties concerts: Monterey Pop, Woodstock and Altamont. For their role in popularizing psychedelic rock, Dryden and his bandmates were elected into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 1996. Singer Grace Slick remembered her former bandmate -- and former boyfriend -- two days after his death.

How did you react to the news of Spencer's death?

The older you get the less shocking it is. It's too bad everybody can't go out in their sleep at about age 120. But that's not going to happen to most of us. But a chunk of you gets torn out because the members of the Airplane in particular were such a powerful part of my youth that it feels like Janis [Joplin] said, "Take another little piece of my heart now, baby." It feels something like that. Both my parents are gone and every time somebody dies it tears another part of you, a chunk of you out, because they are a part of you, all these people. I lived with Spencer for a little over a year, and it was delightful to watch him appreciate the time that we were in, and make use of it by freedom of imagination.

When you think about him what comes to mind?

A delightful little conspiracy of two, that I think most couples feel they have. And a perfect nose. He had a beautiful face, and that's very superfluous, but that does come to mind. And his childness -- he was very childlike. And that's not a detriment, it's a compliment. It's hard to do when you're thirty years old. You can pretend by making a jerk out of yourself getting loaded -- that's childish -- but I'm talking about childlike. It's different.

What stood out to you about Spencer's drumming?

Very imaginative fills. He was not a power drummer -- he was more imaginative than that. He had a rough call because he was having to keep time. Jack Casady used to play lead guitar before he played bass, so he played kind of a lead bass thing. So Spencer had to hold down the rhythm, which is hard to do with a band that's that loud. So he had quite the task.

Had you been in touch in recent years?

Off and on, yeah, because he called a couple months ago to thank me. He was very sweet. We were doing some benefits to raise money because he had a tremendous amount of medical bills and his house burned down. He got hammered with a lot of unpleasant stuff near the end there. I do painting and drawing and so forth as an artist professionally, so I gave some of my paintings for the auction to raise money for him. I talked to him once in a while. The members of the band all live in different cities, but we talk to each other. I do talk to them, all of them.


COLIN DEVENISH
(Posted Jan 14, 2005)

http://www.rollingstone.com/news/story/_/id/6843298/jeffersonairplane?pageid=rs.Home&pageregion=single1
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Postby VoodooChile in Wonderland on Sun Jan 16, 2005 4:27 pm

and this is the words by Jack the way he signed TWICE Spencer's guestbook, that's why some words are the same:

This is Jack Casady words on Spencer

My friend and partner Spencer Dryden, played drums and percussion during what I believe was the most creative period of Jefferson Airplane. His love of Jazz, and influences of many of the Jazz greats gave his approach to the music of the band such a broad pallet to choose from. For me, some of the best times we shared together were the early RCA Los Angeles recording sessions. That is where he really enjoyed himself and because of our success with Surrealistic Pillow, gave us the extended studio time for albums to follow, where he had the time to experiment and search for unique things to do in the creation of the music. Spencer and I shared a love for some of these music influences form the Jazz world, or for that matter, shared the appreciation of good musicianship in general. We would talk for hours about such things........his knowledge of music was vast and full of depth. But, however, his absolutely wacky sense of humor used to crack us up all the time. We shared so many fine times laughing about silly stuff, and trying not to take the "rock hype" too seriously. I will always remember Spencer for his kind heart, humor, and musicianship. God bless you Spencer. You leave us with so many gifts to contemplate.
Jack Casady

==================================================================

was the most creative period of Jefferson Airplane. His love of Jazz, and influences of many of the Jazz greats gave his approach to the music of the band such a broad pallet to choose from. For me, some of the best times we shared together were the early RCA Los Angeles recording sessions. That is where he really enjoyed himself and because of our success with Surrealistic Pillow, gave us the extended studio time for albums to follow, where he had the time to experiment and search for unique things to do in the creation of the music. Spencer and I shared a love for some of these music influences form the Jazz world, or for that matter, shared the appreciation of good musicianship in general. We would talk for hours about such things........his knowledge of music was vast and full of depth. But, however, his absolutely wacky sense of humor used to crack us up all the time. We shared so many fine times laughing about silly stuff, and trying not to take the "rock hype" too seriously. I will always remember Spencer for his kind heart, humor, and musicianship. God bless you Spencer. You leave us with so many gifts to contemplate.
Jack Casady
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Postby nickwishkah on Sun Jan 16, 2005 5:08 pm

Shame.
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Postby VoodooChile in Wonderland on Sun Jan 16, 2005 5:56 pm

:?: :?:

Who? Grace, Jack or me? :lol:
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Postby caseyjames on Mon Jan 17, 2005 2:04 pm

Drum on, Spencer.
Le coeur sait quand la recherche est par-dessus.
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Postby jonestown on Wed Jan 19, 2005 12:58 am

I was sorry to hear this. I went to the benefit show that was held last year at Slim's in SF. Real good feeling and good music. He had a lot of bad things happen in recent years. I hope he finds peace where ever he may be.
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