what happened to jefferson airplanes grace slick

Have you ever wondered what became of the iconic Grace Slick, the lead singer of Jefferson Airplane? Her career and personal journey have been nothing short of fascinating. From her unforgettable performances with one of the most influential bands of the 1960s to her unexpected departure and subsequent endeavors, Grace Slick’s story is filled with twists and turns that will leave you intrigued. So, what is she up to now?

Join us as we delve into the life and journey of Grace Slick, exploring her early years in the music industry, the controversy that surrounded her, her retirement from music, and her current activities. Discover how this legendary musician continues to make an impact on the world today, all while embracing a sober lifestyle and expressing her creativity in unique ways.

Early Life and Musical Career

Grace Barnett Wing

Grace Barnett Wing, who later changed her name to Grace Slick, was born on October 30, 1939, in Highland Park, Illinois. She grew up in various cities due to her father’s job in the investment banking sector. Slick attended high school in Palo Alto, California, and later pursued her education at Finch College in New York City and the University of Miami.

During her college years, Slick developed a passion for music and began exploring her talent as a singer and songwriter. In 1961, she married Jerry Slick, who also had a deep interest in music. Together, they formed the band Great Society, which gained popularity in the local music scene.

However, it was in 1966 when Slick’s musical journey took a significant turn. She joined the legendary rock band Jefferson Airplane, replacing their former lead vocalist Signe Toly Anderson. Slick’s powerful vocals and distinctive stage presence quickly became the band’s trademark, contributing to their rise in popularity during the late 1960s.

Slick’s collaboration with Jefferson Airplane resulted in the release of several groundbreaking albums and iconic songs that became anthems of the counterculture movement. Their 1967 studio album, “Surrealistic Pillow,” featuring hits like “White Rabbit” and “Somebody to Love,” solidified their status as pioneers of the San Francisco psychedelic rock scene.

As Jefferson Airplane went through transitions and name changes, Slick remained a key member, contributing her unique style and artistic vision to the band’s evolution. She continued her musical journey with Jefferson Starship, which emerged from the remnants of Jefferson Airplane, and made notable contributions to their chart-topping albums throughout the 1970s and 1980s.

Controversial Episodes and Departure from Jefferson Starship

Europe tour

In 1978, during the Europe tour with Jefferson Starship, Grace Slick’s alcohol abuse led to a series of controversial incidents that ultimately resulted in her departure from the band. The Sunset Festival in Germany became the backdrop for a tumultuous turn of events.

During the festival, Slick, under the influence, made the decision to cancel the performance, infuriating the crowd. The fans’ frustration escalated, leading to a riot where the stage was set ablaze, and the band’s equipment was stolen. This unexpected turn of events shocked both the audience and the band members.

Adding fuel to the fire, just two nights later, still whilst on the European tour, Slick shocked not only the German audience but the world by donning a Nazi uniform during a performance. This provocative act caused further outrage among the audience and the band members alike.

Paul Kantner, a fellow member of Jefferson Starship, demanded Slick’s immediate departure from the band in light of the uproar caused by her behavior. The controversies surrounding Grace Slick during this period were significant, and they left an indelible mark on the band’s history.

Ironically, in her autobiography, Slick revealed that these incidents were not solely due to alcohol-induced judgment lapses. Instead, she admitted that she orchestrated the controversial episodes as a means to ensure her departure from the band on her own terms.

Controversial Episodes and Departure from Jefferson Starship
Europe tour Sunset Festival Germany Performance cancellation Riot Nazi uniform Fired Autobiography

Return to Music and Retirement

After achieving sobriety, Grace Slick made a triumphant return to the music industry in 1985 by rejoining the reconstituted Jefferson Starship, which later became known simply as Starship. Despite her personal dislike for the song, Slick contributed to the band’s hit single “We Built This City,” which became an iconic anthem of the 1980s.

In 1988, after decades in the music business, Grace Slick decided to step away from the limelight. In an interview, she boldly stated that all rock-and-rollers over the age of 50 should retire. With a successful career behind her, she was ready to explore new avenues of creativity and self-expression.

Focusing on her passion for visual arts, Slick channeled her energy into painting and drawing. She found solace and fulfillment in capturing the essence of fellow musicians through her distinguished portraits. To showcase her artwork, Slick held gallery shows, allowing fans and art enthusiasts to dive into her vibrant and captivating visual universe.

Amidst her retirement, Grace Slick’s artistic pursuits have provided a platform for her to continue making meaningful contributions to the art world. Through her visual arts, she further cemented her legacy as a multifaceted artist and demonstrated her ability to transcend boundaries in creative endeavors.

Return to Music and Retirement Key Points
Sobriety Slick’s return to music came after achieving sobriety, marking a turning point in her personal and professional life.
Return to Band Slick rejoined the reconstituted Jefferson Starship, later known as Starship, to embark on a new musical journey.
“We Built This City” Despite her personal dislike for the song, Slick’s involvement with “We Built This City” contributed to its success as a hit single.
Retirement In 1988, Slick retired from the music industry, asserting that all rock-and-rollers over the age of 50 should retire.
Visual Arts During her retirement, Slick focused on her career in visual arts, including painting and drawing, showcasing her talent and creativity through gallery shows.

Life After Music

social consciousness

Grace Slick has remained dedicated to making a positive impact even after retiring from the music industry. Her social consciousness and commitment to activism have been key aspects of her post-music career. Slick is a passionate vegan and a strong advocate for animal rights. She actively supports organizations such as PETA, working to protect and promote the well-being of animals.

Moreover, Slick’s commitment goes beyond advocacy. She has taken concrete action by donating royalties from her iconic songs, like “White Rabbit” and “Nothing’s Gonna Stop Us Now,” to campaigns and organizations that fight against animal testing. Her contributions have also extended to supporting civil rights for queer individuals as well as those affected by AIDS/HIV.

By leveraging her influence and financial stability, Slick has been able to drive change and contribute to causes she holds dear. Her dedication to activism and social responsibility sets her apart from many artists of her time, showcasing her enduring impact.

In addition to her activism, Slick has astutely managed her royalties, ensuring her financial stability while avoiding common struggles faced by aging rock stars. Her foresight and responsible approach to her finances have allowed her to maintain a comfortable lifestyle without being embroiled in money-related scandals.

Grace Slick’s unwavering commitment to social consciousness, veganism, and activism has earned her admiration beyond the realm of music. Her passion and dedication are a testament to her character and the lasting impact she continues to make.

Grace Slick Today

At 83 years old, Grace Slick continues to inspire and captivate audiences with her ageless creativity. Despite facing some health challenges, Slick remains active and vibrant, embracing a sober lifestyle that fuels her artistic endeavors.

One of Slick’s creative outlets is her artwork, where she skillfully captures the essence of fellow musicians through her striking portraits. Her talent has garnered recognition and her artwork has been exhibited at prestigious gallery shows across the United States.

Beyond her artistic pursuits, Slick upholds her social consciousness by aligning herself with causes close to her heart. She passionately supports various initiatives and uses her platform to advocate for what she believes in. Though she may have stepped back from the music industry, Slick’s impact as a trailblazing rock musician and her contributions to the psychedelic music scene of the 1960s and 1970s continue to be celebrated and cherished.


Q: What happened to Grace Slick after Jefferson Airplane?

A: After Jefferson Airplane, Grace Slick went on to be part of the subsequent spinoff bands Jefferson Starship and Starship. She retired from music in 1990 and focused on her career in visual arts.

Q: Where was Grace Slick born and raised?

A: Grace Slick was born as Grace Barnett Wing on October 30, 1939, in Highland Park, Illinois. She grew up in various cities due to her father’s job, including Palo Alto, California.

Q: What was Grace Slick’s role in Jefferson Airplane?

A: Grace Slick was the lead singer of Jefferson Airplane during their most successful years, from the mid-1960s to the early 1970s.

Q: Why did Grace Slick leave Jefferson Starship?

A: Grace Slick had several controversial episodes, including wearing a Nazi uniform on stage, which led fellow band member Paul Kantner to demand her departure. Slick admitted orchestrating these incidents to ensure her departure in her autobiography.

Q: Did Grace Slick make a return to music after retiring?

A: Yes, Grace Slick made a brief return to music in 1985, rejoining Jefferson Starship, which later became known as Starship. With Starship, she had a hit song titled “We Built This City” despite her personal dislike for it.

Q: What has Grace Slick been involved in after retiring from music?

A: Grace Slick has been an advocate for animal rights and has supported organizations such as PETA. She has also donated royalties from her songs to campaigns and organizations fighting against animal testing and supporting civil rights for queer individuals and those affected by AIDS/HIV.

Q: What is Grace Slick doing now?

A: Grace Slick is now 83 years old and remains active and creative. She continues to express her opinions and creativity through various mediums, including her artwork. Her artwork, including portraits of fellow musicians, has been exhibited at gallery shows across the United States.