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Friday, January 14, 2005
Rest in Peace Spencer Dryden
Spencer Dryden, 66, Drummer of Jefferson Airplane's Heyday, Dies
By THE ASSOCIATED PRESS
Published: January 14, 2005
ETALUMA, Calif., Jan. 13 (AP) - Spencer Dryden, the drummer for the legendary rock band Jefferson Airplane in its glory years, died on Monday at his home here. He was 66.
His death certificate listed cancer as the cause.
Mr. Dryden was inducted in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1996 for his work with Jefferson Airplane, from its breakthrough 1967 album "Surrealistic Pillow" through its participation in historic rock festivals like Woodstock and Altamont.
He was heard on hits like "Somebody to Love" and "White Rabbit" and on the group's other albums, including "After Bathing at Baxter's," "Bless Its Pointed Little Head," "Crown of Creation" and "Volunteers."
Mr. Dryden retired from performing 10 years ago, although he had not been working much before that.
"I'm gone," he told The San Francisco Chronicle last May. "I'm out of it. I've left the building."
A benefit concert last year featuring Bob Weir of the Grateful Dead and Warren Haynes of Gov't Mule raised $36,000 for Mr. Dryden, who had two hip replacement operations 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 learned he had stomach cancer last year.
Born in New York City, Mr. Dryden moved to Los Angeles with his parents when he was an infant.
He attended Glendale High School and graduated from the Army and Navy Academy in Carlsbad, Calif., in 1955. He played in some early rock bands but soon drifted toward jazz and was working as a drummer at a Hollywood strip club, the Pink Pussycat, when a session drummer, Earl Palmer, recommended him to Jefferson Airplane's manager. He replaced Skip Spence, who went on to start another 1960's San Francisco rock group, Moby Grape.
During his stint with the Airplane, Mr. Dryden had an affair with Grace Slick, a vocalist in the group, and his marriage to the former Sally Mann was covered extensively in Rolling Stone magazine. He left the band in 1970.
Mr. Dryden replaced Mickey Hart in the country-rock band New Riders of the Purple Sage in February 1971 and stayed with that group until 1978.
In the 1980's, Mr. Dryden joined a group of rock veterans called the Dinosaurs. The band, with former members of Big Brother and the Holding Company, Quicksilver Messenger Service and Country Joe and the Fish, played informally around the San Francisco Bay Area.
When the other members of Jefferson Airplane reunited in 1989 for a reunion album and tour, Mr. Dryden was not invited.
He last appeared in public in November, signing autographs and shaking hands at a release party for a DVD of Jefferson Airplane video clips.
He was married three times and is survived by three sons; Jeffrey, Jes and Jackson Dryden.
From Grace Slick
Deep in the back pages of Ratdog.org is a thread of wonderful photos taken by Alan Hess...Oh Boy!