Grace Slick Recalls When ‘Only Thing You Couldn’t Do Was Kill People’
Grace Slick described the ‘60s as an era when rock stars could do anything except kill people, and admitted she sometimes wonders how she survived the years of excess.
The Jefferson Airplane and Starship singer, now 80, also discussed the suggestion that many of the big-name deaths of the time could have been avoided.
"My idea of heaven was to get really drunk and drive a car real fast,” Slick told Uncut in a new interview. “I took lots of drugs. I’ve never eaten right. I’ve never exercised a day in my life. My idea of exercise was fucking. But I don’t do that any more, so I don’t do any exercise. I’ve got about four deadly diseases but I’m still walking around. My doctor looked at me the other day and he said, ‘God, you’re a tough broad.’”
Asked about the tragedies that took Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin and others, she noted that “nobody back then wanted to die. Back in the ’60s, you didn’t go to rehab. That was for people who broke their legs skiing. We didn’t even consider going. The trouble was, there was such a radical shift from the ’50s to the ’60s, we hadn’t figured out how to live in this new world.”
Slick recalled that "if you were in a rock ’n’ roll band in the ’60s, the only thing you couldn’t do was kill people. Everything else was acceptable. You’re being paid to travel around the world, and people admire you because you’re a rock ’n’ roll star. You’re young, you’re relatively healthy. Trust me, you’re not trying to kill yourself – you’re just having fun. I don’t remember anyone being miserable. Sure, Janis had issues, but nobody was suicidal. You could screw anybody and take any drugs you wanted. The only downside was we didn’t measure the drugs we took.”
She said that many of the deaths happened because her peers “weren’t good with the chemistry." “When Janis died, [Airplane singer] Marty [Balin] stopped using drugs," she noted. "I’m stupid. … I always thought when these people died, it wasn’t going to be me. But that turned out to be true. Fortunately, I enjoyed every trip I had. It could’ve gone the other way, because sometimes it does. I would not take acid now. … At the time I took acid, I had a job, my parents were healthy, everything was fine. I didn’t flip out. But it can get gnarly. So it is a blessing if you’re able to take it in the right framework.”