Jefferson Starship landing in Orem, Fri., May 20 for colorful trip down memory lane

OREM, Utah, May 18, 2022 (Gephardt Daily) — Jefferson Starship, one of the most enduring acts in modern music, will be landing in Orem Friday night, in what is sure to be a colorful trip down rock-and-roll memory lane.

The legendary band will kick off the summer season at the SCERA Shell Outdoor Theatre at 8 p.m. where ticket buyers will be treated to one of the most impressive set lists ever, including “Miracles,” “Jane,” “We Built This City,” “Sarah” and “Find Your Way Back.” In addition to the classic works from the 60s, 70s and 80s, the band will also roll out strong, fresh material from a brand new album, “Mother of the Sun.”

When Paul Kantner, one of the founding members of the legendary sixties band Jefferson Airplane, formed Jefferson Starship in the 1970s, he said he saw the ever-evolving group as a cast of “musical adventurers.”

Nowadays, those adventurers include powerhouse vocalist Cathy Richardson, who joined the band in 2008, and played with Kantner for years.

In a podcast interview with Gephardt Daily, (seen above), Richardson talked about Kantner and the band’s enduring legacy, and the support she and her other bandmates have received, including an official nod from the still mystical and magical Grace Slick.

The five current members, who describe themselves as both a “family” and a “gang,” have toured to all 50 U.S. states and five continents. In addition to original member David Freiberg, the band includes drummer Donny Baldwin (whose Jefferson Starship roots go back to 1982), keyboardist Chris Smith (who joined in 1998), guitarist Jude Gold (who joined in 2012), and Richardson, who joined after Kantner saw her tour with Big Brother and the Holding Company, Janis Joplin’s former band. As Jefferson Starship approaches their 50th anniversary, the group’s members look to the future with the word Kantner, who died in 2016, used to say to them: “Onward.”

Richardson, who spoke with us from her home, has stepped into the historic role made famous by Grace Slick. Her past credits include fronting her own bands; Cathy Richardson Band, Macrodots and Nelson Street Revival. She was nominated for a GRAMMY Award for Art Direction of Cathy Richardson Band’s 2003 release, “The Road to Bliss.” She also starred as Janis Joplin in the original Off-Broadway cast of “Love, Janis” and on tour in Chicago, Sag Harbor, New York, San Francisco, Phoenix and Tucson.

Richardson told us the May 20 date is her first time playing in the Beehive State. “This is actually my first time performing in Utah, I’ve never sung there before; I can’t believe it but it’s true,” she said.

Richardson spoke about joining Jefferson Starship back in 2008. “For me the journey started when I was a kid and first heard ‘White Rabbit’ and I want to say I was in early high school, maybe freshman, and I heard it on my Dad’s oldies station, and I said, what is this… Jefferson Starship? Well, I’ve heard of Jefferson Airplane, and then I became very interested. I bought ‘The Worst of Jefferson Airplane’ album and I listened to it over and over, so many times that my Mom actually knocked on the door and was like: ‘are you OK? because you’ve been listening to that song over and over for like 45 minutes. I’m like: ‘it’s so short though! I want to hear it again and again!’ So that started my journey of becoming a fan.”

She added: “I’ve always been a singer and a musician and always wanted to be a rock star, I wanted to do what Grace Slick was doing, but I never meant it quite that literally, I never dreamed I would be in the band one day, but I used to go see them in concert, I still have the T-shirts, with holes in them and stuff, and all the vinyl, yeah, so it’s pretty wild, to end up being in the group.”

Richardson went on to tour with Big Brother and the Holding Company in 2007, to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the Summer of Love, and that tour happened to also feature Jefferson Starship. She joined JS the next year.

She said though the band has been touring extensively recently, it is easy to keep the performances fresh because there is such a big catalog of music between Jefferson Airplane, Starship and Jefferson Starship. “We’ve had kind of an evolving set list, then we had a couple of years where we barely played [live] at all, if at all, during the pandemic lockdown years, so we’re so excited to be getting out on the road again and playing live and getting back to the fans,” she said.

Richardson explained that after she had COVID-19 at the beginning of the pandemic, she and the band went on to record music online, including three Beatles’ songs, and released those, did a couple of remote videos that Richardson edited, then released their most recent record. “We did tons of Zoom concerts and I don’t know how many interviews, but from home,” she said.

Richardson also spoke about the band’s newest album, “Mother of the Sun.”

“We started working on it just after Paul Kantner died, and we had kind of been giving the blessing of the powers that be, to continue with being Jefferson Starship, and actually encouraged: put out new music and be weird and do what you want to do and use the microphone that you’re given to say something meaningful,” she said. “So the first song we wrote was ‘What Are We Waiting For,’ that was really to me that was the launching point for the mood of the record and the theme of the record; the theme actually relates to, I’m going to get woo woo here, but Paul Kantner died, and, I won’t say who, went to a psychic and has all this information about Paul. She said, where are you Paul, and he started drawing a constellation, like spiritually, and it was Cassiopeia. So we used the Cassiopeia reference, and Cassiopeia has many names, one of them is Mother of the Sun and Moon, so that’s where the title of the record came from.”

Richardson’s son, Hendrix, is featured on the cover of the album, and she said she plans to take her two kids, who are 8 and 10, on the road with her when the band goes to New Zealand.

We also asked Richardson if there is a song she wishes she had written. “There are so many great songs out there, but I can’t say I wish I had written them because all of those songs are such a touchstone in my life, and I feel like music is a time machine as much as anything in such a visceral way where you listen to a song and it takes you right back in your mind to a place and time,” she said. “So royalty-wise, sure, there are lots of songs I wish I wrote, but the songs that mean something to me, I’m grateful someone wrote them, and I have them; The Beatles, John Lennon, obviously, Grace and Paul, and all the Jefferson Starship people, such a huge influence on me. Heart was such a huge influence on me, Ann and Nancy Wilson, Roger Fisher, Steve Fossen, Michael Derosier, Howard Leese, all those people created this music that inspired me, and so many more since then, I could go on and on.”

For tickets to the show on Friday, May 20, visit or call 801-225-ARTS. For more information on Jefferson Starship, click here.


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