So, it was the morning of July 30 that I received an early morning call from the hospital telling me that they had found a liver for me. Needless to say, I was scared to death but knowing this was what I had been fighting for for a year or more, off to the hospital I went for my lifesaving operation. 31 days later, I was back home. After 22 days in the hospital and 9 days in a rehab center to build my strength back up, my wonderful doctors and nurses gave me the OK to return back to my house to continue my recovery. I am definitely not healed but I am well on the way there. I cannot thank my doctors, nurses, hospital staff, and rehab center staff enough for all they have done for me. I mean-they gave me a second chance to live and I am not going to squander that second chance away. I want to also thank my family, friends, fans, and everyone involved for all your kind words, emails, calls, texts, and healing vibes. You all have meant so much to me, you will never know. Also, I want to thank the family of the organ donor who literally saved my life. I realize that you lost a loved one and I will probably never find out who you are, but, I can never ever thank you enough. I am so so sorry for your loss but thank you so much for giving me the gift of life. And lastly, Maureen, Marky, and Krissy. You have been there for me through thick and thin and I will never forget you or be able to thank you enough for that. I love you.
I’m not sure what else I can say right now except thank you all again and ‘I AM HOME AND I AM ALIVE’!!! Love to all, Slick
Slick Aguilar has been the lead guitarist in Jefferson Starship since 1992 and is only the 3rd person to hold that position in the 40 year history of both Jefferson Airplane and Jefferson Starship. This year marks 28 years Slick has played with Paul Kantner, Marty Balin, and Company since he started with KBC Band in 1984. Before that, he was lead guitarist with David Crosbyand before that, KC& the Sunshine Band. His melodic and tasteful guitar playing has soared the music of Jefferson Airplane & Jefferson Starship longer than the Airplane's legendary Jorma Kaukonen and Starship's Craig Chaquico combined.
Slick was recently diagnosed with Hepatitis C . Due to complications of this disease, his liver is not functioning properly. Doctors have given him a 50/50 chance of survival in the next two years if he does not receive a liver transplant.
News of this nature has forced Slick to step back from doing what he loves which is playing music, and put his effort, attention and ambition towards surviving. "I have been in this business for 35 years. I am now unable to tour with Jefferson Starship. I had been hospitalized for ten days while they were on tour. If I had gone on tour with them, it probably would have killed me. The doctors have me on several different meds and what that is basically doing is keeping me alive until I can get a liver transplant. I have spent a lot of time planning and being evaluated so when a liver becomes available I will be ready."
Time is of significant importance for Slick, his family and friends. "It's going to be a pretty heavy duty operation and the recovery could take 9 months to a year- plus someone has to be with me 24/7," he said.
In continuing to speak openly, Slick shares his thoughts for seeking help in the form of donations so this will be possible. "I do have insurance but it will not be enough to cover all of the expenses. I am a working musician and right now because of my health, I'm not working at all. Being a musician is a great job and I love what I do but not all of us are paid like Paul McCartney. It's a decent living but not enough to cover something as big as a liver transplant. Donations in any amount are going to be helpful. I've never had to do anything like this before but with the way the situation is I have no other source of income."
It should also be noted that Slick is not paid any type of royalties or anything of that nature from bands or individual artists he may play with. He receives straight pay at a flat rate for doing a gig and that is how he earns his pay. As if facing one's own mortality, suffering from a debilitating illness and losing the job you love was not overwhelming enough, Slick now faces a monumental amount of medical and day to day living expenses, with no source of income. He may even have to relocate to another state to receive the transplant.
Slick spends every couple of days talking to David Crosby. David had a liver transplant several years ago and provides friendship and support. "He's my coach because he knows what I am going through," said Slick.
David Crosby and some of Slick's other famous friends jumped onboard to perform a benefit. concert at the Great American Music Hall in San Francisco on February 24, 2013. 100% of the proceeds from the ticket sales and merchandise went directly towards Slick's ongoing medical and day to day living expenses. Besides David Crosby, Jefferson Airplane/Starship singer Marty Balin, Country Joe McDonald and Big Brother and the Holding Co. all played at the benefit. Other fundraising efforts associated with Slick's 2/24 benefit show occured that night. Hofner Guitars generously donated a HA-GA04 acoustic guitar and San Francisco Guitar Center donated a Fender Strat Squire Bullet and they were both autographed by the stars of the benefit and raffled after the show.
***More one of a kind autographed guitars and drums will soon be raffled and sold on EBAY to benefit Slick. Also-photo's by professional San Francisco photographers Jay Blakesberg and Raymond Van Tassel are in the process of being autographed and will soon be offered in return for a donation to Slick's medical fund. Stay tuned to this page for more info.***
There are lots of other cool things you can get for donating to Slick's cause. Click here to check out the list of swag and donate.
(Portions of this article were written by Helen Marketti for North Coast Voice Newspaper.)