Interview by Helen Marketti at North Coast Newspaper. “I’ve always had the music bug in me,” says Slick. “It all started with The Beatles and The Kinks, all of the classic rock stuff. I spent a lot of time listening to all of those bands back then. While I was growing up, my dad always played the piano and he used to play all of these great show songs from South Pacific to I Left My Heart in San Francisco and just about everything from that era.
He continues, “I actually became interested in the guitar by watching Ricky Nelson on “The Ozzie & Harriet” show during the late 50s. It was usually at the end of the show where Ricky would do a song or two with his band. He had guitarist James Burton in his band and then Elvis had Scotty Moore and I thought that was cool. I first played guitar by ear and then I decided to go to college at Miami Dade and major in music. When I was eleven years old, I was playing in teen clubs and the youngest member in the band. We were living in Panama at the time because my dad was stationed there while serving in the Army.
Over the past 35 years, Slick has played with many artists such as KC & The Sunshine Band, David Crosby (The Byrds & Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young) Marty Balin (Jefferson Airplane), KBC (Paul Kantner, Marty Balin & Jack Casady from Jefferson Airplane) and Jefferson Starship. Slick’s smooth talent at guitar has earned him a lasting spot with some key figures in the classic rock circuit. “At first it was pretty cool because you’re kind of in awe. When I was young, my band played “Turn, Turn, Turn” by The Byrds and then years later I’m playing with David Crosby. However you do get over that initial feeling rather quick because you have a job to do.” "
As we were talking about the classic rock genre, Slick pauses for a moment to talk about Jefferson Airplane specifically. “Jefferson Airplane was together for seven years which isn’t that long at all but look at the impact that band made. We also have to remember back then there still weren’t as many bands around as there are now. During that time, there were two powerful female singers, one was Janis Joplin and the other was Grace Slick. These girls were hard-core rock, which made people want to attend their gigs and check ‘em out.” " Longevity of a music career is described by Slick in this way, “I look at each night as though I just played the songs for the fi rst time (Jefferson Starship). Paul Kantner has always told me that I don’t need to play exactly how someone else played on a song. I don’t need to copy what they did and for him to tell me that gave me the room I needed to breathe because being like someone else is not who I am or how I do things. When you’re onstage you’re feeling the good vibes, you’re having fun and putting that energy into the music. It’s a different town every night with a different crowd. I put in everything I have when I play these songs.”