Thomas Brings Starship Back To The Falls

Concert Preview
Starship
featuring Mickey Thomas
Saturday October 12, 2019
Fallsview Casino
Niagara Falls, Ontario
By: Joseph Suto

Mickey Thomas joined Jefferson Starship in 1979 and immediately jumped in and recorded the album Freedom at Point Zero. That album produced the hit single “Jane” which climbed to #14 on the Billboard Hot 100. From there Thomas and Jefferson Starship would crack the top 40 a few more times before the rug was pulled out from under. Following the Nuclear Furniture album in 1984 Paul Kantner, the last founding member of Jefferson Airplane, was not happy with the direction of the band and took legal action to prevent the remaining members from using the Jefferson Starship moniker. Thomas recalled that period when asked about it during a recent phone interview. “We were already thinking about officially shortening the name to Starship for a couple of reasons. People were already referring to the name Starship anyway and by dropping the Jefferson was to disassociate ourselves from the distant past of the band and the Airplane days. A completely different sound from the band, a whole new musical direction and a different way of making music so it was a symbolic gesture as well.”

Knee Deep In The Hoopla was the first album released under the Starship moniker. The album climbed to #7 on the album charts on the strength of the two #1 singles “We Built This City” and “Sara”. The band followed up with No Protection which also had the chart topping single “Nothing’s Gonna Stop Us Now” giving the band three number ones in a mere 18 months.

Fast forward to the now as Thomas and Starship is still very active on the touring circuit. The band has been very stable. Drummer Darrell Verdusco and keyboardist Phil Bennet have been on board since 1995. Bassist Jeff Adams has been with Thomas since 2000 leaving guitarist John Roth still the new kid on the block since he joined in 2012. Vocalist Stephanie Calvert has been sharing vocals with Thomas since 2006. “Band Chemistry is really important to me” said Thomas. “It’s really important to have a band of peers and equals and everybody has their spotlight and that moment on stage to shine”. Point in case is with Calvert as I asked Thomas how she came to join the band. “Once we decided the band was much better, much stronger with a female vocal presence. I put the word out and my booking agency suggested Stephanie. She was the first person that we really looked at and I knew right away she was the one. I’ve been very fortunate like that in my life. For whatever reason it always seems that the first person that comes to me is the right person.”

Other than Starship, Thomas has lent his vocal talent to a few solo albums as well as many movie soundtracks. Thomas recalled one song “Stand in The Fire” from the Youngblood soundtrack. That’s a cool song and a really cool video. Rob Lowe and Patrick Swayze came down to do additional shooting and scenes for the video that were not in the movie. That is when Patrick Swayze did his whole dream dance sequence. I thought damn I had no idea he could dance like that. Then the next year Dirty Dancing came out. So that was a precursor to the Dirty Dancing movie.”

Thomas said he really enjoys playing Fallsview and feeds off the energy from the Falls. “We’ve played there a few times in the past Thomas recalled. It’s a great venue, we love playing there. I’m really looking forward to it.”

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About Joseph Suto

Location: Buffalo, NY Photographer/Reviewer
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