date published: February 12, 2007

5 questions with...

Grace Slick    
by Josh B. Wardrop

For more than 20 years, Grace Slick was one of rock music’s pioneering female artists as the lead singer of Jefferson Airplane, Jefferson Starship and Starship. Slick, 67, has now retired from music and found fame as an accomplished painter. She arrives in the Boston area February 18 to display her artwork at Wentworth Gallery.

Q: When did you retire from music, and why?
It was 1989, and the main reason was because I don’t like old people rocking out onstage. It doesn’t mean it’s wrong—I just don’t want to do it. To me, it’s like a college kid going back to kindergarten and playing jacks—why put on spandex and pretend I’m 30?

Q: Do you listen to today’s pop music?
Yeah, I like some of it. Christina Aguilera’s amazing....I like Dave Matthews, and I love Eminem. I don’t have an iPod, though—if you don’t pay attention to L.A. traffic, you could get run over or shot.

Q: What inspires your artwork?
Almost anything. About 50% of what I do is what I want to do, and the other half is stuff my agent suggests or people commission from me. I’m not precious about art—I’m in it to make a living. So, if someone wants me to paint Elvis or the Golden Gate Bridge, I’ll do it.

Q: Does painting give you different artistic satisfaction than fronting a rock band?
Not really—I’m the same person swimming in a different pool. I get the most pleasure when someone sees something in my work—be it paintings or lyrics—that I don’t see. That’s very cool.

Q: Blender Magazine named Starship’s “We Built this City” as the worst song of all time. Your thoughts?
They got that right. I thought it was the dumbest damn song I’d ever heard when we recorded it.