Bill Thompson, manager of Jefferson Airplane and subsequently the spinoffs Jefferson Starship, Hot Tuna and Starship, died of a heart attack yesterday, Jan. 12, in Mill Valley, Calif. Thompson was 70. "One of the more colorful managers in rock history, and a beloved figure within the Bay Area music scene, Thompson guided the various bands through both great successes and years-long personal and legal entanglements." Relix
Jorma Kaukonen, friend and member of Hot Tuna and Jefferson Airplane reminisces:
I was driving to Lexington, Kentucky this morning for a gig, when I received a sad call. My old colleague, Bill Thompson, passed away this morning in California. At seventy four years of age, I have spent most of my life since my twenties on the road and in the beginning when Jefferson Airplane was starting to fly, our constant companion was Bill Thompson. He was with us when we started and wound up being our manager in the years before Jack and I left and the Airplane was retired to the hanger. Because of the way we did business back then, Bill was like a band member… his instrument were his phone, his desk and his voice. He was one of us.
As the years slid by, we lost Spencer and Joey to mortality… and now another one of us is gone. I remember that little sneer he would have when he laughed… that curling of the upper lip, accompanied by something utterly inappropriate.
My heart goes out to his surviving family… Bill was younger than I and that makes it much, much too soon. Here’s to those and those like us… damn few left.
Fair wind and following seas brother … Jorma