Jim Shelley & Book Of Kills

Single of the Month Thoughts & Paul Kantner

Back in late December of 2015, I asked visitors of this website, and in particular the few souls who decided to become subscribers to the Single of the Month Series of CDs (have I told you lately how much I appreciate you and your support?), whether or not it might be a good idea to give potential/current subscribers the opportunity to download the monthly SOTM tracks rather than receive them on a CD since a number of people, particularly younger ones, don't even have the means to play a CD other than on their computer, and then only if the computer has a disc drive...and then only if they have a computer at all. 

Typically, not many wrote back, but the few who did were all universally against the idea of SOTM downloads. Ken from Tennessee most succinctly expressed why they felt that way:

"Hey Jim,
I've been thinking about your post about making the SOTM available as a download. I myself have become a victim of today's 'instant gratification' - BUT I really enjoy getting the ep's every month. It brings back memories of the late 70's & early to mid-80's when I was scouring the earth looking for the latest import 7" or 12" single and then waiting (impatiently) for it to arrive. And I really like the inserts. I have so many albums and cd's that I don't buy many these days and it's really been fun getting these each month.  And I think the pressures of the time constraints around the holidays on your recording opportunities were a good thing. I Roam The World Between & 3 Others is my favorite so far. Keep them coming.


Of course, I eventually decided against downloads for the series.

I'm sure you've heard by now (it's 7:00 A.M. Friday as I type this) that Paul Kantner died yesterday in San Francisco. I'm deeply troubled by the number of seminal rock and roll figures who are passing suddenly (and maybe that's why, or certainly part of why, I'm so determined to create a BOK/Karl Rove/Fear+Whiskey "portable archive" in 2016). I'll say this about Mr. Kantner...one of the seminal musical events of my life was the day my older brother George brought home three new albums in one day, Love's FOREVER CHANGES, the Grateful Dead's debut album THE GRATEFUL DEAD, and the Jefferson Airplane's SURREALISTIC PILLOW. I think I probably played those three records far more than George did and their influence on my music was incalculable.

SURREALISTIC PILLOW was such a beautiful, epic record. It doesn't sound dated to me even now (though I guess it is.) Its masterful merging of folk, psychedelia, and rock and roll were radical to my young head. The Airplane's later releases, AFTER BATHING AT BAXTER'S, VOLUNTEERS, BLESS ITS POINTED LITTLE HEAD, CROWN OF CREATION, as well as the first Starship album, BLOWS AGAINST THE EMPIRE (plus the odd live bootleg), were all big in my life. Paul Kantner (along with his bandmates Grace, Marty, Skip, Jorma, and Jack) was one of my best teachers, far more important to me than most of my "real" ones at school. I think my love of the Airplane is one of the biggest reasons why I always strived to include a woman in whatever band I was in, if I could. To this day I still love listening to JA. I always will, I guess.