Starship touches down June 2
Mickey Thomas is the owner of the soaring voice that propelled the venerable San Francisco band Starship through the decades of the 1980s and ’90s with several of the 20th century’s biggest pop and rock anthems. Harris Center audiences will likely recognize hits such as “Sara,” “We Built This City” and “Nothing’s Gonna Stop Us Now” when the band takes the stage June 2.
With his soulful and compelling vocals, Thomas established himself as one of rock music’s most recognizable stars. As Mickey starts a new chapter in a career that has spanned 40 years, his voice is on-fire and the music is a compelling blend of then and now.
Thomas’s recent career move involves the release of “Loveless Fascination” in 2013, the first new album from Thomas and Starship in nearly 25 years and first for Loud & Proud Records. The album was produced by longtime Foreigner bassist Jeff Pilson, who also was a member of Dio and Dokken. Pilson was the main songwriter on the new Starship album, and helped contribute a harder edge to the band’s sound. The combination of Pilson with Thomas and Starship is a winning one, resulting in a body of songs that fit in nicely with the stylings of the much-loved albums which were released by the classic lineup of the group in the late ’70s and early ’80s.
Although “Loveless Fascination” marks Starship’s first full studio album since 1989, the group has remained a popular draw on the road.
“It’s a real wide generation of fans out there,” Thomas said. “I’ve seen 12-year-olds, 65-year-olds and everyone in between.”
Starship has one of the most storied histories in rock’n’roll. While forming as Jefferson Airplane in the 1960s, the current incarnation of what is now Starship began in 1979 when Thomas joined Paul Kanter to resurrect JA’s follow-up group, Jefferson Starship. Airplane/Starship singer Grace Slick rejoined Starship in 1981, leaving again in 1988.
The pre-Starship Thomas was best known for his work with the Elvin Bishop Band (“Fooled Around and Fell in Love”). His powerful, melodic vocals marked a new chapter in the band’s history, helping Starship land a string of hits on radio and MTV throughout the next decade, including “Jane,” “It’s Not Over (‘Til It’s Over)” and the No. 1 hits “Sara,” the Oscar-nominated “Nothing’s Gonna Stop Us Now” from the movie “Mannequin” and “We Built This City,” which newer fans may know for its placement in the popular musical/movie “Rock of Ages.”
Moreover, every Starship album released since 1979 has gone Gold, Platinum or Multi-Platinum. Thomas’ stellar voice and video charisma on Starship’s video classics such as “We Built This City” and “Sara” have become staples on MTV and VH1.
For the current tour, the band will mine its deep back catalog. “We’ll play songs from every record I had a hand in,” said Thomas, promising early hits like “Find Your Way Back,” as well as a medley of the group’s earliest hits as Jefferson Airplane, and, of course, the new material. “Loveless Fascination” is sure to appease long-time Starship fans while opening the door to a new generation of rockers.
Thomas will be backed by the band Starship featuring Jeff Adams on bass, Mark Abrahamian on guitar, Phil Bennett on keyboards, Darrell Verdusco on drums and Stephanie Calvert on vocals.
Starship Featuring Mickey Thomas will perform at 7:30 p.m. on Monday, June 2. Tickets are $35 to $49 with premium seats available for $55 & $59. Purchase tickets online at harriscenter.net or from Harris Center ticket office at (916) 608-6888 from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., Monday through Saturday, and two hours before show time. Parking is included in the price of the ticket. Harris Center is located on the west side of Folsom Lake College campus in Folsom, facing East Bidwell Street.