Jefferson Starship Guitarist Sues Ex-Bandmates Over Name Use
Jefferson Starship’s lead guitarist says his former bandmates and their new colleagues have been using the group’s name and his likeness without permission.Craig Chaquico says that when Paul Kantner left the band in 1985 the remaining members signed an agreement to retire the Jefferson Starship name. Decades later, he says David Frieberg and Donny Baldwin have breached that deal and are performing with other musicians and selling merchandise that bears the band’s original name.Back in the 90s, Kantner toured with various musicians under the name Jefferson Starship and Chaquico objected. They ultimately settled and the guitarist gave Kantner, and only Kantner, permission to use the name. Chaquico says he believes Kantner received similar permission from some of the others who signed the 1985 agreement.Freiberg joined Kantner in 2005 and Baldwin was added in 2008. Until Kantner’s death in 2016, the group toured under the name Jefferson Starship.”Because Chaquico only granted Kantner permission to use the Jefferson Starship name, Chaquico’s permission terminated upon Kantner’s death,” writes attorney David Swift of Kinsella Weitzman. “Chaquico has repeatedly informed Freiberg and Baldwin that they do not have his permission to continue performing as Jefferson Starship or to sell merchandise using the name, and that they are doing so in violation of the 1985 Agreement.”
The guitarist says the unauthorized use of the band’s name is tarnishing its legacy — and his own.
“To make matters worse, Defendants have repeatedly and systematically used images of the original Jefferson Starship lineup, which include images of Chaquico, to promote their band and their performances both in concert posters, on their Facebook page and on their website – a blatant attempt to pass off their current band as the original, world-renowned, Jefferson Starship and to trade off of Chaquico’s goodwill,” writes Swift.
The other current band members, Chris Smith, Jude Gold and Catherine Richardson, are also named as defendants in the suit. Chaquico is suing Freiberg and Baldwin for breach of contract, and all of the defendants for claims relating to his right of publicity and unfair business practices. He’s seeking an injunction to stop the band from using the Jefferson Starship name and his likeness, plus actual and punitive damages.
A Statement from Craig to His Facebook Fans: “As the only lead guitar player and founding member/hit songwriter on every Jefferson Starship and Starship song, album, tour and video, after the entire band officially and legally retired the name, ‘Jefferson’ in 1985, I felt that only the original band members should ever use it again as a reunion someday.
I was the first to consider allowing Paul to use ‘Jefferson’ only for his solo projects, that incuded a myriad of different, interchangeable musicians over the years, most of which were never in the original Jefferson Starship. After his death, one of his solo bands is calling itself Jefferson Starship with only one original member, and one of Jefferson Starship’s replacement drummers.They have been misleading the public by using my name and likeness, and original album artwork, on their Website, Facebook page, on tours and merchandise as if they recorded and wrote my hit songs for Jefferson Starship, as well as all of the other songs that I played on that they did not.
As a tribute band, I applaud their efforts, and I am not saying that they should cease performing together, but they have to be honest with the public about what they are and are not, and stop taking credit and profiting from work they did not do, and tarnishing the legacy of those that did. Not only are they breaching the 1985 contract agreement by doing so, but they need to stop using the name as if they are the classic band instead of a tribute band.”
The former lead guitarist of Jefferson Starship is furious at other members for jacking the name and tarnishing the rock band’s legacy … according to a new suit.
Craig Chaquico claims 2 of this former bandmates and several other musicians are using the Jefferson Starship name, without permission, to land gigs and sell merch. Chaquico says the founding JS members all agreed to retire the name in 1985 … and move on simply as Starship.
But according to docs … David Freiberg and Donny Baldwin have assumed the Jefferson Starship name with a ragtag group who have no connection to the OG rockers.
Chaquico says he did give another founding member, Paul Kantner, the right to use the name for shows, and he did while touring with Freiberg and Baldwin. However, Paul died in 2016, and Craig says the right to use JS died with him.
Chaquico wants Freiberg and Baldwin cut off from the name immediately.
FYI, Jefferson Starship — or whatever name they end up with — has concerts next month in Minnesota and California. Who knew??
Fans should please BEWARE OF MISLEADING MARKETING AND LICENSING! Beware of any fake bands, any fraudulent misleading marketing or FAKE recordings and false advertising of the original hits being done by lesser cover bands. This confuses the true legacy of the original world-famous Jefferson Starship and Starship with other lesser artists who are using the name, that are clearly trying to recreate the hit-making songs and styles of both the original Jefferson Starship and original Starship during their most relevant, well-known, influential, successful and ONLY true hit-making / touring GLORY YEARS, from 1974 through 1990. (exactly the Craig Chaquico years)
We sincerely apologize to all the fans who may have already been duped by misleading marketing and false advertising thinking they were hearing and buying the actual original hit recordings done by both the original bands during the years from 1974 through 1990, along with all the world-class songwriters, producers, mixers, engineers and real multi-instrumentalists, who actually made all the orignal hit songs. Craig is especially concerned for all the fans of the real recordings as he is the only one key original founding member, hit songwriter, and lead guitarist listed on everything. Only the actual Jefferson Starship and Starship did ALL the actual hits and tours and only Craig Chaquico played all the actual lead guitar and lead guitar solos on everything. He should know…
BEWARE! Mickey claimed he knew nothing about any of the confusing, misleading re-recordings either, or how they happened to be re-recorded and then later passed-off again and again for years as the actual Jefferson Starship and Starship. That is actually what Mickey said after releases were investigated that may include all this bogus material. He said he had no idea or any control over any of this either! So BUYER BEWARE! Spread the word! Perhaps these products are another Chinese, Russian, Egyptian or Cairo hack.
Craig Chaquico is the only one original founding member, and the only lead guitarist and hit songwriter, to appear on every hit recording ever done by the original Jefferson Starship and Starship bands who actually recorded the hits and anthems of the ’70s and ’80s. After Craig left there were no more hits so both world-famous bands officially DISBANDED. The Starship name was officially RETIRED, and in 1985 everybody legally agreed to never use “JEFFERSON” again.
In 1993 Craig was the first one to reconsider to allow only Paul Kantner to use “Jefferson” and only for Paul Kantner’s personal solo projects.
Paul and everybody else had agreed that nobody else could ever use the “Jefferson” name for anything if it didn’t include both Grace and Paul. Then in 2007 Grace Slick sued Paul over the use of the Jefferson name without key band members and with the reduced quality of the newer musicians performing the original songs.
Years after Starship offically disbanded in 1991, Mickey Thomas’ various solo projects and tribute band lineups also started using “STARSHIP: featuring Mickey Thomas.”
This is obviously confusing the actual legacy of both original bands and all the music that they authored, recorded and performed. There seems to be more and more of these misleading products that often claim to be done by the original world-famous Jefferson Starship and Starship artists during the Craig Chaquico years. (1974-1990).
Paul Kantner (RIP) was the only one allowed to use the Jefferson name for his own various Paul Kantner post-hits “Jefferson” projects. Some of those various different line-ups with Paul are below:
Fans of the original music of Starship note that there is no Grace Slick or Marty Balin in any current line-ups either. Now touring is only one of the great former singers, with his own various cover-band musicians and singers without any of the other original STARSHIP hit singers or band members, who actually wrote and recorded the hits of the ’70s and the ’80s. Craig is the only person to actually perform on every original hit ever made by both the JEFFERSON STARSHIP and STARSHIP bands during the ’70s and the ’80s. Shop & Compare…
After brother Paul Kantner’s death in 2016 these performers are still using the “Jefferson Starship” name without him. They still perform, record, and sell Craig’s Jefferson Starship and Starship hits, logos, and merchandise around the world without any accounting to Craig, yet Craig is the only original founding member, hit songwriter, lead guitarist of both the Jefferson Starship and Starship who is actually featured on all the actual hits, records, tours, and videos.
Craig was the last original member to leave after never missing a show, recording session or rehearsal. This is the most recent 2017 version of a “Jefferson Starship” without Paul Kantner (1941-2016) performing Craig’s own hits including Find Your Way Back, Jane, Fast Buck Freddie, and other hits these individuals never played on like Craig did, including Sara, We Built This City, Nothings Gonna Stop Us Now, etc…
Kathy and David band perform Live in front of an original Jefferson Starship backdrop featuring one of Craig’s hit songs, Find Your Way Back.
After Craig’s guitar-riff heavy “Jane” was Mickey Thomas’ first huge Jefferson Starship hit on the platinum Freedom At Point Zero album, Jefferson Starship re-introduces GRACE SLICK on the platinum Modern Times album with another huge Craig Chaquico Classic Rock hit, “Find Your Way Back”, which was Grace’s first recording since the the cancelled show caused a riot in Germany.
“Hey China, what if I were to tell you that someday…” – craig
“Welcome to the 60s” – Grace Slick. In a galaxy a long tome ago and far far away..
CRAIG’S TRIBUTE TO CHUCK BERRY: “It was an honor to share the stage and the universe with Chuck Berry. (RIP) He made the world of rock ‘n’ roll what it is today and beyond. The NASA Voyager Interstellar Mission included a disc of music from Earth of which ‘Johnny B. Goode’ was Chuck Berry’s own musical greetings-and-salutations to other-worlders. As that cosmic message in a bottle continues on its journey now beyond our solar system toward galaxies far far away, maybe aliens will someday hear all that Earth music, art and information and trace it back to our third stone from the sun. No one is more surprised than I to also have one of my own songs ‘Just One World’ launched into space as part of the Space Arc Project which also included music from Earth. That communications satellite is in a permanent geosynchronous orbit right here for millions of years. So maybe someday the same ET’s who hear Chuck’s music on Voyager could trace it back to Earth and maybe they will hear my music on the orbiting Space Arc Project satellite along with all the other music, art and information from Earth. I can almost hear them making communications with our species from light-years away and saying, “…please send more Chuck Berry.”
It’s hard not to hear the “Chuck sound” in every rock ‘n’ roll guitar player, but the “chuck” sound is even in my own last name. — Craig Cha-KEE-so