Jefferson Starship, “Find Your Way Back” from Modern Times (1981): One Track Mind

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Released this week in 1981 as part of Modern Times, “Find Your Way Back” represents the zenith of the heavier-rocking period between the Marty Balin-era Jefferson Starship and the subsequent pop-focused Starship — with composer Craig Chaquico’s electric front and center.

Chaquico, like Paul Kantner and the returning Grace Slick, had been part of Jefferson Starship since its early-1970s formation. They were known quantities. The question remained, in just their second album-length collaboration, how new frontman Mickey Thomas would cope with this edgier sound.

Remember, he’d joined Jefferson Starship after rising to fame in blues and soul circles, notably voicing the Elvin Bishop favorite “Fooled Around and Fell in Love.”

“I didn’t know if it would work,” Micky Thomas admits, in an exclusive Something Else! Sitdown. “But I was flattered to get the call, and I at least owed them the courtesy of going over there and seeing what’s up. [Laughs.] We had several meetings, and couple of jam sessions. I was still rather hesitant. A few months went by, really. Finally, I thought: ‘As crazy as this is, and as unlikely as it would be that this would work, there’s something there.’ Where they were coming from, and where I was then, it was a meeting of styles that created something original.”

It did. “Find Your Way Back” would become a No. 3 hit on the newly minted Billboard Mainstream Rock charts, and stuck with Chaquico long after his turn-of-the-1990s departure from the group. In fact, the guitarist would give the song a complete deconstruction on his celebrated sophomore solo release — helping Acoustic Planet to a Grammy nomination for best new age album in 1995.

“It was a chance for me to try some different textures — acoustic guitars and acoustic pianos, all of these organic instruments, rather than a big rock production,” Craig Chaquico tells us, in a separate Something Else! Sitdown. “I was still proud of that, but this was something new and interesting. I figured I wrote it, I could redo it, right? To do it without vocals was a departure, too. I enjoy that kind of thing, doing covers and putting a different spin on them.”

Over the years, Chaquico has continued to fiddle with this signature Jefferson Starship original, ultimately combining both versions into a dramatic closing moment on stage.

“We can actually do the record the way that I did it on my solo record to start it off,” he adds. “and then by the end of the song, we bring up our wonderful singer Rolf Hartley, and we go into the Starship version of it. It’s kind of neat to do a combination of the two of them, and that’s become our grand finale. Everybody takes a solo, and it becomes like a three-ring circus. That song has really seen a lot of changes over the years from when it was first written around a campfire.”

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