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Grunt Records

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Grunt Records
Parent company Jefferson Airplane, Inc.
Founded 1971
Founder Jefferson Airplane
Distributor(s) RCA Records
Genre Rock
Psychedelic rock
Country of origin United States

Grunt Records is a vanity label founded in 1971 by Jefferson Airplane and distributed by RCA Records. Initially created to sign local Bay Area acts, the label later was used only for Jefferson Starship and Hot Tuna releases. The label ended use in 1987 after Grace Slick left Starship.

A vanity label is an informal name given sometimes to a record label founded as a wholly or partially owned subsidiary of another, larger and better established record label, where the subsidiary label is controlled by a successful recording artist, designed to allow this artist to release music by other artists they admire. The parent label handles the production and distribution and funding of the vanity label, but the album is usually released with the vanity label brand name prominent. Usually, the artist/head of the vanity label is signed to the parent label, and this artist's own recordings will be released under the vanity label's brand name. Creating a vanity label can be an attractive idea for the parent label primarily as a "perk" to keep a successful artist on the label's roster happy and a venue to bring fellow artists to the public's attention.

Jefferson Airplane American rock band

Jefferson Airplane was a rock band based in San Francisco, California that became one of the pioneering bands of psychedelic rock. Formed in 1965, the group defined the San Francisco Sound and was the first from the Bay Area to achieve international commercial success. They were headliners at the three most famous American rock festivals of the 1960s—Monterey (1967), Woodstock (1969) and Altamont (1969)—and the first Isle of Wight Festival (1968) in England. Their 1967 break-out album Surrealistic Pillow ranks on the short list of the most significant recordings of the Summer of Love. Two songs from that album, "Somebody to Love" and "White Rabbit", are among Rolling Stone's "500 Greatest Songs of All Time."

RCA Records is an American record label owned by Sony Music, a subsidiary of Sony Corporation of America. It is one of Sony Music's four flagship labels, alongside RCA's former long-time rival Columbia Records, Arista Records, and Epic Records. The label has released multiple genres of music, including pop, classical, rock, hip hop, electronic, R&B, blues, jazz, and country. Its name is derived from the initials of its defunct parent company, the Radio Corporation of America (RCA). It was fully acquired by Bertelsmann in 1986, making it a part of Bertelsmann Music Group (BMG); however, RCA Records became a part of Sony BMG Music Entertainment, a merger between BMG and Sony Music, in 2004, and was acquired by the latter in 2008, after the dissolution of Sony BMG and the restructuring of Sony Music. It is the second oldest record label in American history, after sister label Columbia Records.



Grunt Records was formed in 1970 when Jefferson Airplane renegotiated their contract with RCA Records. Initially, Paul Kantner, Grace Slick, Jorma Kaukonen, Jack Casady, and Bill Thompson were responsible for managing. The name was inspired by a working title for the Volunteers album, "Squat on My Grunt." [1] The first artists signed to the label were Jefferson Airplane, Hot Tuna, Peter Kaukonen, Jack Bonus, Papa John Creach, 1, and Richmond Talbott. [2]

Paul Kantner American musician

Paul Lorin Kantner was an American rock musician. He is best known as the co-founder, rhythm guitarist, and occasional vocalist of Jefferson Airplane, a leading psychedelic rock band of the counterculture era. He continued these roles as a member of Jefferson Starship, Jefferson Airplane's successor band.

Grace Slick American singer-songwriter and artist

Grace Barnett Wing Slick is an American singer-songwriter, musician, artist and former model, widely known in rock and roll history for her role in San Francisco's burgeoning psychedelic music scene in the mid-1960s. Her music career spanned four decades. She performed with The Great Society, Jefferson Airplane, Jefferson Starship and Starship. She also had a sporadic solo career. Slick provided vocals on a number of iconic songs, including "Somebody to Love," "White Rabbit," "We Built This City," and "Nothing's Gonna Stop Us Now."

Jorma Kaukonen American guitarist

Jorma Ludwik Kaukonen, Jr. is an American blues, folk, and rock guitarist. Kaukonen performed with Jefferson Airplane and still performs regularly on tour with Hot Tuna, which started as a side project with bassist Jack Casady, and as of early 2019 has continued for 50 years. Rolling Stone magazine ranked him #54 on its list of 100 Greatest Guitarists.

Thompson took over management of Grunt in 1973 and signed former Airplane drummer Joey Covington and Jack Traylor to the label. In 1974, RCA dropped all Grunt artists except for Jefferson Starship and Hot Tuna. Jorma Kaukonen signed to a solo deal with RCA in 1979, and Hot Tuna released Final Vinyl . Jefferson Starship and Starship used the label until Grace Slick left the band and joined Jefferson Airplane for a reunion tour and album on Epic Records.

Joey Covington American drummer

Joseph Edward Covington was an American drummer, best known for his involvements with Jefferson Airplane, Hot Tuna and Jefferson Starship.

<i>Final Vinyl</i> (Hot Tuna album) 1979 greatest hits album by Hot Tuna

Final Vinyl is a Hot Tuna compilation album. At the time the album was assembled, Jorma Kaukonen and Jack Casady had stopped performing together and were on to newer endeavours. Kaukonen recorded a solo album, Jorma, and Casady joined the band SVT. Kaukonen signed to RCA Records and Casady moved to 415 Records. This marked the end of Hot Tuna on the Jefferson Airplane owned Grunt Records, so a "final" compilation album was assembled. Kaukonen and Casady reunited to perform as Hot Tuna in 1983 and moved to the Relix Records label, where they released material until the late 1990s.

<i>Jefferson Airplane</i> (album) 1989 studio album by Jefferson Airplane

Jefferson Airplane is the eighth and final studio album by San Francisco rock band Jefferson Airplane, released on Epic Records in 1989. Marty Balin, Paul Kantner, Grace Slick, Jorma Kaukonen and Jack Casady all returned for the album and supporting tour, though Spencer Dryden did not participate. The album and accompanying tour would mark the last time Jefferson Airplane would perform together until their 1996 induction to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.


<i>Bark</i> (album) 1971 studio album by Jefferson Airplane

Bark is the sixth studio album by Jefferson Airplane. Released in 1971 as Grunt FTR-1001, the album is one of the Airplane's late-period works, notable for the group's first personnel changes since 1966. The album was the first without band founder Marty Balin and the first with violinist Papa John Creach. Drummer Spencer Dryden had been replaced by Joey Covington in early 1970 after a lengthy transitional period in which both musicians had performed with the band.

<i>Sunfighter</i> 1971 studio album by Paul Kantner and Grace Slick

Sunfighter is a 1971 album created by Paul Kantner and Grace Slick from Jefferson Airplane. The album was released shortly after the Airplane album Bark was released, and is the second record released on the Airplane's own Grunt vanity label, distributed by RCA Records. The album features a picture of their baby daughter, China Wing Kantner, on the cover. Many Bay Area musicians perform on the album, including members of the Grateful Dead, Crosby, Stills, and Nash, and the horn group, Tower of Power. This album is also the first time a 17-year old Craig Chaquico recorded with Paul Kantner and Grace Slick. He would go on to become the lead guitarist for Jefferson Starship.

<i>Papa John Creach</i> (album) 1971 studio album by Papa John Creach

Papa John Creach is Papa John Creach's first solo album. All the members of Jefferson Airplane also make appearances on the album along with members of the Grateful Dead, Quicksilver Messenger Service, Santana, and Tower of Power.


<i>Burgers</i> (album) 1972 studio album by Hot Tuna

Burgers is the third album by Hot Tuna, the folk rock offshoot of Jefferson Airplane members Jorma Kaukonen, Jack Casady, and Papa John Creach, released in 1972 as Grunt FTR-1004. It was the band's first studio album, the previous two being live recordings. "Water Song" and "Sunny Day Strut" are instrumentals composed for this album. Hot Tuna did not release the song as a single until June 1982. In 1996, RCA released the CD box set Hot Tuna in a Can which included a remastered version of this album, along with remasters of the albums Hot Tuna, First Pull Up, Then Pull Down, America's Choice and Hoppkorv.

Hot Tuna American blues-rock band, spin-off of Jefferson Airplane

Hot Tuna is an American blues band formed in 1969 by guitarist/vocalist Jorma Kaukonen and bassist Jack Casady. Although it has always been a fluid aggregation, with musicians coming and going over the years, the band's name has essentially become a metonym for Kaukonen and Casady's ongoing collaboration.

<i>Gold</i> (Jefferson Starship album) 1979 compilation album by Jefferson Starship

Gold is a compilation album by Jefferson Starship, released on Grunt Records in 1979. It collects the band's four Top 40 hit singles from the 1970s, as well as three additional singles that charted on the Billboard Hot 100, a single that missed the chart, one b-side, and one album track. All tracks were also featured on their four studio albums to date: Dragon Fly from 1974; Red Octopus from 1975; Spitfire from 1976; and Earth from 1978. It peaked at #20 on the Billboard 200, and has been certified a gold record by the RIAA.


  • FTR-1010 Gettin' Plenty by Richmond Talbott

Related Research Articles

Jefferson Starship American rock band

Jefferson Starship is an American rock band from San Francisco, California that evolved out of the group Jefferson Airplane following the departure of bassist Jack Casady and guitarist Jorma Kaukonen. The band went through several major changes in personnel and genres through the years while retaining the same Jefferson Starship name. The band name was retired in 1985, but it was picked up again in the early 1990s by a revival of the group led by Paul Kantner.

<i>Surrealistic Pillow</i> 1967 studio album by Jefferson Airplane

Surrealistic Pillow is the second studio album by American rock band Jefferson Airplane, released on February 1, 1967, by RCA Victor. It is the first album by the band with vocalist Grace Slick and drummer Spencer Dryden. The album peaked at number three on the Billboard album chart and has been certified Platinum by the RIAA.

<i>Long John Silver</i> (album) 1972 studio album by Jefferson Airplane

Long John Silver is the seventh studio album by Jefferson Airplane, and their last album of all new material until 1989. It was recorded and released in 1972 as Grunt FTR-1007.

<i>The Worst of Jefferson Airplane</i> 1970 greatest hits album by Jefferson Airplane

The Worst of Jefferson Airplane is the first compilation album from the rock band Jefferson Airplane, released in November 1970 as RCA Victor LSP-4459. The album features all of Jefferson Airplane's hit singles up to that point. It peaked at #12 on the Billboard 200 in 1971 and has since gone platinum.

<i>Flight Log</i> 1977 greatest hits album by Jefferson Airplane

Flight Log (1966–1976), released in January 1977 as a double-LP as Grunt CYL2-1255). It is a compilation of Jefferson Airplane and Airplane-related tracks, including tracks by Jefferson Starship and Hot Tuna, as well as solo tracks by Paul Kantner, Grace Slick, and Jorma Kaukonen. Although primarily a compilation album, the album includes one previously unreleased song: "Please Come Back" written by Ron Nagle and performed by Jefferson Starship. "Please Come Back" is not available on any other release.

<i>The Phosphorescent Rat</i> 1974 studio album by Hot Tuna

The Phosphorescent Rat is the fourth album by the blues rock group Hot Tuna, released in early 1974 as Grunt FTR-1010. This was the first Hot Tuna album recorded after guitarist Jorma Kaukonen and bass player Jack Casady had left Jefferson Airplane. They were joined as before by drummer Sammy Piazza, though Papa John Creach had left the band for Jefferson Starship. The band's playing was moving away from the softer, more acoustic sound of their first three albums, and towards a hard rock sound that would be explored on their next three albums.

<i>Last Flight</i> (album) 2007 live album by Jefferson Airplane

Last Flight is an authorized recording released in the United Kingdom, taken from the last live performance of the San Francisco rock group Jefferson Airplane prior to the band's dissolution in 1972. The concert was held at the Winterland Arena in San Francisco, and selected tracks were released on the 1973 album Thirty Seconds Over Winterland. Last Flight consists of the entire concert with the exception of the encore, Marty Balin's "You Wear Your Dresses Too Short", previously released on the Jefferson Airplane Loves You box-set. Balin sings lead vocals on "Volunteers" much to the surprise of the audience since he left the band in late 1970.

Mexico (Jefferson Airplane song) Jefferson Airplane song

"Mexico" is a single released in May 1970 by San Francisco rock band Jefferson Airplane, produced by the band at Pacific High Recording Studios with Phill Sawyer as the recording engineer. Written and sung by Grace Slick, it is a tuneful rant against then-President Richard Nixon and his anti-drug initiative, Operation Intercept, that he had implemented to curtail the flow of marijuana into the United States from Mexico. The song closes with an exhortation for the young to realize the power of their numbers, as shown by the gathering of "half a million people on the lawn" at Woodstock.

<i>Baron von Tollbooth & the Chrome Nun</i> 1973 studio album by Paul Kantner, Grace Slick and David Freiberg

Baron von Tollbooth & the Chrome Nun is a collaborative studio album by Jefferson Airplane members Paul Kantner, Grace Slick, and David Freiberg, released in May 1973.

<i>The Best of Hot Tuna</i> 1998 greatest hits album by Hot Tuna

The Best of Hot Tuna is a Hot Tuna compilation album released in 1998. It covers songs from all the Hot Tuna albums released on Grunt Records. Bill Thompson, former manager of Jefferson Airplane and Hot Tuna helped select the songs for inclusion. The artwork on the cover is a painting of Jorma Kaukonen and Jack Casady made by Grace Slick. The album was released as a double CD.

Peter Kaukonen is an American guitarist/multi-instrumentalist/songwriter based in the San Francisco Bay Area. He is the younger brother of Jorma Kaukonen from Jefferson Airplane and Hot Tuna. Peter Kaukonen has played, toured, and recorded with Jefferson Airplane, Jefferson Starship, Hot Tuna, Johnny Winter, Link Wray, Terry Allen, Ruthann Friedman, as well as his own band, Black Kangaroo.


  1. Article "Jefferson Airplane Today" from Rolling Stone Magazine #37 (July 12th, 1969)
  2. Tamarakin, Jeff (2003). Got a Revolution: The Turbulent Flight of Jefferson Airplane. Simon and Schuster. ISBN   0-671-03403-0.