David Freiberg

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
David Freiberg
David Freiberg 1976.jpg
Freiberg as a member of Jefferson Starship in 1976.
Background information
Birth name David Freiberg
Born (1938-08-24) August 24, 1938 (age 78)
Cincinnati, Ohio, USA
Genres Psychedelic rock, folk, progressive rock, acid rock
  • Bass guitar
  • vocals
  • keyboards
  • guitar
Years active 1960s–present
Associated acts Quicksilver Messenger Service
Jefferson Airplane
Jefferson Starship

David Freiberg (born August 24, 1938) is an American musician. He has contributed vocals, keyboards, bass guitar, guitar, viola and percussion to Quicksilver Messenger Service, Jefferson Airplane and Jefferson Starship.[1]


Classically trained in violin and viola, Freiberg began his career as a moonlighting coffee house folk musician while working for the railroad.[2] For a while he shared a house in Venice, California, with other future folk-rockers David Crosby and Paul Kantner.[3] In the mid-1960s, Freiberg founded Quicksilver Messenger Service with John Cipollina.[4]

Shortly after completing a prison sentence for marijuana possession in 1972, Freiberg joined Jefferson Airplane at the behest of Kantner, replacing Marty Balin for the tour that promoted their final studio album (Long John Silver). He subsequently appeared on Thirty Seconds Over Winterland (1973), a live album culled from the tour. After a long interregnum that forced Freiberg to draw unemployment for several months, the remnants of the band eventually evolved into Jefferson Starship in early 1974. He remained with this group until 1984, departing shortly after the formation of Starship due to creative differences over "We Built This City" with Grace Slick (who, according to longtime manager Bill Thompson, considered Freiberg to be "dead weight") and the atypically outsized role of producer Peter Wolf; during this period, Wolf had effectively superseded Freiberg as the band's principal keyboardist in the studio and select live performances.[5][6][7]

Although Freiberg and fellow multi-instrumentalist Pete Sears (who generally played bass) frequently alternated on both instruments throughout their respective tenures in the group, Ben Fong-Torres noted in a 1978 profile of the group that "Freiberg considers himself primarily a bass player."[8] He elaborated upon this distinction in a 1997 interview with John Barthel: "I am not really a keyboard player. I use it for input to a computer now, and stuff like that, but it never was my instrument. I just did it for writing songs because it is a musical typewriter, basically, that is what it is."[9]

Never a prolific songwriter and characterized by Fong-Torres as "essentially a back-up musician"[10] in Jefferson Starship, Freiberg notably served as the primary composer of "Jane," a #14 hit for the group in 1979 at a crucial juncture immediately following the departures of Slick and Balin and the integration of Mickey Thomas. It has since been prominently showcased in the 2009 video game Grand Theft Auto IV: The Lost and Damned and as the opening theme of the Wet Hot American Summer franchise. He also developed the "distinctive" organ riff of Balin's "Miracles," the group's most successful single.[11]

After a two-decade hiatus, Freiberg rejoined Kantner (mending a rift stemming from Freiberg's initial refusal to leave Jefferson Starship with him in 1984) in Jefferson Starship: The Next Generation for their 2005 tour,[7] which was billed as "The Jefferson Family Galactic Reunion",[12] and as of 2010 has officially rejoined the group and appears on the 2008 release Jefferson's Tree of Liberty which is the first Jefferson Starship release to feature Freiberg since 1984's Nuclear Furniture.

Freiberg is married to the singer Linda Imperial and resides in Marin County, California where he has built a recording studio,[2] and is a practicing Soka Gakkai Buddhist. Orpheus creator Bruce Arnold has been quoted as saying "He has developed a wonderful way of recording my acoustic guitar and has a $100,000 voice mike that will make anyone sound good."

Once described as "the nicest guy in the San Francisco music scene," Freiberg holds the singular distinction of having been associated with more of the original San Francisco bands than any individual, boasting membership in Quicksilver Messenger Service (1966-1971; 1975), Jefferson Airplane (albeit only for a few months in 1972), and Jefferson Starship (1974-1984). He also maintained equally strong connections to the Grateful Dead; in addition to playing on their intramural baseball team, Freiberg frequently collaborated and performed with Robert Hunter and Mickey Hart. Notably, he was the only member of Quicksilver Messenger Service to participate in the majority of the Planet Earth Rock and Roll Orchestra records (a series of solo albums and unreleased recordings by Crosby, Kantner and others that drew upon much of the era's Bay Area-based talent) and briefly provided uncredited accompaniment for Ace of Cups, a groundbreaking all-female San Francisco band.


with Quicksilver Messenger Service[edit]

with Paul Kantner and/or Grace Slick[edit]

with Jefferson Airplane & Jefferson Starship[edit]

with Mickey Hart[edit]

with Robert Hunter[edit]

with Ned Lagin[edit]

with Jack Traylor & Steelwind[edit]

  • Child of Nature (1973)


  1. ^ Fenton, Craig. Have You Seen the Stars Tonite: The Jefferson Starship Flight Manual 1974-1978 & J.S. The Next Generation 1992-2007 (2008) (ISBN 978-1438245348)
  2. ^ a b Paul Liberatore (November 16, 2007). "David Freiberg is Marin's stealth rocker". Marin Independent Journal. Retrieved January 22, 2010. ("... Marin's most unrecognized rock star. ... Now a youthful-looking 69 ....He's been married for 17 years to singer Linda Imperial")
  3. ^ Zimmer, Dave & Diltz, Henry. Crosby, Stills & Nash: The Biography p. 23 (2008)(ISBN 978-0306816154)
  4. ^ "John Cipollina; Founder, Mainstay of Rock Group Quicksilver Messenger Service". Los Angeles Times. June 2, 1989. Retrieved January 22, 2010. ("...which he formed with guitarist Gary Duncan and bassist David Freiberg in 1965, he continued to perform.")
  5. ^ https://books.google.com/books?id=TKyYNB0pGIoC&printsec=frontcover&dq=got+a+revolution&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwi77dm-r5_PAhXGFz4KHZzoByUQ6AEIHDAA#v=snippet&q=dead%20weight&f=false
  6. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2012-02-22. Retrieved 2011-10-13. 
  7. ^ a b Jim Staats (September 28, 2006). "Starship ready to blast off Saturday at Novato concert". Marin Independent Journal. Retrieved January 22, 2010. ("Freiberg joined the last Jefferson Airplane tour in 1972 and became an original member of Jefferson Starship in 1974.")
  8. ^ http://www.rollingstone.com/music/features/strange-times-at-the-launching-pad-19780518
  9. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2012-02-22. Retrieved 2011-10-13. 
  10. ^ http://www.rollingstone.com/music/features/strange-times-at-the-launching-pad-19780518
  11. ^ https://books.google.com/books?id=TKyYNB0pGIoC&printsec=frontcover&dq=got+a+revolution&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwi77dm-r5_PAhXGFz4KHZzoByUQ6AEIHDAA#v=onepage&q=organ%20riff&f=false
  12. ^ "Jefferson Starship soars to 'Galactic Reunion". Observer-Reporter. February 17, 2006. Retrieved January 22, 2010. ("rejoining, actually, after a two-decade hiatus - is David Freiberg, who put in a decade with the band...")