Starship lands at Gibbston Valley
Starship frontman Mickey Thomas is taking his time travelling New Zealand before performing to an estimated crowd of 15,000 in Gibbston at the weekend.
Starship have gone through several incarnations and offshoots since the original lineup of Jefferson Airplane in the 1960s with its psychedelic rock and Grace Slick's distinctive vocals.
Jefferson Airplane members formed Jefferson Starship in the 1970s then Mickey Thomas split to form Starship, a group that became known for rock hits in the 80s and 90s while the Jefferson group retained the original psychedelic leanings.
Thomas, born in Georgia in the US in 1949, has lived and breathed music since 1960s and credits inspiration for embarking on a career in music to a live show by The Beatles in 1965.
He joined Jefferson Starship in 1979 before line-up changes and personality differences led to it disbanding and Starship featuring Mickey Thomas was formed in 1992.
Thomas said he was looking forward to the group's first New Zealand tour.
''It's been great, the people are just awesome, very friendly and very helpful. All the Americans said we're going to love it.''
Thomas credits his musical upbringing in part to growing up during the 1960s in the era of classic rock.
''I am one of those people who was lucky to be born at the right time. I was 14 when The Beatles invaded the States.
''I got Beatlemania, saw them perform live in 1965. That was my catalyst. There were so many other great bands that came along, The [Rolling] Stones, [The] Animals. That whole genre, I was influenced by all of them.''
Starship with Mickey Thomas are perhaps best known for their hits in the 1980s and 1990s, songs such as Jane, We Built This City and Nothing Gonna Stop Us Now, an Oscar nominated hit from the 1987 bodyswap movie Mannequin.
Thomas said fans were assured the group was planning to blast out the hits and round out set lists with material from the group's new album Loveless Fascination.