image1972. Pete Sears takes John Cipollina for a flight.

Top. Pete Sears pre-flighting the aircraft at Nutree Airport. Photo taken by John Cipollina.

Bottom: John Cipollina stands in front of the Cherokee before flying back to Gnoss Field in Novato with Pete. Photo by Pete Sears.

1972. I fly my old “Copperhead” band-mate John Cipollina to Nutree airport for lunch. That’s me in the black shirt on top, and John’s in the bottom photo. I had only recently passed my FAA check-ride for my pilot’s license and was taking various friends up for a ride. I took John up a few times, as I did with Mark (Trader Mark) Unobsky and Wally Messmore, Jim McPherson (Copperhead) and quite a few other brave souls.
John and I did a bombing run on a field of sheep while John chucked a cheese sandwich out the small cockpit side window. No sheep were hurt, but much fun was had.
I snapped a shot of John, and John took one of me doing my pre-flight check at Nutree.
I later took my friend and soon to be wife Jeannette (married 1975 after I joined Jefferson Starship in 1974) to lunch in the same Cherokee aircraft…we had been writing songs together.
Jeannette later became my writing partner for Jefferson Starship after Grace (Who I wrote with during the 1970’s) left the band for one album (Freedom at Point Zero) in 1980. As the decade wore on, my writing with Jeannette began to reflect our work with Central American refugees from the raging Civil wars of Guatemala and El Salvador. The band (after Paul Kantner left) and producer Peter Wolf (not the singer) decided to only use songs for potential AM radio hit singles.
I finally left the band in 1987 and dove back into playing the blues with people like “Nick Gravenites”.
I also produced a human rights and environmental album with many guests including Jerry Garcia, Micky Hart, David Grisman, Mimi Farina and Baba Olatunji. I wrote the music and Jeannette most of the lyrics…it was released on Redwood Records and later on Grateful Dead Records at Jerry’s suggestion. I also produced a human rights video about Guatemala through a non-profit video production company Jeannette and I formed with Mary MCue, Ray Telles and Mark Adler. It was under the non-profit umbrella of David Brower’s “Earth Island Institute”, and was funded by Jerry Garcia and the Rex Foundation, Tides and local fundraisers held in people’s houses. Performers joining me included Mimi Farina, Maria Muldaur, and Roy Rogers. Author of “Witness To War…A Doctor in El Salvador” Charlie Clements spoke about human rights. Hundreds of free copies were distributed to human rights organizations, including Amnesty International.