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Starship featuring Mickey Thomas to hit Lakes Jam stage

Starship featuring Mickey Thomas will perform on the main stage at 6 p.m. June 28 at Brainerd International Raceway. Thomas is best known as the singer of Jefferson Starship and Starship from the late 70s to the 90s, sang hits such as “Sara,” “We Built This City” and “Nothing’s Gonna Stop Us Now.”

"Nothing's Gonna Stop ..." Starship featuring Mickey Thomas from performing at Lakes Jam next week.

Starship featuring Mickey Thomas will perform on the main stage at 6 p.m. June 28 at Brainerd International Raceway (BIR), located off Highway 371 north of Baxter.

Thomas, who is best known as the singer of Jefferson Starship and Starship from the late 70s to the 90s, sang hits such as "Sara," "We Built This City" and "Nothing's Gonna Stop Us Now."

Thomas formed a new touring band 'Starship featuring Mickey Thomas' after Starship disbanded in 1991.

"Shortly after Starship disbanded I had fans asking me when they'd get to see another Starship album or concert," Thomas said in a telephone interview at his home in California. "So I reformed the band and started touring again. To try to eliminate any confusion I changed the name of the band because I didn't want people to think of it as a tribute band and that I am actually in it."

Band members of Starship featuring Mickey Thomas include Thomas and Stephanie Calvert on vocals; Jeff Adams on bass and background vocals; John Roth on guitar and background vocals; Darrell Verdusco on drums; and Phil Bennett on keyboards and background vocals.

Thomas said the members are not all original members from Jefferson Starship and Starship, but the band members have a long history with Starship featuring Mickey Thomas.

Thomas said the band released "Loveless Fascination," this past September, their first album in about 20 years. Singles on the album include "Loveless Fascination," "It's Not The Same As Love," "Where Did We Go Wrong" and You Never Know."

"I wrestled with this project for a long time," said Thomas. "I tried different lyrics, styles ... and eventually I captured more of a 70s feel with the album. It's organic, and there's a real edge to it ... Once we focused on what we wanted to make it went by pretty fast."

Thomas said a lot of the songs on the album had a common theme: Love gone wrong and broken relationships.

"I didn't intend this (the theme)," Thomas said. "I needed to do one more (song) with a change in the tempo. 'Technicolor Black and White' was the last song I recorded on the album and it turned out to be in many ways our most popular song on the album."

Thomas said "Technicolor Black and White" is about all the things going on in today's media and how people are bombarded. The song doesn't focus on people's agendas or put a spin on things.

Thomas said his love of music began when he saw the Beatles perform in 1965.

"I came along during that special time when the Beatles were changing the world," said Thomas. "To see them perform live ... that changed everything for me and I knew I wanted to be involved in music."

Thomas, who was in high school then, gathered a few of his best friends and they started a band. He was 15. Thomas performed in bands in high school and college and in 1972 he got his first big break. Gideon Daniels, a gospel singer, asked Thomas to join him, who later introduced Thomas to the Elvin Bishop Band where he began providing background vocals and eventually became the lead in vocals. Thomas said while in the Elvin Bishop Band, he was asked to join Jefferson Starship in 1979.

Thomas said music has always come natural to him. Thomas said if there is a song playing in his head or he hears it in the background, he'll burst out the song wherever he is, including the supermarket.

"Sometimes I get funny looks," said Thomas.

"I love being on stage and after doing this for so long, you really appreciate it. My voice is as strong as it was and I can still hit the notes with confidence."

Thomas said about 30 years ago while on stage he sometimes would think about how he would rather be playing golf or going boating, but now, "There is no other place where I'd rather be than on stage," he said. "Back in those days it was a grind and it would wear you down. You would leave home for months and be out on the road and it was like you were living in a bubble. There was more pressure and it was more of a production."

Thomas said touring today is not as overwhelming as it once was.

"I can do three to four shows and then go home for a few days," he said. "Today it is a lot more about the music and we have some fun."

Brainerd fans will be in for a treat at Lakes Jam, as Thomas said, "I like the audience to be happy and satisfied. I will play songs they want to hear."

Thomas said Starship featuring Mickey Thomas will play popular songs from the Jefferson Starship days, as well as surprising the audience with "Fooled Around and Fell in Love," a song Thomas sang in 1976 with the Elvin Bishop Band.

"People didn't know I sang this song," Thomas said. "It was a big hit for us then ... People still say they got married to this song. It also appeared in seven to eight movies."

Thomas said it was too bad that the band can't stay in Brainerd to enjoy the area. The band is performing the day before in Wilkes-Barre, Pa., and the day after in Wichita, Kan.