I was watching a "documentary" last night on the Jefferson Airplane, and Grace Slick said something shaving related that I had never heard before. She said that their drummer at the time, Spencer Dryden, who was older than any other member and who turned 30 around the time of the song (as reflected in the lyrics) shaved with a straight razor using shaving soap and a brush, and so she nicknamed him "Lather."
Interestingly, the documentary did not seem to mention that Slick and Dryden were together (whatever that meant for them in the late 60s) for two years, ending sometime in 1969. So "Lather" would have likely been written and was certainly released when they were together. As I recall, she was romantically linked with most, if not all of the band members from the earlier days at one time or other, except, famously, Marty Balin, with whom she had amazing stage chemistry. But two years was probably the longest relationship, except with Paul Kanter.
Jack Casady said on screen that "Lather" was about a mixture of him, JC, and Paul Kanter, as he understood it, but "you would have to ask Grace about it." Seems like an odd thing to say.
In my estimation, the Airplane ended with Dryden's either quiting or being fired in 1970, post Altamount, although one could argue that Balin's leaving a year or so later had the bigger impact. The show I was watching had members of the band saying everyone in the band had wanted a more dynamic, "powerful" drummer, including Jack Casady who said, "we each, of course, had seen Ginger Baker by that time." Well, I guess they had! Fresh Cream came out in 1966 and Cream broke up as of November 1968. Blind Faith was dissolved by the end of 1969. Heck, if the Airplane had wanted a drummer like the one with Ginger Baker's Airforce, they probably could have had the actual guy in 1970.
And, to me Casady, and certainly the Airplane, or any of its offspring, never played as well with another drummer as with Dryden. An underrated and under-appreciated player, to me. Or before for that matter! As a drummer, Skip Spence was a great guitar player and song writer!
Grace also said it had been physically hard for Dryden to play three and four hour long shows, such as they were playing. But other sources indicate that Dryden had never been a day at the beach to work with, and everyone was sick of him personally and he of them at the time he either quit or was fired, he being unwilling to even show the new drummer Joey Covington, the ropes.
Of course, the members of the Airplane were known for not liking each other.