In the last three months, guitarist and singer Kantner has hired another founder of JeffersonAirplane, Marty Balin, and other musicians to perform the band’s album “Volunteers,” workingunder the band name Jefferson Airplane Volunteers.

At least one female vocalist has been performing the parts of Grace Slick, the Jefferson Airplanesinger who belted out the band’s most famous line: “Feed your head,” in its 1967 acid-inspiredhit, “White Rabbit.”

“It is an extremely successful band and we’re trying to protect the name and it is just not right to have some girl singer singing Grace Slick songs. I’m sure she’s a very nice singer, but she is not Grace Slick,” said Bill Thompson, the Jefferson Airplane manager and a shareholder of Jefferson Airplane Inc., the band’s corporate name.

The new band gave shows in at least San Francisco, New York City and Mill Valley, according to documents filed with the suit. Kantner told the New York Post that the tour was “a random thought that took on a life of its own.”

In 1985, Kantner signed an agreement promising not to use the words “Jefferson” or “Airplane” for commercial ventures unless the other shareholders of Jefferson Airplane Inc. gave him permission. Kantner remains a shareholder of the company.

The federal lawsuit filed Thursday alleges that Kantner, his promoter and the new band are violating federal trademark law by using the name Jefferson Airplane. Thompson said Kantner was warned before the new band began performing.

The lawyer for Jefferson Airplane Inc. said he was hopeful. “I look at this as an internal band matter and hopefully it can be resolved quickly by way of settlement,” said Glendon W. Miskel.

Thompson said some band members and shareholders remain on good terms. Bassist JackCassidy has performed with Kantner. Slick and Kantner have a child together, although theynever married, and talk occasionally. Guitarist Jorma Kaukonen and Kantner are not close,Thompson said.

Jefferson Airplane’s other most popular song was “Somebody to Love,” released along with”White Rabbit” on the album Surrealistic Pillow. Volunteers was released in 1969.

The band later reincarnated as Jefferson Starship, then became simply Starship. It no longer performs as Jefferson Airplane and rarely as Jefferson Starship. Jefferson Airplane was inducted into the Rock ‘n’ Roll Hall of Fame in 1996.