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Check It Out Ink Lovers

March 8th, 2015 Jorma 25 comments

I can’t even remember when i got my first tattoo… late 60’s or very early 70’s. Tattooing was not yet the accepted art form it is today. The tattoo parlor I went to for my first ink, was over the Greyhound Bus station on Seventh street in San Francisco. Lyle Tuttle’s place it was. You walked up this dark flight of stairs the walls of which were covered with flash… the pictures you might choose from for your next tattoo. Back in those days, tattoos set you apart from non-inkers… and immediately gave you entre to brothers and sisters of the ink.

My first tattoo was a little Aztec stamp on my back. Over the years I have been tattooed by Lyle Tuttle, and shortly thereafter Pat Martynuik gave me my rose on my right arm. Lyle did another Mayan motif eagle on my left arm and shortly thereafter I met Ed Hardy. Ed Hardy surrounded my Tuttle eagle with a serpent and then did a magnificent back piece, both for my ex-wife Margareta, and myself. I was having my back done when Elvis died. Who could forget that? Bob Roberts inked a moon eyed skull for me about that time and also played some sax with Hot Tuna. I will always remember hanging out with the guys and gals down on Mission St. at Ed Hardy’s Tattoo City. What a world. You start getting tattoos and you inherit a bunch of new friends whether you like it or not. Cool!

So my lovely Vanessa (herself well inked) met this cool guy, Rich Thomas. Rich is a tattooist himself who makes and sells tattoo gear to the world out of his Bicknee Tattoo Supply Company in Bidwell, Ohio… down by Gallipolis. Rich has an unbelievable collection of valuable flash, ancient and modern. If you like skin art, you’re going to love this stuff. As a skin art fan, when I heard about Rich’s collection, I drove down to Bidwell to check it out for myself… incomparable. When I heard about his kickstarter program, I signed on. Check this out:

The Ohio Tattoo Museum is such a cool place and it’s essentially right in our back yard. Check out this great Kickstarter opportunity. It will help with the reincarnation of a successful gallery into an all-new, bigger location. By helping them thru Kickstarter, it will help create an entirely self-sufficient, patron-backed space that is not only visually stimulating, but also interactive. Another benefit to patron involvement is the opportunity and availability to share access to archival materials and information for patrons and for those conducting their own research.
There are no real risks in creating the new space. The museum already exists, in a smaller venue. This new space allows them to not only expand the visibility of their permanent collection, but to bring in new, ever-changing exhibits. Much appreciate anything you can do to help.

https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/441152673/the-ohio-tattoo-museum?ref=video

There’s some really cool video and some great stories and pictures.

It’s got me to thinking about getting some more ink… something really traditional is starting to get me fired up. Well, we’ll see and I’ll keep you posted. Until then… there’s two kinds of people in this world… people with tattoos… and the rest…

Good times!

Categories: Diary, Fur Peace Ranch, Thoughts Tags:

Not The Cover Of The Rolling Stone

March 2nd, 2015 Jorma 27 comments
Holey Moley

Holey Moley

Well… it’s not the cover… but after all these years, here I am!

Categories: Diary, Thoughts Tags:

Getting Ready To Get Ready

January 24th, 2015 Jorma 6 comments
Last night's snow...

Last night's snow...

So I’m getting ready to hit the road… of course it starts to snow. Temperature above freezing… it won’t stick. Hmmm… The temperature was above freezing, but the snow is sticking. Dig it.

Yeah... it's sticking all right!

Yeah... it's sticking all right!

We’ve got a Fur Peace Ranch On The Road at the Dana On Mission Bay and as much as I’ve enjoyed being home, it’s time to start punching the clock again. I use the term loosely.

Yep... morning, and the snow is still there.

Yep... morning, and the snow is still there.

When I got up this morning, I shoveled the decks around the house and ran the vehicles up and down the driveway. 4X4 all the way of course. Good luck getting to the house in two wheel drive. Maybe I’ll plow before I leave. Hmmm….

Yeah... I think I'll plow.

Yeah... I think I'll plow.

Trouble is… I love this time of year. I don’t like the mud and wintry mix much… but when we get real snow… I love it. So California is in the offing for a while. Do I look forward to going? Sure… Would I look forward to staying? Sure! Good times either way. Here’s what I’m looking forward to.

Hmmm... this actually looks pretty good.

Hmmm... this actually looks pretty good.

Hey… choices! How good does it have to get. OK. I’m going to plow. Someone else might actually want to get up and down the driveway. I’m guessing I wont have to plow in La Jolla.

Onward!

Duende And Thoughts Of Upcoming Dana Point

January 16th, 2015 Jorma 34 comments

We have two great weekends coming up at this year’s Fur Peace Ranch On The Road at Dana Point In San Diego. The first week will feature G.E. Smith which would be Feb. 2nd through 6th. The second weekend would be be Me (Jorma) with David Wolff, and Larry Campbell… Feb. 9th through 13th.

It’s been an interesting time to say the least. Recently a number of friends have passed… some my age, some quite young. These things tend to lead to reflection. I start to think about what is important to me in my life and in my art and at this point in time, it is the tell… the story. I love the guitar, the instrument, the music, but these are the setting for the story… the real jewel.

Feb. 02, through 06th, 2015, at Dana Point in San Diego, is a songwriting workshop and I have been rethinking my approach to a class that so far, has been quite successful. We’ll be dealing with melody for sure. What is a song without the song? That said, this time around I see some serious interactive discussions about message, motive and metaphor.

My method has always been to write from life. I need to write about things that are affecting me at the time of the writing. I have never really been able to put myself in someone else’s shoes and create an imaginary landscape from scratch. Hopefully we will be able to learn to discuss the writing process and the emotions that drive it in an un-self conscious way. The writer will be led to put words on paper and music in the air in a way that will leave a lasting memory in the listener.

For me, song writing has always been cathartic and as a goal, to be able to really say what you mean and have others actually understand it is worth striving for.

Having just put all the emphasis on lyrics in these previous paragraphs… I’m going to back track a little for this next class, the 9th through the 13th of February, 2015… also at Dana Point In San Diego. In this workshop we’ll be learning, yes, instrumentals. Mostly ones that I have written, but not limiting ourselves to that. Again, with or without words, a musical piece must take you on a journey that has a beginning and an end. This is not about technical flash although we hope the songs we have chosen will challenge an elevate the student. It is about taking one on a listening journey that will have them at the end of the song saying to themselves, ‘That was nice!’

Since I’ll be going out to San Diego in about a week, I find myself psyching up for the trip and the teaching experience…. And having said that…

From Apprenticeship Of The Mule
By
Charlie Mehrhoff
‘They hand you a pen and perhaps some small corner to make
your home. And if you discover the strength which carries one
past exhaustion, if you are blessed, perhaps someone will arrive
to look over your shoulder and read what you are doing,
what you have done.
And if you are of the word, and if you have the duende,
they’ll be standing there, reading, long after you have gone.’

Categories: Diary, Fur Peace Ranch, Thoughts Tags:

Time Marches On

January 15th, 2015 Jorma 12 comments

Well, because of all the events in our collective lives, I’ve been remiss on this update.

First of all, last Monday I drove down to Lexington, Kentucky and was a guest on Michael Johnathon’s Woodsongs Old Time Radio Hour. Lowell Levinger (aka’Banana’) was the other guest on the show… and we had a blast. Here’s my little set list:

Jorma Kaukonen 1, 2015
Michael Johnathan’s
Woodsong Old Time Radio Hour
Lexington, Kentucky
Monday, January 12, 2015

1. Nobody Knows You When You’re Down And Out
2. In My Dreams
3. Brother Can You Spare A Dime?
4. Ain’t In No Hurry

At the end of the hour, we all joined Lowell in a rousing version of Dino Valenti’s ‘Get Together.’ Good time had by all.

Then when I got home, Angie from Red House Records sent me this cool review by Bill Bentley from down Texas way.

Hey folks,

do ya’ll know Bill Bentley? Quite a guy – Texas, was a Warners for years, Neil young’s publicist for years, now at Vanguard but still a huge fans and writes about things he digs. He knew Roky erickson from the TX days (dig the 13th Floor Elevator reference:)
Went and reviewed Jorma already at the Morton Report please share!


Jorma Kaukonen, Ain’t In No Hurry. There’s no way a man who was the lead guitarist in Jefferson Airplane ever needs to be in a hurry. He’s done it, from pioneering early psychedelic music in the Haight-Ashbury to tearing down the walls with a revolutionary sound right up to Woodstock. He then continued to thrill with the duo Hot Tuna with Airplane bassist Jack Casady the past 45 years. Jorma Kaukonen has done it all, and it’s no surprise he’s turned his eyes and ears to the early folk music that first captivated him.
But there’s no way he’s going traditional, so whether he’s performing songs by Jimmy Cox, A.P. Carter, Woody Guthrie, Thomas A. Dorsey or touching new originals like the breathtaking “Seasons in the Field,” Kaukonen has a distinct ability to cast all his music in a shimmering glow, one likely learned on the edge of LSD waves but thankfully transferred to real life. There are very few musicians from the class of ’65 in San Francisco that still pull these dreambeams down from the sky and are able to put them into song. Jorma Kaukonen took the express bus to the 13th floor a long time ago, and through sheer spirit and hard work has stayed there. Producer Larry Campbell is the perfect choice to help him keep shining. Owsley-approved.

Not bad for openers…

Categories: Diary, Set Lists, Thoughts Tags:

Another Man Done Gone…

January 13th, 2015 Jorma 16 comments
Bill... in a younger time...

Bill... in a younger time...

Bill Thompson
RIP
Monday, January 12, 2015

I was driving to Lexington, Kentucky Monday morning for a gig, when I received a sad call. My old colleague, Bill Thompson, passed away this morning in California. At seventy four years of age, I have spent most of my life since my twenties on the road and in the beginning when Jefferson Airplane was starting to fly, our constant companion was Bill Thompson. He was with us when we started and wound up being our manager in the years before Jack and I left and the Airplane was retired to the hanger. Because of the way we did business back then, Bill was like a band member… his instrument were his phone, his desk and his voice. He was one of us.

As the years slid by, we lost Spencer and Joey to mortality… and now another one of us is gone. I remember that little sneer he would have when he laughed… that curling of the upper lip, accompanied by something utterly inappropriate.

My heart goes out to his surviving family… Bill was younger than I and that makes it much, much too soon. Here’s to those and those like us… damn few left.

Fair wind and following seas brother…

Jorma

Categories: Diary, Thoughts Tags:

Quick Note From The Winter Garden

January 10th, 2015 Jorma 14 comments

OK… there’s been some chatter about automobiles that have been a part of my life… I’ve loved them all… more or less. Here’s the only shot I could find of me in the ‘55 Chevy Bel Air:

Note Hurst shifter and dashboard tach...

Note Hurst shifter and dashboard tach...

Yeah, I know… California Marijuana Initiative… Live and learn. It was a very long time ago.

The driveway at Hillside Farm

The driveway at Hillside Farm

One degree this morning… snow… more than crunchy. Beautiful Winter morning!

The Abarth went to live with a new owner in Indiana, and I have returned to my favorite vehicle… a Jeep Wrangler!

Now... this is a car!

Now... this is a car!

Just can’t beat a Jeep for country living… and the pickup truck ain’t bad either!

Nessa takes the dog of destiny for a walk

Nessa takes the dog of destiny for a walk

On mornings like this, Maverick is quick to do his business… although the crunchy snow makes him mighty frisky. Hmmmm…. I smell breakfast cooking. Enough fooling around online…

Onward!

Categories: Diary, Thoughts Tags:

Four Wheelin’ In The Woods

December 28th, 2014 Jorma 9 comments
Picking a line into the creek

Picking a line into the creek

Foto by Myron Hart

Yesterday the girls went shopping in Columbus and Zach and Myron and I headed into the woods in Johnson Holler… me on my four wheeler and Myron and Zach in the Jeep. This was my first time in the Holler with my four wheeler, and it was a blast!

Zach and Myron

Zach and Myron

Good thing we had plenty of time, because it was big fun and we took a lot of time!

Checking out the beaver pond...

Checking out the beaver pond...

We checked out the very large beaver pond and made plans to go fishing in the Spring…

Blue heron nest

Blue heron nest

Well… what a day! I love visiting the ‘civilized’ parts of this great land of ours… but there’s nothing like the country!

Onward!

Categories: Diary, Thoughts Tags:

My Winter’s Tale 2014

December 18th, 2014 Jorma 13 comments

My Winter’s Tale
Jorma Kaukonen
Thursday, December 18, 2014

Sitting home for a bit over the holidays gives me a moment to reflect, and indeed take time to do a little writing. It is not yet winter here at Hillside Farm in Southeast Ohio… but the winter of life is beginning to swirl around me and the confluence of seasons and time leaves me in a thoughtful mood. I have just returned from an extremely fulfilling two week tour with Jack and my friends, Larry, Teresa, Barry and Justin and as the heady brouhaha of Jack’s fete at the Beacon in New York City fades into the past, I find myself at home with family where I belong.

Almost all of the journaling that I do when I am on the road tends to fall into the category of, ‘I was here… and we did such and such.’ Interesting for me to write about when nothing else is in my head, but I am always reminded that while music is a large part of who I am, it is by no means everything. Home here on the farm, I truly feel that my place in the universe is secure.

I had been corresponding with my old friend Gerry Henkel who lives up there in the far north in Duluth, Minnesota recently. I got to know Gerry a little bit in 1994 when my Dad and I went on a roots trip to his birthplace in Ironwood… in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. We flew out to Minneapolis and then started driving north. Past Duluth… across the Dick Bong bridge into Superior, Wisconsin. Dad told me about Dick Bong… America’s Ace Of Aces in WWII. With forty kills in his P-38 Lightning and a recipient of the Medal Of Honor, he was truly, quite a man. Upon his return to the States towards the end of the war, he is reputed to have flown his Lightning down the main street of Superior on a wing. Those were the days!

As Superior dwindled in my rear view mirror, we passed Hurley, Wisconsin and then over the border into Michigan and before I knew it, we were in Gogebic County and Ironwood, where Dad was born in a house on Garfield Street in 1910. To be able to be a silent observer over the landscape of my Father’s memories was an honor!

That said, my Father and I had a contentious relationship for most of our lives. This was just the way it was and I think in a way we grudgingly accepted that reality. Both of us were so fortunate that towards the end of his life he and I became friends. It is not always thus, but that’s how it was for us. Anyway, back in the early 90’s, some of his childhood friends were still alive and as I sat and listened to them talk, the flash of youth was still in their eyes. A lifetime had passed since Dad left the iron and copper country of the UP… but I could see that the ancient bond of friendship and shared experience transcended age and infirmity.

A lot happened on that trip… I saw the house where my father was born… the Old Finn Hall where he played mandolin… the Carnegie Library where he learned to speak English… the building where my late grandfather once had a tailor shop. Good times? Hard to say, but times nonetheless.

Driving back to Minneapolis, we stopped in Duluth which is where I met Gerry Henkel. Gerry was with the Finnish American Reporter at the time and Dad was really active in Finnish/American stuff. Gerry and I sort of became pals in early days of email and I kept in touch after I took Dad back to Mill Valley, California. My Father always loved to write, and I always looked forward to getting his little mini editorials. The notes he would send me were nothing compared to the deluge of philosophizing Gerry was treated to. Recently Gerry was cleaning out stuff he had saved for years (I can relate) and he came across emails that he and my Dad, Jorma Sr. had written back then. He had printed them all out… and when I came home from this last road trip they were waiting for me.

I looked at the dates… they were from the last year of my Father’s life. As I read and reread these bits of correspondence, I was transported back the early 90’s when Dad was still alive. The words brushed my face with memory, as soft as angel’s wings. He was there as big as life for a while… and then on that last page, he was gone. In those entries up to that final day, in spite of his strokes and TIA’s, his mind was vital and he was always thinking of things he was going to do. And then, at 0530, January 7, 1997… his work was done, and his dreams would always be dreams.

It is unfortunate that my children will never know this delightfully idiosyncratic man. The best I can do is to tell them stories. We still have pictures and letters from the old ones, Ida and Jaako… but I can’t read Finnish and no one is still alive I know who could tell us about the pictures… and that is how it goes.

What does this all mean? It was just a door opening for a moment on a bygone time… almost a dream of another life. I miss my Father. This never goes away… but at least he did not outlive his children. I do not know my brother at all. That is sad to say, but that’s just how it is. I hope he and his family are well. I just took Izze to her last piano lesson of 2014, Vanessa is shopping for dinner and my son Zach is coming to spend the holidays with us the evening of the 23rd… my birthday. Maverick, the big dog, is sleeping on the back porch and life is good on this chilly December evening.

As for Gerry, my friend… thanks for sending me those letters. I got to hear Dad’s voice again… many thanks. And for those who might wonder where Mom is in my house of memories, she fills the rooms with her light, but that is a story for another time.

And… that’s about it. I think I’ll have a cup of coffee.

Categories: Diary, Thoughts, trips and journeys Tags:

Looking Back On The First Three Electric Shows…

December 9th, 2014 Jorma 36 comments
The first gig at the State Theater in Ithaca...

The first gig at the State Theater in Ithaca...

After Jack and I finished up at the Highline Ballroom in good old Manhattan, we bopped up to Red Hook for some rehearsal with Larry Campbell, Teresa Williams, Barry Mitterhoff & Justin Guip. After that it was up to Ithaca and the State Theater.

Tuna onstage at the State

Tuna onstage at the State

Foto by Phil Jacobs

Here is our set list:

Hot Tuna 65, 2014
The Electric Sextet
Jorma Kaukonen, Jack Casady
Larry Campbell, Teresa Williams
Barry Mitterhoff & Justin Guip
State Theater
Ithaca, New York
December 5, 2014

1. True Religion
2. Hesitation Blues
3. Ode To Billy Dean
4. Can’t Get Satisfied
5. I See The Light
6. Children Of Zion
7. Wade In The Water
8. Bowlegged Woman
9. Bar Room Crystal Ball
10. Water Song
11. Deep Ellum
12. Sugaree
13. Funky # 7

A darned good first show, if I do say so myself… From Ithaca we took off to the great white north and Jay Peak up in Vermont by the Canadian border.

The view from my window up in Jay, Vermont

The view from my window up in Jay, Vermont

Yeah, it might have been cold outside… but it was smokin’ inside the Foeger Ballroom.

Hot Tuna 66, 2014
The Electric Sextet
Jorma Kaukonen, Jack Casady
Larry Campbell, Teresa Williams
Barry Mitterhoff & Justin Guip
Jay Peak, Foeger Ballroom
Jay, Vermont
Saturday, December 6, 2014

1. Search My heart
2. I See The Light
3. I Wish You Would
4. Rock Me Baby
5. Hesitation Blues
6. Children Of Zion
7. Wade In The Water
8. Bowlegged Woman
9. Bar Room Crystal Ball
10. Water Song
11. Big River
12. Sugaree
13. Hit Single #1
14. Funky #7
15. Encore: Keep Your Lamps Trimmed & Burning

Jay, Vermont... where did we park that bus?

Jay, Vermont... where did we park that bus?

Up at 0500 again and back on the road for that long drive south to Albany and the Egg.

Yow... another frigid morning

Yow... another frigid morning

This would be our last show with Donna The Buffalo… we loved sharing the bill with them and look forward to doing it again!

Hot Tuna 67, 2014
The Electric Sextet
Jorma Kaukonen, Jack Casady
Larry Campbell, Teresa Williams
Barry Mitterhoff & Justin Guip
The Egg
Albany, New York
December 7, 2014

1. True Religion
2. Mama Let Me Lay It On You
3. Ode To Billy Dean
4. Can’t Get Satisfied
5. Been So Long
6. Children Of Zion
7. Wade In The Water
8. Second Chances
9. White Rabbit
10. Mourning Interrupted
11. Deep Ellum
12. Bar Room Crystal Ball
13. Sugaree
14. Hit Single #1
15. Funky #7
16. Encore: Keep Your Lamps Trimmed & Burning

Albany, why not take... Albany

Albany, why not take... Albany

Foto by Phil Jacobs

We got to sleep in a little yesterday before the trek down to D.C. (Taxation without representation) and that was a blessing. Tomorrow we’ll be playing at the 6th & I Historic Synagogue in my hometown… Washington, D.C. Looking forward to this… and looking forward to a good pastrami sandwich too.

Sidebar editorial:

Since the term, ‘Covering a song,’ emerged, I have always had great distaste for it. I guess technically, if you didn’t write the song yourself, you’re ‘covering’ it. Does this mean that as an artist you cannot take responsibility and/or credit for performing an arrangement of a song you did not write yourself? Good question. As one who loves music steeped in historic authenticity I have never been shy about putting my versions out there… but I always give credit to the source and recommend heading up the river to the headwaters so you can grok the evolution of any piece. I have never considered myself either a ’singer/songwriter or a musical archivist. I just play songs I like, some of which I have written myself. What does this all mean? Probably not much. In a hundred years who’ll care anyway. I guess my struggle is to try to defy the convention in the music business that is much happier relegating everything to nicely defined categories. OK… I feel better now.

Nuff said… Onward!

Categories: Diary, Hot Tuna, Set Lists, Thoughts, Venues Tags: