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Note From Pontoon Beach, Illinois And Thanks To Izze For The Troop Bound Cookies

February 25th, 2014 Jorma 8 comments

This morning Jack, Barry and Phil all flew to their respective homes while Myron and Chris and I drove the bus over a thousand miles today. Tomorrow a wake up an six or seven hundred some miles and I’ll be home. After two months on the road… I am really… really looking forward to it! After I’ve been home for a day or so, I’m going to write a wrap up. Keep tuned.

Now note from our lovely daughter Izze and sincere thanks for all of you who helped with her mission to send Girl Scout Cookies to our service men and women.

A girl, a pickup truck and cookies!

A girl, a pickup truck and cookies!

‘A huge thank you to everyone who bought Girl Scout Cookies for my Cookie campaign for the troops. I sold 1001 boxes and my mom and I packaged up the first installment that are going to an Army Platoon Afghanistan. The rest are being divided for the USO lounges at a few specific airports, Walter Reed Hospital and another veteran hospital in Chilicothe, Ohio. I couldn’t have done this without the help of my Dad and so many of his fans and friends. Thank you everyone!!!!!!!!

Gratefully yours,

Izze Love Kaukonen’

That’s my girl… well done sweetie… well done!!!!!

Categories: Diary, Thoughts, trips and journeys Tags:

Fur Peace Wrap Up, On To L.A. and McCabe’s + A Comment

February 8th, 2014 Jorma 18 comments

The two weeks at the Dana On Mission Bay was sure a nice interlude after the month long Leon Russell/Hot Tuna tour. We’ll be back with Leon later in the year with Hot Tuna in it’s electric configuration. Whooo boy. Anyway, two weeks for Fur Peace Ranch On The Road in San Diego was real nice to say the least. Since Vanessa is home schooling Izze, the girls were there too. Good times, for real!

So now I’m in L.A. and tonight and tomorrow night Hot Tuna will be making its presence known for the first time for two days and four shows at the wonderful McCabe’s Music Store. I’ve done many Jorma incarnations at McCabe’s, but this will be the first time that Jack Casady will be officially on board. We look forward to this!.

OK… now for my comment. We were all saddened to see that Philip Seymour Hoffman did not live long enough to have that lasting moment of clarity and that he succumbed to his disease. My heart goes out to his surviving family. Not much more can be said about that.

As a person in recovery myself, the nature of his struggle is not foreign to me… and those like me. ‘One of us,’ as we might say in my home group. A dear friend who is indeed, ‘One of us,’ sent me this quote which mirrors my thoughts on the subject, but says it so much more eloquently than I would have.

“Philip Seymour Hoffman did not die from an overdose of heroin — he died from heroin. We should stop implying that if he’d just taken the proper amount then everything would have been fine. He didn’t die because he was partying too hard or because he was depressed — he died because he was an addict on a day of the week with a ‘y’ in it.” —

Earth people, (those who are not alcoholics or addicts) do not get this, and why should they? Unless you or a family member suffers from the disease, there’s no way you can really understand. There’s no real point to my quoting this here except it just says it all for me. I was at Founders Day in Akron a couple of years ago and at the Motorcade run for Dr. Bob’s grave the gal riding in front me had a T-shirt that read:

‘Alcoholism and Addiction. Takes no prisoners. Destroys all in its path!’

Of course there are options available to people who want to recover. They are all programs for people who want them, not people who need them. It is sad that for Phillip Seymour Hoffman and so many like him, his first step was his last. I do thank him for helping to keep me sober another day.

Cautionary note:
As we say, I do not regret the past or shut the door on it, ( see Promise 3) I make no secret of who I am and where I have been. This, however, is not a venue for a discussion about recovery. If you want to have this discussion… I’ll see you at a meeting. As we all say ad nauseum these days, ‘Just sayin’!’

Have a great 24 and I’ll be back with some words about tonight’s McCabe’s show by tomorrow morning.

‘Well, if I was an angel I could fly over Jordan
And I wouldn’t need no Greyhound to save my soul
But maybe that’s a good thing ’cause I’ll be home before I know
And if I was an angel I’d have a long way to go’

Matraca Berg

Categories: Diary, Fur Peace Ranch, Hot Tuna, Thoughts, Venues Tags:

Monday At FPR On The Road In San Diego

February 3rd, 2014 Jorma 22 comments

Well, yesterday Izze, Vanessa, John Hurlbut and I drove over the mountain to the Mt. Soledad Veterans Memorial which is on the way from Mission Bay to La Jolla.

Looking back on the road up to Mt. Soledad

Looking back on the road up to Mt. Soledad

I had never been up here before and of course I was touched by the pictures of all the brave souls who have answered their country’s call to arms.

The girls at the foot of the giant cross

The girls at the foot of the giant cross

My Dad, Jorma and his two brothers Tarmo, and Pentti were all WWII vets and they are all buried up in Los Angeles. We’re going to buy a plaque for them and put their pictures here with all their other brothers and sisters!

Surrounded by honor and beauty!

Surrounded by honor and beauty!

This is indeed a special place!

From the foot of the cross looking skyward

From the foot of the cross looking skyward

Then came the Superbowl and since I didn’t have a dog in that fight I can only say how much I enjoyed Bruno Mars. Now my daughter and wife have been fans of his for some time, and I have heard the music and liked it. After I saw him at halftime, I really got it! Good Stuff!

Today we wanted to get a good old burger. John’s niece, Sarah, who lives here recommend Crazee Burger in Old Town. We went, and it was absolutely delicious. I recommend it highly.

Crazee Burger, Old Town

Crazee Burger, Old Town

After that yummy lunch it was back to the hotel to welcome the Fur Peace Ranchers. Before Vanessa and Izze were supposed to go to the lobby they decided to take a little voyage in their yacht.

Better than Gilligan's Island

Better than Gilligan's Island

Good times… more will be revealed…

A Lovely Friday On The Coast

February 1st, 2014 Jorma 21 comments

The first week of the Fur Peace Ranch here in San Diego was really wonderful. Stefan Grossman was stellar as always, and I wasn’t too bad myself. The news from home in Southeast Ohio was that a heat wave had come in. It was almost thirty degrees.

Oh boy…

Here in San Diego after campers headed home to their corner of the world Vanessa, Izze, John Hurlbut and I headed up to Encinitas to the beautiful seat of the Self Realization Fellowship which was founded by the Parahamansa Yogananda back in the 20’s.

Just a taste of the garden

Just a taste of the garden

It was peaceful to be in that beautiful setting with family!

Nice spot for a picture

Nice spot for a picture

One is encouraged not to speak in the meditation gardens… but there are many things to take you mind away from self.

What's not to like about Koi?

What's not to like about Koi?

After some time at the center, we walked down to Swami Beach. West Coast beaches have a quality all their own… a sort of a dark wild sensibility…

South coast the wild coast is lonely

South coast the wild coast is lonely

Mother and daughter looking to the Orient

Mother and daughter looking to the Orient

You stand at the edge of the Pacific and know that the next stop is Hawaii if you’re lucky and the Far East after that.

Come hither... or stay away?

Come hither... or stay away?

East Coast beaches never look like this… but they’re warmer.

Free at the Ocean's edge

Free at the Ocean's edge

A kid at the beach is like a wild mustang running free. I actually have a memory of that…

A wonderful way to spend the day… that’s for sure!

Last Day For Girl Scout Cookies

January 30th, 2014 Jorma 9 comments
Back to the Post Office

Back to the Post Office

Foto by Vanessa Kaukonen

Listen up y’all. First of all I would like to thank everyone who has already come through for Izze’s Cookies For The Troops Campaign. That said, as a doting father it is my sworn duty to put in one last plug for her drive. Today is the last day of the drive and she is still a little short of her goal… although between you and me, thanks to you all, she will be sending a more than a respectable number of boxes to our brave men and women serving in our Armed Forces. The drive will be over at nine PM Eastern Time and six PM West Coast time. I’m reprinting her original entry her:

A message from Izze………Hi everyone……As you will see in the iMovie my mom helped me make, it’s Girl Scout Cookie season and I have decided to do something a little different. It is my wish to have all of my orders for Girl Scout cookies go directly to the troops. If you are interested in helping me with this campaign there is no need to choose specific cookies. For instance, thin mints cannot be sent overseas, so we choose a very nice selection of everything else to send, then we will donate them to the troops who are serving in all branches of the Armed Forces. You can send your orders via email and the check (made out to Black Diamond Girl Scout Troop 1328 ) to me at the Ranch…..c/o Vanessa Kaukonen, Fur Peace Ranch, Inc., 39495 St Clair Rd., Pomeroy, Ohio 45769. Cookies are $4 per box….so hopefully you are smarter than a third grader and you add it correctly. The deadline for the orders and the money is January 30th. Please email Vanessa at fpman@earthlink.net to let her know if you will be sending anything so you can be included in today’s final count. Thank you all so much!!!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gejud3MjcBw&feature=youtu.be

As we all know, if you don’t advertise, something terrible happens… NOTHING… so we’re advertising. Thanks for giving us a listen and a read…

We love you!

Onward

Categories: Diary, Thoughts Tags:

Another Man Done Gone…

January 29th, 2014 Jorma 26 comments

And what a man he was!

Pete Seeger and myself at Clearwater, 2011

Pete Seeger and myself at Clearwater, 2011

Foto by Phil Jacobs

Pete Seeger passed away yesterday evening at 94. I just linked the New York Times article that pretty much tells his story so I don’t need to list his accomplishments here myself. That said, he was a great man and a noble human being. Pete figures in my story as a musician and an artist. In the early fifties, my Dad took me to see Pete at either Constitution Hall or Lisner Auditorium, I forget which. I think Sonny Terry and Brownie McGee might have been on the bill too, but it was a long time ago and I’m not going to bet the farm on it. In any case, did his thing. He Played banjo, six string guitar, 12 string guitar… he sang… he told stories.

I was mesmerized.

At that age, I was unaware of his forthright bravery and honesty in the face of political oppression. I just knew I loved what he did! I was lost in the amazing world of plucked notes and songs. Now I don’t think I was even playing the guitar yet… or if I was my skills were not even nascent. I knew that I had to meet the man. Against his will, my Dad took me backstage. Pete shook my hand… he let me touch his finger picks and his guitar. I felt as if the hand of G_d had just been run through my hair… it was that much of a blessing.

Years later I was on a benefit show at the old Lone Star in downtown Manhattan. I told Pete about our little meeting so long ago. he was gracious but nowhere near as excited about the intersection as I was. That’s OK… I got it and the honor was mine to be able to tell him how much he meant to me.

In 1996 when Jefferson Airplane was inducted into the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame Pete Seeger was one of our co-inductees. It was a highlight that I will remember all of my life that i was among those able to play Goodnight Irene on stage with him.

He was one of those larger than life figures to me that seemed like he would live forever. Of course this is not to be for any of us. Pete now belongs to the ages and he and Toshi will be dwelling on another mountaintop. Rest in peace brother and sister… rest in peace. May your guitar always be sweetly in tune and always at hand. May your song always be strong… Rest in peace…

Fair winds and following seas…

Categories: Diary, Thoughts Tags:

Girl Scout Cookie Time… Listen Up!

January 17th, 2014 Jorma 25 comments

Here’s a message from my lovely daughter, Israel Love. Help her meet her goal of 1000 boxes.

Taking cookies to the Post Office

Taking cookies to the Post Office

A message from Izze………Hi everyone……As you will see in the iMovie my mom helped me make, it’s Girl Scout Cookie season and I have decided to do something a little different. It is my wish to have all of my orders for Girl Scout cookies go directly to the troops. If you are interested in helping me with this campaign there is no need to choose specific cookies. For instance, thin mints cannot be sent overseas, so we choose a very nice selection of everything else to send, then we will donate them to the troops who are serving in all branches of the Armed Forces. You can send your orders via email and the check (made out to Black Diamond Girl Scout Troop 1328 ) to me at the Ranch…..c/o Vanessa Kaukonen, Fur Peace Ranch, Inc., 39495 St Clair Rd., Pomeroy, Ohio 45769. Cookies are $4 per box….so hopefully you are smarter than a third grader and you add it correctly. The deadline for the orders and the money is January 27th. Thank you all so much!!!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gejud3MjcBw&feature=youtu.be

OK… Jorma here again. Get on board folks… it’s a good cause.

Many thanks from us to you!

PS Important postscript. Email Vanessa directly at fpman@earthlink.net. She will be able to answer all your questions directly. She just told me she hasn’t gotten any emails yet so saddle up folks. We love you guys for helping out!

jk

Categories: Diary, Thoughts Tags:

Keswick Post… Leon & Tuna

January 11th, 2014 Jorma 39 comments

OK… before I get to the show from the Keswick last night… I just wanted to respond to Ginny. First of all Ginny… thanks for liking us. We wish we had a million of you, but of course, we’re happy with the Tuna Family we have. Last night at the Keswick, we closed the show. At the Variety in Atlanta, we’ll close the show. The other shows on this tour with Leon (unless changes occur) we’ll be going on first. I guess what we’re talking about is realistic expectations. These shows have been advertised for a long time and they have always been co-billed shows. It’s just the nature of this tour. Leon is an important figure in American music but his journey is quite different from ours. One of these days I’m actually going to get off my lazy butt and write a dissertation on my approach to music in general. In a nutshell, as a songwriter and singer… it’s always about the songs. As a guitarist and a player it’s also always about trying to find new insights into old journeys as well as seeking new destinations.

Anyway, Ginny. I get where you’re coming from, I really do. That said, on a co-bill show, two artists get to play and this does not presuppose they will play together. At the Wilbur our contract called for 75 minutes. We did almost 90.

(Sidebar: In 1996 when we were on the first Furthur Festival, Tuna was a thrust stage act which means we played in front of the curtain while the next main act set up behind us. Timing was critical, and I remember one time we went 30 seconds over our allotted time. Mo Morrison, the stage manager, came up to me and said, ‘Jorma, if you ever do that again, you’re off the tour.’ From that moment on, I wore my watch on the inside of my left hand so I could watch the time and always picked an elastic song for the closer in case I had to cut things short.)

Good times.

There’s a sign down at the Birchmere in Virginia on one of the office doors. ‘Music is a business. Learn it.’ There’s lots of stuff we deal with on our side of the stage door that makes our world tick. Normally it does not concern y’all out there in the audience… sometimes it does. Anyway, to get back to expectations. If one were to be looking for two 90 Tuna sets, this is not the show for you. Whether we play 75 minutes, 90 minutes or 3 hours, our heart is always there. More than that no soul can do. OK. Nuff said.

Last night at the Keswick, we did close the show. We love the Keswick… we have been there so many times over the years but I think last night’s performance was one of our very best. Barry’s daughter Tessa sat in with us which I always look forward to. Here is our set list:

Hot Tuna 7, 2014
The Acoustic Trio
Jorma Kaukonen, Jack Casady
& Barry Mitterhoff
The Keswick Theater
Glenside, Pennsylvania
Friday, January 10, 2014

1. New Song For The Morning
2. Keep On Trucking Mama
3. Mama Let Me Lay It On You
4. The Terrible Operation with Tessa
5. Children Of Zion with Tessa
6. Big River Blues
7. Come Back Baby
8. Hesitation Blues
9. Prohibition Blues
10. In My Dreams
11. Let Us Get Together Right Down Here
12. Good Shepherd
13. How Long Blues
14. I Am The Light Of This World
15. I Know You Rider
16. Encore: Embryonic Journey

This morning we’re off to State College, Pennsylvania where we’re going to play the State Theater. Just us tonight… two sets. Tomorrow, the Birchmere in Virginia when we’ll be back with Leon.

Nothing like an exciting dialogue y’all. Thanks and onward!

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

Indeed… Here I am

December 23rd, 2013 Jorma 44 comments

When I was young, this was never the happiest time of the year. I’m wasn’t an abused kid and I’m not putting any blame on my parents. It was a long time ago and they did the best they could. That said, their relationship was a volatile one, especially in the years following WW II. My mother being a non observant Jew, we sort of celebrated Hannukah when my grandparents were around. Christmas wasn’t as well… omnipresent as it is today but it was there… and expectations were always high. Yeah, it was more about the presents than Christ and the presents almost never lived up to their expectations. Yeah… short of that Daisy Red Ryder BB gun, you could pretty darn well expect to be let down.

I mean look, my birthday is the 23rd of December… I’m getting cheated out of presents anyway because people kept doubling up. ‘Yeah, this is for your birthday, AND Christmas.’ Inconsiderate to say the least. And then there was the toys themselves. No matter how cool you thought they were going to be, they never worked the way you envisioned they would. Yeah… tragic. I may have to go back into therapy just thinking about it.

The other day I was driving down Court Street with a friend of mine after a meeting, and the Xmas decorations were, well beautiful. There were kids on the street… Morgan horses pulling hayrides… Yeah… good stuff. The holidays are for kids and now that there are kids in my life… I am able to enjoy them as I never could when I was there age.

Better late than never.

Good friends at my birthday dinner at the Fur Peace Ranch

Good friends at my birthday dinner at the Fur Peace Ranch

I knew a couple of folks were getting together for lunch at the Fur Peace Ranch today, but I didn’t realize how cool it was going to be. It was John Hurlbut’s Dad’s birthday too. Ray, at 92 is one of the oldest living WW II vets still living here in Ohio. Always good to see Ray. John’s sis, his brother in law, his niece and her husband, friends from Columbus and my good bud Jerry Sullivan who escaped Buchtel for an afternoon with us.

The culinary motif was Italian, and it was as good as any I’ve ever had. The fellowship outstanding and the kids, Izze and Liam had a great time too. Liam is Kevin Morgan’s son, so it was extra special to see Kevin out and smiling.

Sunset after lunch

Sunset after lunch

What a beautiful day… Scrooge was gone, and the holiday spirit was here. Yep, I feel pretty darn good about the whole thing. As for my birthday… check this out:

1958 Warren Smith on drums, Jack Casady on guitar, and me guitar and vocals

1958 Warren Smith on drums, Jack Casady on guitar, and me guitar and vocals

Just a flash across the years…

Izze and Dad at the 75th Anniversary Wizard Of Oz Monopoly Set

Izze and Dad at the 75th Anniversary Wizard Of Oz Monopoly Set

Foto by Vanessa Kaukonen

Well, it didn’t start out bad and it just keeps getting better. My expectations are more than filled this holiday season, and I hope yours are too! Many thanks to the hundreds of people who wished me happy birthday on our collective Facebook Pages. it means a lot to me.

May nothing but the best surround all you out there. May your dreams come true in the New Year… and my no one go hungry tonight.

Onward!

Categories: Diary, Fur Peace Ranch, Thoughts Tags:

There Are Many Rooms In My Father’s House John 14:2

December 13th, 2013 Jorma 44 comments

It was cold, cold , cold this morning… 17 degrees at Hillside Farm. The air was more than crisp and I could smell the smoke from wood stoves as I gave Maverick The Dog his morning walk. The mud of wintry mix was hardened into jagged spires much as I would imagine a miniature version of the mountains of the moon.

Izze was going on a field trip to the museum in Cincinnati with her cousin, Montana and Vanessa and I were heading to the little country town of Zaleski, Ohio where my friend Pat Morgan was being laid to rest. The service was at the St. Sylvester Catholic Church and we wanted to be a little early.

Zaleski is a tiny little town off SR 278 on the way to Lake Hope but on this day it was a funeral we were going to, not brunch at the Lake Hope Lodge.

Blue sky and earth at the graveyard

Blue sky and earth at the graveyard

Pat Morgan was my friend Kevin’s brother. I had known him casually for a number of years and over the last year we found ourselves to be members of the same fellowship. There is no rhyme nor reason for the cards in the hand that life deals us. Pat was found dead in the bed of a pickup truck stabbed thirty times. His story and his struggles are now over. I was at this same church a couple of years ago when his Dad passed and today I was able to hug his mom and express my condolences. It is not right that a parent should outlive their children… but again, right doesn’t have much to do with anything.

It was a beautiful service and it was gratifying to see family and friends… all, regardless of affiliation, getting comfort. In my life I have been in dangerous places, leading a dangerous life and but for the grace of G_d, it could have been me in that box years ago. I am a grateful man today.

At the end of the service, we all drove to a tiny country graveyard on a small hilltop and Pat was laid to rest. I was asked to play a song as they lowered the coffin and I was honored to do so! I played, What Are They Doing In Heaven Today?

‘Peace if flows, like a river they say. What are they doing there now?’

Rest in peace brother

Rest in peace brother

I have loved the Morgan family for years… they are like my own. Pat and I were not bros, but we were brothers in a very profound way. Fair winds and following seas brother… sail on! There are many rooms in my father’s house, and in one of those rooms Pat, there is a table sitting for you.

Categories: Diary, Thoughts Tags: