Archive

Archive for the ‘Thoughts’ Category

Founders Day 2016 and Mom’s Birthday

June 12th, 2016 Jorma 6 comments

Today is June 12, 2016. Were my Mom, Beatrice Love, still alive, she would have been 106 years old. Mom worried about her kids, as all moms do. That is as it should be. I sent her a message in a prayer just to tell her to rest easy. Her eldest is doing better than fine. She probably knew that anyway.

Just sayin’

Indeed, we are not a glum lot!

Indeed, we are not a glum lot!

If this doesn’t say it… I don’t know what does?

I have been in recovery for a couple of 24 hours and this past weekend allowed me to once again reflect on the grace that has been bestowed upon me. I have heard that grace is unearned mercy and indeed that mercy is a priceless gift that I did not earn. In the midnight of my spirit, I could have never imagined that I would feel the warmth of the sun on my soul… ever.

A timely rainbow

A timely rainbow

I have had people I know say, ‘You never looked miserable.’ They were never able to look into my heart or see through my eyes. Indeed, why should they? I would have never let them in. Whatever self inflicted tragic landscape I wandered through, the music has always been a beacon for me. The music always gave me a reason to continue. I always believed there would be a brighter day.

Want a pink cloud?

Want a pink cloud?

You can’t make this stuff up. That pink cloud really was over the big meeting for a bit.

Coincidence?

Anyway, it’s progress not perfection… but one must always keep busy. If we’re not moving forward, we’re sliding backward.

This morning was the Motorcade to Dr. Bob and Annie’s grave. Our dear friend Maria joined us for the run, as she is always welcome to do.

Mutt, Jorma & Maria

Mutt, Jorma & Maria

Good friends are hard to come by, and I am blessed by many.

Dan, Betty, Jerry, Jim, Mutt & Hillbilly

Dan, Betty, Jerry, Jim, Mutt & Hillbilly

Some of these folks I see all the time… some only once or twice a year. The circle is always unbroken.

Line them up!

Line them up!

Joey the bagpiper always plays at the grave.

Goin’ home
Goin’ home
I’m a goin’ home
Quiet like, some still day
I’m just goin’ home.

It’s not far
Just close by
Through an open door
Work all done, care laid by
Goin’ to grieve no more.

Then there was an outstanding tribute to Dr. Bob and Annie…

…and Joey played again.

Bring your hanky

Bring your hanky

Amazing Grace, how sweet the sound,
That saved a wretch like me.
I once was lost but now I’m found,
Was blind, but now I see.

’twas Grace that taught,
my heart to fear.
And grace, my fears relieved.
How precious did that grace appear,
the hour I first believed.

Awesome… I have been riding to Founders Day for almost two decades, and I will keep coming back as long as I can. And Mom, just in case you’re listening… your kid is OK… better than OK. PS, I still miss you and Dad and I always will. That’s just part of the flow.

My spirit walks in the sun!

Jerry, Maria & Me

Jerry, Maria & Me

Subtle

Subtle

Categories: Diary, Thoughts, trips and journeys Tags:

Dark Star Jubilee II, Seventeen Year Cicadas And Memorial Day

May 30th, 2016 Jorma 20 comments
Breakfast at Buckeye Lake

Breakfast at Buckeye Lake

Foto by Suzy Perler

Down to the Lakeside Diner in Buckeye Lake for breakfast… getting ready for an afternoon set at Legend Valley. It is Monday… Memorial day and the day after our little show yesterday… We had such a good time hanging with the Dark Star Folks and their pod of friends!

This was a great weekend for me and my Tuna pals…

It is also Memorial Day Weekend… As with many folks of my age, by Dad and his two brothers served in WWII. They are all gone now. Uncle Tarmo died in the service and we have his flag. Since we are still unpacking boxes here at the ‘new’ house, the flag has not yet re-emerged, but it will. Tarmo is in a military cemetery in LA and Dad and Uncle Pen rest next to Mom, Ida and Jaako in Inglewood. It is always a bittersweet day… hanging with the family, welcoming the coming summer and honoring those who passed in service of our great country. It ain’t all about barbeque and beer. Honor Memorial Day, I say!

With the transitory nature of life in mind, as the seventeen year cicadas fill my ears with their song, it occurs to me this may be the last time I hear them. I remember the first time I heard them when I was a kid back in D.C. I never thought there might be a time when the cicadas would outlast me, but so it goes.

What a modern guy!

What a modern guy!

Thornville, Ohio is so close to home… and what a great gig. We sure hope we get asked back net year.

Cotter, Jack And Jorma

Cotter, Jack And Jorma

Foto by Suzy Perler

And a big shout out and thanks to Cotter for helping us to sound so good!

Jack warms up onstage before our set

Jack warms up onstage before our set

Hot Tuna 8, 2016
The Acoustic Duo
Jorma Kaukonen, Jack Casady
Darkstar Jubilee
Legend Valley
Thornville, Ohio
Sunday, May 29, 2016

1. True Religion
2. Ain’t In No Hurry
3. Hesitation Blues
4. Been So Long
5. Barbeque King
6. Let Us Get Together Right Down Here
7. Death Don’t Have No Mercy
8. Sleep Song
9. Good Shepherd
10. San Francisco Bay Blues
11. How Long Blues
12. In My Dreams
13. Nobody Knows You When You’re Down & Out
14. Serpent Of Dreams
15. Keep On Trucking Mama
16. Bar Room Crystal Ball
17. Water Song
18. I Know You Rider
19. Encore: Genesis

Beautiful is as beautiful does!

Beautiful is as beautiful does!

Maverick and I say Honor Memorial Day!

Maverick and I say Honor Memorial Day!

Foto by Vanessa Lillian….

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

The Bell Tolls, And The Reaper Reaps

May 17th, 2016 Jorma 21 comments
Any day is a good day for a ride!

Any day is a good day for a ride!

It has become so common of late to say, ‘At my age this,’ or ‘At my age that…’ Fact is, there really is no other way to say this and it’s true. Over the last year or so, I have lost many friends, some my age and some younger. At any age when you lose someone who is part of the story of your life, the Bell definitely tolls for us all.

That said, the Reaper is never without work and that’s just the way it is. When we talk about those who have left us, the response is almost always, ‘I’m sorry for our loss,’ and we appreciate that… but the loss is for us to absorb.

When one passes, the end is written to their story, there will never be a new chapter. All they have been is finished, and all they will be will never happen. Done.

Is it sad to see it thus?

It shouldn’t be, because that’s just the way it is. I was having brunch with Vanessa today when I heard that Guy Clark passed yesterday. I was saddened to hear this. Guy was a friend and I was such a huge admirer of his art. I knew that he had been unwell for a number of years and that his wife Susanna had preceded him. At what time does one prepare for that final journey? Hard to say since as a rule, it’s not our call when our ticket gets pulled.

It was an honor to have known Guy!

Today was raining but I had an appointment to take Vanessa’s Dyna into the Harley shop for servicing. ‘Take it tomorrow,’ she said. I thought, ‘If it’s sunny tomorrow, I’d rather go for a ride than spend a couple of hours at the Harley shop.’ Plus, every ride you don’t take is one less than you’re going to get a shot at in this life.

Why wait?

Every doggone minute folks… every doggone minute!

I’ve got a camp at the Fur Peace Ranch this weekend with Tom Feldmann, Chris Smither and Happy Traum, my beloved wife and kids are well and for me… well so far so good! I’m taking a deep breath and soldiering on.

As for Guy… fair wind and following seas brother, fair wind and following seas!

Good times can be simple sometime...

Good times can be simple sometime...

Categories: Diary, Friends, Fur Peace Ranch, Thoughts Tags:

A Big Thanks To David Neely And Some Grammy Thoughts

April 30th, 2016 Jorma 45 comments
The scene of the crime

The scene of the crime

My new ES-345 needed a little bit of tweaking and Myron didn’t have his tools with him. He found David Neely Guitars who spiffed it up in the blink of an eye!..Thanks David!

Now, Vanessa is part of, or whatever the right word is, a Jefferson Airplane fan site and there has been some discussion about the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award ceremony and the selection of songs. I was accused of trying to ‘rewrite’ Jefferson Airplane history in terms of Jorma and Jack Hot Tuna World. Because I have a proclivity for being a wise ass… my first thought was, “What’s it to you?’ But since over the years I have learned to try to exercise restraint of tongue and pen… when given a moment of quiet reflection I do understand how deep people’s feelings may run where good old Jefferson Airplane is concerned. First of all, obviously the JA part of the show was the most important part for us. In the total scheme of things we were just one of the many. That’s all right. My pals and I have been traditionally outsiders for all of our professional life. That I was actually able to garner a Grammy nomination in 2003 in the now defunct Traditional Folk category was a fluke of confluence and will probably never be repeated. Anyway, to be honored by one’s peers is an honor I could have never imagined and I think my Airplane brothers and sisters feel the same way… although I would never deign to speak for anyone other than myself.

We were given eight minutes of music and ninety seconds of acceptance speech for everyone including Spencer and Paul’s surviving children. We obviously needed a Grace song so we picked Somebody To Love. That song and White Rabbit were instrumental in our getting into the R & R Hall Of Fame. The second song we picked was Marty singing Volunteers. It’s an Airplane anthem… and we could jam out on it. At the very last minute… and I mean the very last minute… Marty informed us that he would not be able to make it. I later found out it was doctors orders. Now as the surviving members of the almost original band, we spoke to Don Was who was in contact with the shows producers and we all agreed on Embryonic Journey (all two minutes of it) and Come Back Baby. Embryonic Journey was on Surrealistic Pillow and Come Back Baby which was written by blues pianist Walter Davis in 1940 can be found on a couple JA albums. Well… Jack and Grace and I all agreed that under the circumstances a living member (me) who still played and sang should do one of their own tunes… hence the choice.

Now this is all going to be a PBS Special… and the performances will live, if not forever, for a very long time. I wasn’t going to do Feel So Good… I would play it in concert but not for posterity… I can’t hit those high notes anymore. So be it. Well… it was our award and that’s what we did.

I know some fans like Paul, some like Marty, some Grace… well you get what I’m saying. That’s all good. We all appreciate that. Remember though that we were all band members. Jack and Spencer and I were not side men… I repeat… we were all equal members. That was one of our enduring strengths. Regardless of how the ‘public’ perceived us there were no ‘front’ men. A little tough for the industry to understand but, oh well.

I was so fortunate to be able to rekindle my friendship with Paul Kantner last year. We enjoyed each other’s company… and at the end of the day, were old and dear friends. As Connie Caldor said in her great song Chinatown, ‘Life is a thin thread, it’s a thin little hand on a hospital bed… it’s all the things you left unsaid… life is a thin thread.’

We left little unsaid.

So… speaking for myself, I appreciate being appreciated on any level. If you like us, or me on any level… bless you. If not, oh well.

Last but not least… we did the best we could with what we had and that’s all we got.

Driving on…

Jorma

Categories: Diary, Set Lists, Thoughts Tags:

Almost Like A Dream

April 27th, 2016 Jorma 50 comments
Where did it start?

Where did it start?

Yeah… the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award! Sorry Paul Kantner and Spencer Dryden couldn’t be there. It’s not up to us to decide when our ticket gets pulled, and sad to say, they caught an early train out. Signe too… may all their memories be a blessing!

With all this Jefferson Airplane stuff going on, when I think back… it was almost like a dream. I certainly hadn’t planned my participation. I’m not sure what, if anything, I had planned. I could have worked in a music store as I had worked at the Benner Music Company on Stevens Creek in San Jose… I could have hung out my own shingle… I could have moved to Europe. I could have done all these things, but I didn’t. I was decreed that I go to San Francisco at Paul’s behest… it was decreed that my next schooling would be with my brothers and sisters of Jefferson Airplane. I would grow with the band… I would make choices, some good… some not so good. I would survive all of this and life would carry me in its embrace.

The things we endured together when we were young would forge us in its fire. Some of would be consumed and some of us would survive the daily tests of life. Youth is not wasted on the young. It is not only the privilege but the duty of the young to fly towards the sun. The earth is always waiting for us, always.

My ex wife, Margareta, is gone. Her life choices were indeed, too hot to handle. We spent twenty years together and yet that time is a distant memory. The good times, the bad times… youth would help us endure it all, and then one day… I was no longer young and each moment would become more precious than the one before.

A Lifetime Achievement award is a momentous thing indeed and we are honored by our peers. As a member of the human family, we should all be honored that we have made it this far.

I am so grateful.

Yet, what was that moment all about? What did it mean, if anything? At the end of life will I say as Marlon Brando did, ‘What just happened?’ Perhaps. For today, the needs of my family swirl about me and mine about them. I have been gifted by being allowed to be an artist. I have traveled around the world more than once and seen more than some and less than others. I have today… and it is a good day.

As for the rest… it is indeed almost like a dream.

So be it...

So be it...

Then… and now…

Nessa and I in the Company Store at the Fur Peace Ranch

Nessa and I in the Company Store at the Fur Peace Ranch

Indeed…

Categories: Diary, Fur Peace Ranch, Thoughts Tags:

To The Grammy’s… And Beyond!

April 25th, 2016 Jorma 31 comments
How good does it have to get?

How good does it have to get?

Last night my Airplane pals and I were honored with a lifetime achievement award by the Recording Academy. An honor beyond words…

Living at Loew's... This is LA

Living at Loew's... This is LA

One moment Jack and I were in Cincinnati and the next… well… we’re in LA.

Cathy and me...

Cathy and me...

Cathy knocked it out of the park with her rendition of Somebody To Love. Coolness…

That's right... the Oscars are here too...

That's right... the Oscars are here too...

Rehearsal... me and the Gibby

Rehearsal... me and the Gibby

China and me...

China and me...

The big stage...

The big stage...

Kenny Aranoff and me...

Kenny Aranoff and me...

Jack, Grace & Jorma

Jack, Grace & Jorma

Don Was, Jack and Jorma

Don Was, Jack and Jorma

Home sweet home

Home sweet home

Wow... who would have thought?

Wow... who would have thought?

Jorma and Al Schmitt

Jorma and Al Schmitt

Al is one of the greatest producers of all time and a great guy. We worked with him for years.

By the bye… a very special thanks to Doug Pettibone who took a few moments off from Don Was’ band to play rhythm guitar with us. Thanks Doug.

Then it was to bed… early call for the Q and A with Jack and me at the Grammy Museum.

Lay it on us...

Lay it on us...

After the interview with Scott Goldman, which was really cool, by the way… Jack and I threw down a little set.

Doing what we do...

Doing what we do...

Foto by Phil Jacobs

I will write more about the actual experience when I get home… it was deeply moving, suffice it to say!

Night at the Loews complex

Night at the Loews complex

Early flight tomorrow…

What a blessing this has all been…

Categories: Diary, Thoughts, Venues Tags:

Three Great Days… Maybe Four

March 29th, 2016 Jorma 19 comments
The Shire in morning light

The Shire in morning light

Foto by Vanessa Lillian

Walking Big Mav down one of the little roads on our property, the bottom land looked like a scene from the Lord Of The Rings. Nice… very nice.

Home for a week doing home stuff. The day before Easter we all took a long hike over by Ginger’s house in Athens County.

Another beautiful rock outcropping

Another beautiful rock outcropping

Things are just starting to green up. No poison ivy yet… great hiking.

Then on Sunday, Virginia took us all out for Easter Dinner at the OU Inn.

The Big Buffet

The Big Buffet

Foto by Ginger Gagne

Then, as the afternoon waned… Vanessa and Izze and I did what most Jews would do on Easter or Christmas… went for a Chinese dinner.

Yummy.

Today I got to spend some time with Izze in the field.

A girl and her bow

A girl and her bow

This was Izze’s first archery outing of the year and she acquitted herself nobly. The sound of her field tips penetrating that target snap like a rifle shot. I love it.

That’s my girl.

The young mule skinner

The young mule skinner

Then it was time for her driving lesson and she drove me around the property in the mule for about 30 minutes. Well done… she didn’t scare me once.

Flying...

Flying...

Then she logged some time on the electric Razor circling the Beatrice Love Kitchen. My Mom would have love it.

Last but certainly not least… It was Vanessa’s birthday and we took Mom out to dinner…

Happy Birthday Vanessa! May you have many more!

The girls

The girls

Selfie by Vanessa Lillian

A fitting end to a fine day!

Categories: Diary, Fur Peace Ranch, Thoughts Tags:

A Good Day… A Really Good Day!

March 22nd, 2016 Jorma 14 comments
Heading out...

Heading out...

Foto by Vanessa Lillian

First Real Ride Of 2016
Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Yeah… well I had been thinking about this for a while. We’ve had warm days, we’ve had cold days. Whatever… I always think about riding. Today the sun was out… in a hazy way and the outside temperature was in the low sixties. Not bad at all. I had spent much of the morning recycling stabilized gas into the Jeep and my truck. That way I can fill my reserves with fresh fuel and I get a fill up I paid for last Fall. I put air in the tires of the Ultra Classic, adjusted the suspension, cleaned the windshield on the bike and the face shield on my helmet and got out my leathers and boots. Nice, very nice.

Now motorcycle riding is something I’ve done since I was thirteen. It’s an immense part of my life. Having ridden as long as I have you hear all sorts of stuff from people who don’t ride. They talk about ‘donor’ cycles… accidents… all sorts of unpleasant stuff. Hey, guess what. Motorcycle riding is potentially a life threatening activity just like flying. Those of us who love riding accept this as part of the deal. We’re not risk takers. Life is itself inherently dangerous.

Yeah… screw it. Let’s ride!

So I saddled up and headed into Athens on Old 33. The trees aren’t budding yet, but the pastures are already green. The farmers are mucking out the barns and the early Spring air dances with the hint of manure. Truth be told… it doesn’t smell bad. It’s the smell of Spring in the country. I hit the video store and returned some rentals. I still love going to the video store and browsing through the stacks. I’m not a Netflix guy. It’s like going to an old school record store.

Back on the bike and off through the Appalachian hills… taking fifty miles to get home… it would normally be ten miles. I used to think of my Dad when I took rides. He said at the end of his life he always wanted a motorcycle… Well Dad, this ride was for me, but I thought of you.

Flawless… perfect. What a day!

Home with the girls… the house is filled with the smells of dinner cooking.

Life is good!

Coming back

Coming back

Foto by Vanessa Lillian

Categories: Diary, Fur Peace Ranch, Thoughts Tags:

The Paths Are Many, The Way Is One…

February 29th, 2016 Jorma 27 comments
Sunday in the city...

Sunday in the city...

Foto by Vanessa Lillian

So yesterday, Vanessa and Izze and I got into my truck and headed up to Columbus to meet some friends and do some shopping for the house and the Fur Peace Ranch. I don’t do Facebook, but Vanessa does, of course, and when she posted this great picture of Izze and myself she got lots of comments. I find it interesting that many people find it singular that I would go shopping myself. Now, yesterday was a beautiful day here in Ohio and I could have gone for a great motorcycle ride, but with me being gone so much of the time on the road, I just couldn’t pass up this opportunity to spend time with my family here in Ohio. As for buying in bulk… why pay retail? Right?

Anyway, in the spirit of synchronicity my old college pal, Paul Wasserman sent me this great poem which arrived at just the right time.

My Daughter Asleep

Carrying a child,
I carry a bundle of sleeping
future appearances.
I carry my daughter
adrift on my shoulder,
dreaming her slender dreams
and I carry her beneath the window,
watching her moon lit palm open and close
like a tiny folded map,
each line a path that leads where I can’t go,
so that I read her palm not knowing what I read
and
walk with her in moon light on the landing,
not knowing with whom I walk,
making invisible prayers to go on with her where
I can’t go,
conversing with so many unknowns that must know her more
intimately than I do.

And so to these unspoken shadows and this broad night
I make a quiet request to the great parental darkness
to hold her when I cannot, to comfort her when I am gone,
to help her learn to love the unknown for itself,
to take it gladly like a lantern for the way before her,
to help her see where ordinary light will not help her,
where happiness has fled, where faith will not reach.

My prayer tonight for the great and hidden symmetries of life
to reward this faith I have and twin her passages of loneliness with friendship,
her exiles with home coming, her first awkward steps with promised onward leaps.

May she find in all this, day or night, the beautiful centrality of pure opposites,
may she discover before she grows old, not to choose so easily between past and present,
may she find in one or the other her gifts acknowledged.

And so as I helped to name her, I help to name these powers,
I bring to life what is needed, I invoke the help she’ll want
following those moonlit lines into a future uncradled by me but parented by all I call.

As she grows away from me, may these life lines grow with her, keep her safe,
so
with my open palm whose lines have run before her to make a safer way,
I hold her smooth cheek and bless her this night into all these other unknown
nights to come.

-David Whyte

Now as you can see from the fotos, I won’t be carrying her over my shoulder any more and my son Zach is now a good three inches taller than I. Still and all, the sentiment remains… deep and powerful! I know there is a grand future for my children!

Wally, Cat, Grateful, Jorma, Izze & Hurl

Wally, Cat, Grateful, Jorma, Izze & Hurl

Foto by Vanessa Lillian

Breaking bread with dear friends as Winter thinks about waning… very, very nice…

Onward indeed!

Categories: Diary, Fur Peace Ranch, Thoughts Tags:

We Are All Travelers In This World…

February 20th, 2016 Jorma 22 comments

“We are all travelers in this world. From the sweet grass to the packing house, birth till death, we travel between the eternities.”

Prentiss Ritter played by Robrt Duvall in ‘Broken Trail’

We are indeed all travelers in this world and each day is both an instant and an eternity.

It is sometimes hard to imagine, but I too was young once and I had actually quite an interesting life before music made me visible to you all. In 1956 when I returned from Pakistan with my family I was in tenth grade at Woodrow Wilson High School in D.C. I met Jack’s older brother Chick Casady because of our love of cars, and through Chick, Jack. I wasn’t even playing music, but I would… and a year or so later Jack and I would have our first band in 1958. Even if I were gone from the States for much of the time, those of us who grew up on or near Northampton St. by Lafayette School shared, in a way, that magical bond of youthful discovery. There was Bill Haile, my best friend for years… now gone, Mike Oliveri who first taught me to play the guitar… now gone… Charlotte Harbour where Jack and I played our first gig, now gone… and now Lisa Roman… another girl from the neighborhood… gone on Valentine’s Day, 2016.

Lisa Roman... I knew her as Liz

Lisa Roman... I knew her as Liz

Lisa and Jack and I would reconnect every now and then when we would play Vermont. It was nice… we were were old friends… and getting older. She was a remarkable girl and a remarkable woman. I will miss those rare meetings… and another part of my past is truly history.

Rest well sister… your trials are over.

For me, I am still in transit between those two eternities, and that’s a good thing.

A little creek heading for Stroud's Run

A little creek heading for Stroud's Run

Today amazingly it was and is in the seventies. Vanessa, Izze, Maverick, Nessa’s sister Ginger and her son Montana and I all headed over to Canaan and Stroud’s Run for late winter’s walk in the sun.

Izze, Montana, Maverick, Ginger and Nessa

Izze, Montana, Maverick, Ginger and Nessa

Well, we logged some decent walking miles on this beautiful Saturday and life does, indeed, go on. My past is always slipping away, but I am so lucky my present is still with me and so far, there is a future.

So on this beautiful day in Southeast Ohio I bid the fondest of farewells to my old friend from the hood… Lisa/Liz.

I am so grateful to have been granted a little more time and to still be between the two eternities.

Amein…

Evening Postsctript 19:40

Nessa, Izze, her pal Violet and I met Ginger and Montana at the Lake hope lodge… about an hour away.

The view from the porch afer dinner

The view from the porch afer dinner

Good food, family, friends and a beautiful setting…

Night comes to Vinton County

Night comes to Vinton County

And so the day ends…

Onward

Categories: Diary, Thoughts Tags: