Archive for the ‘Thoughts’ Category

The Moving Finger And McCabe’s

January 31st, 2016 Jorma 7 comments

“The Moving Finger writes; and, having writ,
Moves on: nor all thy Piety nor Wit
Shall lure it back to cancel half a Line,
Nor all thy Tears wash out a Word of it.”

Omar Khayyám

I was sitting alone in the restaurant a few moments ago… just grabbing a burger. There is a high wind advisory here in Santa Monica and the wind was whipping the palm trees into a frenzy. I had just finished doing an in depth interview with an eight grade gal back east in Pennsylvania. She was doing a project on Jefferson Airplane and the so called ‘Counter Culture’ and I thought anyone of this current generation that takes interest in our old goings on, deserves some of my time.

I wouldn’t trade it for anything… the experiences I mean, but sitting here today with my life as full as it is, it’s like looking at the story of someone you vaguely know… a voice from another dimension. That’s just how it is.

‘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…

Connie Caldor… Chinatown

Well… life does go on, with or without us.

Last night I played McCabe’s Music Shope here on Pico… two sold out shows… an actual Jorma solo show… and here they are:

Jorma Kaukonen 3, 4, 2016
McCabe’s Music Shop
Santa Monica, California
Saturday, January 30, 2016

First Show:
1. Dime For Beer
2. Ain’t In No Hurry
3. Hesitation Blues
4. River Of Time
5. I See The Light
6. Barbeque King
7. Sea Child
8. Watch The North Wind Rise
9. Good Shepherd
10. That’ll Never Happen No More
11. Candy Man
12. How Long Blues
13. Where There’s Two There’s Trouble
14. San Francisco Bay Blues
Second Show:
1. True Religion
2. Nobody Knows You When You’re Down And Out
3. Brother Can You Spare A Dime
4. Serpent Of Dreams
5. Come Back Baby
6. Let Us Get Together
7. In My Dreams
8. Death Don’t Have No Mercy
9. Living In The Moment
10. Good Shepherd
11. The Terrible Operation
12. Keep On Truckin’ Mama
13. Full Go Round
14. Keep Your Lamps Trimmed & Burning
15. What Are They Doing In Heaven Today
16. Whining Boy Blues
17. Bar Room Crystal Ball
18. Water Song
19. Encore: Genesis

Playing McCabe’s is like doing a house concert in your own home. I know so many of the good people that come… and well, it’s just a good, comfortable time.

I’m going to work on my set list for tonight… more later.

Be well my friends, and cherish the day!

Categories: Diary, Set Lists, Thoughts Tags:

Now We Are Four

January 30th, 2016 Jorma 35 comments
Goodnight Signe

Goodnight Signe

We were just checking into the hotel in Santa Monica this afternoon… I’ve got a solo gig at McCabe’s Music Shop tonight… I got a call from Grace who told me that Signe, the Airplane’s first female voice, passed on the same day as Paul.

Signe was one of the strongest people I have ever met. She was our den mother in the early days of the Airplane… a voice of reason on more occasions than one… an important member of our dysfunctional little family. I always looked forward to seeing her when we played the Aladdin in Portland. She never complained and was always a joy.

Flights of angels sing thee to thy rest sister…

You will always live in my heart…

Now we are four…

We can be together… always…

Yeah I know… that’s Grace not Signe… It’s a dedication for our girl…

We will always remember her…

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January 19th, 2016 Jorma 55 comments
Winter trees and the frozen Shade River

Winter trees and the frozen Shade River

The first time I saw this property in 1990… it was this time of year, and this is how it looked. There were no buildings, of course… we built all of those. The ground was frozen… patches of snow on the ground and the little Shade was covered in a blanket of ice. For some reason this all seemed to make sense to me and we have been here in Southeast Ohio ever since. I don’t mind seasonal cold… Maybe its my Finnish/Russian ancestry or maybe I just don’t mind the cold. The seasons in the fields mark the seasons of my life. There are more gone now than are left to me and that is as it should be.

It was an emotional roller coaster, the last week or so. The passing of folks like David Bowie, Glenn Frey and Dallas Taylor remind how fragile the emotional superstructure of our life is. These are memory points… the sound tracks of our time. With the loss of Pete Huttlinger… for me it was different. It was like losing family. I keep hearing, ‘I’m sorry for your loss.’ I think about that and it occurs to me that it is both more and less than a loss. Pete was not a sentimental guy… he played the cards the universe gave him as best he could, and faced each day with an incredible love of life and family. He would have said to Vanessa and me, ‘Get over it!’

Well… in some ways we never get over it. My Mom and Dad have been gone for almost 20 years and I still miss them. I still remember the smells of their kitchen… I remember how their hugs felt and I selfishly wish they were still alive so the kids could meet them and I could tell them that we’re all going to be all right. If they were alive today, they would have been one hundred and six.

Well… it’s not who’s right… it’s who’s left.

OK… quick wrap up of the Sunshine Blues Festivals in St. Pete and Boca:

Phil, Myron and Roy Book Binder

Phil, Myron and Roy Book Binder

The night before the Vinoy Park gig we visited our pal Roy Book Binder and had some yummy Thai food together.

Four degrees at home... but this is Florida!

Four degrees at home... but this is Florida!

Yeah the warm weather is nice, but where does it say in the Bible you have to die with a suntan?

Good Day Sunshine

Good Day Sunshine

Foto by Phil Jacobs

Jorma Kaukonen 1, 2016
Sunshine Music Festival
Vinoy Park
St. Petersburg, Florida
Saturday, January 16, 2016

1. That’ll Never Happen No More
2. Ain’t In No Hurry
3. How Long Blues
4. Let Us Get Together Right Down Here
5. Come Back Baby
6. Full Go Round
7. Good Shepherd
8. Hesitation Blues
9. Where There’s Two There’s Trouble
10. Barbeque King
11. I Know You Rider

After my set I got to hang with Jerry Douglas a bit.

Jerry... the man, the legend

Jerry... the man, the legend

foto by Myron Hart

Jerry Douglas… his music touches my soul!

Jerry Weiner... masseur to the stars... fixes my ancient hands

Jerry Weiner... masseur to the stars... fixes my ancient hands

Jorma Kaukonen 2, 2016
Sunshine Music Festival
Mizner Park
Boca Raton, Florida
Sunday, January 16, 2016

1. True Religion
2. Ain’t In No Hurry
3. Hesitation Blues
4. I See The Light
5. Nobody Knows You When You’re Down & Out
6. Barbeque King
7. Sea Child
8. Good Shepherd
9. Death Don’t Have No Mercy
10. San Francisco Bay Blues

I'm there somewhere

I'm there somewhere

foto by Phil Jacobs

Well… it was a great little weekend!

Jorma and John Scher

Jorma and John Scher

foto by Myron Hart

Got to hang with my old pal, John Scher and listen to a little music…

Now I’m back to where it was six degrees this morning… and that’s more than OK…


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

The Universe Is A Poorer Place For This

January 16th, 2016 Jorma 20 comments

My friend, Pete Huttlinger, passed yesterday… suddenly it was. Yes, he was one of the truly great guitar artists. No one could deny this. More than that, he was one of the most amazing human beings I have ever met. Click this link to the Tennessean and read his story.

Here is what his wife Erin, wrote to all of us:

I am heartbroken. Today my beautiful husband, Pete Huttlinger passed away. I am paralyzed. On Monday Pete had a brain bleed and was admitted to Vanderbilt University Medical Center. Over the course of less than 24 hours he went from talking and laughing to unresponsive. He never regained consciousness and today at 12:30pm he died. He was not only surrounded by some of his family and friends, but by so many of his doctors and nurses who have helped keep him alive over the last few years. I was so touched by the humanness and sincere pain shown by these physicians. Over the many years of Pete’s ongoing health challenges, these medical caregivers have invested so much of their brilliance and humanity into keeping Pete alive. I appreciate it more than I’ll ever be able to express to them.

I loved this man with such depth. My entire essence and energy were devoted to loving him and letting him know how much I loved him. And he made it clear every single day of our marriage that he felt the same way. I am at a deep loss as half of me has now disappeared.

My family and I were given a wonderful gift throughout this tragedy in that Pete stayed with us for nearly four days giving us time to accept what he already knew.

I know that many of you reading this loved him as well. Again, the feeling is reciprocated from both Pete and myself. I have so many more thoughts and emotions I would like to share, but I am in such a fog of emptiness that this is all I can muster.

I also know that messages have been coming in all day. I promise I will read them all. I appreciate them so.

Thank you for loving him too.

Erin Huttlinger

Here is what Vanessa wrote:

A storm of tears passed thru the Fur Peace Ranch yesterday when I received a call about our dear friend, Pete Huttlinger. We respectfully kept silent until his wife was ready to tell the world. At midnight, I posted her letter to all of us on our Fur Peace FB page and then I tried to sleep. I lay awake most of the night feeling my heavy heart and recalling everything about him like a song I could not shake. I know a lot of people and let me say that Pete was touched by the divine. His essence poured over you like silk when you were around him. The same can be said of his wife, Erin. He was one of the best guitar players that I have ever met … but he was undoubtedly one of the finest men I knew. He gave his fragile heart to everyone and now Erin and their family, have mine.
It feels like my FB page has become a tribute page over the last year and I know the older one gets the more we see the fragility of this beautiful life. I am feeling it today.


There is no more that I, Jorma, can add. Pete and Erin… well, it is an honor and privilege to know them…

They are in my heart today!

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Yeah Buddy… Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award

January 13th, 2016 Jorma 33 comments

Wow… four degrees at the Ranch when I got up this morning, but it’s warm in my heart. They just announced that my Jefferson Airplane pals and I will be getting a lifetime achievement award at this year’s Grammys. Wow…

Nobody I know got into this wacky business for awards… but to be honored by your peers, well… suffice it to say that it is indeed an honor. People often ask, ‘Did you ever think when you got started…’ that this, that or whatever would have happened? First of all, who knew we would live this long? Who would have dared to guess, that a little music picked in San Francisco over half a century ago would have such long leg and gained such… well, respectability.

Not I, that’s for sure.

Fame such as it is, recognition… ephemeral as it is… we’ll take it.

The family gets a kick out of all this and that’s the frosting on the cake.

So… my pals and I are so grateful for all this…

And that’s about it for today.


Portrait of the artist as a old dog

Portrait of the artist as a old dog

Foto by Vanessa Kaukonen

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Another County Heard From… Ad Nauseum

January 12th, 2016 Jorma 40 comments

The world, being wired the way it is makes sure that one gets a lot of new ‘friends’ like it or not. I try not to dabble in on line discussions… who’s got time for poop like that? That said, I’m no better than anyone else. Every now and then, someone makes me aware of threads that exist on sites I never frequent and yes, I weaken and check it out. Now I realize that’s it’s not my business what anyone else thinks of me, but sometimes the dialogue involves my family… and that makes it my business. Some moron made a disparaging comment about a picture of me and my daughter on one of those sites. Needless to say, this idiot can kiss my ass. It’s easy to run your mouth when you’re cowering behind a key board in your parents basement. Yeah, I know, I’m behind a keyboard right now… but I live in the real world. I’m easy to find. If someone has something to say to me… say it in person. What a craven coward!

One of the other things I became aware of was people still casting Vanessa and myself in the John and Yoko image. When Vanessa and I started working together many years ago… there were lots of people laying that Yoko BS on her. Now, she as absolutely one of the smartest, incisive I know. Her loyalty has always been to her family and her business. I’m reminded of the Waylon Jennings song Working Without A Net…

Life can be a circus
A death defying act
But the clowns don’t come around no more
Since the monkey’s off my back…

It’s been a while since the clowns have been around… but they’re still out there.

There’s nothing like a family business… who else could you trust more?

Then there are always folks who try to concern themselves with who Jack and I should play with and what songs we play. Vanessa doesn’t make these decisions… Jack and I do… and we like the choices we make. Vanessa doesn’t bring us gigs… our agent does and then we discuss them. We don’t work gigs we don’t want to work regardless of how much money is involved. If someone wants to know what Jack, Jorma and/or Hot Tuna is up to… go to the official sites. Don’t glean facts from ‘fan’ sites. At 75 years of age I base my decisions on whatever will be best for my family.

I was utterly appalled by some of the dreck I read.

OK… I feel better now even though I know this will change nothing.

My life is blessed on so many fronts and believe me, I know this cyber stuff is petty ass bullshit.

As we say down here in the country…

‘Oh well…’

I’m outta here…

The First Ride Of 2016

January 3rd, 2016 Jorma 25 comments
Headin' out to grab some gone...

Headin' out to grab some gone...

Selfie by Self

Yesterday was 38 degrees Fahrenheit here in bucolic Southeast Ohio… I spent some time night before last prepping my bike… tire pressure… suspension… registration, insurance… just in case I got a change to ride. Now 38 degrees is chilly in anybody’s book, but I have a fully faired bike with uppers and lowers, grip heaters and yes, a battery powered heated vest. With all that and a good full face helmet, I had a magnificent ride through Meigs and Athens County.

A great way to start the year.

Anytime you get a chance to ride and you don’t take it is one less ride you’ll have in your life.

A word to the wise is sufficient as my grandmother used to say.


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Seventy Five Trips Around The Sun…

December 24th, 2015 Jorma 26 comments

One wonders why one year… one birthday is more important than another. Why should 75 be a more emotional milestone the 74? I guess the key work here is ‘milestone.’ We measure our lives by so many things. Births, deaths… accomplishments… setbacks. Yeah… it’s all in the mix.

My nine year old daughter sits next to me as I write this. Our dog Maverick is on the floor at my feet. My son Zach is getting up and wants to take us to breakfast. Vanessa is somewhere in the house… We’re all here and it couldn’t be much better.

Jerry Sullivan, Wally Himmelman, Vanessa, Izze, Zach and John Hurlbut all took me out to dinner at the OU Inn in Athens last night. Breaking bread with friends and family… good times. Jerry noted that I was fifty years old when we came to Southeast Ohio… That’s a quarter of a century ago. We have made our home here… and here is where we are.

Last night a huge rainstorm came through and the bottom land flooded as it does.

The family manse in the misty morning

The family manse in the misty morning

Maverick and I walked down the old road to the A-frame… The little Shade river smiled up at us.

The Shade in morning mist

The Shade in morning mist

Mav and I walk together… the sun peeks through the remnants of last night’s storm.

It's not always like this...

It's not always like this...

This is my home… I feel good here. The world is my home so much of the time… being on the road and all, that to actually be home is such a blessing.

Culvert world...

Culvert world...

Culverts that rarely see water… are still running this morning.


I made it this far… I’d like to make it a little farther…

Christmas is tomorrow. Merry Christmas everyone…

More will be revealed…

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The Bell Tolls For Us As Well

December 6th, 2015 Jorma 16 comments
Sunset at the Ranch...

Sunset at the Ranch...

I have lived in Southeast Ohio for nearly twenty five years now… and I have grown in, around and up in this beautiful little corner of the country. I could live here for a hundred years and to some I would still be that funny guitar player from somewhere else with a first name that ends in a vowel. This is my home and in an amazing way, thanks to Vanessa’s interactions in the community, we are a part of the fabric of life here. We have made friends… and those friends have made us friends. In my life, for whatever reason, most of the people I know are younger than I… but not all. My friend Martha Laufman passed away while I was on this last trip. We knew she was sick, and we knew she was not going to get well, but every time we saw her in town she was smiling and full of life.

Vanessa and I went to the Dairy Barn in Athens tonight to her memorial… and it was amazing. There were so many people… she was indeed loved. The conversation with many of the folks tonight was… as seems so common these days, to be about our health or indeed, the fragility of our existence. Each day is such a blessing… I treasure each moment.

This anonymous poem was next to the book we signed when we entered the barn.

The Gift

When I die, If you need me,
Put your arms around anyone
And give them what you need to give me

I want to leave you something
Something better than words or sounds.
Look for me in the people I’ve known and loved.

And if you cannot give me away
At least let me live in your eyes
And not on your mind.

Love doesn’t die, people do.
So when all that’s left of me is love,
Give me away.


None of us are islands and the bell tolls for us all. May the blessings of a life well lived surround us in its soft embrace!

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November 12, 2015… Honor Our Veterans On This Day And Every Day

November 11th, 2015 Jorma 18 comments
Tarmo, Pentti and Jorma Sr.

Tarmo, Pentti and Jorma Sr.

The parents of my generation served almost to a man and a woman in WWII. Uncle Tarmo seen here on a bicycle somewhere in Italy. I never met Uncle Tarmo. There’s a picture of him somewhere in a box in my garage where he poses with Leo the MGM lion… He trained animals figure skated and was an artist in civilian life. He fought his way from North Africa, through Sicily and Italy. He made it through the war but died in a VA Hospital in Memphis from lung cancer in 1945. We have his flag my Grandma left me. He is buried in a National Cemetery in Los Angeles.

I got to know Pentti quite well when I moved to the Bay Area in California in 1962. He was the first one to welcome into what would really become the starting point of my life. There are no pictures of him in uniform that I know of. He was a reluctant warrior… a gentle soul who carried a flame thrower on his back as his outfit fought its way through the South Pacific until we liberated the Philippines. He never talked about his service though I could see there was pride in his memory. There was pain too… he never really recovered from that experience. Today we would probably call it PTSD. In his 50’s he went into a VA Hospital for what seemed like a minor operation and it seemed as if living was just too painful for him. He never came out. I have missed him every day since then. He was my friend.

My Dad, Jorma Sr., was the oldest of the three boys. Born in 1910 with eyesight that needed correction, he tried to enlist and they wouldn’t take him. Mom laboriously helped him with eye exercises until he could pass the physical. He went into the Navy and because of his gift with languages, attended the Navy Language School which was in Ann Arbor in those days. He went to Japan after the surrender to MacArthur in ‘45. After the fire bombing of Tokyo there was little left standing save plumbing and safes. My Dad’s guys cracked the safes, and Dad translated the documents they found. Dad would up spending many years in the Far East and would up a Foreign Service Officer. I am so grateful that Dad and I lived long enough to become real friends. He loved Vanessa and he would have loved the kids. I miss him calling me ‘The Kid.’

Jorma Sr. and Uncle Pen are buried in Inglewood Cemetery in LA next to my Mother Beatrice and my Grandparents Ida and Jaako. They rest together in the flight path of LA International Airport.

There is an unbroken line of veterans who have served this great country. I will just mention two of my dearest friends, Jerry S. and Chuck F. Thanks guys… and thanks to all the brothers and sister I will never meet…

I honor you all!

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