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Spiritual Moments… Across The World

May 18th, 2014 Jorma 27 comments
Time to wash the Harley

Time to wash the Harley

So yesterday started with Izze and me washing my Ultra Classic. In honor of the beautiful moment, I’m wearing a T-shirt Nessa’s nephew Nick Curran gave me some years ago. I met Nick up in Maine back in the mid 90’s when he was a young teenager. He was a great guitar player then and he just got better. He was a great guy. Sad to say, he passed from cancer in 2012 in Austin, Texas where he had lived and worked for a number of years. He loved music… he loved motorcycles, he loved life and he is gone too soon. On this day, to work on my bike… I wore his shirt. I hope you’re riffing brother, up on some cloud or wherever you are. We love you.

Izze washes the degreaser off the rear wheel... nasty.

Izze washes the degreaser off the rear wheel... nasty.

I spent most of the day working on the bike and Izze hung in there with me for a number of hours. Thanks big girl… thanks!

I put the bike away and hopped in the truck with my new Purple Peace Les Paul. Glass Harp was playing to a sold out house at the Fur Peace Station. Phil Keaggy, John Sferra, and Dan Pecchio were back in town, and I knew it was going to be fun.

Glass Harp in sound check

Glass Harp in sound check

Jerry Myron and Jorma... watching the sound check

Jerry Myron and Jorma... watching rh check

Well, of course it was a stellar show. Phil invited me up for a tune in the first set… and out came Purple Peace… ready to sound divine. Second set they called me up again. That was a surprise and an honor. Trust me… a great time was had by all!

Today, Sunday… was working around the house for the most part. Got a little motorcycle ride in this morning. Got to hang with the family. With these blessings foremost in my mind, I thought of an email I got a couple of days. A friend of mine’s daughter is in Israel on a birthright trip. On the way to Tel Aviv, she stopped in Poland where here family was from. The first one to go back since they emigrated.

This picture is so powerful!

This picture is so powerful!

We all know that if this were in the 40’s, this would a gate she would most likely not be returning through. This is not summer camp. What an amazing world we live in that this young girl and her friends could make this trip.

Indeed...

Indeed...

This is something we all need to remember.

I count my blessings and kiss my family goodnight, believing that when tomorrow’s light comes, we will have breakfast together.

Onward…

Categories: Diary, Fur Peace Ranch, Thoughts Tags:

A Broadblasting Of Great Importance!

May 17th, 2014 Jorma 10 comments

We were thinking about posting this on Treats And Treasure, and I may still… but here it is. Indeed a broadblasting of great importance that will help benefit the well that helps to nurture the Psylodelic Gallery.

It concerns the jacket worn by me (Jorma Kaukonen) on the cover of the 1980 LP, Barbeque King. Here’s the blurb from the Fur Peace Ranch Site:

Ever wondered what this jacket would like on you or better yet, framed among your collectables? This iconic jacket (still in pristine condition) that Jorma wore on the cover of the BBQ King album (1980) can be yours. The jacket was a highschool graduation present to Jorma from his mother, Beatrice. Beatrice had this jacket and a white, shark skin suit (now lost in antiquity) handmade by a custom taylor in Hong Kong in 1959 while the Kaukonen’s were stationed in the Philippines. You will notice that the plaids not only line up from the pocket to the jacket, but when your arms are at your side, the plaids line up there too. When Jorma wrote the title song for the album, Barbeque King…it starts out with a description of eccentric, sartorial magnificence. When looking for clothes for a cover shot, Jorma rediscovered this jewel. Perfect……All proceeds will benefit special projects at the Psylodelic Gallery. The raffle will end on July 27th, 2014. Jorma will pick the winner on stage at The Fur Peace Ranch during the Arts & MInds Fest.

Yeah, I remember that summer of 1959 when I was back in the Philippine Islands (now the Republic Of The Philippines) before I headed out to Yellow Springs, Ohio for my first year at Antioch College.
This was before my finger picking odyssey began, mentored by the great Ian Buchanan In addition to my valuable trunk full of possessions, I had my Fender Musicmaster guitar and my Silvertone amp with the single fifteen inch speaker. I had my plaid coat too… which I would wear when I really felt like styling. Now, Antioch College was never a dress up sort of place, jeans and work shirts being sort of de rigeur, so when I would suit up for a little rock show…the coat would get the call.

The jacket is in mint… yes I said mint condition. It is just as sharp today as the day I got it in 1959… and it can be yours!

Here is the link which will show you what’s going on, what to do, where and how to do it and when to do it.

http://furpeaceranch.com/store/product_info.php?cPath=83&products_id=1202

Good luck…

Jorma

At Home With Friends

May 13th, 2014 Jorma 20 comments
The Three Jerrys

The Three Jerrys

So yeah, my nickname for many years was Jerry. My Dad picked up the sobriquet in the service in WWII. The boys in the service had a problem with a man’s name ending in a vowel. When we were stationed in Ann Arbor in 1945 at the Navy Language School where Dad was learning Japanese, Mom came home from shopping to find some of the kids on base trying to hang me with a coat hanger as a suspected Nazi spy. Weird name… too much for them.

Anyway, I used Jerry until I got out of college in 1965 and joined the Airplane. So… I am an honorary ‘Jerry.’ On the left, my dear friend Jerry S. Attached to David Hackworth’s unit, this Jerry is one heck of a guy! Read, Steel The Hearts Of My Men. This is the shit!

In the middle is Jerry B., my motorcycle pal and brother in recovery. We’ll be heading out to Akron for the 79th Founders Day the first weekend in June… and the last Jerry, yours truly… right on schedule and right where I need to be in Southeast Ohio.

Twilight at Hillside Farm tonight

Twilight at Hillside Farm tonight

Now, I just need to say… I do understand why people get excited about tangible memories like 2400 Fulton Street. It was fun while it lasted and I wouldn’t trade the experience for anything… the good and the bad. Believe me, there were both… just like real life.

Now, when I’m done traveling around, I come home to this tiny county and it embraces me in a profound way that no other place I have ever lived has done. Of course, I have lived here for 23 years… longer than I’ve lived anywhere continuously.

Well, the dog got out… rolled in deer poop and wouldn’t come back until he was exhausted and filthy. Back in the house, Nessa washed him, he’s resting… Izze’s reading the first book of Divergent, I don’t know what Nessa is doing right now, but I’m going to watch NCIS.

Life is good friends… life is good!

Categories: Diary, Thoughts Tags:

Moving Right Along…

May 12th, 2014 Jorma 12 comments
Izze goes to the polls with me...

Izze goes to the polls with me...

So, last Tuesday was a primary and issue election here in the Buckeye State, and as always, I took Izze with me when I went to vote. She needs to know how important voting is.

Then days passed, as days do, and another weekend at the Fur Peace Ranch was upon us. Woody Mann, and Chris Smither and I were the teachers and we looked forward to… and got, an amazing weekend.

The onstage poster from Saturday night...

The onstage poster from Saturday night...

Woody Mann opened the show and a profoundly moving and artful set. Woody is always great, but for some reason his performance this night really touched my heart. Thanks Woody!

After a short break, Brian Auger and the Oblivion Express took the stage for what was to be a simply amazing concert.

Good to see you too, Brian!

Good to see you too, Brian!

Brian was joined by Karma Auger on Drums, Alex Ligertwood on vocals, Les King on Bass and Yarone Levy on guitar.

Les and Yarone at sound check

Les and Yarone at sound check

Portent of things to come

Portent of things to come

What a great bunch of guys and what a great bunch of players. Brian asked me to sit in on Season Of The Witch…
Hell yeah!

Getting ready for the Witch with my new Etune Les Paul

Getting ready for the Witch with my new eTune Les Paul

Foto by Rusty Smith

So I’ve been playing my new 120th Anniversary 60’s Peace Les Paul with the Etune gadget... and I love everything about this fine instrument… and the onboard tuning system rocks. Look it up!

Season Of The Witch rocked too… Thanks guys! After the set I got to play my arrangement of Brother Can You Spare A Dime for Brian and Yarone.

This song is going to be a winner

This song is going to be a winner

Foto by Wally Himelstein

Great show, and then they were gone… back to LA. The weekend at the Ranch concluded and Chris and I did a little show on Sunday night joined by Woody. How good does it have to get?

Chris me an Woody

Chris me and Woody

Foto by Rusty Smith

Woody, Chris and Me

Woody, Chris and Me

Foto by Vanessa Kaukonen

And that was it. Just as I was about to leave the Ranch to come home for a bit, Jack Casady sent me this foto he just took passing through San Francisco. 2400 Fulton St. indeed!

Where do those half centuries go?

Where do those half centuries go?

That’s all folks… (think Looney Tunes)

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

Sidebar From Hillside Farm

May 8th, 2014 Jorma 35 comments

Life is so interesting. When commenting on life in general, as I often do here in my blog, I try to confine myself to my own story, since I have no first hand knowledge of the experience of anyone else. Of course, being human, I am not always successful in this. But I digress…

Anyway, when I first starting blogging well over a decade ago, the word ‘blog’ didn’t even exist yet, or if it did, I didn’t know about it. My early blogging sites didn’t allow for comments because at the time I wasn’t really interested in what anyone else had to say. The site was for my expression alone. When we inaugurated this site I decided to get off my high horse and let you all in, and I’m glad I did for a number of reasons. I guess the main reason was that I wanted to engender a community of like minded spirits in the same way that we have done at the Fur Peace Ranch. I rarely block the accessibility of the site to anyone. Well, the usual spam ads… that goes without saying… and every now and then (extremely infrequently) some insufferable dickhead pops up and of course, they’re outta here.

When our daughter was going to public school, I made a lot of ’sidewalk’ friends and we would talk while waiting for the kids to get out of school. One of the conversations that I would frequently have would go something like this. ‘I can’t believe you have to travel so much. It must be so hard for you… getting on and off planes, waiting in stations, getting on and off buses, driving cars, checking in and out of hotels… etc.’ I would start my reply like this. ‘I can’t believe you go to the same office every day, sit in the same chair surrounded by the same people doing the same thing… every day, day in and day out.’

Then I would thus explain further. That’s my job. I get paid for it. I have been doing it for a very long time and I love what I do. For me, the work is the travel, but it could be worse, because I have always loved to travel. My Father was in the Service and we traveled all the time. I grew up with it as do my children. Would it be nice to spend more time at home with the family. Sure. Do I enjoy being able to pay for the things we all need. You bet!

I don’t like flying, so whether I’m headed halfway around the world to the Far East or taking a 90 minute flight to New York… they are both equally repulsive. It is called ‘work’ for a reason. There is nothing special about being a musician or an artist of any sort other than it is a job that is more enjoyable than many things I could think of. Like I tell promoters at a gig where there is a delay, ‘We’re not leaving until we play.’ The playing is the frosting on the cake, and without you, the audience, there would be no cake… so thanks friends!

We do not deserve deification for what we do. It would be unnatural for us not to do it. Nobody deserves anything, be we appreciate the collective appreciation of those who care about what we have to give.

There are no superstars, there are no ’special people,’ there are just people, and those of us who care about such things, try to give our very best at all times, in all things.

It is great to be home… to be doing home things… to be alive and lively in this uncertain world.

Onward…

Categories: Diary, Fur Peace Ranch, Thoughts Tags:

A Yokohama Landing

April 22nd, 2014 Jorma 14 comments

In 1945 and ‘46 my Father, Jorma Sr., found himself a young Naval officer attached to an Army military intelligence unit with General MacArthur’s staff. As a first generation American born in this country, Dad was already something of a linguist. His first language was Finnish, then English taught at the Carnegie Library in Ironwood, Michigan. As a thirteen year old, the Kaukonen family moved to East L.A., Lincoln Heights to be exact… so his next language was Spanish. His younger brothers were combat vets, Tarmo in North Africa and Italy and Pentti in the Pacific, winding up in the Philippines. Dad was a little older and he had to jump through hoops in order to enlist. they sent him to the Navy Language School in Ann Arbor an he learned Japanese. (Before Dad went home for the last time, he would master Urdu, Tagalog and Swedish.)

After the fire bombing of Tokyo, there was little left standing save plumbing and iron safes. Dad and his buds would sift through the ashes of the city and crack safes to see if there were any relevant documents inside and at night they were billeted with Douglas MacArthur’s guys at the Grand Hotel in Yokohama. (Interestingly enough, still standing.) When I was here with Hot Tuna in 1997, that’s where we stayed.

Evening in Yokohama

Evening in Yokohama

After an eleven an a half hour flight from Denver, we arrived in Narita welcomed by a gentle Spring rain. A couple hours later after checking into the hotel in Yokohama, we took a walk to find an eatery.

A ramen shop... yeah buddy!

A ramen shop... yeah buddy!

A simply delicious bowl of Ramen an some Gyoza! A man’s gotta eat.

Jack, Douglas our promoter, myself and Myron Hart... yummy!

Jack, Douglas our promoter, myelf an Myron Hart... yummy

Floto by unknown waitress.

It’s 0100 here in Japan… thirteen hours and a day off from Ohio time. I’m awake… obviously. Hmm. how did that happen? I figured I’d answer some emails, update my blog and see if I can get back to sleep. Today is a bona fide day off so I’m going to walk around the port. Tomorrow we play Thumbs Up here in Yokohama. In 1997 Hot Tuna did a live recording here (Hot Tuna, Live In Japan) at a little club called Stoves which is owned by the guy who also owns Thumbs Up.

We’re looking forward to a great couple of weeks here, and we’re going to keep all of you in the loop.

Sayonara

The Spring Of Many Cultures… Spring Has Sprung

April 20th, 2014 Jorma 23 comments
Mmmm... and Kosher too!

Mmmm... and Kosher too!

So my son Zach was with us for his Spring Break and he was able to join us for the family Seder at Hillel Of Ohio University.

Foto by Vanessa Kaukonen

It was a sweet evening… and yes, I had seconds of gefilte fish.

Israel Love reads the Haggadah.

Israel Love reads the Haggadah.

Foto by Vanessa Kaukonen

The Kaukonens and a Kearse at Hillel

The Kaukonens and a Kearse at Hillel

Foto credit… Selfie

That’s how the week started out. Now in the beginning of the week, it was so cold, we laughingly called it, ‘Winter Break.’ But then, fortunately it warmed up.

A young man and his machine

A young man and his machine

Yeah, Zach and I got a couple of great motorcycle rides in and things were looking up. We did some riding, watched some movies and we even rode our bikes to the hospital while the Doctors took a look inside me to make sure everything was as it should be… and the good news is… that it was!

Friday was benefit for the Gathering Place here in Athens, Ohio. Check out the website and see what we’re up to. A bunch of folks played including Laura Nadeau and myself and a band with some folks from the Gathering Place.

Cheap at twice the price.

Cheap at twice the price.

It was such a blessing for me to have both my kids there to not only hear me play but Izze was one of the youth puppeteers. Cool beans!

Siblings

Siblings

Foto by Vanessa Kaukonen

The 'House' band

The 'House' band

I’ve been involved in some really worthy benefits lately, and this one is right up near the top!

My son went home yesterday to have Easter with his Mom and I took Izze over to my sister-in-law Ginger’s place to have an Easer egg hunt with the cousins.

Excitement on the way to the hunt

Excitement on the way to the hunt

Where are those eggs?

Where are those eggs?

I found one!

I found one!

foto by Ginger Gagne

I know there's more...

I know there's more...

What a great day with family…

Appalachian Easter...

Appalachian Easter...

foto by Ginger Gagne

Yeah… there’s no place like home… there’s no place like home.

The sun goes down over my barn

The sun goes down over my barn

shhhhhhhhh....

shhhhhhhhh....

A lovely week at home. How I’m at an airport hotel in Columbus, and tomorrow I leave for Japan… where I’m sure, more will be revealed.

Categories: Diary, Thoughts Tags:

Happy Birthday, Jack Old Friend… An Open Letter To John William Casady

April 15th, 2014 Jorma 32 comments

Dear Jack:

Your old buddy Jorma here. Man, we sure have known each other a long time… through the neighborhood, through school, through nicknames, through the music, through joy and sadness, through the years… through a lifetime. We have been blessed in so many amazing ways, and here we still are. Yes I know your birthday was two days ago, but remember, I called you at 0500 your time to sing you Happy Birthday! Sorry I didn’t have time for pitch correction.

It seems like only yesterday when we were going over to Ronnie McDonald’s to rehearse. I had that Lambretta scooter I brought back from the Philippines… no car. My guitar was on the floorboards obscuring the brake. I don’t think you had a license yet… can’t remember. How did you get to the rehearsal? Were you on the back of the scooter? Did you take the bus? The answer is lost in antiquity. I do, however, remember this in detail. You and I were riding that scooter over in Virginia when they were just starting to build the Beltway. We slipped passed the construction barricades and found there was no road. To get back to civilization we went ‘off road’ with the little 150cc Lambretta. Some of that ride involved you and I carrying the scooter over obstacles.

Good times with the follies of youth!

May life continue to grace you with health, happiness and fulfillment. Being forever young is out of the question but may you forever be in the moment. As Patty Loveless said in her great song, ‘Too Many Memories,’ ‘And the lessons you learn and you don’t forget
What makes you grow old is replacing hope with regret.’

Hope you had a good one brother, and may you always feel like we look in this picture!

Good times brother... but good times down the road!

Good times brother... but good times down the road!

I love you brother…

Keep smiling…

Your old droog,

Jorma (aka, ‘jerry’)

Categories: Diary, Thoughts Tags:

Fair Winds And Following Seas, Joe!

April 10th, 2014 Jorma 21 comments
Big Joe... We'll miss this guy!

Big Joe... We'll miss this guy!

A couple of years ago down at the Fur Peace Ranch a bunch of our New York Friends would show up every now an then for our Saturday night shows at the Fur Peace Station. In many respects, ever since the 60’s, the Northeast United States, especially New York, has been a very real home to Jefferson Airplane, Hot Tuna and myself. For many years we have all soared on the wings of dear friends like Joe LaMontagne. When Barry and I played Our Lady Of Perpetual Help in Brooklyn two weeks ago, Joe was there as he had been at so many of our shows. Yesterday John Hurlbut down at the Ranch got a sad email from Joe’s friend Michael to tell us that Joe had passed away very suddenly and unexpectedly on Saturday, April 5, 2014. Joe was an amazing guy, and it is worth getting to know him a little bit by reading this piece from the Poughkeepsie Journal.

WILLISTON PARK – Joseph T. LaMontagne, 54, of Williston Park passed away on Saturday, April 5th at Winthrop Hospital surrounded by family.

Born on November 7, 1959 in Far Rockaway to Bridie Maloney and George LaMontagne.

On August 2nd, 2011, Joseph married his best friend Paula (Minyard) LaMontagne, who survives at home.

In addition to his wife, he is also survived by his brother George and Ellen (George and Kevin), his sister Marie Dave Falcon (Davey and Steve), his sister Maggie and John Crumb (Johnny, James And Bridget), his Brother Sean (Seanie and Shamus), his five stepchildren, J.T., Nick, Gina, David and Jalicia, His beloved granddaughters, Trinity, Akili, Oriana, Braylin and his grandson Jayden. He is also survived by several aunts, uncles, cousins and some of the greatest group of men that he called friends and brothers that any man could ever want.

Having overcome a troubled early life, battling his demons, Joe rose above that to live a second life, a very accomplished one. Some of the things that Joseph was most proud of were working for St. Joes in the Poughkeepsie Guest House and then working for the same Franciscan Friars that saved his life many years before at SCI (Graymoor) for almost a decade. Giving back to men what was so freely given to him. He was a proud member of Alcoholics Anonymous for more than 20 years.

Joseph was a huge music lover, a passionate Jets and Mets fan and he loved to fish.

Heaven gained an angel, Joe will be sadly missed, but never forgotten. Family and friends may call Thursday 2-5 & 7-9:30 at Thomas F. Dalton Funeral Home, 29 Atlantic Avenue, Floral Park, NY 11001. In Lieu of Flowers, please send donations to SCI – 21 Franciscan Way, P.O. Box 150, Garrison, NY 10524.

At my age I have come to realize that you meet people in this life that you will count as friends. You may meet them infrequently… you may rarely speak… but you will know that you will always be friends… and you may think, ‘Perhaps I should have called more often.’

Fair winds and following seas brother… fair winds and following seas!

Categories: Diary, Fur Peace Ranch, Thoughts Tags:

Say ‘Amen’ Somebody!

April 4th, 2014 Jorma 17 comments

As I get ready for our second weekend here at the Fur Peace Ranch, with Marjorie Thompson and David Wolff, I got to thinking about my class May 9, 2014.

When Ian Buchanan finally opened to door to finger picking for me back in 1960 the key was spirituals… My parents exposed me to Mahalia Jackson when I was young. Ours was not a Christian Family, nor as Jews, were we observant at that time. That said, I found Mahalia’s music to be unbelievably moving. When I got bitten by the finger style guitar bug, the first songs that grabbed me were gospel and spirituals. The depth of this music is inescapable. The techniques involved set the course for the development of my music by means of the guitar. The rest is not just history, the evolution continues.

I am anticipating a grand turnout for this weekend. This is something near and dear to my heart as you’ve probably figured out by this time. To get y’all in the spirit for the weekend, everyone who signs up for this class will get a Rev. Gary Davis, ‘Harlem Street Singer’ CD as well as a Jorma Kaukonen, ‘Stars In my Crown’ CD. Just to get you in the mood!

Yep… there’s nothing like a good spiritual guitar song, and we’re going to be teaching a bunch of them.

Sign up and come on down to the Ranch. We’re all going to be sitting in the Amen Corner together!

Categories: Diary, Fur Peace Ranch, Thoughts Tags: