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Dark Star Jubilee II, Seventeen Year Cicadas And Memorial Day

May 30th, 2016 Jorma 9 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:

Visiting Dark Star At Legend Valley

May 28th, 2016 Jorma 11 comments
Me on my new scoot

Me on my new scoot

Foto by Vanessa Kaukonen

That’s how my week started on Tuesday… New Bike! What’s not to like.

Got a couple of rides in and then it was time to pick Jack, Justin and Phil up at the airport and head to the Dark Star Jubilee… Could it get better?

Justin, setting up... ready to rock!

Justin, setting up... ready to rock!

Weather beautiful… good friends abound!

Jack and Myron

Jack and Myron

They said it might rain… but it was holding off.

Me and the real Big Dog!

Me and the real Big Dog!

Foto by Suzy Perler

What a great Festival this is and what an honor to be here!

Yummy

Yummy

Hot Tuna 7, 2016
The Electric Trio
Jorma Kaukonen, Jack Casady
& Justin Guip
Dark Star Jubilee
Legend Valley
Thornville, Ohio

Saturday, May 28, 2016

1. That’ll Never Happen No More
2. Candy Man
3. Ode To Billy Dean
4. A Little Faster
5. Sea Child
6. I See The Light
7. Bowlegged Woman
8. Rock Me Baby
9. Watch The North Wind Rise
10. 99 Year Blues
11. Hesitation Blues
12. Can’t Get Satisfied
13. Funky # 7
14. Hit Single #1

That'll Never Happen No More

That'll Never Happen No More

Foto by Phil Jacobs

Confab on stage

Confab on stage

Foto by Phil Jacobs

After our set, the Dark Star folks graciously invited us to play White Rabbit with them…

Thanks y’all!

Goodnight Dark Star... and goodnight moon...

Goodnight Dark Star... and goodnight moon...

An Amazing Two Concert Weekend At The Fur Peace Ranch!

May 23rd, 2016 Jorma 5 comments
Friday morning... Walking Maverick

Friday morning... Walking Maverick

The Fur Peace Ranch was a bee hive of activity this weekend with Happy Traum, Chris Smither, Tom Feldman and I as instructors as well as Tom Rush and Matt Nakoa.

Tom, Happy and I

Tom, Happy and I

Tom holds forth... loud and proud

Tom holds forth... loud and proud

Matt and Tom fraternize

Matt and Tom fraternize

Tom and Matt played a simply fantastic two set show… Come on back guys… anytime!

Rusty Smith... the Radio Big Dog!

Rusty Smith... the Radio Big Dog!

Rusty’s pack…

Addam Evans

Addam Evans

Adam Rich

Adam Rich

Thanks guys for all you do!

How time flies!

How time flies!

So that was Saturday’s show… Sunday, the hits just kept on coming!

Another morning out with the four footed Big Dog

Another morning out with the four footed Big Dog

I went on first on Sunday:

Jorma Kaukonen 20, 2016
Me… Happy Traum, &
Chris Smither
The Fur Peace Station
Darwin, Ohio
Sunday, May 22, 2016

1. Heart Temporary
2. Too Many Years
3. Barbeque King
4. Death Don’t Have No Mercy
5. How Long Blues
6. San Francisco Bay Blues

Happy... pickin' and grinnin'

Happy... pickin' and grinnin'

Then Happy played an amazing set… as always… followed by Chris:

Chris warms up in the Sanctum Sanctorum

Chris warms up in the Sanctum Sanctorum

Chris brought down the house… as he always does… and then this morning, Tom Feldman gave an amazing concert on the porch of the Beatrice Love Kitchen.

The amazing Tom Feldman

The amazing Tom Feldman

From one end of the Mississippi to the other… you just can’t beat Tom Feldman!

Then it was time to start saying goodbye… always a bittersweet moment.

Happy, me and Chris...

Happy, me and Chris...

The boys… together again!

Shameless self promotion

Shameless self promotion

And then a time to say au revoir to all our friends here at the Ranch… and to remind ourselves how blessed we are… and that we are always sheltered by the wings of angels!

Thy will be done... always

Thy will be done... always

Categories: Diary, Fur Peace Ranch, Set Lists, 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:

Mother’s Day Weekend At The Ranch!

May 8th, 2016 Jorma 17 comments

First of all… Happy Mother’s Day to Vanessa, the mother in our house, and to all mother’s everywhere.

Today, Mother’s Day 2016, is 18 years to the day my Mom passed. I still miss you Mom… I still miss you, and I always will. I wish you could see who we’ve become, your grand kids, and what we’ve built.

I miss you Mom.

Now… a great weekend with David Wolff and Tom Feldman.Thanks fellas for one of the best!

Buffy and Me

Buffy and Me

Last night Buffy St.Marie came to the Fur Peace Station and gave a simply magnificent concert! I opened the show with this:

Jorma Kaukonen 19, 2016
The Fur Peace Station
Opening For
Buffy St. Marie
Darwin, Ohio
Saturday, May 7, 2016

1. Ain’t In No Hurry
2. Things That Might Have Been
3. Hesitation Blues
4. Come Back Baby
5. Sea Child
6. Watch The North Wind Rise
7. In My Dreams
8. That’ll Never Happen No More
9. Keep your Lamps Trimmed & Burning

Happy campers!

Happy campers!

This was a really good one!

A morning workshop tomorrow and then onwards…

Categories: Diary, Fur Peace Ranch, Set Lists, Venues Tags:

What A Day For A Ride

May 1st, 2016 Jorma 42 comments

Well, it’s been raining like we should think about building an ark. That said, there was a window of sun today and Vanessa lent me her Street Bob for a ride. Three great hours later… I’m back.

Really… good times!

Categories: Diary 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:

A Hearty Thanks To My Friends At Gibson, U.S.A.

April 23rd, 2016 Jorma 16 comments

So, today is the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Show at the Dolby Theater here in Los Angeles! Who would have thought that you would hear Run DMC and Jefferson Airplane in the same sentence? Anyway, the taping of the show is tonight so I’ll talk about that more tonight or tomorrow but first I need to thank and honor my friends at Gibson.

Wowzy...

Wowzy...

So I’ve been playing Gibson guitars all my life and I’ve loved them all. I bought my 1958 Gibson J-50 in Dayton, Ohio at Pop’s Music Store in 1959. It cost a hundred bucks, and worth every penny. I learned to finger pick on that guitar… it’s the guitar I played Embryonic Journey on. Learned to pick, sing and write on that guitar. It was the musical story of my life for… well, a long time. When I’m gone it will belong to my son Zach.

IN 1965 or ‘66, I bought a Red ES-345 Stereo at Sherman and Clay in San Francisco for about $400. I bought it on time… it seemed like a lot of money back then. That guitar became the guitar I developed my sound in the JA on. I owned a number of ES-345’s and ES-355’s back in that day, but that first red one was always the one. I gave it to my friend Maj when I was flush with cash and buying a lot of guitars. It was stolen from him in London and has been gone for over forty years.

When this Grammy Lifetime Award came up, I contacted my old friend Ron Moe down at Gibson Guitars in Nashville. I wondered what the chances were that there was an ES-345 around that I could use for the ceremony since we’re playing some live songs on the show. He said he’d run it up the flagpole to see if there were any salutes.

Enter his friend Mike Volz the director of Research And Product Development at Gibson, Memphis. Mike saw to it that his team hand crafted a replica of that 1964 Gibby, including the original wiring harness and matched caps and pots. The paint is off the charts… the hardware is lightly stressed and it plays like a dream. I’ll be using it a lot in upcoming shows.

Mike Volz, Jorma, The Guitar and Ron Moe

Mike Volz, Jorma, The Guitar and Ron Moe

This was totally unexpected… it is such a blessing! Many thanks to Mike and his team of craftspeople. And Ron… well, you know how I feel.

ES-345 and replica period case!

ES-345 and replica period case!

It is true that we’re missing Passover being here in LA like this, but it is a mitzvah of another sort.

Zeissen Pesach…

…and let’s rock!

Categories: Diary, trips and journeys Tags: