Home > Diary, Thoughts > Happy Birthday, Jack Old Friend… An Open Letter To John William Casady

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

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’)

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  1. James stevenson
    April 15th, 2014 at 07:59 | #1

    A true achievement , a friendship for life.Very few people have that.

  2. Angelika
    April 15th, 2014 at 08:44 | #2

    Happy Birthday, Jack Casady – the bass player I would always recognise because he is so special. Keep on going…

  3. Steve Levenson
    April 15th, 2014 at 08:48 | #3

    Perhaps I’m an old softie, but there would seem to be a parallel between carrying the scooter (carrying that which carries you) and the nature of a long term term relationship. Interesting that that is the story you tell, considering you probably have quite a few…What lucky fellows you are!
    Happy Birthday Jack.

  4. Phil Goldstein
    April 15th, 2014 at 09:24 | #4

    Happy Birthday Jack! You are a gifted American treasure. Wishing you many more years of contined health and success.

  5. sully
    April 15th, 2014 at 09:33 | #5

    sweet posting jerry… you lads are the cats meow. Honored to know y’all.

  6. sully
    April 15th, 2014 at 09:33 | #6

    sweet posting jorm… you lads are the cats meow. Honored to know y’all. jer

  7. johno
    April 15th, 2014 at 09:34 | #7

    The first time I ever saw Hot Tuna was in the spring of 1973 on long island,
    I never heard of Hot Tuna and a bunch of friends had front row seats. You guys came out a tall guy w/ a guitar and the coolest looking dude I had ever seen – long blond hair, headband, bolero belt and tie dyed shirt with a golden guitar. When you hit the first note I felt electricity go through my entire body. Jack, no one plays bass like you – never did – never will. I’m so glad my friends took me to that show. Hot Tuna has taken me places that are out of this world. Happy Birthday Jack!

  8. John R.
    April 15th, 2014 at 09:34 | #8

    Well said, Jorma, and Happy Birthday, Jack.(Same birthday as my wife!)

  9. Mark D
    April 15th, 2014 at 09:37 | #9

    Happy B-Day Jack. Great letter to a life long friend Jorma. I have heard you both play in Chicago, Phili and upstate NY when I lived close to Woodstock. Yes, sometimes it is difficult to remember all of details of the past but good to know the future holds more fun. As I once said to Jack in small bar in Woodstock (I think the Rocking Horse Saloon), KEEP ON PLAYING!

  10. Joey Hudoklin
    April 15th, 2014 at 11:13 | #10

    I’ve been figuratively holding my breath waiting for this post, Jorma. You & Jack changed my life, both in my early days & currently. I don’t know if I could have cleaned up my act without watching the both of you. I love the story w/the scooter. Hilarious.
    Happy Birthday to Jack. One of a kind.
    there isn’t much in this life that makes me happier than listening to Hot Tuna.
    Blessings.

  11. John B
    April 15th, 2014 at 11:33 | #11

    Old friends; true friends. A friendship that exists seemingly outside of time. Your friend Jack could not have received a finer gift Jorma then that letter you sent to him in honor of his Birthday. I have a precious few of those friends in my life. Part of our story includes each of us together taking our seats at the Academy of Music in NYC and hearing you and Jack make music like none we had ever heard before.

  12. Jerry Bayha
    April 15th, 2014 at 11:55 | #12

    Jack,
    Happy belated Birthday my friend, from another Jerry, and, very well said Jorma…your 2 up Lambretta story with Jack reminds me of another 2 up story in early June a number of years ago Jorma.
    Best wishes Jack,
    Jerry Bayha, Athens, OH.

  13. John B
    April 15th, 2014 at 14:14 | #13

    On the inside album sleeve for Crown Of Creation there is a picture of a large black bear or dog. Underneath the picture it says Brumas. Jorma do you remember anything about Brumas and how a picture of him/her came to be part of the Crown Of Creation L.P.?

  14. April 15th, 2014 at 15:01 | #14

    Dear Jack: You probably don’t know me, but I sat in front of you more times than I can count. Although I’m not a musician it is easy to discern that developing your craft took years and years of playing, and you are at the top of your game at 70. I wanted to wish you a very happy 70th birthday, and I wanted thank Jorma and yourself for letting me be part of this musical journey. It is so awesome to be a Hot Tuna Fan!

    Best wishes from a long-time fan.

    Doug Mlyn

  15. April 15th, 2014 at 15:08 | #15

    Hey John…

    Jorma here. Brumus was Bobby Kennedy’s dog. Woof

  16. Joanne
    April 15th, 2014 at 15:22 | #16

    What a heartfelt letter Jorma! You both have such a warm, beautiful, true friendship.
    Thank you so much for the great shows and hopefully many more. It’s been an honor to one of your long time true fans since 1970.Just love you both!
    Happy Birthday Jack…long may you run.

    My Best Always,
    Joanne Wirth

  17. Sean Murphy
    April 15th, 2014 at 18:58 | #17

    Happy Birthday Jack, keep those eyebrows bouncing, love it. Also thank you Jorma and Jack for being in my life for the last 35 plus years. My dear friend who was a drummer always said “music belongs in life” and yours has in mine!! Keep playing, see you next time you are in the Northwest!

  18. Kevin
    April 15th, 2014 at 19:22 | #18

    The Happiest of Birthdays Jack. You and Jorma are truly blessed to have the friendship that has lasted so many years, and we as fans are blessed to have witnessed that friendship and the talented interplay on so many stages over the last 40+ years.

  19. chuck newman
    April 15th, 2014 at 19:55 | #19

    Happy 70th Jack. The best on bass and the best of friends.

  20. chuck newman
    April 15th, 2014 at 20:38 | #20

    Jorma I said awhile back that I had more to say about why it was so special to see you all again with Marty. I thought long and hard about why it’s such a huge thing to me and everybody else and how to say it. Some people might think its a nostalgia deal or something but they would be wrong. Once in a lifetime and maybe once ever does a group of talented people come together to create and perform who are so extraordinary alone and out of this world when together. It’s not nostalgia it’s about the magic and the trip whether it’s Hot Tuna or parts of the Airplane. All we have to do is close our eyes and get on board. It will always be. It’s not a was it’s an is. Thanks for letting us all ride the music.

  21. cyndy consentino
    April 15th, 2014 at 21:59 | #21

    Dear Jorma,

    Beautiful post to your friend, Jack, A beautiful man indeed!! Happy Birthday, Jack!! your eyebrows always make me smile!

    Jorma, I think Brumus also make an appearance on “Blows Against The Empire”, also.

  22. harry briscoe
    April 16th, 2014 at 01:34 | #22

    rumble on, jack!

  23. johno
    April 16th, 2014 at 09:24 | #23

    I’d just want to say how grateful I am to be a Hot Tuna fan. It is so cool. So thank you so much for sharing your music and your friendship. Both of you are the greatest. Happy Big 7-0 Jack!!!
    john

  24. HOGAN
    April 16th, 2014 at 10:36 | #24

    To find one real friend in a lifetime is good fortune, to keep him is a blessing…
    and you are truly blessed.
    Happy 70th Birthday Jack, may you have many, many more…..
    :)

  25. Barbara Rowe Carlson
    April 16th, 2014 at 11:15 | #25

    Don’t forget…swimming in the Dickerson Quarry, Jack’s famous “jump,” Dave Dawson wanting to make it across the creek with his motorcycle to get there.
    I loved the “going to Waxie Maxies” or 7th St in brother Chick’s old green car for the latest records. ah, for long term memory!

  26. Michael Sumski
    April 16th, 2014 at 13:27 | #26

    What a picture you drew there Jorma. I can see you two doing that,I’ll have it on my mind all day.I hope it goes into dream state tonight. Like I always tell my friends when I’m driving “Put on your seat belt, I wanna try something I saw in a cartoon’ Oh they put on their seat belt real quick.Say that to Jack the next time your driving with him.

  27. April 16th, 2014 at 19:33 | #27

    How could I forget Barb… Plus I remember your Dad letting me take you out in that pink ‘57 Lincoln Convertible. Good times!

  28. April 16th, 2014 at 19:50 | #28

    Jack glad you had love in a dream. May any future wishes come true.
    The smiles in the picture makes me fee 25 lbs lighter and want to hug you both.
    Onward Rich “Pea” Pinter

  29. Carter Dunkin
    April 16th, 2014 at 20:49 | #29

    Wonderful birthday message, Jorma. Belated birthday wishes from me, too, Jack!

  30. Don Guidas
    April 17th, 2014 at 18:03 | #30

    My first Hot Tuna experience was November 1971. An afternoon JA show at Henry Levitt Arena in Wichita Kansas. I borrowed my mom’s ‘66 Olds Cutlass and took my then girl-friend on the very first DATE I that I got to drive myself. The Airplane did a great set, and then took a break. Jorma and Jack brought Papa John Creach on stage and TORE IT UP. Went out and bought the first Hot Tuna album the very next day. My life has never been the same. BEST WISHES for a Happy Birthday, Jack — and Keep up the good work. 40 plus years later and Tuna is better than ever!

  31. mike F & skin
    April 21st, 2014 at 14:22 | #31

    Hot Tuna LATE SHOWS WET THE BEST @Academy or Palladian , Beacon You were the BEST!!!

  32. Gary Dion
    April 23rd, 2014 at 12:24 | #32

    Just found Jorma’s message to Jack and the attached comments. Makes my day. Wonderful message. I also grew up ‘on’ Long Island and had the great pleasure to experience Hot Tuna (and JA) at various venues. Went to many of those concerts with my great friend, Dan.
    I have this somewhat murky memory of the Academy (inside as well as outside) – but my memory of the musicians and music is darn clear. And it’s all still going! Looking forward to seeing Hot Tuna at the Dakota in MPLS this summer. Can’t thank Jack and Jorma enough for all the great concerts and recordings – it all still feels like something new.

  33. Elmer M.
    August 21st, 2016 at 01:08 | #33

    Jefferson Airplane my current favorites are White Rabbit, Somebody to Love & Volunteers. What great music and lyrics http://lyricsmusic.name/jefferson-airplane-lyrics/ !