Home > Diary, Fur Peace Ranch, Thoughts > Sidebar From Hillside Farm

Sidebar From Hillside Farm

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.


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  1. Curtis Armstrong
    May 8th, 2014 at 12:55 | #1

    This has been much on my mind lately, Jorma. At sixty, I’m actually travelling more than I have since my theater touring days back in the 1970’s and early 80’s. And–this may be retrospective romanticizing—but it seems like it was a lot more fun back then!

    My love of the work is unchanged. Maybe greater, as I’ve now been doing it so long I can appreciate how rare it is to have a career of forty years doing what you love. But I miss my wife, and home and friends when I’m away. And I miss my daughter all the time, as her life journey away from her parents is only beginning.

  2. Bill Van Iden
    May 8th, 2014 at 13:06 | #2

    They’re are no superstars, no special people, just people…well said. Some people have done and accomplished special things, however we all people, and are all special. Finding what we are special at is the key to the highway.

  3. Barbara Jacobs
    May 8th, 2014 at 13:19 | #3

    I agree with Jorma and Curtis.

    In honor of upcoming Mother’s Day:
    I have a special offer for the mothers of sons and/or daughters serving in the military (currently or even retired).
    It’s called “Manicures for Military Moms”.
    If any are reading this, or know of a military mom; free manicures are on offer from several salons in Manhattan. (This takes place on Saturday, as most salons are closed on Sunday).

    Next year, I hope to have some participating salons around N.Y.C. and Long Island.

    Post an e-mail address here and I will send the salon appointment “code number” and the location.

  4. carlo pagliano
    May 8th, 2014 at 13:22 | #4

    Breathe Out
    Roll the Rock around
    Steady As She Goes it’s Jorma to sound

  5. Steve Levenson
    May 8th, 2014 at 13:28 | #5

    Here’s the view from the audience (or just me, I guess I can’t speak for everyone). I think there are “special” people, or at least incredibly talented ones. Now even though I think my job is important (industrial safety-I try to make sure everyone goes home at least as healthy as they were when they came in), it has not happened yet that groups of people have waited months for me to come and greeted me with applause. Of course, I have had some grateful people thank me for pointing out stuff that might have hurt them, and one guy in tears because I taught him skills that he used to save his daughters life (the greatest moment of my career, so far). But no sustained rounds of applause and certainly no one ecstatically shouting my name as I walked to the podium. So you may not be special to you, but you are to us. And I have met artists who seem to believe in their own deification, and humility is a very special quality as well.
    So far as no one deserving anything, I like to think we are born deserving to be happy, but that’s really a different discussion….
    And “insufferable dickhead” made me laugh. With your permission I’m going to borrow that phrase, so long as none of the HR I.D.s are within earshot.

  6. Scott Meyers
    May 8th, 2014 at 15:31 | #6

    JK, Well told view on how you perceive life. We all have visions and dreams, but doing what you absolutely love and getting paid for it is special because so few can claim that. That does not make the player special, just the situation. Yes, we are all human beings that occasionally do special things. We’re all in this together, you, me, everyone. Home, Yes, a real state of mind. Happiness knowing no price tag. Very happy you have achieved that level of clarity and perception. Best to you and the family, and onward indeed.

  7. Robert
    May 8th, 2014 at 15:42 | #7

    “All my life I’ve been a traveling man.”

    Following your bliss doesn’t mean it’s always going to be blissful. As Emerson said; Life is the journey, not the destination. Even when it’s gone beyond the embryonic stage.

  8. Richard
    May 8th, 2014 at 16:20 | #8

    This is a very interesting sidebar.I’ve looked up to you since I was a teen and quote you as being my main reason for ever wanting to pickup a guitar to begin with,so yeah I’ve followed you for ever.Back in a day though before blogging existed you kept what you refered to as a diary,and later said I have had a lot of requests to start blogging…You’re response was? I will see what it will cost. Hey I don’t blame you.Look back and you will see this statement true.As for the stuff about flying being repulsive ? I gotta get my head around this after the fact stuff.But as my mom once said to me.he sounds like a fine man.Thanks for letting me into your world.

  9. johno
    May 8th, 2014 at 16:46 | #9

    It’s so interesting that you see youself as one of us. We are all the same. You were given a gift – you found it, honed your skill until you are one of the best – and now your passing your skills on @ the ranch. You thanked us – well Jorma I thank you. I consider it a blessing to know you – listen to you – and I’ll follow you as long as I’m able. The key is to lose the ego, we are all one.

  10. May 8th, 2014 at 17:54 | #10

    Doing what you absolutely love and getting paid for it is something most of us can’t really say. I actually like my job but I have had jobs in the past where I dreaded going in to work. I have been reading your blog from the beginning and I find it inspiring, and as I said before, it is always appreciated, especially the set lists and photos. I know it’s something you don’t have to do. It put a smile on my face especially the last couple of weeks reading about Hot Tuna’s tour in Japan. Thanks for including us in your musical journey. Onward indeed.

  11. Nick Mead
    May 8th, 2014 at 18:21 | #11

    Thanks for sharing this Jorma. As a fellow musician this is really important to read.
    I live in Australia but hopefully will see you and Jack play one day.

  12. jim hitchcock
    May 8th, 2014 at 19:06 | #12

    Some posts are as powerful as the music. Enjoyed this one.

  13. Tim from Philly
    May 8th, 2014 at 19:12 | #13

    Love it, Jorma! I work in an office all day, and see live music as much as possible (just returned from a week in Nawlins, all live music all the time, jazzfest during the day and then night shows; we took our college graduate son for his graduation present – when we’d crap out around 3 a.m. He would keep going until 6, oh to be young again, and so proud to have a kid who gets it). But I digress too. Point is I’d rather travel and play music for a living, but am happy to do second best.

    Keep on rocking, Brother Jorma, look forward to seeing you soon. And keep coining wonderful me (at least to me) phrases!

  14. Tim from Philly
    May 8th, 2014 at 19:13 | #14

    Argh spell check? Wonderful NEW phrases…@Tim from Philly

  15. Nick L. Eakins
    May 8th, 2014 at 20:03 | #15

    To be very, very honest, I do envy your being able to travel and see the world. I hope I can get to see you at the Englert in Iowa City this Summer. I’m not complaining though. My life is good,,,sedentary but good. Heaven gives me what I need.

  16. Mark Kran
    May 9th, 2014 at 10:01 | #16

    Its refressing to read your view of your work as a job, its a side of your profession that too often goes unapreciated by those in the audience. Expressing a sense of humility in our celebrity obsessed culture where people become celebrities seemingly for no apparent reason is also refreshing. Speaking for myself, I do thank you for bringing into my own life the gift of great music. My life has been greatly enriched by it and like anything you love, I couldn’t imagine my world without it. Who could have imagined that 45 years after my first show at the Fillmore East, going on road trips etc. especially with the woman I love, to see you or the band etc, would still bring to me “the icing on the cake”. As I get older it seems my needs get simpler, a good show, a good woman, what more can a man ask for. Looking forward to the shows in June

  17. greg souza
    May 9th, 2014 at 11:01 | #17

    Thank you for what you do,you and Jack bring much joy to the fans.Thanks for keeping the music alive.

  18. John R.
    May 9th, 2014 at 15:28 | #18

    It’s an honor and a privilege to belong to this community of like minded spirits.

  19. John B
    May 9th, 2014 at 15:33 | #19

    Thank you Jorma.

  20. Joey Hudoklin
    May 9th, 2014 at 16:33 | #20

    Jorma, I appreciate your humility. I think that – aside from the pure emotional lift I get from your music – has always been perhaps my greatest attraction to your persona. You’ve always seemed to care more about the integrity of your artistic endeavors, than trying to attach to something that is in vogue.
    I literally don’t know where I’d be without your (and Jacks’) influence.
    Thank you so much.

  21. Joe in dc
    May 9th, 2014 at 19:56 | #21

    Hey there jorma. Glad Hft had a grand time in japan. Great post of yours. Being a fan of you any tuna since my first show in early 70’s in NYC I am truly glad you travel. It appears that the travel is just part of your trade . As for me I do both; the office thing and the travel thing for work. That’s just what I have to do to for a living, le you. Though we are in different fields. We have a saying in our office which sums the office thing up for me – ground hog day…. That’s how it is going into an office for 31 years man;; ground hog day. Remember that movie? We laugh about it. As for my time on a plane- domestic or overseas well I look at it as commuting to my off site office. Just sharing my view ……

  22. Kate Sullivan
    May 9th, 2014 at 20:01 | #22

    “Nothing is really work unless you would rather be doing something else”……J.M. Barrie
    Hugs to All. Kate

  23. johno
    May 9th, 2014 at 20:12 | #23

    This is one of the best blogs in a long time – been so long…

  24. Angelo
    May 9th, 2014 at 22:22 | #24

    Ahhh ha ha he said “dickhead”

  25. Anna Stegemoeller
    May 9th, 2014 at 22:25 | #25

    Welcome home. It is fun to read of your travels to Japan. I assume your Fishman Aural Spectrum DI interpreted sound for your international audience to everyone’s satisfaction. Groundhog’s Day is one of my all time favorite movies, btw Joe in D.C.. Best wishes to all – in trying to do your very best in all things at all times. Keep the faith.

  26. chuck newman
    May 10th, 2014 at 00:00 | #26

    Maybe Carole King said it best in “So Far Away”. Jorma I understand what you mean about doing what you do for a living. Terrible sentence on my part but most of my life has been a passion for driving and being on the road. Doesn’t matter what I’m driving, I just love to make the wheels turn. I couldn’t stop if I tried and I’m miserable being in one place too long. Having said this, I was serious about some months back wanting you to talk more about your love of yard work. I also was a landscaper in my “creative” phase. Just common subjects we all talk about. Never did get into performers as dieties. Like the great comedy
    album said,”We’re all Bozos on this Bus”.

  27. May 10th, 2014 at 00:19 | #27

    My father often said “find something you love and you will be good at it…once you are good at it you will find a way to make it your work”… I am a musician, although not of the stature of note, run a small record label, teach guitar and work a day job in corporate document security… at 62 I have been married for 41 wonderful years to a patient and understanding woman who raised two wonderful children for me while I was galavanting about doing “my thing”… I am not a wealthy man but, like Jorma, enjoy paying for the things we need..the point? I have a cousin who is extremely wealthy having forced himself into a line of work that he detested but succeeded in.. Each and every time we see each other, I tells me how much “he envies me”… when we were younger men, I didn’t understand what he meant… NOW I think I get it and I wouldn’t change a thing I’ve done….

  28. cyndy consentino
    May 10th, 2014 at 00:51 | #28

    Dear Jorma,

    Thank you, so lovely.

    Also loved “dickhead” !!


  29. Steve Goldston
    May 10th, 2014 at 16:29 | #29

    As members of the “tribe”,we have been referred to as “wandering Jews”..just saying. 🙂

  30. johno
    May 10th, 2014 at 19:07 | #30

    I never heard Jews referred to as a ‘tribe’ or know why they’re referred to as ‘wandering Jews’

  31. Steven Levenson
    May 11th, 2014 at 11:14 | #31

    Like the 12 tribes of Israel. Wandering Jew refers to a not very nice story of a Jew who taunted Jesus on the way to the crucifixion and was cursed to wander the Earth until the second coming, just as Cain was doomed to wander after killing Abel.
    It’s also the name of a houseplant.

  32. johno
    May 12th, 2014 at 09:45 | #32

    Thanks I didn’t know that. Why can’t we all just live and let live.

    @Steven Levenson

  33. John B
    May 12th, 2014 at 14:52 | #33

    I have never heard story of the Jew that taunted Jesus when he was on his way to Golgatha. If it is in the Bible I may have missed it. Where can I find it ? I would think that it referred to the book of Exodus and the 40 years spent wandering in the desert before entering into the promised land. Moses was not allowed to go into the promised land but only to look over into it. Wasn’t it his son Aaron that was given that privilege? Thanks for sharing Steven.

  34. May 15th, 2014 at 11:36 | #34

    A big thanks to you for sharing the amazing music and your personal thoughts.

    I do think there are some folks that can play a helluvalot better than others however! I am in that others category -;0)

  35. R.J.
    May 31st, 2014 at 01:02 | #35

    On being special:

    “Everybody is special!” ~ Irma Thomas, responding to a fan who thanked Ms. Thomas for her show at her club that included complimentary red beans and rice prepared by the Grammy-winning singer.

    “When you learn, teach, when you get, give.”

    ― Maya Angelou