The two weeks at the Dana On Mission Bay was sure a nice interlude after the month long Leon Russell/Hot Tuna tour. We’ll be back with Leon later in the year with Hot Tuna in it’s electric configuration. Whooo boy. Anyway, two weeks for Fur Peace Ranch On The Road in San Diego was real nice to say the least. Since Vanessa is home schooling Izze, the girls were there too. Good times, for real!

So now I’m in L.A. and tonight and tomorrow night Hot Tuna will be making its presence known for the first time for two days and four shows at the wonderful McCabe’s Music Store. I’ve done many Jorma incarnations at McCabe’s, but this will be the first time that Jack Casady will be officially on board. We look forward to this!.

OK… now for my comment. We were all saddened to see that Philip Seymour Hoffman did not live long enough to have that lasting moment of clarity and that he succumbed to his disease. My heart goes out to his surviving family. Not much more can be said about that.

As a person in recovery myself, the nature of his struggle is not foreign to me… and those like me. ‘One of us,’ as we might say in my home group. A dear friend who is indeed, ‘One of us,’ sent me this quote which mirrors my thoughts on the subject, but says it so much more eloquently than I would have.

“Philip Seymour Hoffman did not die from an overdose of heroin — he died from heroin. We should stop implying that if he’d just taken the proper amount then everything would have been fine. He didn’t die because he was partying too hard or because he was depressed — he died because he was an addict on a day of the week with a ‘y’ in it.” —

Earth people, (those who are not alcoholics or addicts) do not get this, and why should they? Unless you or a family member suffers from the disease, there’s no way you can really understand. There’s no real point to my quoting this here except it just says it all for me. I was at Founders Day in Akron a couple of years ago and at the Motorcade run for Dr. Bob’s grave the gal riding in front me had a T-shirt that read:

‘Alcoholism and Addiction. Takes no prisoners. Destroys all in its path!’

Of course there are options available to people who want to recover. They are all programs for people who want them, not people who need them. It is sad that for Phillip Seymour Hoffman and so many like him, his first step was his last. I do thank him for helping to keep me sober another day.

Cautionary note:
As we say, I do not regret the past or shut the door on it, ( see Promise 3) I make no secret of who I am and where I have been. This, however, is not a venue for a discussion about recovery. If you want to have this discussion… I’ll see you at a meeting. As we all say ad nauseum these days, ‘Just sayin’!’

Have a great 24 and I’ll be back with some words about tonight’s McCabe’s show by tomorrow morning.

‘Well, if I was an angel I could fly over Jordan
And I wouldn’t need no Greyhound to save my soul
But maybe that’s a good thing ’cause I’ll be home before I know
And if I was an angel I’d have a long way to go’

Matraca Berg


  1. Comment made on February 14, 2014 by Paul

    Addiction is a hard place to be. The road to recovery, and to remaining alcohol or drug free, is in most ways as hard as it gets. Addiction does claim its share of victims. Some survive by the grace of their Higher Power, through surrender and working the program. The road for all of us is also filled with hardships, great and small. We must learn to love ourselves and each other. Maybe not the person, or the personality, but surely the inner self that transcends all suffering and that binds us together and binds us to a loving God. I pray for peace and serenity as we all make our ways through life.

  2. Comment made on February 11, 2014 by cyndyconsentino

    Dear Jorma,

    Thank you for a beautiful post. Addiction is a struggle and does destroy all in it’s path.

    PSH was so talented, it hurts to lose someone of his stature.

    your words are a comfort.

    Thank you,

  3. Comment made on February 10, 2014 by Barbara Jacobs

    Well, if you can handle the description of “drippy sh*ts” (as opposed to a word like “diarrhea”, which is so much nicer and would make it more acceptable)
    P.S.H. knew that he was going to die, if he didn’t stop. Yet he couldn’t stop because he had a disease. He most likely prayed ; although that night — he just wanted to shoot-up some heroin.

    He wasn’t ready to die, yet he didn’t get the help he needed to continue living. He certainly admitted and described himself as : ” I’m a heroin addict”, when asked :
    “What do you do?”, by a journalist who didn’t even recognize him at the Sundance Film Festival.

    So, never mind being an Oscar-winner and having nominations for acting awards:
    He said he just wanted to be remembered for the character-roles that he acted.
    Some people (as he was) are kind to others, yet not kind to themselves.
    They reach for perfection-plus: when perfection itself and the acclamation of his theatre audience plus the accolades of the greatest actors who worked with/admired him just wasn’t enough.
    PSH lacked self-esteem and was hard on himself, in his professional life.
    He dug down deep in order to play the role of “Willy Loman” and after seeing him several times during his run in “Death of a Salesman”, I saw him dig deeper into a place where ordinary actors would not go.

    It’s only my opinion and can never be proven: that deep, dark well of emotion took him beyond playing that role and some of it stayed with him after the last curtain-call.
    It wasn’t long after, that one drink led to another. Good choices are never made by those who re-open the door that they had succeeded in keeping shut ,for so long.

    Hope that Angelo can cover his eyes and avoid reading this realistic description of PSH’s messy ending.


  4. Comment made on February 10, 2014 by Craig K.

    g_d grant me the Serenity…

  5. Comment made on February 9, 2014 by johno

    I will also say a prayer for his children. I only hope he said his prayers before he died. You only get one go around – and you better be ready.

  6. Comment made on February 8, 2014 by carlo pagliano

    Rock the Shop Tonight Jorma!

  7. Comment made on February 8, 2014 by jim hitchcock

    Iirc, Jack played at the ’03 shows at McCabes.

    Doug Mlyn, enjoy the show!

  8. Comment made on February 8, 2014 by Angelo

    Drippy sh*ts…..Really….to much information.

  9. Comment made on February 8, 2014 by Dwight Wilcox

    I’m so looking forward to your show in Fresno on Tuesday. I’ve enjoyed your music for so long and for you to come to our town is special. Any chance David is playing with you…I’m dreaming of him playing fiddle on Keep Your Lamps Trimmed and Burning…Just Sayin…Big Fan Dwight

  10. Comment made on February 8, 2014 by Barbara Jacobs

    And, those wide paths have “exits” that sometimes can’t be ignored. (I’m guessing, yet have no personal experience.)
    Thanks for saying a prayer for his kids, they really need the spiritual help and earthly support.
    A dead Daddy, is a dead Daddy. It makes no difference to his children, who don’t have the understanding of how Daddy died.

  11. Comment made on February 8, 2014 by Barbara Jacobs

    Bless you, too.
    Even though you thought it was “bizzare” re:(Philip Seymour Hoffman’s death, or my memory of his scrutiny of my description to him; that the first sip of hot coffee I enjoyed, after 10 years of not drinking any coffee: was “an explosion of flavor in my mouth”):

    I never implied that the “proper amount of Heroin” intake would have been fine, nor would have prevented his death.
    We were different individuals, with different preferences; yet we were friends and could share an hour of time, over a cup of tea (for me) and coffee (for me: no sugar needed and one cup was enough. For him: A triple-dose, over ice with milk.
    No sweetener was needed.)

    “Earth people” (as simple as we are) can be friends with addicts (as complex as they are).
    If I wanted to judge the people who weren’t “earth-people” and hold that against them: I would not have had the experience of many friendships, that I still hold dear to my “earth-person” heart.
    @Richard Cowles

    @Richard Cowles

  12. Comment made on February 8, 2014 by Bake

    Jan 12th ,seven years ago I read a quote from my daily desk planner, it went as follows : ” There are matters over which you have no control. Instead of getting any bees in your bonnet, how about making it a no fly zone.” Easier said than done! I’ll say a prayer for his children tonight. That T~shirt pretty much sums it up, the problem is, some paths are wider than others.

  13. Comment made on February 8, 2014 by Richard Cowles

    Thanks for always being the real deal.Bless you…

  14. Comment made on February 8, 2014 by Barbara Jacobs

    Good quote re: Philip Seymour Hoffman, from your friend.
    I’m an “earth-person” and I don’t know what “a proper amount of Heroin” is.
    All I know is that if I drink more than one cup of coffee during any day, I get the drippy sh*ts for the rest of that day and then I can’t sleep at night.
    I don’t like having drippy sh*ts and I like to sleep at night.

  15. Comment made on February 8, 2014 by mutt

    Once a hopeless dope fiend – Now a dopeless Hope fiend.

    Nuff Said.

    Peace & Love Fur All


  16. Comment made on February 8, 2014 by Bob K.

    Thanks Jorma, you always give me hope that our son will seek recovery. He has done it before but recently relapsed and is now in jail. My wife and I pray that this is the bottom he had to experiance in order to want help. He has the tools needed for recovery, he just needs to use them.

  17. Comment made on February 8, 2014 by Ed K.

    BTW , Thanks for the many years of music and the autograph you gave a fellow club member ( Dominic ) at Peter Yarrow’s home for me !!!

  18. Comment made on February 8, 2014 by Ed K.

    Being a fellow Club Member ? I have to keep in mind that there are Twelve Steps that I must keep in practice with on a daily basis . Thanks for the reminder !!!

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