With book... and iPad

With book... and iPad

Foto by Matie Argiropoulos

I found myself at one of those Times Square tourist hotels… the Paramount. With the room just big enough for a bed and a small suitcase, obviously it was designed for sleeping only. Good mattress though. Except for me, I would venture that almost everyone else in the building was there to sample the bright lights of Times Square.

Now, this could be Times Square

Now, this could be Times Square

Foto by Jorma Kaukonen

But this could be Times Square too…



Foto by Jorma Kaukonen

I wanted to tell the folks swarming the streets that there was more to America than this, but hey… they all seemed to be enjoying themselves. But I hadn’t come here to be this close to the Deuce just to lollygag around. My mission was to show up at CDM Studios. These folks’ specialty was doing audio books and more and I was there to read my book, Been So Long. Now this was to be a production of Macmillan Audio from St. Martin’s Press.

It’s been a couple of years since I put the first words of Been So Long on ‘paper.’ In a way, it seems longer than that and in another, the time has passed in the blink of an eye. In any case as my project has unfolded I find myself more than grateful to all the people it takes to make a book happen. The writing was only the tip of the iceberg. The editorial team was more than awesome. My sincerest thanks to you all!

In any case, this reading business was something completely new. Again, this is an industry that until now had been way off my radar. Matie Argiropoulos, the producer and director, was sure I could do it. Me… not so much. What the heck. If you want to run with the Big Dogs, you have to get off the porch, and so off the porch I got!

I had two and a half days to do two hundred and eighty four pages and as I began reading, it looked like two and a half days would not be enough. Slowing down to a moderate tempo has always been a problem for me, in music and in life itself. Matie was a real pro and always pointed me in the right direction whenever I would stray! I found some of the chapters easy to read. When I got to the one where both my Mom and Dad passed… it was more emotional to me than I could have imagined. They’ve been gone for twenty years, and writing about it was nowhere near as hard as reading what I wrote out loud. The little poem from my Grandfather that I close the book with affected me as powerfully as it did the first time I read it. You’ll see, if you read the book. I felt good that after all the work I had done on this project I could still be emotionally touched in a very real way.

Finally... a little guitar

Finally... a little guitar

Foto by Matie Argiropoulos

After I finished the reading, i got to play a little guitar music to go under the closing credits. The guitar was like an ice cream dessert after the feast that was the reading. I would like to thank Matie Argiropoulos the producer and director of my project. Thanks for the hand holding! It was recorded by Charles de Montebello and Raunak Mukherjee. Post production is by Danny Meltzer and the text copyright 2018 is by me, Jorma Kaukonen. The production copyright 2018 is by Macmillan Audio and of course, all rights are reserved.

I felt more than good as I wrapped this up at noon on Sunday and headed back to the Fur Peace Ranch. The official release date of the book is August 28, 2018. I’d like to think Mom and Dad would have gotten a kick out of this.

i know I did!

Smiles all around!

Smiles all around!

Selfie by Matie Argiropoulos


  1. Comment made on April 8, 2019 by Sandy

    Purchased the audio book from Audible last year and I thought it was well done and much enjoyed hearing the life story being told first hand. Some passages on family and personal relationships were accompanied by the unique reflections/observations we fans of JK have come to look forward to. Would love to read even what was cut/edited especially any reflections on music and art apart from rock and JK’s regular repertoire.

  2. Comment made on August 29, 2018 by Lips

    Good to see a Hometown Boy do good! Congrats! Will have to get the audio version for full impact. Thanks for keeping on keepin’ on! Lips still in New Orleans

  3. Comment made on August 16, 2018 by Susan

    @Tom Fabry
    I will have a great time and there’s no doubt that I’ll be behaving differently than I did in the seventies! Evolving is a good thing…

    @Richard And yet, I ‘ve been to many of the same venues, and will enjoy sharing stories on the third!

  4. Comment made on August 16, 2018 by Richard

    My first HT shows were about then too at the Palladium on 14st in NYC..Might have been my fav venue at the time..Saw so many HT shows there ,my first Dead show in 1977 there and countless others back then..Like they say “those were the days” It was a wild place..Saw a 7 hour HT show at the now torn down Commack Arena on Long Island about then too..Now that place was pretty wild too..And not in a good way..

  5. Comment made on August 16, 2018 by Tom Fabry

    No funny business with seat scamming and the like… Sit in your assigned seat and behave.. This is not the Beacon theater or Capital Theater and it certainly isn’t 1975.. LOL Have a great time, and again, behave.

  6. Comment made on August 15, 2018 by Susan

    No…the seat I lost was in row c. My good friend with whom I went to my second hot tuna show in 1976 will now sit n row e. See u there!

    @John B Show and book with signing for 50 of about 300 seats at the Boulton Center in bay shore…

  7. Comment made on August 15, 2018 by John B

    What book signing event? Here in the NY NJ Conn area?

  8. Comment made on August 15, 2018 by Richard

    I am B 103..that means I took your other seat. Sorry about that..

  9. Comment made on August 15, 2018 by Susan

    I’m B104!

  10. Comment made on August 15, 2018 by Richard

    That’s funny Susan. There were no tickets left for the book and meet and greet left and then there were. I have row B. Could we be sitting together? Hope to see you there..Also around 5pm..

  11. Comment made on August 14, 2018 by Susan

    That’s great ….when I was in I had two for the book signing, lost one by hesitating and then bought what was showing as the last one in that moment. Around 4:30 or 5pm. Looking forward to it…I had held off on buying the book waiting for just this kind of event, if not Book Revue in Huntington . Can’t wait for the show and to read the book!

  12. Comment made on August 14, 2018 by Richard

    Susan :Tix for Jorma at Boulton Center in Bay Shore October 3 are going fast!

    I just got the last of 50 tickets being sold to get Jormas book and after show book signing..woohooo

  13. Comment made on August 14, 2018 by Susan

    Tix for Jorma at Boulton Center in Bay Shore October 3 are going fast!

  14. Comment made on August 14, 2018 by Brendan Carroll

    Kidding aside; Congratulations on accomplishing this noble endeavor. Yours is no doubt a sober, insightful, valuable worldview which will lend clarity to a storied but distorted epoch and vocation.

  15. Comment made on August 14, 2018 by Brendan Carroll

    Kidding aside; Congratulations on accomplishing this noble endeavor. Yours is no doubt a sober, insightful, valuable worldview which will lend clarity to the storied but distorted epoch of the

  16. Comment made on August 14, 2018 by Brendan Carroll

    Kidding aside; Congratulations on accomplishing this noble endeavor. Yours is no doubt a sober, insightful, valuable worldview which will lend clarity to the storied but distorted epoch of the

  17. Comment made on August 14, 2018 by Brendan Carroll

    Hey Man; I’m picturing Dan Aykroyd’s Nixon dictating memoirs. Only no one wants to drive a stake through your heart. Nobody I know.

  18. Comment made on August 13, 2018 by John B

    Travolta? @John B

  19. Comment made on August 13, 2018 by John B

    Good point !……cant wait for the movie! Who will play Jorma?

  20. Comment made on August 12, 2018 by Joe from VA

    Abe Vigoda, R.I.P., February 24, 1921 – January 26, 2016)


  21. Comment made on August 11, 2018 by Sweetbac Jr.

    Can’t wait for the book….the question though…who’ll play “Maurice the Magnificent” in the movie adaptation?….Is Abe Vigoda available these days?

  22. Comment made on August 11, 2018 by Pete/RockawayBeach

    Hey Jorma.Hope you’re well? Are you really going to drive from Key West to Orlando without stopping in Palm Beach? LOL… can’t wait to read the book !!!!

  23. Comment made on August 11, 2018 by Rich L

    I’m reminded of a little quip from the book “A Treasury of Irish Folklore,” that discussed a man’s life.

    “You see, my boy, a man’s life naturally divides itself into three distinct periods. The first is that when he is planning and contriving all sorts of villainy and rascality; that is the period of youth and innocence. The second is that in which he is putting into practice the villainy and rascality he contrived before; that is the prime of life or the flower of manhood. The third and last period is that in which he is making his soul and preparing for another world; that is the period of dotage.”

    LOL – Jorma you are far from the period of dotage, but there is no doubt in my mind our days of “rascality” are diminishing. Remember those days when you woke up the morning after with a terrible hangover and said, “I’ll never do that again…” Fortunately, those days are water under the bridge – although it did take a long time to finally get it!

    Most of us com mentors on your blog are probably entering that reflective state where we tend to “make our soul and prepare for another world.” For those of us who grew up in the 60’s, there is a lot to deliberate upon. I’m reminded of a song from a group back in those days;

    “One generation got old
    One generation got soul
    This generation got no destination too hold…”

    I can’t wait to read your reflections. LOL – hopefully you didn’t leave out too much of the “villainy and rascality!”

    Indeed, “Shoreline smaller, every day…”

  24. Comment made on August 11, 2018 by Tom Fabry

    @Brian Doyle
    My Dad took me and my 3 brothers there too, in Times Square area I believe. Good to be a New Yorker, just sayin’.
    Go have an eclair and a coffee in remembrance of your Dad if he is indeed singing with the choirs in glory… If he is still in this world, buy 2 eclairs and coffee and go hang out with him. Tell him all will be ok…death is a growth opportunity.

  25. Comment made on August 10, 2018 by Brian Doyle

    My father took me to the automat way back in like 68 or 70 I can’t remember it was so long ago…I never registered any freak stuff going on…I guess I was too young…The only thing I can remember are what my cousin called “greasers” driving around in cool convertibles…My father took me in to the automat just to show me the weird system of food behind little doors with windows where you put the coins in and it unlocked the door…I think we got like an eclair just so he could show me how it worked…

  26. Comment made on August 10, 2018 by charles newman

    Ordered mine moments ago. It’s going to be a very good day for reading come Labor Day. I am also heartened by the fact that more and more “youngsters” in their late 30’s and early 40’s are asking me about what I know about the Airplane and Hot Tuna. The good stuff always lasts as they say. It’s great to see people develop along in their musical journey discovering the blues and folk etc. I just had a young man of 40ish age proudly tell me yesterday that he knows about Grace and her artwork. When I looked in the mirror this morning I could of sworn I had a little less gray in my hair.

  27. Comment made on August 10, 2018 by mikie

    I can’t wait for the movie! m

  28. Comment made on August 10, 2018 by Andy K

    OT Jorma you are a truly a road warrior and us fans really appreciate the opportunity to get to see you and Jack as often as possible. But perhaps sometimes the road can be too much?
    I see in December you play two shows on a Friday night in Chicago and then travel 420 miles to Minneapolis to play again the very next night!
    Hopefully, no snow storms.

  29. Comment made on August 10, 2018 by Tom Fabry


    Check out this drone shot. I not only learned licks at Fur Peace, but also had my first drone flight, w the Captain at the controls and me looking thru the goggles.. Pretty cool.

    I am sure this book is setting the record straight and true in many ways. Looking forward to reading it.

  30. Comment made on August 10, 2018 by Jim

    Can’t wait to get the book! – Dog days of summer continue – Butchy is recovering from heart attack – he’s ok, but it was a close shave – Traded the Collings for a Collings cut-away – It is awesome – I can get up to the high A and do Bach, Joplin, Debussy and the Rev. all on one guitar – now I have to find some gigs (or maybe an open mike at Town Crier) – can’t wait to bring it to FPR – See you in a couple months – J

  31. Comment made on August 9, 2018 by Greg martelli

    Keep your lamps trimmed

  32. Comment made on August 9, 2018 by Anna Stegemoeller

    Great news about the book. Another job well done. Keep on keeping on, Captain. Congrats on your milestone.

  33. Comment made on August 9, 2018 by Tom Fabry

    @Greg martelli
    Greg, which was the punctuating line?

  34. Comment made on August 8, 2018 by Phil Zisook

    Looking forward to reading; only a few more weeks! Yes, its very interesting what goes into making a book; from cover design, to clearing copyrights, to distribution, and yes, the audiobook! And the personal, emotional component when author reads his own content! Thanks for shining a light on this, Jorma!

  35. Comment made on August 8, 2018 by Greg martelli

    The punctuating line was very good in context.
    If we are hunter ,gatherers ,we should listen to our ancestral admonition and encouragement.We should listen to our instincts.

  36. Comment made on August 8, 2018 by Don Gehre

    I know I and everyone else can hardly wait to get their hands on a copy Jorma. Thanks for being a needed historian of a time many of us consider the crown of creation.

  37. Comment made on August 8, 2018 by Tom Fabry


    Ohio too close to call. Oh boy. Buckle up.
    Libertarian Green party guy, sways election, claims he is an extraterrestrial and speaks 19 languages, including Spanglish, Sheet Music, Sign language and Kawasaki. He received over 1000 votes.
    Folks I think it best we keep our lamps trimmed and burning

  38. Comment made on August 8, 2018 by carey georgas

    I always wondered how audio books were produced. Never woulda guessed it could be done in 2.5 days. You must be a one-take wonder. I guess when what you write comes from your heart, it’s a pretty simple step to read it from the same place. Nonetheless, 284 pages in less than three days is impressive!

  39. Comment made on August 8, 2018 by eaglesteve

    I thought the Paramont was a Stanford White designed building from it’s looks, but alas, I was wrong.
    The Hotel Paramount in New York City is a hotel located at 235 West 46th Street, to the west of Broadway. Designed by Thomas W. Lamb, construction was completed in 1928. In 1988, the hotel was closed for an 18-month remodelling project. In 1990, the hotel, under the ownership of Ian Schrager and redesigned by Philippe Starck, reopened as the Paramount Hotel.[1] The hotel underwent a seven-month-long renovation in 1998 at a cost of $7 million, which included enhancements to lobby lighting.[2]

    After purchasing the hotel in 1986, Ian Schrager was able to more than double occupancy rates in about two years, to 82%.[3] Schrager sold the hotel in 2004 for $126 million to a Sol Melia Hotels and Resorts / Hard Rock Cafe joint venture.[4] When Hard Rock was sold to the Seminole Tribe of Florida, the Paramount was sold to Walton Street Capital.[5] In 2011, the hotel was sold to Aby Rosen’s RFR Holding.[6]

    Various musicians have been associated with the Paramount. The Paramount Hotel Grill, a restaurant within the hotel, hosted jazz performances from the 1930s onwards. At the height of their fame in 1931, the Memphis Stompers performed at the Paramount Hotel. Charlie Barnet led a band there from 1932 onwards.[7][8][9] From 1938 to 1951, theatrical impresario and songwriter Billy Rose operated “Billy Rose’s Diamond Horseshoe” nightclub in the basement of the Paramount. The club was known for its vaudeville-styled reviews and chorus of showgirls, “Billy Rose’s Long-stemmed beauties.” The Diamond Horseshoe featured some of the top entertainers of the era, and was the inspiration for the 1945 musical film, Diamond Horseshoe starring Betty Grable.

  40. Comment made on August 7, 2018 by douglas mlyn

    @John B
    John: no going to Portland and L.A. Hope all is well.

  41. Comment made on August 7, 2018 by Ben

    Can’t wait to hear it Jorma!!

  42. Comment made on August 7, 2018 by Greg martelli

    The Horn & Hardetts(spelling?) were a trip.
    I credit the political will of Giuliani and Bloomberg in cleaning up Times Square.Early /mid 70’s it was a fen.
    Live sex shows are not good for business(Theatre).
    Speaking of Disney ,their investment in the New Amsterdam Theatre was a bold ,inspired stroke.Perfect format to launch a great musical ,The lion king,following it up with Mary Poppins,Chim Chimeny ,Chim Chim cherou.
    The theatre is a great venue for Deus Ex machina.
    Saw Dickey Betts and Great Southern New Year’s Eve at B.B. KINGS (06/07?).After show ,the mounted cops
    Were straight racing on broadway.
    It’s unfortunate that we can’t strike a balance as Jorma alluded to,as Times Square is brash and commercial.
    When we travel to NYC,we avoid it.
    On another allusion to Times Square ,at the Concert for NY ,which we were fortunate to attend ,Adam Sandler did an OPERA MAN skit about bin lardass ( osama),it made me fall off the chair,in it he professed his admiration for Giuliani,complaining only that he took the hookers off the street.To that end ,I Credit the rebirth of broadway as well to cleaning up the swamp.
    If you did not attend the concert ,or haven’t seen the video ;google Sandler ,Opera man ,concert for NY.
    He was a lot funnier than Susan Sarandon( not funny at all).
    Just got our Lockin wristbands today-Toots/Legend of real/Clinton-parliaments.
    Fun stuff,we’ll miss Hot Tuna there this year.
    We’ve been to 3- to date .highlights at Arrington:
    Jimmy cliff
    50th commemorative performance of JA(Jorma et al)
    North Mississippi Allstars
    We’ll check out early and miss DEAD & Co, there’s a triathlon in Charlottesville on Saturday am ,and than back to verdant pastures of Kentuck
    Mostly going for Toots,I saw him in 76 at Westport playhouse & than at Feat fest in Jamaica ,the year before Tuna showed up for two in a row w/Ramble band
    Hot Tuna afternoon soundchecks on beach were ethereal

  43. Comment made on August 7, 2018 by John B

    Doug are you going to any of the Arizona shows? @Doug Mlyn

  44. Comment made on August 7, 2018 by Adam K

    Jorma, have you heard the spoken word CD that Paul Kantner put out back in the 90s?

  45. Comment made on August 7, 2018 by Doug Mlyn

    That’s awesome! We knew you would do a great job. I’ve already ordered the hard copy as there’s something about holding a tangible book in your hand and reading. Well maybe I’m jaded as I’ve been in the publishing and printing business all of my life and it seems like there’s a lot of print magazines and books that are losing their life to the digital age. Not that there’s anything wrong with that, it’s the way of the world. But knowing that you actually read it rather than just a stranger, I will probably order the Audio book as well.

  46. Comment made on August 7, 2018 by Francis Taylor

    I’m excited to get my copy, I’ll be picking mine up at the ranch when I come out to see Bettye Lavette in October. I just want it to be from there. I will, however be listening on the release date. Jorma has proven to be a great steward of his craft, as evidenced by his efforts to pass along his knowledge to the next generation. I’m sure this book is a gift to us all. Thank you Jorma.

  47. Comment made on August 7, 2018 by John B

    Jorma did Myron give you the Tweety Rock my friend painted for Izzy? She gave it to him after the New Hope show.

  48. Comment made on August 7, 2018 by John B

    I remember walking thru Times Square just before dawn after pulling an all nighter at the Academy with Tuna. Oy Vey what a disgusting place that was !

    ” Mamma. Mamma many worlds i’ve known since I first… left home…….

  49. Comment made on August 7, 2018 by Angel

    I can’t wait to get my hands on the book! Ordered both hardcopy and audiobook. Looking forward to seeing you soon here in the Bay Area!

  50. Comment made on August 7, 2018 by Shari helene

    Thank you, Jorma, for sharing your story, your music, and your life with us. Congratulations on the results of your efforts. Can’t wait for the release! And see you at the Beacon!!❤

  51. Comment made on August 7, 2018 by Ben Hochberg

    I am looking forward to reading it, and I presume there are some references to the 2-wheeled, powered transportation devices which we love…

  52. Comment made on August 7, 2018 by pjk

    Congrats! I know it is going to be a great success. 🙂

  53. Comment made on August 7, 2018 by johno

    I remember the old Times Square. They certainly cleaned it up. The automat what a trip. I remember going there all the time. I would put 45 cents into the machine and open up the little glass door and take out my baked beans…or whatever. The lions heads were metal. The bums used to frequent them. Especially in the winter.
    @Tom Fabry

  54. Comment made on August 7, 2018 by Tom Fabry

    @mark k

    Time Square, yes under John Lindsey, God rest his soul as well as Dinkins it was rough. I think Guilianni/Bloomberg helped clean it up, along with the men in blue.

    Any one remember Horn and Hardart restaurant in Time Square? The ‘automat”. Gone are the days… I remember getting milk shooting out into my cup from a metal or plastic lions head.


  55. Comment made on August 7, 2018 by Steven Levenson

    I’ve just finished my first book as well! It was a great experience, and I’m looking forward to reading another one real soon. Not sure what it will be. I won’t have yours till 12/12 when you come through Lawrence.

  56. Comment made on August 7, 2018 by Mitch Spector

    Best of lucK Jorma ! Cant wait to hear the Audio book . Peace always !!

  57. Comment made on August 7, 2018 by John R.

    Man, can’t wait.

  58. Comment made on August 7, 2018 by mark k

    I’m old enough to remember a different Times Square with some nostalgia, although the reality of it would make todays tourists run screaming into the night. The older we get the more things change and I suppose that’s the way of things. But you are right in that there is more to see in this country and in the world for that matter than “Disney Times Square” or any other tourist meccas, and it is s shame that too many people don’t get that. I’m certain that all the traveling you’ve done and continue to do can be a drag, but the benefits of seeing the greatness and beauty of this country helps to make it worthwhile. I think of all the road trips I have made to see Tuna or yourself , which in turn has allowed me to see and do more than I could have imagined. Well as they say “Keep on Truckin”, looking forward to the book and some shows in the Fall.

  59. Comment made on August 7, 2018 by Tom Fabry

    Step by step. Day by day….time in the “rooms”. God heals and we all need friends and support.

    Hey Jorma, Why not consider the Chelsea Hotel next visit to Manhattan. What memories they must be.

    The book work is done? I guess they didn’t have you speak thru a leslie speaker after all…

  60. Comment made on August 7, 2018 by eaglesteve

    “The past is not dead. In fact, it’s not even past.”
    That and……”life keeps slipping on at a faster pace,” among other truisms, are words that should give us all a moment to pause and think about their profundity.
    Written by true masters.

  61. Comment made on August 7, 2018 by Joey

    I understand how emotional it can be, to read your own words, having done step work Jorma.
    Self affirmation is very powerful.
    Like all your fans, I am so excited to read your story.
    If playing the guitar at the end of your work weekend was dessert, for me, your book is the cherry on top.
    After all these years, your sharing your life in this way with us is so very gratifying!
    Thank you

  62. Comment made on August 7, 2018 by Robert Burke

    Traveling Wilburys

  63. Comment made on August 7, 2018 by Paul Caldwell

    Have your book pre-ordered Jorma. After reading your latest blog am ordering audio book as well. C’mom 8-28! Please come back to Redstone Room in Davenport, we miss you!

  64. Comment made on August 6, 2018 by Dan N

    Not only can I not wait to read the book I can’t wait to listen to it as well.

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