Archive for January, 2016

The Moving Finger And McCabe’s

January 31st, 2016 7 comments

“The Moving Finger writes; and, having writ,
Moves on: nor all thy Piety nor Wit
Shall lure it back to cancel half a Line,
Nor all thy Tears wash out a Word of it.”

Omar Khayyám

I was sitting alone in the restaurant a few moments ago… just grabbing a burger. There is a high wind advisory here in Santa Monica and the wind was whipping the palm trees into a frenzy. I had just finished doing an in depth interview with an eight grade gal back east in Pennsylvania. She was doing a project on Jefferson Airplane and the so called ‘Counter Culture’ and I thought anyone of this current generation that takes interest in our old goings on, deserves some of my time.

I wouldn’t trade it for anything… the experiences I mean, but sitting here today with my life as full as it is, it’s like looking at the story of someone you vaguely know… a voice from another dimension. That’s just how it is.

‘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…

Connie Caldor… Chinatown

Well… life does go on, with or without us.

Last night I played McCabe’s Music Shope here on Pico… two sold out shows… an actual Jorma solo show… and here they are:

Jorma Kaukonen 3, 4, 2016
McCabe’s Music Shop
Santa Monica, California
Saturday, January 30, 2016

First Show:
1. Dime For Beer
2. Ain’t In No Hurry
3. Hesitation Blues
4. River Of Time
5. I See The Light
6. Barbeque King
7. Sea Child
8. Watch The North Wind Rise
9. Good Shepherd
10. That’ll Never Happen No More
11. Candy Man
12. How Long Blues
13. Where There’s Two There’s Trouble
14. San Francisco Bay Blues
Second Show:
1. True Religion
2. Nobody Knows You When You’re Down And Out
3. Brother Can You Spare A Dime
4. Serpent Of Dreams
5. Come Back Baby
6. Let Us Get Together
7. In My Dreams
8. Death Don’t Have No Mercy
9. Living In The Moment
10. Good Shepherd
11. The Terrible Operation
12. Keep On Truckin’ Mama
13. Full Go Round
14. Keep Your Lamps Trimmed & Burning
15. What Are They Doing In Heaven Today
16. Whining Boy Blues
17. Bar Room Crystal Ball
18. Water Song
19. Encore: Genesis

Playing McCabe’s is like doing a house concert in your own home. I know so many of the good people that come… and well, it’s just a good, comfortable time.

I’m going to work on my set list for tonight… more later.

Be well my friends, and cherish the day!

Categories: Diary, Set Lists, Thoughts Tags:

Now We Are Four

January 30th, 2016 35 comments
Goodnight Signe

Goodnight Signe

We were just checking into the hotel in Santa Monica this afternoon… I’ve got a solo gig at McCabe’s Music Shop tonight… I got a call from Grace who told me that Signe, the Airplane’s first female voice, passed on the same day as Paul.

Signe was one of the strongest people I have ever met. She was our den mother in the early days of the Airplane… a voice of reason on more occasions than one… an important member of our dysfunctional little family. I always looked forward to seeing her when we played the Aladdin in Portland. She never complained and was always a joy.

Flights of angels sing thee to thy rest sister…

You will always live in my heart…

Now we are four…

We can be together… always…

Yeah I know… that’s Grace not Signe… It’s a dedication for our girl…

We will always remember her…

Categories: Diary, Thoughts Tags:

Damn Few Left

January 29th, 2016 152 comments

Here’s to us, and those like us… damn few left…

Signe, Jorma & Paul in happier times

Signe, Jorma & Paul in happier times

We knew yesterday that Paul had suffered a grievous heart attack and probably wasn’t going to make it. We all hoped for better news, but it just wasn’t to be.

Paul and I were old friends. Bob Kinzie introduced me to him when I was in Santa Clara in ’62. Our commonality was always the music and whatever it took to make it happen. We all played the same little dusty, smoky rooms… struggled to be heard over the hiss of espresso machines… and loved every moment of it. When Paul enticed me into joining what would become Jefferson Airplane, we rehearsed relentlessly. When we went on the road in the beginning we couch surfed together. No one could afford hotels. We shared food… we shared cars… we had one heart.

The Airplane was an amazing aggregate of personalities and talent. That we could all coexist in the same room was amazing. That we could function together and make the lasting art that we did was nothing short of a miracle. In my opinion Paul was the catalyst that made the alchemy happen. He held our feet to the flame. He could be argumentative and contentious… he could be loving and kind… his dedication to the Airplane’s destiny as he saw it was undeniable. Over the years he and I occasionally butted heads over things that seem trivial today. I was so pleased last year when he accepted my dinner invitation when I was in San Francisco and indeed we rediscovered our friendship.

After all those journeys together in the beginning… the different paths our lives took as we got older and all the water under the bridge made us all one in a way that no one who wasn’t there could ever understand. We shared water from the same well. In Heinlein parlance, we were indeed water brothers. We were all on fire in a fiery time. Time may have dimmed the flame but the fire in the sky that was so easy to see in youth, is still discernible from the grey castle if you know where to look. I will try to keep my eyes open.

Friends are always good… you can’t have too many of them. That said, the old ones share that wondrous gift of knowing you when you were young. You can’t buy that.

I will miss your presence on this plane…

Ride free to the end of the earth my old friend… I will not forget you!

Categories: Set Lists Tags:

FPR In San Diego

January 26th, 2016 23 comments

Last Friday as the Blizzard of 2k16 was starting in Southeast Ohio, we drove up to Columbus to the airport to spend the nigh, poising for an early flight to San Diego. Down at the Fur Peace Ranch, the snow was already falling steadily. Up in Columbus, there was almost nothing. We had a non stop flight to LA early Saturday morning that originated on the West Coast so there was no delays due to the massive accumulation in the East. A short flight from LA to San Diego, and there we were…

Now it was in the fifties an sixties in SD and our local brethren were complaining about the cold. It’s all relative. So here I am, the opening session of our 19th year as a teaching facility. Who would have thought? All this said, and don’t get me wrong, I’m thrilled to be here for this opening session, but if I were home, I would be enjoying the winter wonderland. We are moderately self sufficient as these things are reckoned… generators… plows… all that stuff… and we live on top of a hill so flooding by the grace of G_d is not an issue for us. Now I realize that if a disaster were to be prolonged, survival would be a problem for us as it is for most people. I don’t see guitar playing as a big survival skill, but so far so good. We are blessed.

Things are beginning to clear up back home and if we are lucky, this will be the only big storm of the year. Hopefully life is returning to normal for the folks back east.

The next couple of weeks I’ll be out West and I’ll be weighing in from time to time.

Be well all!

Categories: Diary, Fur Peace Ranch Tags:

January 19th, 2016 55 comments
Winter trees and the frozen Shade River

Winter trees and the frozen Shade River

The first time I saw this property in 1990… it was this time of year, and this is how it looked. There were no buildings, of course… we built all of those. The ground was frozen… patches of snow on the ground and the little Shade was covered in a blanket of ice. For some reason this all seemed to make sense to me and we have been here in Southeast Ohio ever since. I don’t mind seasonal cold… Maybe its my Finnish/Russian ancestry or maybe I just don’t mind the cold. The seasons in the fields mark the seasons of my life. There are more gone now than are left to me and that is as it should be.

It was an emotional roller coaster, the last week or so. The passing of folks like David Bowie, Glenn Frey and Dallas Taylor remind how fragile the emotional superstructure of our life is. These are memory points… the sound tracks of our time. With the loss of Pete Huttlinger… for me it was different. It was like losing family. I keep hearing, ‘I’m sorry for your loss.’ I think about that and it occurs to me that it is both more and less than a loss. Pete was not a sentimental guy… he played the cards the universe gave him as best he could, and faced each day with an incredible love of life and family. He would have said to Vanessa and me, ‘Get over it!’

Well… in some ways we never get over it. My Mom and Dad have been gone for almost 20 years and I still miss them. I still remember the smells of their kitchen… I remember how their hugs felt and I selfishly wish they were still alive so the kids could meet them and I could tell them that we’re all going to be all right. If they were alive today, they would have been one hundred and six.

Well… it’s not who’s right… it’s who’s left.

OK… quick wrap up of the Sunshine Blues Festivals in St. Pete and Boca:

Phil, Myron and Roy Book Binder

Phil, Myron and Roy Book Binder

The night before the Vinoy Park gig we visited our pal Roy Book Binder and had some yummy Thai food together.

Four degrees at home... but this is Florida!

Four degrees at home... but this is Florida!

Yeah the warm weather is nice, but where does it say in the Bible you have to die with a suntan?

Good Day Sunshine

Good Day Sunshine

Foto by Phil Jacobs

Jorma Kaukonen 1, 2016
Sunshine Music Festival
Vinoy Park
St. Petersburg, Florida
Saturday, January 16, 2016

1. That’ll Never Happen No More
2. Ain’t In No Hurry
3. How Long Blues
4. Let Us Get Together Right Down Here
5. Come Back Baby
6. Full Go Round
7. Good Shepherd
8. Hesitation Blues
9. Where There’s Two There’s Trouble
10. Barbeque King
11. I Know You Rider

After my set I got to hang with Jerry Douglas a bit.

Jerry... the man, the legend

Jerry... the man, the legend

foto by Myron Hart

Jerry Douglas… his music touches my soul!

Jerry Weiner... masseur to the stars... fixes my ancient hands

Jerry Weiner... masseur to the stars... fixes my ancient hands

Jorma Kaukonen 2, 2016
Sunshine Music Festival
Mizner Park
Boca Raton, Florida
Sunday, January 16, 2016

1. True Religion
2. Ain’t In No Hurry
3. Hesitation Blues
4. I See The Light
5. Nobody Knows You When You’re Down & Out
6. Barbeque King
7. Sea Child
8. Good Shepherd
9. Death Don’t Have No Mercy
10. San Francisco Bay Blues

I'm there somewhere

I'm there somewhere

foto by Phil Jacobs

Well… it was a great little weekend!

Jorma and John Scher

Jorma and John Scher

foto by Myron Hart

Got to hang with my old pal, John Scher and listen to a little music…

Now I’m back to where it was six degrees this morning… and that’s more than OK…


Categories: Diary, Set Lists, Thoughts, Venues Tags:

The Universe Is A Poorer Place For This

January 16th, 2016 20 comments

My friend, Pete Huttlinger, passed yesterday… suddenly it was. Yes, he was one of the truly great guitar artists. No one could deny this. More than that, he was one of the most amazing human beings I have ever met. Click this link to the Tennessean and read his story.

Here is what his wife Erin, wrote to all of us:

I am heartbroken. Today my beautiful husband, Pete Huttlinger passed away. I am paralyzed. On Monday Pete had a brain bleed and was admitted to Vanderbilt University Medical Center. Over the course of less than 24 hours he went from talking and laughing to unresponsive. He never regained consciousness and today at 12:30pm he died. He was not only surrounded by some of his family and friends, but by so many of his doctors and nurses who have helped keep him alive over the last few years. I was so touched by the humanness and sincere pain shown by these physicians. Over the many years of Pete’s ongoing health challenges, these medical caregivers have invested so much of their brilliance and humanity into keeping Pete alive. I appreciate it more than I’ll ever be able to express to them.

I loved this man with such depth. My entire essence and energy were devoted to loving him and letting him know how much I loved him. And he made it clear every single day of our marriage that he felt the same way. I am at a deep loss as half of me has now disappeared.

My family and I were given a wonderful gift throughout this tragedy in that Pete stayed with us for nearly four days giving us time to accept what he already knew.

I know that many of you reading this loved him as well. Again, the feeling is reciprocated from both Pete and myself. I have so many more thoughts and emotions I would like to share, but I am in such a fog of emptiness that this is all I can muster.

I also know that messages have been coming in all day. I promise I will read them all. I appreciate them so.

Thank you for loving him too.

Erin Huttlinger

Here is what Vanessa wrote:

A storm of tears passed thru the Fur Peace Ranch yesterday when I received a call about our dear friend, Pete Huttlinger. We respectfully kept silent until his wife was ready to tell the world. At midnight, I posted her letter to all of us on our Fur Peace FB page and then I tried to sleep. I lay awake most of the night feeling my heavy heart and recalling everything about him like a song I could not shake. I know a lot of people and let me say that Pete was touched by the divine. His essence poured over you like silk when you were around him. The same can be said of his wife, Erin. He was one of the best guitar players that I have ever met … but he was undoubtedly one of the finest men I knew. He gave his fragile heart to everyone and now Erin and their family, have mine.
It feels like my FB page has become a tribute page over the last year and I know the older one gets the more we see the fragility of this beautiful life. I am feeling it today.


There is no more that I, Jorma, can add. Pete and Erin… well, it is an honor and privilege to know them…

They are in my heart today!

Categories: Diary, Thoughts Tags:

WTSP Morning interview in Tampa…

January 15th, 2016 3 comments
Facebook indeed...

Facebook indeed...

So Myron and I moseyed over to WTSP here in Tampa… bright and early. In the Green Room we meet Chad Fortune, currently driving Monster Trucks in the Monster Jam series… great athlete and a helluva good guy.

Chad Fortune and me...

Chad Fortune and me...

Foto by Myron Hart

I was to be on Studio 10 with a bunch of other great people. Here’s a link to the Jorma portion. The hostess and interviewer, Stephanie, was great and we all had a fine time… plus they had donuts!

Setting up...

Setting up...

Foto by Myron Hart

A great little interview, and then I played Ain’t In No Hurry…

Thanks Stephanie!

Thanks Stephanie!

Foto by Myron Hart

A fine Thai dinner with my old pal Roy Book Binder and then back to the hotel. Tomorrow at 1330 I’ll be doing a solo set at the Sunshine Music Festival in Vinoy Park.

It poured today, but at least it didn’t snow. Hoping for some sun tomorrow…


Categories: Diary, trips and journeys, Venues Tags:

Yeah Buddy… Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award

January 13th, 2016 33 comments

Wow… four degrees at the Ranch when I got up this morning, but it’s warm in my heart. They just announced that my Jefferson Airplane pals and I will be getting a lifetime achievement award at this year’s Grammys. Wow…

Nobody I know got into this wacky business for awards… but to be honored by your peers, well… suffice it to say that it is indeed an honor. People often ask, ‘Did you ever think when you got started…’ that this, that or whatever would have happened? First of all, who knew we would live this long? Who would have dared to guess, that a little music picked in San Francisco over half a century ago would have such long leg and gained such… well, respectability.

Not I, that’s for sure.

Fame such as it is, recognition… ephemeral as it is… we’ll take it.

The family gets a kick out of all this and that’s the frosting on the cake.

So… my pals and I are so grateful for all this…

And that’s about it for today.


Portrait of the artist as a old dog

Portrait of the artist as a old dog

Foto by Vanessa Kaukonen

Categories: Diary, Thoughts Tags:

Another County Heard From… Ad Nauseum

January 12th, 2016 40 comments

The world, being wired the way it is makes sure that one gets a lot of new ‘friends’ like it or not. I try not to dabble in on line discussions… who’s got time for poop like that? That said, I’m no better than anyone else. Every now and then, someone makes me aware of threads that exist on sites I never frequent and yes, I weaken and check it out. Now I realize that’s it’s not my business what anyone else thinks of me, but sometimes the dialogue involves my family… and that makes it my business. Some moron made a disparaging comment about a picture of me and my daughter on one of those sites. Needless to say, this idiot can kiss my ass. It’s easy to run your mouth when you’re cowering behind a key board in your parents basement. Yeah, I know, I’m behind a keyboard right now… but I live in the real world. I’m easy to find. If someone has something to say to me… say it in person. What a craven coward!

One of the other things I became aware of was people still casting Vanessa and myself in the John and Yoko image. When Vanessa and I started working together many years ago… there were lots of people laying that Yoko BS on her. Now, she as absolutely one of the smartest, incisive I know. Her loyalty has always been to her family and her business. I’m reminded of the Waylon Jennings song Working Without A Net…

Life can be a circus
A death defying act
But the clowns don’t come around no more
Since the monkey’s off my back…

It’s been a while since the clowns have been around… but they’re still out there.

There’s nothing like a family business… who else could you trust more?

Then there are always folks who try to concern themselves with who Jack and I should play with and what songs we play. Vanessa doesn’t make these decisions… Jack and I do… and we like the choices we make. Vanessa doesn’t bring us gigs… our agent does and then we discuss them. We don’t work gigs we don’t want to work regardless of how much money is involved. If someone wants to know what Jack, Jorma and/or Hot Tuna is up to… go to the official sites. Don’t glean facts from ‘fan’ sites. At 75 years of age I base my decisions on whatever will be best for my family.

I was utterly appalled by some of the dreck I read.

OK… I feel better now even though I know this will change nothing.

My life is blessed on so many fronts and believe me, I know this cyber stuff is petty ass bullshit.

As we say down here in the country…

‘Oh well…’

I’m outta here…

January Weekend In Darwin… Fotos From The Week That Was

January 10th, 2016 4 comments
Sunrise At Fur Peace

Sunrise At Fur Peace

Maverick and I walk to the old A-Frame

Maverick and I walk to the old A-Frame

Winter entropy

Winter entropy

The Shade in Winter

The Shade in Winter

Nothing like bottom land

Nothing like bottom land

Here comes the sun!

Here comes the sun!

150 years of gravel...

150 years of gravel...

The road home

The road home

I love this land…

Categories: Diary, Fur Peace Ranch Tags: