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My Friend Al… #47 In The Wings

A sunny day with the top off of the old Jeep

Selfie by Vanessa Kaukonen

At my age I have been saying a lot of goodbyes the most recent being to my old friend Al Schmitt. Al was such an important part of the Jefferson Airplane Family in terms of what he brought to the table as a producer. RCA assigned him to us starting with After Bathing At Baxters. At a point in our relatively young lives when we thought we knew it all we were probably not the easiest folks to work with. That being said, Al found a way to get the best out of us without being constraining. Al had golden ears. He knew good sounds when he heard them. Our recorded life would not have been the same without him. He was a good man and a wonderful human being. As so often happens, I was just thinking about getting in touch with him when I heard from my good pal Mike Lawson that he had passed. Another moment down the river. More than being a great recording engineer, Al knew when he heard the great performances in a time before Frankensolos.

The earth is a poorer place for his passing. Fair wind and following seas brother.

Come see us yet one more time!

We’re going to have our first small but live audience at the Fur Peace Station for this show. Please join us for the fun!

Last but not least. There have been some bizarre threads in the comments section of this blog. I foolishly let it go for a while hoping that it would peter out. It didn’t. At the risk of sounding pissy, it’s my blog and I’m going to sound pissy. I’m not into conspiracy theories. Please don’t use my space for yours. Enough already. As Mom used to way, ‘A word to the wise is sufficient!’

  1. J. R. in St. Louis
    May 4th, 2021 at 16:00 | #1

    “Plastics” is great if you limit your quote to one word, but if you’re willing to go up to nine, then I’d recommend the scene from the same film where Mr. Robinson catches up with young Benjamin in Palo Alto and confronts him in his boarding room in front of his landlord :”You are filth. You are scum. You are degenerate !” They don’t write’em like that anymore.

  2. May 4th, 2021 at 17:07 | #2

    I’m pretty sure it was Clamenza who preferred the prospect of a cannoli,by any reckoning he appeared to enjoy them ,I’m sure he had a place in his heart for rum babas as well

  3. Joe Travers
    May 5th, 2021 at 00:55 | #3

    The Baxter’s LP really blew me away in High School as the quintessential psychedelic guitar album. Lots of fond memories brother. Thank you, Al for putting it together for prosperity. If you get that feeling to call someone, Jorma, do it. I guess I picked this up from Mom many years ago. Follow those premonitions. They often lead to rich moments in this life.

  4. May 5th, 2021 at 09:06 | #4

    Points well taken Joe. The wisdom of the ages!

  5. johno
    May 5th, 2021 at 09:21 | #5

    Always seek wisdom.
    It’s out there. You just need to look!

  6. May 5th, 2021 at 13:51 | #6

    Hello Jorma
    Great show (as always) last night. We had a table front and center. Great weather, mostly (we came prepared with ponchos and umbrellas)
    Love your octogenarian stamina, taking no set break. Too many highlights to mention but missed seeing Vanessa.
    Finally got your book and a copy for a friend. My wife was disappointed there was no ‘Jorma’s Choice.”

    Gotta get back to working on ‘water song’. Hard to get smooth on that third section with the 2 string hammer on/slide and slap. I have your video so I won’t quit ’til I get it.

    Safe travels,

  7. Dale Radeleff
    May 5th, 2021 at 14:35 | #7

    @Jorma, did you buy your RV New or Used? Do you carry something like Good Sam’s repair insurance? We bought our 2003 Itasca 30w used and we were lucky to have the insurance because on our way back from our second trip our transmission went out on the uphill, southbound side of Interstate 5 near Tejon summit, that repair only cost us $200 deductible for a Jasper remanufactured transmission. We had to load everything in the Toad and leave her in Saugus for a couple of weeks. If you bought used it is well worth it…and that’s all imma gonna say about that…


  8. May 5th, 2021 at 20:49 | #8

    Yo Mike

    It could have snowed and I would have played on… really glad to be back out there again… and for you guys, thanks for showing up and toughing it out! As for Water Song… you’ll get it!

  9. May 5th, 2021 at 20:50 | #9

    Over fifty you need new. Got all the insurance to of course. Hopefully won’t need it. Better safe than sorry.

  10. Dale Radeleff
    May 6th, 2021 at 09:20 | #10

    Jorma :
    Over fifty you need new. Got all the insurance to of course. Hopefully won’t need it. Better safe than sorry.

    I was 56 when we bought our 2003 Itasca used, we couldn’t afford new but we are lucky to have had aftermarket Insurance. One trip I would definitely recommend would be to take a 2 week camping (RV) trip to Yellowstone Natl Park. I’ve been twice and still haven’t seen 1/2 of it. I hope you and Vanessa enjoy many years with your RV as we have ours and if you are ever in the Carson Valley stop and say high, I have full hook up in my side yard and Lake Tahoe is a short drive away.


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