Home > Diary, Fur Peace Ranch, Quarantine Concer Series, Thoughts, Venues > My Friend Al… #47 In The Wings

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. carey georgas
    April 30th, 2021 at 09:14 | #1

    Rather than a last meal, I had me a First Meal last evening. First meal in a restaurant in over a year. On impulse, me and Linda decided to duck into an Indian restaurant we hadn’t tried. Goat curry, saag paneer, bindhi masala, and all the trimmings. Man, it felt good to feel normal. And the food was a knockout, to boot. Can’t hardly wait to hear some limited whoopin’ and hollerin’ tomorrow night. Onward!

  2. Hogan
    April 30th, 2021 at 09:46 | #2


  3. Dave G
    April 30th, 2021 at 11:01 | #3

    Thanks for the mention of Al Schmitt. I just finished his book, and it’s a dandy! His Airplane stories were hilarious. I hope you can share some stories of working with him sometime during Q&A. He was behind so many great records, it’s just amazing.

  4. Philippe
    April 30th, 2021 at 11:40 | #4

    Al Schmitt. Legendary producer and recording engineer. 20 Grammys, more than 150 gold and platinum albums, his own star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, working with such talents as Frank Sinatra, Sam Cooke, Diana Krall, Paul McCartney, Bob Dylan, Elvis Presley, Ray Charles, Willie Nelson… (the list goes on). Also, Jefferson Airplane and Hot Tuna. He will be deeply missed. As Jorma and Jack know, I had the chance through mutual friends to interview at great length with Al not so long ago talking about Hot Tuna’s debut album live at the New Orleans House in Berkeley. “Hot Tuna’s first record is one of my favorite records I’ve ever done, Al Schmitt said. It is so different from anything I had recorded or produced at that period of time. Every so often, I pull it out and listen to it. It brings back great memories ». (the interview is part of the book “Hot Tuna: Pieces of a Broken Glass” currently in production). RIP Al Schmitt.

  5. Brian Doyle
    April 30th, 2021 at 12:19 | #5

    Jorma man, that’s a pretty serious insult to a person who spent 12 years exposing the truth behind Jimi Hendrix’s death…I can’t believe you are that shallow that you would actually call one of the most important cases of solving the death of a major rock star and its relevance to the 60’s and their politics a “conspiracy theory”…Jesus fucking christ how out of touch can you be?…I guess there really is something behind that “Thank You for your service” stuff…Jorma’s father worked for a major CIA front in US AID…

    Geesh, I just posted the video so your part of the rock world could know about a significant new discovery that in no way could be called “conspiracy theory” by any intelligent person with a credible sense of decency…Someone else took it in a weird direction that I thought needed answering for the sake of a victimized woman…I had already shut it down for off-topic…

    It’s really sad seeing someone of Jorma’s stature betray what the 60’s were all about and join the forces of darkness and how they dealt with this desperately needed light and justice…That someone of Jorma’s position would have so little respect for such a monumental discovery is incredible as are the suck-ups who know this is wrong and say nothing, captain or not…Oh no, nobody’s that big to get away with something like that…What that video contains changes the definition of Jimi’s death from theory to “FACT” and it deserves respect from anyone who owes his fame to the 60’s that generated him…It is shameful that part of the reason that Jimi never got justice is because people went for the political self-preserving out instead of simply doing the right thing…

    I wonder if Jimi ever realized that he was playing on the same stage as a guy who would betray him and insult his destined advocate when he came to him 51 years later…Holy shit…

  6. Nick brunetto
    April 30th, 2021 at 13:50 | #6

    Hey Brian this blog is not for your conspiracy theories get a life dude Jimi died because he was a serious drug addict Your response to Jorma is shameful he has given the last year of his life to help us get through this madness and many of us are forever grateful for all at fpr for their efforts

  7. carey georgas
    April 30th, 2021 at 14:00 | #7

    @Brian Doyle
    Dude, you need to seriously chill. By my calculation, the sixties was your first decade of life. To speak of what it was as if you lived it in such a disrespectful manner to someone who was part of its actual fiber is a de facto demolition of your credibility. Part of my passage to adulthood was coming to the realization that conspiracy theories are just that. Theories. History demands we see things in their totality. Acts around which conspiracies form are acts and displays of human nature. Power and greed are as old as our species. Shit happens and time marches on. Less time spent on the hypothetical leaves more time to focus on real stuff like education, poverty, homelessness – the stuff that counts. If you gonna talk that way to Jorma in his own house, I say don’t come around here no more.

  8. Rob
    April 30th, 2021 at 14:09 | #8

    @Nick brunetto
    You’re wrong about him having been a “serious drug addict”–whatever that means. He partied at a time when many people in his position partied.

  9. Nick brunetto
    April 30th, 2021 at 14:53 | #9

    I partied along with the rest of us during that period he did a tremendous amount of drugs which is why he died not my problem that you don’t know what a serious drug addict is yes we all partied but not to many of us overdosed

  10. Donald Gehre
    April 30th, 2021 at 15:25 | #10

    You’re being too kind to Mr. Doyle who obviously needs lots of attention. Me thinks he needs to fast for 40 days and forty nights. 500 mics might do him some good also.

  11. April 30th, 2021 at 16:24 | #11

    Brian… It is not my business what you or other people think of me. You might as well save your words. This is not the venue for these theories. I’m sure you can find an appropriate site for your ramblings. You seem to have a lot of time on your hands. As for me, I am content with who I am. I have worked hard all my life and will continue to do so as long as my higher power allows.

  12. Arlen
    April 30th, 2021 at 17:32 | #12

    Jorma is in the category of artists who deserves one of those rainbow Kennedy Center Honors.(even if he would make a guitar strap or belt out of it).Seriously So please, don’t be so disrespectful!

  13. eaglesteve
    April 30th, 2021 at 18:39 | #13

    Forget the mics. Eat franks and beans for 40 days and nights and I assure you regularity will ensue.

  14. April 30th, 2021 at 18:43 | #14

    “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!” great news Jorma, but wistful as well, as I recall days when an announcement like that would have me bombing down there… Today I can’t even cross the border! Someday soon, hopefully. Frank in Toronto

  15. Brian Bernal
    April 30th, 2021 at 19:59 | #15

    Right on Jorma!

  16. Dan Nigro
    April 30th, 2021 at 20:31 | #16

    Great idea. I went to the Kennedy Center web site and nominated the Captain for the Quarantine Concert series

  17. Susan
    April 30th, 2021 at 21:11 | #17

    Bye bye, Brian

  18. Joey Hudoklin
    April 30th, 2021 at 22:20 | #18

    Enough is enough.

  19. JB
    May 1st, 2021 at 07:34 | #19

    Let’s try to remember we are all Jorma’s guests here 😉

  20. John B
    May 1st, 2021 at 09:38 | #20

    Amen Jorma , thank you . Things are loosening up out there on the COVID front but be careful everyone please . Just because you got the shot doesn’t mean that you cannot get and spread 19. I am looking forward to getting out there this spring and summer and catching Jorma and Tuna where and when I can . Be well everyone and please stay safe.

  21. John B
    May 1st, 2021 at 09:41 | #21

    Frank it is a shame that you cannot cross the border from the great city of Toronto. One plan that may work for you , though it would be arduous, would be for you to work your way down to our southern border somehow and cross over there. Best of luck and let us know how it worked out . @Frank

  22. Kevin
    May 1st, 2021 at 13:08 | #22

    @Brian Doyle
    Jorma has been extremely generous with his time and talent, not only his musical talent but his words as well. Don’t be an ungrateful disrespectful dick.

  23. BrendanC
    May 1st, 2021 at 13:51 | #23

    So much for the bad and the ugly. I think tonight is going to be pretty good.

  24. John B
    May 1st, 2021 at 14:29 | #24

    What about the “Good” Brendan ?…..you covered the Bad and the Ugly…..Tonight I guess we can consider the Good……. Rock on Jorma you are sounding better then ever and the Hurl shows that are upcoming are causing quite a stir.

  25. May 1st, 2021 at 14:55 | #25

    The music of mid sixties on was a cathartic reach for the freedom in the ethers .
    There were those that imploded and had problems navigating their lives through the sextant of unbridled freedom.Russian roulette is ominous with one chambered ,playing with barbiturates and heroin is Russian roulette with the cylinder fully chambered ..Others fell to narcissism .
    Those that survived the toxicity of hard drugs ,have a prism of life well lived to reflect on .
    Keep the toilet paper indulgence ,pass the Jeep.
    I’ll take the Willy with the sun shining in any day .
    I’ll hop in my Rubicon ,feed the steers ,colts ,fillies and feeders ,check on my bees ,
    Me and old lady kick back later and watch the Run for the Roses ,may the best horse win .

    Maybe watch Horse Feathers tonight and slow burn one

    By the way the host of this site is very patient and tolerant .
    Thanks for providing a platform

  26. Tom McCormack
    May 2nd, 2021 at 07:07 | #26

    We love you Jorma and Vanessa and all the little Fur Peace Ranchers that work so hard to make us happy.

    I think Brian needs to go back and “A Clockwork Orange” himself to White Rabbit and listen to the dormouse Mouse when he says “Feed Your Head!”

  27. Joey Hudoklin
    May 2nd, 2021 at 09:37 | #27

    Jorma, you and Vanessa were absolutely crackin’me up last night.
    Loved your Joan Baez impression.
    In my Dreams brought me to tears.
    Loved Follow the Drinking Gourd.
    Thank you for a wonderful evening.
    My fiance Amy & I have been with you all the way through this.
    We’re gonna dance to Genesis at our wedding reception.
    Looking forward to seeing you in FL!

  28. Joey Hudoklin
    May 2nd, 2021 at 10:07 | #28

    Oh, and Great Devide Revisited was sublime!

  29. johno
    May 2nd, 2021 at 11:19 | #29

    Did anyone actually watch Brians interview? Though we all seem to agree this is not the right forum for his findings on Jimi Hendrix’s murder, it is quite revealing nonetheless.
    I understand his frustration though. But I have known Jorma for 47 years and he’s one of the good guys. He has been nothing but kind and generous to me. He’s a Troubadour of Light and sings about it in all his songs. I don’t believe in his politics but I still love him as a brother and because of his music. He deserves huge respect from every rock and roll fan on the planet.

  30. richard
    May 2nd, 2021 at 13:06 | #30

    Hello Jorma,,, been out of loop a bit,work can be demanding. Your red strat sounds great.Hope all is well with all of you.Just a check in Im spendin my afternoon with a 12 string dropped to d tuning.Cant play a 12 for shit but o well.

  31. L. Columbo
    May 2nd, 2021 at 15:51 | #31

    Made me sick to create that dialogue. Feels like I beat up a little kid.
    Had to do it. Please leave him alone. He’s a tormented soul.

    I’m retiring from HT board, shows, and probably recordings after 45 yrs.
    Thanks for all that.

  32. Johnny Winter
    May 2nd, 2021 at 23:37 | #32

    I LOVE DRIVING TOO. Reading your book. Almost done but you mention more than a couple times your love for driving which I also have had my whole life. I just read the part where you guys went cross country in Vanessa’s old jeep and you both said you would NEVER ride in a jeep again. Then I come here to see if there’s a set list from last night and here’s this pic of you guys in the jeep and i spit up my coffee all over my puter. Thanks for that, yikes and a lesson learned. And yes that’s my real name and damn proud of it. Oh and another thing we have in common is we adopted a son about three years after you adopted Izzy. He was 10 though when we adopted him in 2010. Victim of meth head parents. But you wouldn’t have known it. He’s now a junior at the Univ of Oregon and a surfer deluxe. Thanks for the stories. The music goes without saying. Especially last night. You were really having fun. You can feel it right through that puter screen

  33. May 3rd, 2021 at 07:57 | #33

    Yeah Johnny…A trans-continental road trip in a 1989 Jeep YJ with a cloth top. Second vehicle on the trip: a 1977 K-5 Chevy Blazer towing a trailer. Good times on the road. We were younger then! 🙂 Jeep love is hard to get rid of though. I have a Wrangler Unlimited… the one with Nessa and me luxuriating under the half top. Nessa has a firecracker red Gladiator Rubicon. What’s not to like. In the spirit of road trips, I’m leaving this morning on a nine day run. A gigging road trip up to Upstate New York and New England. I’ll driving my 27′ Coachman Pursuit on it’s first moderately long run. The other night at the QCS show we actually had 30 some ticket holders. One of the good folks asked me if I had a driver. ‘You’re looking at him,’ I said. Driving is more than fun!

    As fellow adoptive parents I’m sure we could definitely share some love and light. Our daughter is a master achiever as is your son. We hit the lottery with hose kids for sure! If we ever meet in person, I’m sure we will converse further. There are many paths in life to follow and stones in the road are part of the journey. That said, there has been way more light than dark!

    Stay well… keep smiling… and keep your hands on the wheel!

  34. mikie
    May 3rd, 2021 at 09:00 | #34
  35. Joe K
    May 3rd, 2021 at 09:12 | #35

    I have a couple of questions pertaining to your RV. Im 6-5 wife 6-1. Seeing that you’re a tall person how is the leg room while driving & how is the bed for comfort? Since Im retired & the wife is only has 7 months to go we have floated the idea of seeing the country this way. Ive gone to a few RV shows & would’nt anything larger then what your driving
    Safe travels

  36. Ed
    May 3rd, 2021 at 11:00 | #36

    Good morning, Jorma:
    First, thank you and everyone for QC #47. To to my ears, you and John were exceptionally inspired and inspiring. That was really some set.

    Your mention of Antioch reminded me:
    I went to Oberlin, and one weekend, probably in 1973, we drove down to Yellow Springs. Oberlin has always been kind of out there, but Antioch made it look like the Harvard Business School.
    “Anarchy” doesn’t begin to describe it….In a hallway in one dorm I encountered a roaming pack of dogs – no problem; they were mellow, probably from the second-hand smoke…
    Good times. But I’m not 19 anymore…

  37. Hogan
    May 3rd, 2021 at 11:46 | #37

    Safe travels and so looking forward to the show and seeing you guys.


  38. May 3rd, 2021 at 17:47 | #38

    Hey Joe

    First of all, I don’t want to sound like an RV know-it-all. I’ve owned the thing for the better part of a year, but I have less than a half a dozen trips under my belt. OK… necessary disclaimer. I’m up near Pittsburgh with my rig. Got a gig tomorrow… left Pomeroy about noon today. We have a 27′ rig and I see no need for anything larger. We have a Coachmen Pursuit. As a 30 amp unit it has one rooftop air conditioner. I don’t need it today, the windows are open and all is well. It has two slide outs. One for the kitchen/lounge area and one for the bedroom. They call the bed an RV King. The only difference I can see between a land king and an RV king is that the bottom two feet of the bed are hinged and fold up when you retract the slide out. You won’t do much with the bedroom when the slide out is retracted, but why would you? You’ll be driving. There’s a lot of stuff to adapt to. Depending on where you live, winterizing your rig as we have to do living in Ohio. It’s not a big deal, but it has to be done right. I’ve only been in one campground so far. In a campground you have water, sewage and shore power. (electric) I’ve been doing what they call ‘boondocking,’ Using it to go to gigs as I am now requires conserving the on board resources. It’s OK because modern truckstops like Love have dump stations and water. I’ve got some outboard solar cells which, on a sunny day, help keep the batteries fresh. I have to tell you I love the potential this lifestyle (and it is a lifestyle) has to offer. Driving an 18,000 pound rig like ours is not like driving a car. You’re going to have both hands on the wheel at all times. You’re driving a truck. I love driving in general so this is just another adventure. Most important question you posed me… the bed. Answer… it’s really comfortable.

    Keep me posted. I love this stuff!

  39. Buffalo Bob
    May 3rd, 2021 at 19:29 | #39

    Jorma, I just want to thank you for letting me know about the Rev book, Say No to the Devil. It was enlightening, and I enjoyed the historical aspects of the book. And thank you for getting us through the pandemic this past year by playing for us every Saturday night!! ✌️

  40. Chappy
    May 3rd, 2021 at 19:39 | #40

    Another great show on Saturday night. Thanks! I know there is a Hurl-Jorma Vol. II on the way this summer and I can’t wait! Let’s not stop there…the imagination runs wild for Vol. III and more…

  41. Joe K
    May 3rd, 2021 at 23:08 | #41

    Thank you for taking the time to answer my questions. I guess the biggest hurdle will be getting the wife to take a turn behind the wheel. She handled her Chevy Suburban when she hauled the kids & their teammates around long ago.
    Once again thank you & safe travels. Hope to make the NJ summer show.
    Joe K

  42. Joey Hudoklin
    May 4th, 2021 at 03:55 | #42

    Leave the gun take the cannoli is from Goodfellas, I do believe.

  43. Buffalo Bob
    May 4th, 2021 at 06:13 | #43

    Jorma, thanks for turning me on to the Rev bio. It was an enlightening read and I enjoyed the historical aspects of the book. Another great show on Saturday! Thanks for getting us through the pandemic this year by being in our living room every Saturday night!

  44. May 4th, 2021 at 06:38 | #44

    You would be wrong Joey… It’s Godfather I. This I know…

  45. Johnbarker
    May 4th, 2021 at 09:18 | #45


  46. Joey Hudoklin
    May 4th, 2021 at 09:23 | #46

    Ah yes I see you are correct sir. Forgive my confusion.
    I am also a fan of those special one liners in film. They apply at times to situations that come up in life. And a good laugh.
    Thank you for setting me straight.
    Glad you’re out there on the road again Jorma.

  47. peter
    May 4th, 2021 at 09:57 | #47

    My favorite line from Scarface,”Pelican”.

  48. John B
    May 4th, 2021 at 10:46 | #48

    From a 1967 Film.. the word is “Plastics”…@Joey Hudoklin

  49. Arlen
    May 4th, 2021 at 11:01 | #49

    The 1967 film “Plastics” comes from is The Graduate

  50. John B
    May 4th, 2021 at 11:16 | #50

    Hey Arlen………@Arlen


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