Jefferson Airplane White Rabbit, a song written by Grace Slick exploded into the summer of psychadelia as 1967 was dubbed. There were two members of Jefferson Airplane named Jack Casady Bass player extraordinaire and Jorma (Yorma) Kaukonan (Pronounced: Cow Conan) one of the most original lead guitar players of all time.
Jorma Invited Jack To Jefferson Airplane
Jorma and Jack Casady had played together in the Washington DC area where they were from. Paul Kantner the unofficial leader of the Jefferson Airplane invited Jorma to join the band in 1965. The Jefferson Airplane was a San Francisco area band and this was prior to the Haight Ashbury days of the Sixties Revolutionary Era.
The British Scene
Across the Atlantic there was simultaneously a psychedelic movement in music and the arts resulting in the Beatles Coup De Grass Materpiece Sergeant Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band, arguable the greatest piece of art to emerge from the 1960s. Cream with Eric Clapton, Ginger Baker and Jack Bruce arose then also.
Then those who followed including Pink Floyd, The Who, The Moody Blues and a long list of British Bands influenced also by this new, if counter-revolutionary artistic revolution.
Jimi Hendrix and Hot Tuna At Monterrey
It was Paul McCartney that recommended Jimi Hendrix for the Moterrey Pop Festival in 1967 where the Jefferson Airplane, Otis Redding and a long list of artists held the first major Pop Music Festival leading to the half million person Woodstock Festival in New York two summers later.
Papa John Creach
Two Great Bands At Once
Jorma and Jack Casady with Sammy Piazza on drums and the ever delightful Papa John Creach on the violin (and man could he play it) simultaneously featured themselves in Hot Tuna Water Song their eventual signature song. Many other great songs.
More of a Cult Band like the Grateful Dead, Hot Tuna never produced many hot singles, like the Jefferson Airplane with 1967 White Rabbit and Somebody To Love.
Not A Top Forty Band
Hot Tuna had only one number one hit song called Feel So Good. Here The band became loved for the Electic Hot Tuna with Jorma and Jack Casady one of the top ten Bass Players in the Rock-N-Roll Era and of course Papa John Creach (now deceased) and drummer Sammy Piazza.
The electric lineup has changed over the years through their still recording and touring band and legacy. True path finding pioneers of Rock Music in the mid/late sixties and seventies as original members of the stardom days of the Jefferson Airplane they are the elder statesmen of Psychedelia.
Things have changed. I heard Jorma talking about his son going through college and taking a class called psychedelic music. Jorma was almost offended describing himself asking his son, I played guitar in the Jefferson Airplane and I’m paying for this?
That’s the way it ends Jorma we are a part of the establishment now. I went to see the Jefferson Starship at the Midland Theater in Kansas City, 1974 or so. Jorma and Jack Casady were doing well with Hot Tuna and wanted to keep pursuing the more down home sound of the Electric band and their acoustic Hot Tuna and chose not to join Jefferson Starship.
No To Jefferson Starship
Kansas opened the show for Jefferson Starship and there is another legacy that was then in making. That night I did get to hear Papa John Creach live for the first and last time in my life. That was a treat I’ll always remember.
Fur Peace Ranch
Jorma opened a music school performance venue kind of thing called the Fur Peace Ranch in Ohio and during the COVID he has been performing free concerts and accepts donations for the volunteer crew filming, running sound etc. Here is his Live Show the legendary Jorma Kaukonan from August 15, 2020, (9 days ago). He is doing these great acoustic sets and interview/visits every week during the quarantine.
Jack Casady is one of the great musicians in the world today. He says he loves playing with Jorma because he plays alternating thumb pick and obviously he’s a great guitar player too. Jack says Jorma’s songs are music all by themselves so he gets a free space to create in when he plays acoustic Hot Tuna.
Down Home Folks
Jorma and Jack and others play here when we are not on lock down and they also teach. Last time I knew you could spend a week there hanging out, camping and playing with Jorma Kaukonan, Jack Casady and company. Pretty Cool.
One of the Woodstock artist bands with Jack and Jorma and they are real down to earth sort of regular people like you and I. Here in this concert from August 15, 2020, he talks about Papa John Creach and Jack Casadsy also. The old friends he has made music with over the fifty years. The Water Song (listen now) (Keep listening and you’ll hear Electric Hot Tuna riding the lightning) (Water Song) from their 1972 Album Burgers is their beautiful signature. I think it one of the most beautiful acoustic songs I have ever heard.
Jorma currently is my inspiration in my journey back to the music I once made before all the Marshalls and Startocasters and loud messed up guitars which was my honest voice from that place after moving 5 times between age 11 and 15 and losing several of me along that way.
Realize everything you know, in life, except English and Arithmetic changes in a couple of days as you drive away from one life to a new one and you have to make new friends, associations, enemies and all activities are new. You are always out of place and wondering what the new up is to find your place.
So all of that was a commotion and the tears and smiles led to an overconfident sort of fascism with no doubt left I’d come with both barrels anytime I felt the need. I’m still as tough as nails, fast on my feet and at home in the jungle.
Jack Casady Bass, Chris Queen Sound
So I bought a Jack Casady Bass this week, because I think it is the best designed bass on earth. It was designed by Jack Casady, in cooperation with Epiphone and I swore off Gibson the first time I saw a $ 2500.00 Les Paul and they’re way more now. Personally I think they’re outrageous.
I did not buy it to sound like Jack Casady. I have my own original ideas that hearken back to my high school days and beyond. Soon I will be recording a record. Eventually I’d like to get it on vinyl. I hear sounds in that bass Jack does not hear.
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