From their days playing together as teenagers to their current acoustic and electric blues, probably no one has more consistently led American music for the last fifty years than Jorma Kaukonen and Jack Casady, the founders and continuing core members of Hot Tuna. The pair began playing together while growing up in the Washington D.C. area, where Jack continued his high school while playing professional gigs as lead guitarist at night before he was old enough to drive. And Jorma (who had played rhythm guitar to Jack’s lead) headed off to college..
In the mid 1960s, Jorma was asked to play guitar for a new band forming in San Francisco. Though an acoustic player at heart, he grew interested in the electronic gadgetry that was just making an appearance in the music scene. Soon after he summoned his young friend Jack from Washington, who was now playing bass. Jack's experience as a lead guitarist led to a style of bass playing which took the instrument far beyond its traditional role. Thus the unique sound of The Jefferson Airplane was created. Jorma contributed the band's name, drawn from a nickname a friend had for the blues-playing Jorma. Along with the other members of The Jefferson Airplane, Jorma and Jack are 1996 inductees in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
The Kaukonen-Casady duo created much of The Jefferson Airplane's signature sound, and Jorma's lead and fingerstyle guitar playing characterizes some of the band's most memorable tracks. Jorma and Jack would jam whenever they could and would sometimes perform sets within sets at Airplane concerts. A record deal was made and Hot Tuna was born. Jorma left Jefferson Airplane after the band's most productive five years, and Hot Tuna became a full-time job. Over the next three and a half decades Hot Tuna would perform thousands of concerts and release more than two dozen records.
In addition to touring and recording, both Jorma and Jack teach. In 1998, Jorma and his wife Vanessa opened Fur Peace Ranch Guitar Camp in the beautiful rolling Appalachia foothills of southeastern Ohio. It has hosted thousands of musicians for weekends of master classes and performances offered by Jorma, Jack, and other instructors who are leaders in their musical fields.
It’s certainly been a long and fascinating road to numerous exciting destinations for Jorma and Jack. But two things have never changed: They still love to play as much as they did as kids in Washington D.C., and there are still many, many exciting miles yet to travel on their musical odyssey.
* TWO SHOWS:
Arrive by 1 or 1:30pm for Brunch for the 3pm show. OR
Arrive by 5:30 or 6pm for Dinner for the 7pm show.