Hot Tuna

(Jorma Kaukonen and Jack Casady)

– A Living Legend –

in American Music

The name Hot Tuna invokes as many different moods and reactions as there are Hot Tuna fans — millions of them. To some, Hot Tuna is a reminder of some wild and happy times. To others, that name will forever be linked to their own discovery of the power and depth of American blues and roots music. To newer fans, Hot Tuna is a tight, masterful duo that is on the cutting edge of great music.

All of those things are correct, and more. For more than four decades, Hot Tuna has played, toured, and recorded some of the best and most memorable acoustic and electric music ever. And Hot Tuna is still going strong — some would say stronger than ever.

The two kids from 1950s Washington, D.C. knew that they wanted to make music. Jorma Kaukonen, son of a State Department official, and Jack Casady, whose father was a dentist, discovered guitar when they were teenagers (Jack, four years younger, barely so). They played, and they took in the vast panorama of music available in the nation’s capital, but found a special love of the blues, country, and jazz played in small clubs.

Jorma went off to college, while Jack sat in with professional bands and combos before he was even old enough to drive, first playing lead guitar, then electric bass.

In the mid-1960s Jorma was invited to play in a rock‘n’roll band that was forming in San Francisco; he knew just the guy to play bass and summoned his old friend from back east. The striking signature guitar and bass riffs in the now-legendary songs by the Jefferson Airplane were the result.

The half-decade foray into 1960s San Francisco rock music was for Jack and Jorma an additional destination, not the final one. They continued to play their acoustic blues on the side, sometimes performing a mini-concert amid a Jefferson Airplane performance, sometimes finding a gig afterwards in some local club. They were, as Jack says, “Scouting, always scouting, for places where we could play.”

The duo did not go unnoticed and soon there was a record contract and not long afterwards a tour. Thus began a career that would result in more than two-dozen albums, thousands of concerts around the world, and continued popularity.

Hot Tuna has gone through changes, certainly. A variety of other instruments, from harmonica to fiddle to keyboards, have been part of the band over the years, and continue to be, varying from project to project. The constant, the very definition of Hot Tuna, has always been Jorma and Jack.

The two are not joined at the hip, though; through the years both Jorma and Jack have undertaken projects with other musicians and solo projects of their own. But Hot Tuna has never broken up, never ceased to exist, nor have the two boyhood pals ever wavered in one of the most enduring friendships in music.

Along the way, they have been joined by a succession of talented musicians: Drummers, harmonica players, keyboardists, backup singers, violinists and more, all fitting with Jorma and Jack’s current place in the musical spectrum. Jorma and Jack certainly could not have imagined, let alone predicted, where the playing would take them. It’s been a long and fascinating road to numerous, exciting destinations. Two things have never changed: They still love playing 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.

The Musicians

Jorma Kaukonen

In a career that has already spanned a half century, Jorma Kaukonen has been the leading practitioner and teacher of fingerstyle guitar, one of the most highly respected interpreters of American roots music, blues, and Americana, and at the forefront of popular rock-and-roll.

Jorma graduated from high school and headed off for Antioch College in Ohio. There he met Ian Buchanan, from New York City, who introduced him to the elaborate fingerstyle fretwork of the Rev. Gary Davis. Jorma was hooked.

A work-study program in New York introduced the increasingly skilled Kaukonen to that city’s burgeoning folk-blues-bluegrass scene and many of its players. He would leave college and undertake overseas travels before returning to classes, this time in California.

There he earned money by teaching guitar. A friend who taught banjo mentioned to Jorma he and another friend were thinking of starting a band — was Jorma interested? Though he was less interested in rock than in the roots music that was his passion, Jorma decided to join. It would turn out he would even have something to do with the naming of the band. An acquaintance liked to tease his blues-playing friends by giving them nicknames which parodied those of blues legends. Jorma, he had decided, was “Blind Thomas Jefferson Airplane.” When the new band needed a name, Jorma mentioned this, and thus the Jefferson Airplane was christened.

He sent word back to Washington, where his teenage musical partner Jack Casady had taken up electric bass. Did Jack want to come to San Francisco and be in a band?

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. The two would often play clubs following Airplane performances. A record deal was made and Hot Tuna was born. Jorma left the Jefferson Airplane after the band’s most productive five years. Hot Tuna had become a full-time job.

Jorma has also had a succession of more than a dozen solo albums, beginning with 1974’s “Quah” and continuing through “Blue Country Heart” in 2002, the much-anticipated “Stars In My Crown,” followed by the touching and very personal “River of Time.” In February, 2015 Jorma releases “Aint In No Hurry” on Red House. Ain’t In No Hurry, show Jorma at the top of his game. Playing with a confidence and a touch that come from a lifetime spent writing and performing.

Along with his wife, Vanessa, Jorma operates and teaches at Jorma Kaukonen’s Fur Peace Ranch Guitar Camp. Here, on a sprawling and rustic yet modern campus, musicans and would-be musicians come for intensive and enjoyable workshops taught by Jorma, Jack and other extraordinary players like G.E. Smith, David Lindley, Steve Kimock, Bob Margolin, Chris Smither, Peter Rowan and more.

In addition, Jorma started BreakDownWay.com, a unique interactive teaching site that brings Jorma and Jack’s (and a host of other outstanding musicians) musical instruction to students all over the world.

Jack Casady

Few musicians have the opportunity and skill to create an entire style of playing, but Jack Casady has done exactly that with the electric bass. With roots as a lead guitar player, Jack broadened the range and scope of the bass, taking it out of the rhythm category and bringing to it a world of complex and complementary melodies.

The son of a Washington, D.C.-area dentist, Jack fell in love with music at an early age and took full advantage of the wide cultural experience the city had to offer, from classical and jazz concerts to the strong southern musical influence to the small blues and jazz clubs not normally populated by children.

“One night I’d be down at the Howard Theater seeing Ray Charles,” he remembers, “and the next night I would be at the Shamrock Tavern in Georgetown, hearing Mac Weisman, Lester Flatt and Earl Scruggs, and other bluegrass people. And the next night it would be jazz — people like Eric Dolphy and Roland Kirk.” He took up guitar and became friends with an older boy, a guitar novice named Jorma Kaukonen.
Together they explored the area’s music scene.

When Jorma went to college, young Jack continued his methodical study of guitar, often sitting in with local club bands. One night he was asked to play the bass, and thus began a love affair with the instrument that has endured for close to a half century.

Jack has played bass with numerous groups and legendary performers, from Jimi Hendrix to Government Mule and beyond. His signature bass sound was front and center in his critically acclaimed solo CD, “Dream Factor.”

The inventor of the Jack Casady style of bass playing devotes much of his time to passing on what he has learned and invented, by teaching several times each year at Jorma’s Fur Peace Ranch.

Over a decade ago, Jack designed The Jack Casady Signature Bass in collaboration with Epiphone. This bass is the culmination of years of experimentation playing with the Jefferson Airplane and Hot Tuna. Jack simply wanted to find an instrument with superb, balanced electric tone and the response of an acoustic bass.

With three very different models available, this bass continues to be one of Epiphone’s hottest selling instruments and is played by some of the worlds most inventive bassists like Flea (Red Hot Chili Peppers), Chris Null, Josh Ward, Glenn Five aka G5 and Dominic Davis. The Epiphone Jack Casady Signature Bass is as unique as Jack, with a vibe, tone, and innovative features all its own.

Hot Tuna, Hot Tuna

RCA, 1970, Stereo, LSP-4353 (LP), AFL1-4353 (LP Reissue #1), AYL1-3864 (LP Reissue #2)
CD’s: RCA 1990 3864-2-R, Edsel – #EDCD 331 1996, BMG / Sony Music Entertainment – #770076 1996, RCA with Bonus Tracks #66872 1996,Sbme Special Mkts 2008 – #724667, Akarma #612 2008, Iconoclastic Records #1030 2012, Culture Factory #850703003521 2012
LP:Sundazed #SUNDAZEDLP 5319 2011

First Pull Up Then Pull Down, Hot Tuna
RCA, 1970, Stereo, LSP-4550 (APRS-8249), (LP). AFL1-4550 (LP Reissue #1), AYL1-3865 (LP Reissue #2)
CD’s: RCA 1996 #66873, Akarma 2008 #620, Wounded Bird 2009 #4550, Culture Factory 2012# 850703003507

Burgers, Hot Tuna
Grunt, 1972, Stereo, FTR-1004 (LP), BXL1-2591 (LP Reissue), CD RCA 2591-2-R
CD’s: Legacy 1988 #25912, RCA 1996 RCA – #2591-2, BMG/Sony 1996 #770074, Cloud 9 Records 2004 #74321835002, Akarma-Moonlite 2010 #MOON 620, Culture Factory 2012 #850703003491
LP’s: Speakers Corner 2013 #GRUNTFTR 1004

The Phosphorescent Rat, Hot Tuna
Grunt, 1973, Stereo, BFL1-0348 (LP), BXL1-0348 (LP Reissue)
CD’s: RCA 0348-2-R, RCA 1998 #67564, RCA 2000 #74321835042, Sony Music Distribution / Sony BMG 2009- #749290, Culture Factory 2012- #850703003538,

America’s Choice, Hot Tuna
Grunt, 1975, Quadraphonic, BFD1-0820 (LP), Stereo, BFL1-0820 (LP), BXL1-0820 (LP Reissue),
CD RCA 0820-2-R, RCA 1998, RCA 2000, Cloud 9 Records 2004 – #74321835022, Bmg / Sony Music Entertainment 2009- #750077, Culture Factory 2012 – #850703003484

Yellow Fever, Hot Tuna
1975 Quadraphonic, BFD1-1238 (LP), Stereo, BFL1-1238 (LP),
CD: RCA 1990 1238-2-R,BMG 1999 #7345, RCA 2001 #74321835012, RCA 2003 #74321835012, Esoteric Recordings 2011 #ECLEC 2291, Culture Factory 2012 – #850703003545

Hoppkorv, Hot Tuna
Grunt, 1976, Stereo, BFL1-1920 (LP)
CD’s: RCA 1996 #66874, RCA 2001 #74321835032, BMG 2004 #74321835032, Esoteric Recordings 2011 #ECLEC 2292, Culture Factory 2012 #850703003514

Double Dose, Hot Tuna
Grunt, 1978, Stereo, CYS2-2545 (8 Track), CYK2-2545 (Cassette), CYL2-2545 (LP)
CD’s: Edsel Records 1994 EDCD 397, Acadia Records UK 2007- #ACAM 8140, Acadia 2007- #8140, Wounded Bird 2010 #WOU 5498, Culture Factory 2012 #850703003590, Culture Factory 2012 #CFU0361

Yellow Label 2013 #SPV 266132

Splashdown, Hot Tuna
LP: Relix RRLP 2004, 1984
CD: Relix RRCD2004 1986

Historic Hot Tuna, Hot Tuna
LP: Relix, 1985, RRLP2011 (release date Oct. 1, 1985)
CD: Relix, 1986, RRCD2011 Europe CCRCD109 (1993)

Pair a Dice Found, Hot Tuna
cassette 1990 #ET-46831
CD EpicNovember 1990 EK46831, Epic 2002 #7072, Acadia Records UK 2006#ACA 8124

Live At Sweetwater, Hot Tuna
Relix RRCD2058, 1992
CD’s: Eagle Records 2004#EAMCD 291, Eagle Records 2004#20051
LP: 2014
Digital: Eagle Records 2004, Eagle Rock 2004

Live At Sweetwater 2, Hot Tuna
Relix RRCD2062, 1993
Cassette: Relix 1993#2062, Relix 1997#2062

CD’s Relix 1999 #RRCD 2062, Eagle Records 2004#EAMCD 292, Eagle 2004 #20052
Digital: Eagle Records 2004

Splashdown Two, Hot Tuna
CD: Relix 1995 RRCD2080

Classic Hot Tuna Acoustic, Hot Tuna
CD: Relix, 1996, RRCD2075

Classic Hot Tuna Electric, Hot Tuna
CD: Relix, 1986, RRCD2076

Live In Japan, Hot Tuna
CD: Relix, 1998, RRCD2093, Eagle Records 2004 #EAMCD 290, Eagle 2004 #20050
Digital: Eagle Records 2004

And Furthurmore… , Hot Tuna
Arista/Grateful Dead Records, 1999, Stereo, GDCD-4068

Live at Sweetwater, Vol. II
CD: 2004 Eagle Records

Festivalink Presents Hot Tuna at Merlefest: 4/28/06
Festivalink.net 2006

FestivaLink presents Hot Tuna at MerleFest 4/29/06
Festivalink.net 2006

Radio Woodstock Music presents Hot Tuna at The Bearsville Theater, Woodstock, NY 12/13/09
Festivalink.net 2010

Live at New Orleans House, Berkeley, CA 09/69
CD: Collectors’ Choice Music 2010 CCL 60032, ADA / Friday Music / Relayer Records limited edition release 2012 #216740

Steady as She Goes, Hot Tuna
CD: Red House Records RHR CD 241
LP: Red House Records RHR LP 241

Live at the Fillmore West: 3rd July 1971

CD: Keyhole Records 2014 #KH 9018CD

LP: Keyhole Records 2014 #KH 9018LP

The Last Interview? A Live Hot Tuna Radio Classic Grunt, 1978
lp: Grunt DJL1-2852

Final Vinyl, Hot Tuna, 1979 BXL1-3357 (LP), BXK1-3357 (Cassette), BXS1-3357 (8 Track)
CD: 2009 Wounded Bird #357

Keep On Truckin’, Hot Tuna, 198?

Relix Bay Rock Shop #3, Hot Tuna/Jorma Kaukonen, 1992
CD – Relix #3, Relix CDRBRS0003

Relix Bay Rock Shop #4, Hot Tuna/Jorma Kaukonen, 1992
cd: Relix #4, Relix CDRBRS0004

Trimmed and Burning, Hot Tuna, 1994
cd:Edsel – #EDCD 396

Relix Bay Rock Shop, #6 – Hot Tuna Special No. 1, Hot Tuna, 1994
CD – Relix #6, Relix Records RBRS0006

Relix Bay Rock Shop, #7 – Hot Tuna Special No. 2, Hot Tuna, 1994
CD – Relix – #7, Relix Records RBRS0007

Relix Bay Rock Shop, #8 – Hot Tuna Special No. 3, Hot Tuna, 1994
cd – Relix – #8

In A Can, Hot Tuna, 1996
cd:RCA – #66988-2

Best of Hot Tuna, Hot Tuna, 1998 cd:
RCA 07863 67692-2

Platinum & Gold Collection, Hot Tuna, 2003
cd:BMG Heritage / RCA – #82876508992, RCA – #52879, BMG Heritage, 2003, Stereo, 50899

Extended Versions, Hot Tuna, 2004 cd:
BMG Special Products – #48356, BMG Special Products – #48374, Collectables – #8909, RCA/Legacy 82876 80564 2

Keep on Truckin’: The Very Best of Hot Tuna, Hot Tuna, 2006
cd:Phantom Import Distribution – #82876805642, BMG / Sony Music Entertainment – #770078, RCA – #564

Yellow Fever / Hoppkorv, Hot Tuna, 2007
cd: Acadia – #ACAM 8138

Best of Grunt: Trimmed and Burning, Hot Tuna, 2007

cd:Acadia – #8174, Acadia – #ACAM 8174

Fillmore : The Last Days, Various Artists, 1972
LP: 1972 Epic WB66013
CD: 1992 Epic Legacy Z2K31390

Papa John Creach “Friends”
Grunt LP FTR-1003, 1971

Papa John Creach: Filthy!
Grunt LP FTR-1009, 1972

Flight Log (1966-1976), Jefferson Airplane, 1977
cd: 2008 BMG – #35468, 2011 Beat Goes On – #BGOCD 970

Relix Sampler, Various Artists, 1985
LP: 1985 Relix RRLP2015 (limited edition of 5,000)
cd: 1986 Relix – #2015, Relix RRCD2015

Relix Bay Rock Shop #5, Relix Magazine 20th Anniversary Show, Various Artists, 1993
cd: Relix – #5, Relix CDRBRS0005

Relix Sampler (Europe), Various Artists, 1993
Relix RSXCD101, 1993

Best Of Mountain Stage, Vol. 7, Various Artists, 1994
cd: 1994 Blue Plate / Blue Plate – #7, 1997 Blue Plate / Blue Plate – #BPM 007CD

Furthur, Various Artists, 1997
cd: Hybrid Recordings – #20012

Relix Best Of The Blues Vol 1, Various Artists, 1997
CD – Relix #2086

Relix Best Of The Blues Vol 2, Various Artists, 1997

Relix Best Of The Blues Vol 3, Various Artists, 1997
CD – Relix #2088

Hits from the Underground: The 70’s, 1998
cassette: 1998 BMG Special Products – #44804
cd: 1998 BMG Special Products – #44804

Dead Delites 1, Various Artists, 1998
cd: Relix – #2095

Dead Delites 2, Various Artists, 1998
cd: Relix – #2096

Hot Tuna And Furthurmore…
Arista/Grateful Dead Records, 1999, Stereo, GDCD-4068

Sharin’ In The Groove, Various Artists, 2001
cd: Mockingbird Foundation

Guitar Heroes, Various Artists, 2001
Sony 53348

The Best of Bluegrass, Various Artists, 2003
CD: Sanctuary 84600

Fillmore: The Last Days (DVD), Various Artists,
cd: 1991 Epic – #Z2K-31390, 2009 Rhino – #16386
dvd:2008 Rhino – #516386

Hot Tuna 45 RPM Singles
Been So Long/Candy Man
RCA, 1971, Stereo 0528

Water Song/Keep On Truckin’
Grunt, 1971, Stereo 65-0502

Hot Jelly Roll Blues/ Surphase Tension
Grunt, 1975, Stereo 10443

Hot Jelly Roll Blues/ Hot Jelly Roll Blues (Promo)
Grunt, 1975, Stereo/Mono JH-10443

It’s So Easy/I Can’t Be Satisfied
Grunt, 1976, Stereo PB 10776

It’s So Easy/I Can’t Be Satisfied
Grunt, 1976, Stereo UK RCG 1002

Eve Of Destruction (Promo CD Single)
Epic, 1990, ESK 2224

Keep Your Lamps Trimmed And Burning/Casey Jones (Grateful Dead)
Ricordi International Label Crawdaddy Series SIR-20-034