Jorma Kaukonen (from the biography Been So Long available from St. Martin’s Press)
Spending time in an hour phone interview with Jorma Kaukonen, I have firsthand knowledge of the charms the guitarist wears on his sleeve. What is impressive is how Jorma Kaukonen brings the same calm class into his biography, Been So Long, summing up his recollections as ‘sometimes my memories are like jagged pieces of shrapnel and sometimes they are seen through a gentle veil’. The album jacket features the phrase My Life and Music. Those are the dual paths that Jorma wanders in the book, giving a family history early on and in memories throughout the chapters. On a personal accounting, the tale follows a younger version as a child turns to teenager while living in various locations both in the United States and overseas at posts for his U.S. State Department dad. Jorma Kaukonen strums guitar in the memories of early musical moments growing up in the Washington D.C/Baltimore, Maryland area, beginning his career in coffee houses playing the Blues side of Folk before heading west to California with his guitar. Rock history claims Jorma Kaukonen as one of its own for his place as founding member of both Jefferson Airplane and Hot Tuna. Been So Long meticulously sees the past clearly as Jorma details the steps in his career, finding his place in the day-to-day world replaced by the lifetime of a working musician.
Standing beside your decisions is not a comfortable place nor is our memory of events always inclusive. Jorma Kaukonen takes on the challenge of facing your successes and mistakes, becoming the guide for his own personal experiences as a ground zero house band for the Psychedelic Revolution in San Francisco, California. He played Monterey festivals for both the Jazz festival and Monterey Pop, had a set with Jefferson Airplane at Atlantic City Pop Festival, Woodstock, and Atlanta Pop in 1969. Been So Long watches the birth of a cultural movement as well as the rise/fall of successful bands. Jorma Kaukonen gives credit for the big and little moments in music, remembering well-known names and folkies lost in time as he cites lessons that became his own style. Fur Peace Ranch is the musical endeavor that took the musician to Ohio as teacher, promoter, and major domo of the facility. Jorma Kaukonen presents his life from the role of observer, relating without judgment the path taken from growing up in a rock’n’roll band to father, husband, and keeper of the torch at Fur Peace Ranch.
Read and buy the biography of Jorma Kaukonen from AMAZON