The spirit is alive! This is the feeling I get when I speak to an enthusiastic Jorma Kaukonen from his home in Ohio while his daughter eats her breakfast waffles the other morning. His band Hot Tuna is set to return to the lineup of this years Wanee Festival in Live Oak, FL which also features other TSI Approved bands, The Allman Brothers, Tedeschi Trucks Band, Michael Franti & Spearhead, Robert Randolph and more! Full lineup and more info HERE!
In my convo with Jorma I brought up the topic of the “Psylo” which is a Psychedelic museum of sorts, housed in an actual silo.
JK: “We have everything! There are posters from the original Fillmore, the clothes Jack [Cassady] wore onstage at Woodstock, and the D-40 I used on “Embryonic Journey”.
After more discussion I come to find that there is also a multi-media exhibit of the era.
JK: “Friends keep bringing more stuff to add to the collection. The Psychedelic era for me was much more than just about drugs. It was about art, culture and books. The hippies were a productive community. I am a great collector of books from that era. A lot of great stuff was not even published.”
The “Psylo will also feature a light-show by the folks who did the Allman Brothers lightshows.”
I admit I am caught up in his enthusiasm and can’t wait to visit the place. I ask him if a modern version of the hippies exists today.
JK: “That’s a great question” he answers, “I only know the young people I work with, so it’s hard for me to answer. I don’t know if there is that same unified vision of the world that we had back then. I grew up in that monochromatic world of the fifties which remained until 1964 when everything became technicolor.”
Awesome! We steer the conversation to Hot Tuna’s appearance at this year’s Wanee Festival in Live Oak, Florida which The Allman Brothers are headlining. I ask Jorma if he remembers the first time he shared a bill with them.
JK: “John Hammond had made some recordings of Duane and told me about this simply mind bending guitarist. The first gig I remember was at the Fillmore West in the early 70s. It was us and the Allmans and frankly I don’t remember who else. I am not sure who the headliner was. In those days it didn’t matter. That was part of Bill Graham’s vision. You could have us or the Dead on the bill with maybe [jazz saxophonist] Charles Lloyd and perhaps a Russian poet. It was all about the art and the moment.”
Jorma admitted that the band doesn’t play as many festivals any more but the amenities and infrastructure have certainly improved since the old days. At Wanee it will be Hot Tuna Electric featuring his longtime bandmates Jack Cassady, Barry Mitterhoff, and Scooter Warner.
JK: “I feel lucky to have this great group of musicians to perform with.”
After Wanee Hot Tuna will gear up for a summer tour.