MWE3 Feature Story
interview written, conducted and edited
by Robert Silverstein for 
20th Century Guitar and mwe3.com  



There's A Bright Side Somewhere...

an interview with
guitar legend

JORMA KAUKONEN



 

 

Continued From Home Page


There’s A Bright Side Somewhere...

an interview with
JORMA KAUKONEN


interview written and produced
by Robert Silverstein


Guitarist, vocalist, songwriter and pop culture icon, Jorma Ludwik Kaukonen Jr. rose to fame back in 1965 as the lead guitarist in The Jefferson Airplane. Illuminating some of the most innovative and daring guitar playing of the ‘60s, Jorma’s work in the Airplane and Hot Tuna—in addition to his many fine solo albums—places him in the pantheon of rock guitar heroes.Thankfully, all the Airplane and Hot Tuna albums have all been tastefully remastered and complimenting those classics is a 2006 Eagle DVD, Fly Jefferson Airplane and an excellent live CD of the classic Airplane lineup live in ‘69 at the Fillmore East entitled Sweeping Up The Spotlight—released by Legacy in 2007 and featuring liner notes by Jorma. With the release of his 2007 solo CD, Stars In My Crown on Red House Records, Jorma keeps his lamps trimmed and burning and his promise of a new solo album and a fresh studio set from Hot Tuna will peak the interest of long time fans. On June 24, 2008, Jorma Kaukonen spoke with 20th Century Guitar reviews editor and mwe3.com founder Robert Silverstein about recording Stars In My Crown, some history with Jefferson Airplane, Jorma's Fur Peace Ranch guitar school, his Finnish roots, his long time fondness for his Gibson guitars and much more.

{The following archive interview was the cover story for the August 2008 issue of 20th Century Guitar magazine. That was the issue that also featured my interview with guitarist Pete Huttlinger. MWE3 now presents the entire interview with Jorma Kaukonen - editor August 22, 2009}



MWE3: Hi Jorma! Any news from the Fur Peace Ranch? How’s things going there?

JK: Things are going great. We’re actually closed for the next month. At our last show, which was the weekend before last, we had G.E. Smith, Larry Coryell, Bob Margolin and myself. G.E. put the show together. We had just a killer show. And things are going great at the ranch.

MWE3: How has the Fur Peace Range grown since you started it? It’s been going for the past 15 years or so.

JK: Not quite. It’s eleven years now. The way we planned it in the beginning, it physically can’t grow much more than that. We really can’t take much more than 40, 45 to 50 students at the most. Even then, they can’t all stay on site because we don’t have enough cabins. We may have to build some more cabins. And I don’t want it to get any bigger than that. We’ve gotten to the point where...it’s really hard to say how this happened, but we’re just full all the time. It’s the greatest.

MWE3: It looks like you’ve got some great teachers at the camp. How do you pick and choose your staff?

JK: Well, in the beginning, when we started out, because nobody knew about us, I sort of shamed my friends into coming and teaching. But since then, because we won a couple awards as teaching camps and this and that. Since then, people come to us. And what I do really, because somebody I know or I’m familiar with or somebody I’m interested in, obviously I go to bat for them. But a lot of times, people pop up I’ve never heard of. And then my wife Vanessa and our ranch manager John just really check them out. And we’ve, as a result, have been turned on to some wonderful people.

MWE3: Any future plans with Fur Peace Ranch as you go forward?

JK: Like I said, we may build some more cabins so we can sleep some more people but I think our plans are really just to continue with the recipe that seems to spell success for us. Our thing is to make music unintimidating, to have good instructors, to have great food. We have a 200 seat theater and a local NPR radio show. Just to keep that going. One of the things that happened this year is that... we always had a scholarship program. And our scholarship program starting this year is for returning men and women vets to Iraq and Afghanistan.

MWE3: I actually heard that some people were sending guitars over there for those guys.

JK: I heard that too. We had a young man, the weekend before last...it was very touching. He’s been back in the States for about nine months. But he was at the battle of Ramadi and all this kind of stuff. And we had a little open mic...a really nice young man. When we had open mic, he said, ‘A year ago I was in a violent place doing violent things. When I came home, I wasn’t really home. But this weekend, I feel like I’m home.’ The music is a good thing.

MWE3: Music is really where your home is.

JK: I couldn’t agree more.

MWE3: I’m your typical Brooklyn born, Long Island bred Jewish male and I grew up listening you and Jefferson Airplane when I was a teenybopper fan.

JK: (laughter) Speaking of being Jewish, I’m Jewish too, as you probably know. We were talking to Bromberg and some of the other pals about why there are so many Jewish guys that play blues and gospel stuff? And for a moment he was theorizing maybe the common bond is slavery, ‘cause the Jews were enslaved for so many years. And then we realized we just don’t know! (laughter)

MWE3: I was reading that you recently rediscovered your Jewish heritage.

JK: I did. My mother’s Jewish, so I was born Jewish and I had a briss and all that stuff. But I really wasn’t raised Jewish. I think if my grandfather had had his way, I would have been. But my grandmother was just a wacky (laughter)... she would have been a hippy if she’d been born later. So I didn’t have the comfort of the religious structure but our whole scene...everybody, all our friends were Jewish, the food was Jewish. All this stuff. So my wife Vanessa decided to convert. And I’ll tell you, if anybody should have been born a Jew it was her, believe me. So when she did that, I thought, ‘Well, this is great opportunity for me to learn more about it.’ I took all the courses and stuff like that also. I gotta tell you, I realized I’m too old to learn all the stuff you need to do to have a Bar Mitzvah. Good lord! (laughter) But the good news is I didn’t have to do that. But I learned a lot of stuff. I took the Biblical Hebrew course, all that stuff.

MWE3: I didn’t know Marty Balin and Jack Casady are Jewish too?

JK: Yeah, I think Jack’s grandmother was Jewish. Marty’s father, Joe Buchwald is very (laughter) definitely Jewish! I don’t know about his mother. I have no idea about that.

MWE3: That explains why Jefferson Airplane was the last word on ‘60s rock!

JK: Right! (laughter)

MWE3: Do you keep in touch with those guys from the Airplane like Paul Kantner, Marty and Grace?

JK: Jack, of course, and I are in touch all the time because we do Hot Tuna. Grace and I... we call each other periodically. She just sent me a painting which I thought was really nice. I just saw Marty when I was down in Florida a couple months ago. He brought his daughter by the show. It was nice to see him again. That’s pretty much it. Obviously, I see Jack all the time. And I do talk to Grace on a regular basis. Other than that, it’s hit or miss with the rest of the guys.

MWE3: Jefferson Airplane had a tremendous fan base back in the ‘60s. I was a huge Airplane fan and when I was 15 in 1969, Volunteers had a huge impact on me.

JK: I look back at those albums today. It’s funny, ‘cause I don’t normally listen to my own work. But I listened to that ‘69 Fillmore East thing and my comment to one of my friends was, ‘Wow, we were pretty good!’ (laughter) And obviously it had a huge impact on us as well.

MWE3: I was interested about your Finnish roots. Your father was Finnish?

JK: He was born in Ironwood, Michigan. My grandparents, on both sides of my family, came over from the old country. But his first language was Finnish and my mother’s first language was Russian and Yiddish. So, I guess culturally speaking...he was born an American citizen, but culturally speaking, he was pretty much Finnish. The interesting thing is that my grandparents, or my grandmother was from some little shtetle not far from Leningrad and the Finns and the Russians, usually don’t like each other very much, but there this Finnish guy and this Russian girl got married, my mom and dad. My grandmother, for some reason, just loved Finns. She would have been horrified that my mother didn’t marry a Jew but she really dug my old man. All four of my grandparents sort of came from the same part of the world, different sides of the border but the same part of the world. Isn’t that amazing?

MWE3: In the mid '70s, I became very interested in the ‘70s and ‘80s music from Finland.

JK: Funny you should mention that because when you listen to rock and roll in other languages...like rock and roll in German to me is absurd. (laughter) For some reason, even though I don’t speak Finnish, for some reason the sound of rock and roll when its used to sing in the Finnish language, it really sounds normal to me. It just sounds like rock and roll ought to sound. Interesting.

MWE3: I released several albums by a Finnish bass player back in the ‘80s, Pekka Pohjola.

JK: Yeah, I’d love to hear it. They have some great musicians over there. The Finnish scene is a cool scene. My friend Barry Mitterhoff and I played this festival called the Kaustinen Festival. Its way up north. And its really a Nordic festival. We were like the only non-Nordic group there but man, I’ll tell you there’s some serious pickers up there. And of course fiddlers too ‘cause the fiddle in their folk scene.

MWE3: There’s tons of great music going on in Finland.

JK: It’s unbelievable!

MWE3: I hear Hot Tuna is gearing up for some new tours and this year marks 50 years since you and Jack Casady started playing together.

JK: It is. It’s been 50 years since Jack and I have played together. It’s unbelievable but true. We started the electric band up again about four years ago. My friend Barry Mitterhoff plays with us and Eric Diaz plays drums. And we can all play. In the beginning we really played pretty well but the band’s really been clicking. So we started to talk about getting ready to record again and of course, the recording business is in such an upheaval these days and we got a couple of offers. But we just decided that at some point we’re going to do it ourselves. Not necessarily do a whole album but just start recording cuts and releasing them online. Like everybody else does!

MWE3: What direction would you and Jack be going in on the new recordings?

JK: Pretty much the same kind of stuff that we’ve always done except that we’ve learned more things so I think its a little more textured now then it was in the old days. By golly, I’ll tell you what. At the last show we played I thought, ‘Man, at our age we’re still really rocking.’ I felt really good about it.

MWE3: Hot Tuna sounds great still.

JK: Talking about sounds, some people architect a sound like the Beach Boys did. I just saw a Beach Boys special recently, that’s why I was thinking about that. They really architected a sound and we certainly didn’t set out to do that. But our sound is very...the only word I can come up with right now is rootsy, but I’d like to find a better word than that. It’s very authentic. I think it stands on its own. Sometimes you’ll listen to pop and rock sounds from different periods and after some years go by it just doesn’t sound as cool as you once thought it did. But I really think our stuff bears the test of time. And what we’re doing today, like I said, its still us but we just learned more stuff.

MWE3: I always loved your instrumentals going back to “Embryonic Journey”. Would you be doing any new instrumentals with Hot Tuna in the future?

JK: Probably. We’d probably be doing at least one or two instrumentals. You bet. I really enjoy that stuff. I like writing instrumentals.

MWE3: Maybe that’s you finding your Finnish roots. Maybe subconsciously.

JK: Actually, I never thought about that, but I think you could be right.

MWE3: The players in their early ‘50s now grew up listening to you, so they probably took your sound and went from there.

JK: That’s the beauty of music. We’re all contributing to each other’s bag of tricks and that’s the way it ought to be.

MWE3: These days, the business tends to neglect a lot of the great artists who got started in the ‘50s and ‘60s. Do you find that to be true?

JK: I think generally speaking, yeah it’s true just in terms of those people. But I think that people like you and me, who are interested in music, we like to dig into stuff. We like to find out where it came from and find those rare, but significant artists that just made a difference but that nobody’s ever heard of. I think there’s a bunch of us that like to do that.

MWE3: I interviewed Mason Williams a couple months back...

JK: “Classical Gas.”

MWE3: He’s actually 70 later this year. He told me he’s got an album ready to go and no one’s even interested. Maybe I should hook you and Mason up.

JK: I’d love to meet him. I’m a huge fan of his. I’ve never met him. I’ve never even heard him live but I really love his playing.

MWE3: He said no one’s interested, at least from a music 'business' way.

JK: I know what he’s saying, but see I believe one of the blessings of all this internet stuff is there’s fans out there for all of us. There really is. I was talking to my wife the other day about it, ‘cause she managed me and we talk about this stuff all the time. Things are just changing. We have no idea where they’re gonna go. But I know a lot of young artists who just put their stuff out there and all of sudden, people listen to it, they like it and they start to buy these things. In the old days, when the Airplane signed in ‘65, I mean that was like huge for us. Huge! We never would have been able to record in a million years if we hadn’t gotten a recording contract because nobody had any of that stuff. But today, I know people that do fantastic recordings in their living room!

MWE3: Is there a story behind getting signed to Red House Records and making the Stars In My Crown album?

JK: In a way there is and part of the story is that it’s a small story but it is a story. When I did Blue Country Heart for Sony/BMG, I liked it. I thought it was a great album. I had great guys to play with and we got a Grammy nomination. The Grammys is a highly politicized thing and we got a lot of people behind us I think because of the players I had on the album and because we were with a big record company. But shortly thereafter, me and a bunch of the other guys around my age that were on the Columbia label, we all got dropped. And I got to thinking about my next project. And I was thinking about just doing it myself. But I was up doing a show at the Cedar Cultural Center in St. Paul. And there’s a friend of the family up there. He’s a Finnish-American guy named Eric Peltoniemi. Eric is the president of Red House Records and we’ve been buddies for years. We’ve been buddies and I never actually thought about mixing business with friendship but he’s there and I said, ‘Look, I’m going to mention this to you and if it’s out of line, just forget I did it and we’ll continue to be friends and that’s okay. I’m looking for a record label and and I love the sort of head space that Red House Records is in. Would you guys be interested?’ And he said, ‘Absolutely. Let me talk to the guys and we’ll talk to Vanessa.’ ‘Cause I don’t do negotiations. And it’s really worked out well. Red House is a great place for me to be as a solo artist. I love the people on the label. They’re very casual about letting you do what you want to do. They’re very supportive of you. You know the publicity department. Maybe the reason we’re talking is ‘cause of their publicity department. Ellen Stanley is just the greatest. I just really like the people. It was just very comfortable. A totally different thing than any of the other “big labels” that I’ve been on in the past.

MWE3: Would Red House be interested in the Hot Tuna stuff?

JK: Well, when the time comes we’ll probably talk to them to see if they’re interested in that. It’s funny because I write a lot of stuff for myself that might or might not be suitable for Hot Tuna. I really don’t know. It’s quite possible. My mind is totally open. Like I said, if for some reason we don’t have enough for a full album, I think we’ll just do it ourselves and get it out there. But I wouldn’t hesitate to talk to Red House about that when the time comes either ‘cause I really like those people. In fact I’ve got Eric’s home phone number. I can call the president of the record company at home if want to. I don’t, but I could. (laughter)

MWE3: Stars In My Crown is one of the best things I’ve heard from Red House.

JK: Bless you. That’s very complimentary. They’ve had so many great albums. It’s a funny kind of an album but they were very supportive of my doing that. And somebody was asking me, ‘cause it’s actually, probably one of the few concept albums I’ve ever done. It didn’t start out that way. I collected all these songs and when I put them together, that’s what I had. And we realized ‘Wow, they’re really all kind of in the same space.’ They’re all tied together. It was amazing. And the Red House guys just said, ‘Go for it.’

MWE3: You said you wanted to take a simpler route on the Stars album partly because the world is so complicated now.

JK: Stars is a complex album and Byron House, the guy that produced it for me, really did a fantastic job. I think that our (next) approach is going to be much sparser. Larry Campbell is going to produce this for us. Of course, that said, Larry is one of these guys that plays so many instruments well that we have the potential of making it un-sparse if we want to. But I think basically, it’s just going to be a couple guys sitting around playing. But we’ll see. I’m sure you know, talk is really cheap before you actually start laying down tracks. You never know where they’re going to go.

MWE3: You primarily play two guitars on the Stars album. How would you compare the sound of your 2002 advanced Jumbo Gibson with your ‘93 J-35 guitar?

JK: I’m a Gibson nut. In fact, Gibson is thinking about making a Jorma Kaukonen model J-35 right now that’s like the one I play on the album. When I was a kid, I started out playing a J-45 and then when I could afford it, I got a J-50. And those are all the Jumbo style guitars. They’re all closely related. I just love that sound. It’s an instrument that I always feel comfortable picking up. I’m not a huge guitar collector but I do have a bunch of guitars. And the one that I play most of all is that J-35. But I have that Advanced Jumbo also and I just had a feeling that it would record record well. The J-35 is a mahogany guitar. It sounds like a mahogany guitar and the AJ is a rosewood, which has a little bit of a different sound. And so when I got down to the studio, I just realized that these are the two I want to use for the session. I may use them for the next one too.

MWE3: The guitars are so well recorded.

JK: Well the guy who did the recording for us, Gary Paczosa, he’s one of the premier guys in Nashville for recording acoustic instruments. He’s been engineering Alison Krause’s albums for years. He’s won more Grammys. He’s just unbelievable. He’s got the ears and knows how to do stuff. So what we did...it was a great sounding room. Gary’s microphones and mic placement. And I’ve also been using this Fishman thing called an Aura. We had the Aura plugged in just in case we needed a little more substance. But basically, that’s how the guitars sound in that room with the microphones that Gary picked. We’re always trying to record acoustic guitars well. It can be really tricky and Gary, when we went in the first day and we just set up and he put the mics up and I put the headphones on, and he hadn’t even messed with anything yet, and I just played a chord and I went, ‘Wow, that perfect,’ and he said, ‘I’m not done yet.’ (laughter) I said, ‘If it’s gonna get better, (laughter) I don’t know if I’ll be able to stand it.’ And it did get better. It was just great.

MWE3: The Jorma Kaukonen signature electric model Epiphone sold out? What were some of your required specs?

JK: Sure, it’s out of production now. Epiphone... Jack’s bass is still in production. And Jack was hugely involved in designing the pickups and stuff for his. And that really wasn’t the case for me. I like the 335 style. And in the Epiphone line, that line is sort of called the Rivera. So I wanted a 335 style guitar ‘cause that’s what I play and I played the Gibson version with the Airplane for years. I wanted a whammy bar. I wanted the Gibson vintage ‘57 pickups on it because those are the kind of pickups that I like. And that was really pretty much it. I just picked the stuff that I liked in electric guitars and they put it together. And the good news is that while it was still in production, I got two of them. (laughter) I really like that guitar a lot.

MWE3: Did you use the Epiphone during the Airplane years?

JK: I played the Gibson version of that. In the Airplane I used an ES-345. And the difference between the 45 and the 35 is that the 345 is a stereo guitar, which simply means there’s a separate channel for each pickup. So in the Airplane, I had a twin for my bridge pickup and a separate twin for my neck pickup. It also has this thing called a Vari-tone switch which has a bunch of different tone settings in it. The 335 is just a normal model configured guitar.

MWE3: Do you keep up with all the guitar technology these days? It’s pretty overwhelming.

JK: It is. And the answer is not really. It really is overwhelming. Every now and then I run into somebody that just hips me to something that’s really cool. But the stuff that I look for in guitars is the stuff that I looked for as a kid. As I said, I like Gibson and Epiphone guitars. And I like semi-hollow bodies and I like size of a 335 style guitar. And that’s pretty much all I look for. I do happen to like Telecasters so I have a couple of Telecasters also. But a lot of my sound is predicated on the semi-hollow body being able to sustain easily without using pedals. When I was young, I used pedals when they were invented. When we started out they didn’t have any. And now, I use a wah-wah pedal and that’s it. I just really use the guitar and the amp. So the answer is I haven’t really kept up. There’s so much wacky stuff going on. But, do you know who Ken Parker is?

MWE3: The Parker guitar guy?

JK: He is. Ken Parker, he’s not doing the Parker Fly thing anymore. He’s not with a corporation. Now he’s just hand building guitars. He’s building these jazz guitars. And his guitars go from twenty to thirty thousand dollars a pop. And when I was doing a show at Merkin Hall earlier this year, Ken brought a guitar by ‘cause we had a bunch of guys to play it. I guess this is the most modern thing I’ve ever played. It’s a jazz style guitar, archtop, and instead of having a sound hole, an F sound hole, the upper bout, up by the neck, was completely not there. That whole thing was like a cutaway sound hole at the top of the guitar. And then he had like an ebony structure that emanated to make it look like it was round like a guitar but there was really nothing there. Anyway, I sat down and I played this thing. When you play an acoustic guitar you can’t really hear what you sound like ‘cause the sound’s going in front of you. But when you play one of these new Parker guitars, the sound comes right up in your face. And it was unbelievable. Now, if I told my wife I wanted to spend thirty thousand dollars for a guitar, I probably wouldn’t get out of the hospital for months. (laughter) So that’s probably not going to be in the cards for me but I really admired what he was doing. Like I said, I’m totally satisfied with my acoustic guitar sound but when I heard some of these jazz cats playing this thing, I realized that at some point, some young guitar player, he’s going to get one somehow. And his whole sound will be predicated on it and he’ll have to always play this guitar ‘cause it’s really something. So, that’s the most...the new Ken Parker archtop jazz guitar. That’s the newest thing I’ve checked out. But in the old days, like when we bought picks, we just bought picks. Now you have one of these catalogs like a Manhattan phone book.

MWE3: Even with so much attention to technology, it doesn’t mean the music will be any better...

JK: You and I both know ultimately it’s the man, not the machine. We’ve all heard guys that play with antiquated, funky stuff and they just sound unbelievable.

MWE3: Maybe the thing that’s missing today is the antiquated stuff. For instance, a lot of the great bands from the ‘60s, even the studios they used and the engineers. It seems like the engineers were almost like Ph.D. types.

JK: Yeah, it was such a different time. The equipment was so archaic by today’s standards, they were not user friendly. The guys that ran them, you’re right, they really had to be sound engineers.

MWE3: How did you go about assembling some of the other musicians playing with you on the Stars album, like Barry Mitterhoff and Ed Gerhard...

JK: Barry and I, of course, play together all the time. So needless to say, I wanted him to be a part of that. Sally and Ed are both old friends of mine and I just knew they would be right for this project. And I went to Nashville to have Byron produce this for me. And Byron’s a Nashville cat and he just knows everybody. And it was really funny because I met all these guys. Most of them I’d never met before, and it’s like we’d known each other for years. He just got the right people for the session. We had such a good time. We just sat down and started playing.

MWE3: In the Stars liner notes you speak about working with Janis Joplin and the one night she didn’t show up for a gig was when you began your solo career.

JK: Right, that’s funny.

MWE3: What inspired including your Johnny Cash cover of “When The Man Comes Around” on the Stars album?

JK: Wow. I had got the...that’s the album that he did, I think Rick Rubin’s producing. He’s got that song “Hurt” on it? I’d gotten the album and I’d been listening to it and there’s just something haunting about it. When you do a Johnny Cash song, it’s really dangerous because Johnny is....Johnny. So it’s really dangerous, I think, to try to do covers of Johnny Cash’s songs because you’re always going to be compared to the original. When Blue Highway, the guy in the bluegrass band that played with me on that, they came to the Ranch and played. And I’m a huge fan of theirs. And they did some songs that have that haunting quality too. So I just could hear it as a bluegrass style song. I was fully prepared not to do it if we listened to it and went, ‘It just sounds like some guy doing a Johnny Cash cover,’ you know? But I thought we really did a great job with the song and I breathed a sigh of relief too ‘cause like I said, it’s really dangerous doing a Johnny song.

MWE3: Eagle released the Fly Jefferson Airplane DVD. There’s some cool stuff on there.

JK: There’s some really cool stuff on there. It’s funny. When you’re young and you’re doing stuff you don’t think about how nice it’ll be to have film of it later on. So, when you see that kind of stuff it’s obvious they did a great job with it. And I really enjoyed watching it. It’s too bad there isn’t more of that stuff lurking around. Somebody said, ‘How come you guys didn’t do more video stuff?’ And I’m going, ‘Because video didn’t exist back then!’

MWE3: I recently interviewed Mason Williams and he told me the Smothers Brothers always tried to have bands play live. Do you remember playing with the Airplane on the Smothers Brothers TV show? The sound is really cool.

JK: Yeah, they did a great job. The Smothers Brothers, God bless them. A lot of those shows, they didn’t want you play stuff live, just lip sync it, which was so stupid you know? ‘Cause we could actually play. Mason can actually play too. So the Smothers Brothers always encouraged us to play live and encouraged everybody to play live which was really cool.

MWE3: You were also recently doing some film music with Jack Casady, working with Mark Isham. Is that some direction for the future?

JK: Obviously, that’s great a gig doing that stuff. It’s kind of an old boy network and it’s hard to break in to. Brad Silberling, who was the director of that film, Moonlight Mile, he likes our music and he wanted us to be involved but Mark Isham, I knew him back in the old days. And he’s a great composer. He’s such a professional. And so when they asked us to be part of this soundtrack, he wrote the music, I told him, ‘Listen, I don’t read like the guys that you’re used to working with so if you don’t mind taking the time to teach us stuff, we’d be honored to do it.’ And he said, ‘Don’t worry about it. Just come and I’ll show you what to do.’ And he did. It was so much fun. To be honest with you, unless we have music somebody specifically wants, I don’t think I’m professional enough to be able to go in and cut one of those sessions ‘cause you really have to do it fast. And like I said, I don’t read music so it takes me a while to get stuff. But what a treat it was to do that.

MWE3: That was for the Disney movie Goodbye Hello?

JK: They changed the title a bunch of times. It’s a good movie. Check it out sometime. It’s called Moonlight Mile.

MWE3: So the next project is another album for Red House?

JK: Right, I’m going to get on that towards the end of July. Next week, check this out... Next week I’m going to Hungary, to Budapest, with my wife, my daughter and my son. That’s going to be a vacation. We're going to be there for a week and then my son and I, his mother’s actually letting him spend most of the summer with me, this summer. So I’m pretty excited about that. He and I are going off to Italy while Vanessa and Izzy come home and we’re going to spend a week and a half in Italy traveling around. So I’m pretty excited about that. Then when I get back I’m going to go right in the studio and start working on the Red House project. By the way, my daughter’s name is Israel. How about that?

MWE3: I heard you were adopting a Chinese baby?

JK: We did. And she’s going to be two on Friday.

MWE3: Is she living with you?

JK: You bet. Absolutely.

MWE3: I got married to a Chinese lady last year.

JK: Well, I’ll tell you what. Then I don’t need to tell you how beautiful Chinese girls are. Our little girl, she’s so beautiful. And she’s so funny because, well she’s being raised Jewish. I was joking with Vanessa. I said, ‘Two years ago, she was a foundling in China, and today she’s a Jewish American princess.’ She just knows exactly what she wants. It’s not always hysterically funny. But it is most of the time.

MWE3: It’s a big world to educate. That was the beauty of the ‘60s. Everybody was experimenting. I guess we have those experimental roots. That was what the Airplane did for me. You opened up my head to a whole new world of sounds.

JK: It sure opened my head up too, let me tell you.

MWE3: One last thing, that first Hot Tuna album, from the summer of ‘70 was such a huge influence. I just played it and it sounds better than ever in 2008.

JK: Jack and I are really proud of that record. It sounded great then. I think basically we got a good recording then. It didn’t hurt to have digital remastering.

MWE3: I’m hoping there’s a box set so your original fans can catch up again.

JK: They’re talking about it. Who knows? It could happen. That would be really great my friend. I appreciate it. Bye.


Thanks to Jorma Kaukonen @ www.jormakaukonen.com
and www.furpeaceranch.com and to Red House Records @ www.redhouserecords.com








 
 
 
 
 

 


 

 

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