In a career that has spanned a half-century, guitarist Jorma Kaukonen has been at the forefront of American music and culture. A pioneer of the 1960s San Francisco scene, Jorma is best known for co-founding psychedelic rock band The Jefferson Airplane. With his subsequent band Hot Tuna, formed with Jefferson Airplane bassist Jack Casady, Jorma solidified a fan base that has endured to this day.
In this memoir, Jorma tells stories from his early life up to his present-day with reflections woven in. Jorma's story takes us around the globe, from meeting Jack in DC in the 50s to college to California to meeting Janis Joplin, Pigpen, Jerry Garcia, Bob Dylan, Phil Lesh and more. He tells all of the events of Jefferson Airplane’s history and the story of his addiction and amazing recovery.
Jorma continues to tour today while also running and teaching at Fur Peace Ranch Guitar Camp, which is considered one of the world's most unique centers for the study of guitar and other instruments.
Perfect for fans of Robbie Robertson's Testimony and Deal by Bill Kreutzmann, Been So Long is the memoir for anyone who wants to hear stories about Jefferson Airplane, Hot Tuna, jam bands, and anyone interested in a national treasure who helped define 60s-70s rock.
About the Author
Jorma Kaukonen is one of the most highly respected interpreters of American roots music, blues, and Americana, and at the forefront of popular rock 'n roll. He is a co-founding member and the guitarist of Jefferson Airplane and the still-touring Hot Tuna, and has recorded more than a dozen solo albums. He's a member of the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame and a Grammy nominee. Jorma and his wife Vanessa operate Fur Peace Ranch Guitar Camp, a center in Ohio for studying guitar and other instruments.
Praise for Been So Long
"A quick, engaging read..." --Associated Press
"Been So Long is a survivor's tale, well told and sprinkled with a bit of 1960s fairy dust." --Wall Street Journal
"Jefferson Airplane guitarist Kaukonen's candid and affectionate memoir resembles the rambling and free-flowing road trips he enjoys.... A mesmerizing storyteller, Kaukonen delivers a memoir as intricate and dazzling as his music." --Publishers Weekly, starred review
"At a time when many rock stars are releasing memoirs, Jorma Kaukonen's Been So Long: My Life and Music stands apart.... an incredibly insightful look inside the life of a musician who was not only influenced by some of America's greatest music but who also left an indelible mark on that very same musical landscape." --AXS
"Been So Long could be considered a text that reveals not only the musical heart of Jorma Kaukonen, but his heart in and of itself. It is a memoir of a man who has lived an eventful life and has decided to take advantage of his later years to consider his past and his legacy both as an artist and as a human being." --Counterpunch
"Kaukonen's ingenuity, his creativity, his desire to follow a story wherever it takes him, and his crisp writing permeate his new autobiography Been So Long: My Life and Music; his writing is as smooth and intricate as his fingerstyle blues, and he's a rattling good raconteur, drawing us in with tales of his days in the Airplane and Hot Tuna, and always candid about his own battles with alcoholism and drug use and his failed first marriage.... Kaukonen's illuminating stories and lilting prose warm us with this glow, too, and the book carries us on a lyrical journey through the hills and valleys of a man who is one of the five best guitarists playing today." --No Depression journal
"A sweeping span of a life well lived and should be a cornerstone to any library, personal or public, that deals with American history, musical history or a range of disparate perspectives on human nature." --Stomp and Stammer
"But just as Jorma Kaukonen has followed whatever path in his life musically he feels at any given time, his book likewise travels roads you many not expect to go down, but still create a unique portrait of the artist." --Houston Press
"Reflective and insightful...an intriguing picture of a man for whom music is not merely a vocation but, rather, the source of life itself. Entertaining and emotional, alternately exhilarating and depressing, this is a special musician's memoir, and it will strike a resounding chord with fans of classic rock." --Booklist
"Amiable and informative... An honest personal portrait." --Kirkus Reviews
"Kaukonen writes with narrative flair..." --Library Journal
"A modern parable." --from the foreword by Grace Slick
"Jorma comes across as a real guy ...saying what he really did ...and how he actually feels ....kind of what you'd expect if you knew him ...but very unusual for a book ...they are seldom this honest or this good." --David Crosby
"Jorma Kaukonen has produced an enduring body of original music, and devoted a lifetime to introducing a broad audience to blues, roots and Americana. Been So Long is an important read for anyone who loves music. It is thoughtful, insightful and downright fun. In Japan, artists who have made the greatest contributions are designated as Living National Treasures. For many reasons, Jorma is a truly Living National Treasure. I learned a lot from Been So Long, and I highly recommend it." --Jesse Finkelstein, Blues Radio International
"Meet Jorma Kaukonen - genius guitarist of Jefferson Airplane and Hot Tuna, speed skater, diarist, lyricist, husband, father, teacher and storyteller. His Been So Long reads like his guitar playing sounds - sharp, and stinging mixed with sweet and gentle. Reading this book was like having him sitting next to you, whispering the story of his life in your ear." --Joel Selvin, Music Journalist and Author of Altamont: The Rolling Stones, The Hells Angels, and the Inside Story of Rock's Darkest Day
Praise for Jorma Kaukonen:
"Kaukonen's brilliant acoustic guitar work results in an aural feast." --Raleigh News & Observer
"Kaukonen doing what he does involves playing folk/blues-derived guitar with skill and dexterity few can match." --San Francisco Chronicle
"Nobody does the acoustic blues better these days than the founder of Jefferson Airplane and Hot Tuna guitarist, Jorma Kaukonen." --Popmatters
"With early Tuna, there was a bit of respectful distance; they were playing an older generation's music and giving it a few psychedelic tweaks. Today, Kaukonen plays that music like it's his own; the hard-lived sentiments are those he has experienced firsthand." --Sound & Vision Magazine
"The playing is quietly astounding, but it's the sincere love for these songs that pushes the plow." --Detroit Free Press