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Hot Tuna

Begun as an acoustic spinoff of the Jefferson Airplane, Hot Tuna eventually became the full-time focus of founding members Jack Casady and Jorma Kaukonen, emerging as a popular touring act of the 1970s. The two were lifelong friends, growing up together in Washington, D.C., and playing in the group the Triumphs. After high school, guitarist Kaukonen and his government-service parents relocated to the Philippines, but he returned to the U.S. in time for the advent of psychedelia, landing in San Francisco and co-founding the Airplane in 1965. Bassist Casady joined not long after, and together they helped lead the group to massive success during the late '60s.

Hot Tuna -- originally dubbed Hot Sh*t, much to the chagrin of their label, RCA -- first began taking shape in 1969, while both Casady and Kaukonen were still active members of the Jefferson Airplane; in fact, their first performances were sandwiched between regular Airplane gigs. As a trio rounded out by harmonica player Will Scarlet (and occasionally including Airplane members Marty Balin and Spencer Dryden), Hot Tuna debuted in 1970 with a low-key self-titled LP of traditional blues and ragtime recorded live at the New Orleans House in Berkeley; by the following year's more rock-inspired First Pull Up, Then Pull Down, their roster included violinist Papa John Creach, concurrently a full-time member of the Airplane, and drummer Sammy Piazza. Minus Scarlet, a third album, Burgers, appeared in 1972.

By the appearance of 1974's The Phosphorescent Rat, both Casady and Kaukonen had officially exited Jefferson Airplane; by this time Creach, who elected to remain with the Airplane, was no longer in the group. With 1975's America's Choice, Piazza too was gone, replaced by drummer Bob Steeler; Yellow Fever appeared that same year, with Hoppkorv following in 1976. Keyboardist Nick Buck signed on for 1978's Double Dose, but Hot Tuna subsequently announced their breakup, closing out the first phase of their career with 1979's Final Vinyl.

In the wake of the group's demise, Kaukonen released a solo LP, Jorma, and later joined the new wave unit Vital Parts; Casady also fronted a new wave group of his own, SVT. In 1984, both returned to their roots: Casady joined fellow Airplane alums Balin and Paul Kantner in the KBC Band, while Kaukonen reverted to the acoustic folk and blues of his formative years. Finally, Casady and Kaukonen played a handful of club dates under the Hot Tuna aegis, re-forming on a more concrete basis in 1986; by 1990, their ranks included singer/multi-instrumentalist Michael Falzarano, a veteran of many early reunion shows.

That year Hot Tuna released Pair a Dice Found, their first collection of new studio material in over a decade; a series of live releases followed, including 1992's Live at Sweetwater, 1997's Splashdown Two, and 1999's And Furthurmore.... In the years to follow, Hot Tuna continued to play several live shows a year in various configurations. A single-disc best-of from the RCA years, Keep on Truckin', was released in 2006. The group’s first studio album in 20 years, Steady as She Goes, recorded at Levon Helm's studio in Woodstock, New York, and produced by Larry Campbell, was released on Red House Records in 2011. ~ Jason Ankeny, Rovi
full bio

Selected Discography

Comments

shantteyman
You missed probably the best album of Jorma's career, Quah , released in 1974. you guys need to get this album on your playlist. It is simply superb !
seen Hot Tuna out of South Street Seaport 1987 keep your lamps trimmed and burning most awesome followed by killing time in the Crystal City.287 Grateful Dead shows that was the greatest concert I was over at Hot Tuna rules
nappidesign
This isnt bad and thanks for taking the time to write about Hot F**ing Tuna! But the thing about the breakup isnt accurate or even true. In NYC...especi a l l y growing up on Long Island I got to see Hot Tuna dozens of times at close personal venues such as Stony Brook University college and several other clubs. Very cool to be able to shake hands and chat with Jorma and Jack...who didnt NEED to be there, sometimes making almost no money because they loved it. Saw them with Rick Danko often.


Papa John,what a great man,not to be forgotten as the best fiddle players ever! Thanks
Saw tuna philmore east NYC late 70's 5 hours hair was straight back ears were ringing. Hot fn Tuna. Met bob steeler 2013 he was selling heavy equipment to the township I live in great drummer.
Jorma plays some sweet tunes.
spearad
Saw them a couple nights ago. Sounded great. Played for 2 1/2 hours. Maybe a bit too long but still great.
katycorner
Fantastic - the world won't forget them.
No Burgers ????
Wonderful stuff, some of the best music of my youth. " Death Don't Have No Mercy" is the best.
bsiv126
never gets old
They got the album title First Pull Up, Then Pull Down from a toilet seat cover dispenser. Those guys sure can play.
Very cool music ! Great finger picking. !
hot f**king tuna
tedbujalski
....Water Song never gets old
tomo1960sara
me an my boyz grew up w/ tuna. huge part of the joy in our lives.
.
some good finger pickin' there.
Fresh Tuna!
been seeing them since 1970....... some hobby huh????????
i got to see them both nites at beacon in nYC in decemeber... r o c k e d . . . also saw them 2 weeks ago in Alexandria, VA.... rocked..got tickets to see them in 3 weeks in PA.......
ill take a plate
They are coming to the Belly Up in Solana Beach, CA in early March. Will be playing together with Charlie Musselwhite. That's a can't miss show.
I got to see Hot Tuna last night at the Beacon in New York City. Whew! Blew me and my friends away! It was great to see Jorma and Jack after 50 years of playing together, and to see so much history and connection in one concert.
Awesome
joemah
Jorma! Scream out classic rock. Fun memories. Thanks Guys.
david.hooker 4
I've seen Jorma and Jack play for years down at Jorman's music school in SE Ohio. imho Jorma's mad skills have gotten even better... and Jack's sense and timing are just impeccable. If you haven't seen them, google up their tour schedule, they're worth every cent.
malc2112
Havnt seen them in forever
well, i went to the show in canton, and just like erin pickel says.....TUN A . . . . . f r e a k i n TUNA. GE Smith and the rest of the band put on a clinic.
going to hot tuna tomorrow night in canton, ohio. get a little chinese eyed and enjoy.
Jorma Wails, Jack Sails....
erinpickel19 7 8
What can you say, TUNA!
no words can describe
"Funky #7" FTMFW, baby!!!
I saw Hot Tuna open for Bob Dylan, Phil Lesh and The Other Ones (Grateful Dead after Jerry died)on a PERFECT summer night at Alpine Valley, WI. The moon was full, the night was warm, and the music was magical!
were is burgers
I got my first copy of "first pull up then pull down" sometime around 1970..my all time favorite..I wondered for years at the meaning of the title...what cosmic influence..h o w deep it must be. Then YEARS later I was stoned and went into a public restroom somewhere in the southwest .....then KISMET! Right there in front of me were the words.."firs t pull up then pull down" big and bold letters printed on the sanitary toilet seat covers. I still laugh my a** off!!!!
david.grant1
hot tuna and cream soda
I told you this one already, right? Somewhere else. Another time. When you're in the subway station, Greenpoint Avenue, Brooklyn. Which in many ways is the most God-forsaken place. In other ways, a wonderful place. Polish immigrants and dispossessed art students waiting for trains too long. A sense of shared hopelessness . With expectations ever rising. There, on the stairs, written in the concrete, are the words, "HOT TUNA." It always seems so funny to me, like who wrote this? And when? I rememb
headley55
what about their best hot tuna burgers,with o u t all the cheese
bruhrab
beyond b**chin'
If you don't know JORMA YOU DONT KNOW JACK!!!!!!
smoking electric blues in the tradition of john lee hooker,howli n wolf and muddy water.just as cool to listen to now as they were in the hazy crazy sixties and seventies Roll Your Own
Hot F**cking Tuna
Jorma makes the acoustic come alive
Burgers? Electric Hot Tuna??
LOVE HOT TUNA - A

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