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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
full bio

Selected Discography

x

Track List: Steady As She Goes

1. Angel Of Darkness

2. Children Of Zion

3. Second Chances

4. Goodbye To The Blues

5. A Little Faster

6. Mourning Interrupted

7. Easy Now Revisited

8. Smokerise Journey

9. Things That Might Have Been

10. Mama Let Me Lay It On You

11. If This Is Love

12. Vicksburg Stomp

x

Track List: And Furthurmore... (Live)

2. Been So Long (Live)

3. True Religion (Live)

4. Third Week In Chelsea (Live)

5. Embryonic Journey (Live)

6. I Am The Light Of This World (Live)

8. Water Song (Live)

13. Funky #7 (Live)

x

Track List: The Best Of Hot Tuna

1. Hit Single #1

2. Serpent Of Dreams

3. Sleep Song

4. Funky #7

5. Hot Jelly Roll Blues

6. Sunrise Dance With The Devil

7. Bar Room Cystal Ball

8. I Wish You Would

9. Watch The North Wind Rise

10. It's So Easy

11. Song From The Stainless Cymbal

12. Genesis

13. Rock Me Baby

14. Extrication Love Song

x

Track List: Live in Japan

1. Walkin' Blues (Live)

2. Parchman Farm (Live)

3. True Religion (Live)

4. Been So Long (Live)

5. Uncle Sam Blues (Live)

6. Vampire Woman (Live)

7. Following the Drinking Gourd (Live)

8. Keep Your Lamps Trimmed and Burning (Live)

9. Let Us Get Together (Live)

10. Third Week in the Chelsea (Live)

11. 99 Year Blues (Live)

12. Ice Age (Live)

13. San Francisco Bay Blues (Live)

14. Folsom Prison (Live)

15. Mann's Fate (Live)

x

Track List: The Phosphorescent Rat

1. I See The Light

2. Letter To The North Star

3. Easy Now

4. Corners Without Exits

5. Day To Day Out The Window Blues

6. In The Kingdom

7. Seeweed Strut

8. Living Just For You

9. Soliloquy For 2

10. Sally, Where'd You Get Your Liquor From?

x

Track List: First Pull Up, Then Pull Down (In A Can

1. John's Other

2. Candy Man

3. Been So Long

4. Want You To Know

5. Keep Your Lamps Trimmed And Burning

6. Never Happen No More

7. Come Back Baby

x

Track List: Hot Tuna (Live)

1. Hesitation Blues (Live)

2. How Long Blues (Live)

3. Uncle Sam Blues (Live)

4. Don't You Leave Me Here (Live)

5. Death Don't Have No Mercy (Live)

6. Know You Rider (Live)

7. Oh Lord, Search My Heart (Live)

8. Winin' Boy Blues (Live)

9. New Song (For The Morning) (Live)

10. Mann's Fate (Live)

11. Keep Your Lamps Trimmed And Burning (Live)

12. Candy Man (Live)

13. True Religion (Live)

14. Belly Shadow (Live)

15. Come Back Baby (Live)

Comments

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I saw in 71 at the chatau Louise I the santa cruz moutains between san jose and santa cruz,had to listen in the gravel lot,as the hells angels were the security just like Altamont,,st i l l kicked tail
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dpmaem
saw with/without papa john also as a duo have no clue what you missed
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A great band, sorry I have never gotten a chance to see them live
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Takes me right back to Monterey in 1971, a city full of enterprising young stoners preying on naïve young draftees from nearby Fort Ord... Just give me a $20 and I'll be right back with your pot... Only got burnt once though :-)
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Just saw Tuna @ the Beacon in NYC; Jorma's 75th birthday bash. It was their most electric show since 70's. First set comprised of quite electric and very early Tuna. Second set was a cover of Airplane tunes. The encore was the Dead's Sugar Magnolia. The show can only be described as Circa 1970's
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joes629
I first saw them, at the Academy of Music in Philly, in 1971. My first date with my wife,with whom I saw them with 44 years later at the Keswick Theater in Glenside. They are still awesome!
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I saw Hot Tuna in1973(?) with Papa John Creech and Commander Cody and his Lost Planet Airman in Boston. WOW, what a great show. When they started playing Keep on Truckin' Moma, everyone was up and dancing in the isles!!! One of the best shows I've ever seen!
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Saw them at the capitol theater in passaic n.j.
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In 1999 my son and I spent a weekend playing guitar and learning from Jorma and Michael Falzarano at Jorma and Vanessa's Fur Peace Ranch. Best vacation I've ever had! I remember when we drove up, Jorma happened to be standing on the porch of the Beatrice Love Kitchen and greeted us. Meeting my guitar hero in person like that way was freakin' awesome! Can't say enough good stuff about the guy. What a class act.
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saw hot tuna at the filmore west and winterland in san francisco,wh a t a pleasure to witness such talent in person.its been over 35 years,ill never forget...
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Their best albums were with Papa John Creach---lov e d that dirty fiddle against Jack's bass and Jorma's wizardry.
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Hot f**kin' Tuna the best
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First saw this group at a little nightclub (I cannot remember the name of) in 1969 and what an impression these guys made on me. Knew them, of course, from the Jefferson Airplane but, in my opinion, Hot Tuna eclipsed that band in talent. That is not a slam on the Airplane but a high mark for Hot Tuna.
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dianepittman 4
Saw the triad in Tulsa Oklahoma at the Cains in 1974! What a concert! 3 rows back...they paused occasionally , t o slug down some Tequila..the n back to solid jam!! Wow good times!!
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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 !
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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
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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.
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Papa John,what a great man,not to be forgotten as the best fiddle players ever! Thanks
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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.
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Jorma plays some sweet tunes.
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spearad
Saw them a couple nights ago. Sounded great. Played for 2 1/2 hours. Maybe a bit too long but still great.
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cowboy4576
No Burgers ????
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Wonderful stuff, some of the best music of my youth. " Death Don't Have No Mercy" is the best.
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bsiv126
never gets old
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They got the album title First Pull Up, Then Pull Down from a toilet seat cover dispenser. Those guys sure can play.
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Very cool music ! Great finger picking. !
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hot f**king tuna
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tedbujalski
....Water Song never gets old
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tomo1960sara
me an my boyz grew up w/ tuna. huge part of the joy in our lives.
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.
some good finger pickin' there.
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Fresh Tuna!
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been seeing them since 1970....... some hobby huh????????
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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.......
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ill take a plate
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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.
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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.
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Awesome
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joemah
Jorma! Scream out classic rock. Fun memories. Thanks Guys.
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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.
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malc2112
Havnt seen them in forever
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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.
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going to hot tuna tomorrow night in canton, ohio. get a little chinese eyed and enjoy.
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Jorma Wails, Jack Sails....
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erinpickel19 7 8
What can you say, TUNA!
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no words can describe
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"Funky #7" FTMFW, baby!!!
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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!
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were is burgers
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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!!!!
Report as inappropriate
david.grant1
hot tuna and cream soda
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