"A modern parable." —from the foreword by Grace Slick
“Jorma Kaukonen is a force in American music, equally adept at fingerpicked acoustic folk and blues as he is at wailing on an electric.” – Acoustic Guitar
“Jorma Kaukonen lit a fuse and transformed his electric guitar into a firework.” – Live For Live Music
Includes a CD of live music as a companion to the book!
From the man who made a name for himself as a founding member and lead guitarist of Jefferson Airplane comes a memoir that offers a rare glimpse into the heart and soul of a musical genius—and a vivid journey through the psychedelic era in America.
“Music is the reward for being alive,” writes Jorma Kaukonen in this candid and emotional account of his life and work. “It stirs memory in a singular way that is unmatched.” In a career that has already spanned a half century—one that has earned him induction into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame and a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award, among other honors—Jorma is best known for his legendary bands Jefferson Airplane and the still-touring Hot Tuna. But before he won worldwide recognition he was just a young man with a passion and a dream.
Been So Long is the story of how Jorma found his place in the world of music and beyond. The grandson of Finnish and Russian-Jewish immigrants whose formative years were spent abroad with his American-born diplomat father, Jorma channeled his life experiences—from his coming-of-age in Pakistan and the Philippines to his early gigs with Jack Casady in D.C. to his jam sessions in San Francisco with Jerry Garcia, Janis Joplin, Bob Dylan, and other contemporaries—into his art in unique and revelatory ways. Been So Long charts not only Jorma’s association with the bands that made him famous but goes into never-before-told details about his addiction and recovery, his troubled first marriage and still-thriving second, and more. Interspersed with diary entries, personal correspondence, and song lyrics, this memoir is as unforgettable and inspiring as Jorma’s music itself.
Jefferson Airplane guitarist Kaukonen's candid and affectionate memoir resembles the rambling and free-flowing road trips he enjoys. The author began taking trips early in life as he traveled to Pakistan and the Philippines from his Washington, D.C., home with his father, who worked for the State Department. When Kaukonen was 16, he was inspired by a guitar-playing friend to play music and, with his father's help, bought his first guitar. In high school, he met Jack Casady, who would become the bassist for Jefferson Airplane and Hot Tuna, and the two began a lifelong friendship and musical partnership. Kaukonen continued to develop his fingerpicking blues guitar style at Antioch College in Ohio, playing with fellow guitarist Ian Buchanan. After college, he headed to California where he joined the Airplane and played at the 1966 Monterey Jazz Festival. At the same time his music career was evolving, he sank into alcoholism, and his marriage with his first wife, Margareta, disintegrated, exacerbated by his own ambivalence. Kaukonen left Jefferson Airplane in 1972, pursuing the Hot Tuna project he and Casady had begun, but five years later, he decided to go out on his own. He now lives on a ranch with his wife, Vanessa, in southern Ohio, where he runs songwriting and guitar workshops. A mesmerizing storyteller, Kaukonen delivers a memoir as intricate and dazzling as his music. \n