J A C K
C A S A D Y
J E F F E R S O N A I R P L A N E
H O T T U N A
ROCK & ROLL HALL OF FAME MEMBER
As a Founding member of the Jefferson Airplane and Hot Tuna, Jack Casady’s full driving tone and innovative melodic bass work has defined the role of bass guitar in Rock and Roll for decades. Liberating the bass from its traditional role as part of the rhythm section, Jack s pioneering approach has brought the instrument to the forefront. With sweeping chords and stormy melodic lines Jack’s bass distinguished not only Jefferson Airplane and Hot Tuna but also a variety of side projects and recordings with artists including Jimi Hendrix, David Crosby, Warren Zevon, Country Joe and The Fish, SVT, Rusted Root and Gov’t Mule.
In September of 1965, Casady received a fateful call from his old friend Jorma Kaukonen, who had transferred from Antioch College to Santa Clare University in San Francisco and became immersed in a new music scene developing there. As Jack recalls, “Jorma told me he had joined a band called Jefferson Airplane and I kind of laughed at the name. He asked me what I was doing and seemed surprised to hear that I was playing the bass. Then he says, ‘Wait a minute. I’ve got a bass player in this band that I’m not fond of. It’s not working out, in my opinion.’ So then he says, ‘Let me call you back.’ A few minutes later he calls back and says, ‘We got this band. We got a manager. And the manager promises to pay us $50 a week whether we “work or not.” ‘ And I said, You’re on!’”
When the original singer Signe Anderson left the band to have a baby, it was Jack who convinced Grace Slick, then performing with her own band the Great Society, to join the group. The roster complete, Jefferson Airplane rocketed to superstardom in 1967 on the initial strength of their hits “Somebody To Love” and “White Rabbit,” making them a cornerstone of San Francisco’s burgeoning rock scene. Jack’s ground-breaking basswork was a highlight of Surrealistic Pillow, the Airplane’s 1967 breakthrough album. “That album was really a unique statement,” says Casady in retrospect. “There were a lot of different styles of songs contributed by everybody, including an instrumental acoustic fingerpicking original tune by Jorma called ‘Embryonic Journey.’ It was quite an eclectic album and I think it still holds up today.” Jefferson Airplane subsequently released a string of acclaimed recordings –After Bathing At Baxter’s (late ’67), Crown of Creation (’68), the live Bless Its Pointed Little Head (’69), Volunteers (’70), Bark (’71), Long John Silver (’72) and the live Thirty Seconds Over Winterland (1973). The band was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1995.
In 1970, Casady and Kaukonen found time between Airplane gigs to put together another uniquely named aggregation, the blues-influenced Hot Tuna. “We formed Hot Tuna basically because we were young and had endless energy,” says Casady, “and there was so much material going into the Airplane from everybody it ended up that you’d only get a couple of songs per session.
Hot Tuna shows are an opportunity to witness two lifelong friends coming together to make extraordinary music. “I can’t remember having so much fun,” says Casady, “but also musically being so in touch and in the moment with the music as I am now; where every minute, every note counts on stage. And I find it really unique that I have a situation with a partner of over 42 years now where we can just really enjoy the craft of making music together.”
Purchase the most recent release
J a c k C a s a d y
The Bass Guitar
of Jack Casady
Jack Casady shares his ideas and techniques with learning bassists. In an informal and delightful session (Jorma provides vocals and guitar along with companionable commentary), Jack analyzes his bass parts for classic tunes from the Hot Tuna repertoire, and discusses the musical concepts that make up his unique style -- melodic lines, tonal variety, chordal work and improvisational solos. You'll see all of Jack's tricks: the use of partial chords, sustained notes, tremolos, trilling, tonal variety and many other fascinating devices.
Songs include "Ninety-Nine Year Blues," "Blues in A," "San Francisco Bay Blues," "Been So Long," "Mann's Fate" and "Water Song."
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J A C K C A S A D Y
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Many renowned artists from live concerts at Fur Peace Station.