Sunday, June 17 , 2018, 3:33 pm | Mostly Cloudy 67º


Hot Tuna Heats Up the Lobero Theatre

Jack Casady talks with Noozhawk after the sold-out show about the experience and working with partner Jorma Kaukonen

Another sold-out appearance by Hot Tuna earlier this month brought together old friends onstage and in the audience at the Lobero Theatre to share an opportunity to hear songs from the band’s first new music in 20 years.

The acoustic set showcased folk rock and Americana from Jack Casady and Jorma Kaukonen, who have played together for 50 years as a top-touring act in Hot Tuna and as Rock and Roll Hall of Fame members of Jefferson Airplane.

Casady is considered one of today’s most innovative electric bass players, having also played with Jimi Hendrix and the Grateful Dead, and Kaukonen was named by Rolling Stone as one of the top guitarists of all time.

In a telephone interview after the recent Santa Barbara show, Casady shared some feelings on working with partner Kaukonen and his experiences playing at the Lobero, where Hot Tuna also played sold-out shows in 2011 and 2007.

“I love the theater.The theater is tremendous. It’s got a great historic background,” Casady said. “When you look on the walls in the Green Room, you see all the various actors and musicians that have played there. They have a lot of respect for the artists who perform there. It’s a wonderful place to play.”

Casady and Kaukonen were joined onstage for this special evening with old friend David Bromberg, a versatile string instrument musician who’s been hired for many recording sessions, playing on hundreds of records for artists including Bob Dylan, The Eagles, Willie Nelson and Carly Simon.

“When we play with someone else on a show like we did with David Bromberg, then we have an opportunity to have David sit in with us and us sit in with David to do different things,” Casady said. “David’s great. He’s an old, old friend. He’s a wonderful musician, a great human being and great to work with.”

In 2011, Hot Tuna released an acclaimed new studio album, Steady As She Goes.

Jeff Greenfield, left, and Nadav Sklar take in a VIP preshow reception before the Hot Tuna concert.
Jeff Greenfield, left, and Nadav Sklar take in a VIP preshow reception before the Hot Tuna concert. (Melissa Walker / Noozhawk photo)

“We hadn’t been in the studio to make a new Hot Tuna album in 20 years. All that time we’d been out on the road for at least 100 concerts or so a year, sometimes much, much more, and we’d been teaching the last 15 years,” Casady said. “We’d done a lot of exploring during that period of time that I think we all brought to the table when we went to make a Hot Tuna record.”

The teaching Casady refers to began in 1989 at the Fur Peace Ranch music camp started by Jorma and his wife, Vanessa.

“She coordinates a lot of interesting nonprofit organizations that we work with,” Casady said. “Some are in the Appalachian Mountains for music scholarships and to help out various people.”

It’s there, in the foothills of southeast Ohio, where world-class musicians immerse students in workshops and performances, including Casaday and Kaukonen who have each taught at Fur Peace since the beginning.

Casady’s warmth for the evening was not only shared with his old friends and fellow musicians but also with the Lobero Theatre venue itself.

“From the musicians’ point of view, it’s a wonderful place to play,” he said. “The sound is great, the audience is close and intimate, and it’s in a great part of town. So as musicians we couldn’t ask for anything better.”

Noozhawk iSociety columnist Melissa Walker can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkSociety, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Become a fan of Noozhawk on Facebook.

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