A CONVERSATION WITH... JACK CASADY
ROCKBANDREVIEWS.COM TALKS WITH THE LEGENDARY AND INFLUENTIAL BASS PLAYER OF JEFFERSON AIRPLANE AND HOT TUNA IN ADVANCE OF HIS PERFORMANCE AT THE OLD SCHOOL SQUARE PAVILLION ON SUNDAY JUNE 6,2021
Jack Casady is one of the most interesting and bad-ass bass guitar players in the instruments long history. Gaining fame and legendary status as a member of Jefferson Airplane and Hot Tuna, Casady has continued to move forward throughout the music universe and never looking back.
We are thrilled to have the opportunity to talk with this living legend about the Covid Lockdowns, being back on the road, and driving his RV across the country.
As a Founding member of the Jefferson Airplane and Hot Tuna, 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.
“The main issue is I love to play the bass guitar,” says Jack. “The craftwork in really learning the subtleties of the instrument is a lifelong project.”
Jack’s first instrument was a Washburn nylon string guitar he had found in the attic of his parents’ house shortly before Christmas of 1956. As he recalls, “When I found that guitar up there in the attic I started plunking around on it, even though it only had four strings. On Christmas Day I noticed an envelope for me on the tree. I opened it up and it read, ‘this entitles you to 12 guitar lessons.’ So that basically started me off on my career.” Selling newspapers and cutting lawns Jack saved up enough money to buy his first electric guitar a ’58 Fender Telecaster and he and his father built his first amplifier at home from a kit. “We set up every night after dinner,” he remembers “and built the whole thing from scratch on the dining room table.”
During the pandemic, Casady kept very busy. This gave Casady and Kaukonen time to revisit their musical catalogs and dig deeper into them. They played the songs, tore them apart, and pu them back together the songs are the same still, but now somewhat different. So many of the songs that Casady has been playing for over fifty years has come full-circle as they are so relevant to many of the issues this Country is facing right now, just as it did back then. To once again come out on the road and to play these songs that have defined Casady is just pure excitement to himself, as well as the fans that will come out and support him throughout this tour.
Both Casady and Kaukonen are driving themselves to their own gigs, just like in the beginning. Both have purchased RV's and are hitting the road. The RV’s look more like a tour bus than anything but Jorma and Jack are driving. The RV’s will provide a safety factor to the touring for them. Asking Jorma if he would hire a driver he said, "Absolutely not! This is the ultimate mechanical toy!" Jack smiled and said with a laugh "I’m ready. Let’s get going!"
The duo will be playing an acoustic set for the beginning of this tour and will switch over to electric for the remainder of the shows. The acoustic shows, for me, is where they shine.There is nothing like hearing an electric song that is being performed acoustically. It give a whole new meaning to the song and gives you the opportunity to audibly explore the roots of the it, which in most cases, was probably originally written on an acoustic.
The June 6 performance is nearing sold-out capacity and while tickets are still available, they are in limited quantity. I urge you to take advantage of this worthwhile opportunity to see two Grammy winning, Woodstock playing, Rock and Roll Hall of Famers while you can. This is a must-attend event for fans of these legendary and extraordinary musicians who have been playing superb music for most of their lives, and getting better every year.
Please take a moment to visit Jack Casady's website at www.jackcasady.com for everything you need to know about Jack, tour dates, news , and mercy shop.
Also visit Jorma Kaukonan's website at www.furpeaceranch.com to learn more about Fur Peace Ranch.