“Hot Tuna” A Band That Defines Rock And Blues [VIDEO/PHOTOS]
‘Hot Tuna’, now there’s a name that defines Classic Rock and Classic Blues and what a sound they created.
Former members of Jefferson Airplane emerge in 1969 with a strong line-up and the birth of ‘Hot Tuna’ becomes music to our ears. Eventually through personnel changes the band evolved into a more heavier sound, but let’s go back prior to that.
The sound of Electric and Acoustic guitars teaming up is not only refreshing but welcome.
There have been a lot of creative “Spin-offs” from one band and creating another but ‘Hot Tuna‘ is an exception to the rule and the music they brought to the table puts them at the top of the list.
A band formed by Jack Casady and Jorma Kaukonen of ‘Jefferson Airplane’ yet included some great musicians aside from those two. Papa John Creach (electric violin), Paul Kantner ( rhythm guitar), Joey Covington (drums), Marty Balin (vocals), Sammy Piazza (drums), and Paul Kaukonen (rhythm guitar) to name a few have provided musical input into the sound of the band.
If you’re a “Tunaphile” then you’re a big follower of the band and one of those that could appreciate the self-titled album, “Hot Tuna” that came out in 1970. It was a live album that featured the sound of broken beer glasses on it while they recorded ,”Uncle Sam Blues”, most referredas the “Breaking Glass Lp”.
In 1970 the opportunity was there for them to tour with Jefferson Airplane. In 1970 Papa John Creach joined not only Hot Tuna but also Jefferson
Airplane the very same year.
It was a busy year for the band in 1970, they would perform a couple acoustic shows without Jefferson Airplane and were well recieved which proved they could support themselves without being carried by another band.
Hot tuna seemed to be all about the “Live” shows and played many great venues, such as; The Filmore east and
The line-up was Jack, Jorma, Sammy Piazza (drummer), and Papa John, moving them more toward the electric sound versus the acoustic sound.
In 1971 they were documented on the album, “This First Pull Up, Then Pull Down , recorded live at the Chateau Liberte close to Santa cruz,Ca.
In 1972 they released the album, “Burgers” then in 1973 they released, “The Phosphorescent Rat”.
Papa John had left prior to, “The phosphorescent Rat” recording.
In 1974 the tour to support , “The Phoshorescent Rat” and Jorma had the band perform it acoustically and Sammy was released from the band.
1974-1977 seemed to be the downfall for the band as the bluesy/acoustic type sound turned to a more heavy rock sound. it was hard to blend the two acoustic and heavy and make it sound good and get record producers to believe in that merge. In 1977 Hot Tuna stopped touring and have since been doing some re-union tours and, in fact: in 2013 they will be touring in Jamaica with Little feat, that should should be a great card.
Special thanks to Jeff Allen for permission to use his fine photos of Hot Tuna in their prime.
Let’s go back to 1971 with Hot tuna in the attached video and watch and listen to, “Uncle Sam Blues”.