Historic Hot Tuna duo plays at Crystal Bay

Hot Tuna

Hot Tuna will be served at Crystal Bay Casino on July 1 by Jack Casady and Jorma Kaukonen.

Acoustic Hot Tuna will serve comfort food for the ears on Monday, July 1, at Crystal Bay Club Casino at Lake Tahoe.

In a special seated performance, Crystal Bay Casino will host Acoustic Hot Tuna as it celebrates 50 years of music. Tickets are available at the cashier cage or online: http://bit.ly/2FPzILF. Guests must be 21 or older and tickets are $40 in advance or $45 on the day of show.

From their days playing together as teenagers to their current acoustic and electric blues, guitarist Jorma Kaukonen, 78, and bassist Jack Casady, 75, — the founders and continuing core members of Hot Tuna — have helped shape American music for the last 50 years.

Both musicians landed from the soaring rock band Jefferson Airplane, which repped the San Francisco Sound of the “Somebody to Love” and “White Rabbit” days. Hot Tuna began as a side project to the Airplane during a time when Airplane singer Grace Slick was recovering from throat surgery and unable to perform.

Hot Tuna morphed into a supergroup of sorts during a super time in rock and roll history. Members included the Airplane’s Paul Kantner on rhythm guitar and Marty Balin on vocals. (Both Kantner and  Balin passed away in the past three years.} Papa John Creach also added his umatched electric violin skills to Hot Tuna in the early 1970s. This decade, blues harmonica hero Charlie Musselwhite and multi-instrumental (and multi-genre) David Bromberg added their talents to the mix, either in the studio or on the road.

The full Hot Tuna band’s touring members have been around for a bit, too: Larry Campbell on rhythm guitar and vocals, Teresa Williams on vocals, both joined the group in 2011 and drummer Justin Guip arrived in 2014. Mandolin virtuoso Barry Mitterhoff also has been a mainstay for the past few years.

There from the start — and still stirring and touring the Hot Tuna — Kaukonen and Casady first started playing together while growing up in the Washington, D.C. area, where Jack’s’s father was a dentist and Jorma’s dad father a State Department official. The younger Casady was still in junior high school.

Collaborators and buddies since their youth, Kaukonen and Casady are celebrating 50 years on the road with their current tour. At Crystal Bay, they just may stir up some “Prohibition Blues” or perhaps some some “San Francisco Bay Blues.”

The San Francisco Sound born in the 1960s and ’70s is still alive today — in a bluesy way — with Hot Tuna, and it’s headed for the shores of Crystal Bay. Never miss a Monday show, by the way. Jorma Kaukonen and Jack Casady are certain to keep Tahoe blues.

About Randy Hashagen

Tahoe Onstage copy chief Randy Hashagen, a former Bay Area journalist, walked away from his career to become a crazy cab driver. He's still barnstorming, but his wing-walking days are over. Lately, he has been watching the world flow through Lake Tahoe since 2012.

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