cover image Been So Long: My Life and Music

Been So Long: My Life and Music

Jorma Kaukonen. St. Martin’s, $29.99 (368p) ISBN 978-1-250-12548-4

Jefferson Airplane guitarist Kaukonen’s candid and affectionate memoir resembles the rambling and free-flowing road trips he enjoys. The author began taking trips early in life as he traveled to Pakistan and the Philippines from his Washington, D.C., home with his father, who worked for the State Department. When Kaukonen was 16, he was inspired by a guitar-playing friend to play music and, with his father’s help, bought his first guitar. In high school, he met Jack Casady, who would become the bassist for Jefferson Airplane and Hot Tuna, and the two began a lifelong friendship and musical partnership. Kaukonen continued to develop his fingerpicking blues guitar style at Antioch College in Ohio, playing with fellow guitarist Ian Buchanan. After college, he headed to California where he joined the Airplane and played at the 1966 Monterey Jazz Festival. At the same time his music career was evolving, he sank into alcoholism, and his marriage with his first wife, Margareta, disintegrated, exacerbated by his own ambivalence. Kaukonen left Jefferson Airplane in 1972, pursuing the Hot Tuna project he and Casady had begun, but five years later, he decided to go out on his own. He now lives on a ranch with his wife, Vanessa, in southern Ohio, where he runs songwriting and guitar workshops. A mesmerizing storyteller, Kaukonen delivers a memoir as intricate and dazzling as his music. [em](Aug.) [/em]