Jack Casady

One of the finest bassists to emerge from San Francisco's psychedelic movement of the mid- to late '60s, longtime Jefferson Airplane/Hot Tuna member Jack Casady was also one of the first rock musicians to play the bass as if it were a lead instrument. Born John William "Jack" Casady on April 13, 1944, in Washington, D.C., Casady originally picked up the guitar at the age of 12, but didn't get serious until a couple of years later. By his mid-teens, Casady was playing in a local band called the Rendezvous, which is how he met his subsequent musical partner, guitarist Jorma Kaukonen. Soon after, Casady and Kaukonen formed their own group, the Triumphs, before Kaukonen moved away -- eventually relocating to the west coast. The two kept in contact despite the move, during which time Casady had switched to the bass (and even backed such renowned artists as Ray Charles and Little Anthony when they played local shows). By late 1965, Kaukonen had joined an up-and-coming San Francisco band by the name of Jefferson Airplane, who was searching for a bassist. Casady got an invite to come out and try out for the group, even though Kaukonen supposedly didn't know that Casady had switched to bass during the interim.

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