Interview with Jorma Kaukonen of Jefferson Airplane

Posted on Feb 24, 2015


What is your favorite recollection of Woodstock?

JK:  Aside from the rich tapestry of talent that played in that field on those three halcyon days… the thing that really hit me was the sense of identity and community. The counter culture train had been rolling for a couple of years by that time, but all of a sudden those of us who were taking part in the circus found that we had a national identity. That sea of humanity… we could look out at them from the stage and know that everyone knew where we were coming from.

That’s what I remember.

What does Woodstock mean in today’s world?

JK:  That’s a good question and I’m not sure there is an adequate answer. In that time, art and music were inextricably intertwined with social consciousness. I could be out of the loop, but I don’t see anything in today’s culture that replicates that gestalt universe. It’s not just free food for the masses… or a medical tent or a place to crash. Things like that are important in an incidental kind of way but they don’t claim to change the world. Most younger people I know today look at the Woodstock Experience and say, ‘Boy that’s a lot of people,’ or ‘How’s about all the stars backstage?’ Or stuff like like. That makes for interesting press but it’s trivial compared to the impact of a group social consciousness.

What does it mean today? I guess the vote is still out.

(Interview by Brad Auerbach)