Jefferson Airplane‘s ferocious guitar/bass pairing Jorma Kaukonen and Jack Casady formed Hot Tuna as a sideline in 1969 to syphon off their musical excesses.
They originally named the band Hot Shit (in reference to dope, not excrement) but thought better when their record company (RCA) decided to issue an eponymous album in 1970. By this time they had added harmonica player Will Scarlett, drummer Joey Covington and guitarist Paul Ziegler.
The album scraped into the US Top 30 and marked a complete departure from the elaborate psychedelia of Jefferson Airplane in a pared-down set of acoustic country-folk.
They turned up their amps on eight subsequent releases, although they were constantly dogged with criticism of Kaukonen’s laissez-faire attitude.
Though hardly groundbreaking, the bulk of the band’s output consisted of listenable roots rock, and Hot Tuna entertained many other Jefferson Airplane renegades over an eight-year period.
Hot Tuna eventually transformed into the mid-70s finest (perhaps only) psychedelic metal power trio.
The band broke up in 1978.
Papa John Creach