It ain't no secret, but here in east
and southeast Texas we got some serious blues. We got Joe "Guitar"
Hughes and Johnny "Guitar" Watson. Blind Willie Johnson and Blind
Lemon Jefferson. Lightnin' Hopkins, the Vaughan brothers, Albert Collins, ZZ
Top. All the way east, Port Arthur had Janis Joplin but messed that up big
Next door in Beaumont were a couple
of albino brothers, the younger Edgar Winter and elder Johnny Dawson Winter
III. The pair thrived in this environment, encouraged by their parents, especially
after Johnny discovered the music of Howlin' Wolf, Muddy Waters, and others. At
age 11, the brothers were performing Everly Brothers songs in talent
competitions. By age fifteen they recorded their first record, with Johnny on
guitar and vocal and Edgar on sax, under the name Johnny and the Jammers.
A few years later, in 1968, Johnny
put out an album called The Progressive Blues Project
on a small
label. Later that same year, a meeting with Mike Bloomfield and Al Kooper led
to a record deal with Columbia. The albums Johnny Winter
came out, and he appeared at Woodstock
He formed a new band, Johnny Winter
And. One of the members was Rick Derringer, who contributed a song titled
"Rock & Roll Hoochie Coo," which Derringer would record later for
a solo hit. Another one of the "Ands" during this period was heroin
but he was able to shake it off fairly quickly.
One thing he did not do during this
period was participate in a Jimi Hendrix/Jim Morrison bootleg called Woke
Up This Morning and Found Myself Dead
. Some of it was recorded in a club
owned by Winter's manager, which might be how the rumor of his involvement started.
He always denied it, though, pointing out that he was not in New York at the
time and never met Jim Morrison at any time.
Edgar, more drawn to jazz and rock,
went his own way in the early 1970s, achieving success of his own. The brothers
remained friends, however, and performed together regularly all the way through
this year. Johnny Winter got back on the one thing he really wanted to be on,
the road, and stayed there.
He stopped long enough to produce an
album for his hero Muddy Waters, Hard Again.
It and two follow-ups all won Grammy awards.
But mostly he toured and recorded. At
one show in Amsterdam, he stopped the show and left the stage when someone
threw a bottle right by him in the middle of a sizzling version of "Johnny
Can't blame him,
though; he probably had his fill of that kind of audience interaction during
his Beaumont years (who, us? innocent whistle
his last twelve months, Winter played in Japan, then worked his way east across
the U.S. and Canada, and then went on to Europe. He was in somewhat poor health
during his last years. All of the videos of him in action during this period
show him sitting while performing, and some
show the chair being brought out
and set up, followed by him assisted to it by a stagehand or two.
But the road was where he lived, so it was where he died. On July 12, 2014, he
performed a show at the Lovely Days Festival in Weisen, Austria. Four days
later, he passed away in a hotel room in Zurich, Switzerland, survived by his
brother Edgar and his wife of twenty-two years, Susan.
this time (July 2014), his website
his tour schedule for next month, starting in New York, down to Florida, then
out to California and the rest of the U.S. West Coast. It also lists the tracks
and guest artists on what will be his final album, Step Back
scheduled for release on September 2, 2014
In 1988, Johnny Winter became the first white musician named to the Blues
Foundation Hall of Fame. Rolling Stone magazine rated him #63 on its
list of greatest guitarists of all time. You was good, Johnny.
(c) 2005-2014 alt.obituaries Deadpool. All rights reserved.