The Johnny Winter Story

Paul Nelson

Paul Nelson The Johnny Winter Story

Paul Nelson - Guitar/Bass

Paul Nelson joined Johnny Winter's band in 2003 by replacing Scott Spray on bass several times. In 2004 Paul Nelson plays guitar on Johnny's album: "I'm a Bluesman"

Paul Nelson played bass for part of the California leg of the 2003 tour performing at the "Aqua Bar" in Citrus Heights, CA and the "House of Blues" in Hollywood, CA and Webster Theater, CT 2004. He has co-written the song "Shakedown" "Pack Your Bags" and the title track "I'm a Bluesman" on Johnny Winter's Grammy nominated Virgin/EMI record release along with being featured as second guitarist throughout the rest of the CD. He has also been Johnny's ongoing tour manager and personal guitar assistant for his 2001, 2002 and 2003 and 2004 tours. I met him in Nashville and he does seem like a nice guy.


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Paul Nelson was influenced early on by such guitar players as Jeff Beck, Jimi Hendrix, Michael Schenker and Johnny Winter as well as fusion players Allan Holdsworth, Larry Carlton, Tommy Bolin and blues great Albert King. An exceptional songwriter and guitar stylist Paul is equally at home with rock, funk, blues, jazz, and pop and just about anything else that crosses his path! While attending Berklee College of Music, he became one of Steve Vai's first guitar students soon after he joined the band Liege Lord who then signed with Metal Blade Records. Paul co wrote and performed on the band's two most popular classic power metal albums. These releases were "Burn to My Touch" produced by Joe Buchard of Blue Oyster Cult and "Master Control" produced by the great Terry Date, known for his work with Nirvana, Sound Garden, Def-Tones, Pantera. Also released was Metal Blade's Vol. 3 compilation album distributed by Enigma / Capitol. These releases led to Paul being featured in magazines that "I could only have dreamed of seeing myself in when I first started out as an aspiring guitar player." He has since appeared in literally hundreds of magazines and on radio stations world wide, some of the most notable being Billboard, BBC, TCG, Circus, Guitar One, Kerrang, Rock Hard, Total Rock, and Scream and fanzines, too many to count, along with appearing in the hard cover book "Worldwide Megabook of Heavy Bands". Combined with constant touring and media exposure Paul's guitar talents were gaining worldwide attention and a growing legion of fans soon other artists in the industry were placing Paul at the top of their elite audition list including OZZY, House of Lords, Anvil, Slaughter, Dio, Steel Heart, Anthrax and most recently Glen Hugh's Ten, Sozzi and even Hall & Oats. Some of the more notable recommendations for these auditions came from Mike Varney / Shrapnel Records, Ronnie James Dio, Chuck Wright and Metal Blade Records themselves. Paul was then asked to write guitar instructional columns for many nationally syndicated magazines and penned endorsement deals with Randall Amplifiers, ESP Guitars and Dean Markley Strings. Ads picturing Paul promoting these products were seen in pages of Guitar World and Guitar School Magazines this soon led to Paul being included as a regular artist exhibitor at the California Namm shows where he performed clinics alongside George Lynch, Bruce Kulick, Kenny Aaronsen and Arlen Roth. Along with separate Eastern United States clinics with Vivian Cambell he appeared as guest speaker at the prestigious CMJ convention in NY. Liege Lord parted ways in the 90s, but for Paul this was just the beginning... He continued to be hired as a side man touring and recording for many notable national acts even joining the B-Stools on Rick Rubin's Def Jam label for a time. Shortly after Paul recorded on Fernando Pereira's "Live From NY" CD reaching certified gold in Portugal this then led to touring in Southern Europe and Northern Africa. Upon his return to the US Paul guest appeared on the album "Mediterranean Love Affair" featuring some of NYC's top session players. In-between he began writing music for the comedy cable TV soap "Scruff Boys" and commercials for radio. Being able to play such a broad variety of styles, Paul continues to record and tour the world. For acclaimed Singer/Songwriter PV's CD "Create Your Lover," he traveled to Norway to record on the song "Summerdays" which features some very skillful R&B style guitar work. That song is now the music behind a 2 year run 30sec National TV commercial for top European Shampoo company "Naturelle." Other credits include an appearance on the release "Matter of Perception," featuring jazz greats Chuck Loeb, Jim Beard and Bill Evans, music and guitar for the WWF's XFL seen and heard by millions of television viewers on NBC, TNN and UPN, a Warner released VHS / DVD music festival documentary cameo interview plus live footage and recent artist endorsement agreements with Ernie Ball strings and DiMarzio pickups. Paul Nelson's version of the song "Blue" is spotlighted on Lion Music's Jason Becker tribute - "Warmth in the Wilderness" along side song contributions performed by Vinnie Moore, Marty Friedman, Jeff Watson, Jonathan Mover, Paul Gilbert, Jeff Pilson, Steve Morse and many more. He also appears on the "Jason Becker tribute Vol. ll" Asian import soloing on the Tommy Denander song "Jason" with Reb Beach, Christopher Cross and Steve Morse. All proceeds go to benefit the Becker family to fight ALS, as announced on VH1. Yet another distinction is writing for and performing with Blues/Rock legend Johnny Winter. Highly praised by the industries top guitar magazines such as Guitar One, Guitar World, Vintage Guitar and 20th Century Guitar Paul's solo album entitled "LOOK" can be found in stores world wide.

Paul Nelson on Johnny Winter during an interview

Johnny Winter's seen and done it all.

Yes he certainly has!

It had to be quite a kick in the pants to learn that you were not only going to be performing with him, but that he was recording your songs!

I can't begin to tell you how many amazing stories he's shared with me over the past several years, from Hendrix to Woodstock and beyond. As far as our collaboration on his new CD, he had asked me to sit in with him on several live dates on the West coast for his 2003 tour. I had already written the song called "Shakedown" for the release, and it was when we were in California rehearsing that he asked me to join him playing on that song. Soon Johnny told me he was still looking to record a few more songs, so together with Scott Spray (bass) I co-wrote "Pack You Bags" and the title track, "I'm a Bluesman". And again while Johnny and I were in Germany he asked me to join him not only on those two new tracks, but on the rest of the CD as well. Next thing I know I'm in the studio playing track after track, side by side with Johnny, tearing it up.

How'd you hook up with Johnny?

Paul Nelson had met Johnny Winter when he was just finishing up composing and laying down guitar tracks for the WWF's extreme football league [XFL] at Carriage House Studios on the East coast. Johnny was booked to record tracks for his own project after us. We met there and the rest is history.

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Last Modified: 24-Mar-2018 11:29