The Johnny Winter Story

Johnny Winter timeline in 1974

Johnny Winter 1974 Saints and Sinners Tour

Johnny Winter Timeline 1974

Highlights for Johnny Winter in 1974 include the North American tour from Friday, 1 March 1974 in Jacksonville, FL up to and including Monday, 8 April 1974 in Detroit, MI , as well as the release of the album: Saints and Sinners. This record: "Saint and Sinners scores #42 on 23 Feb 1974 in the Billboard charts. The second album released by Johnny Winter in 1974: "John Dawson Winter III", reaches #78 in the Billboard charts on 7 December 1974.

Floyd Radford accompanied Johnny Winter's Band on their fall 1974 tour of Europe and their Fall/Winter 1974-75 tour of America. The European tour was the first for Johnny Winter in more than four years and included sold-out dates in London, Paris, Munich, Frankfurt, Copenhagen and Stockholm. The American tour kicked off in November and continued in three week intervals for a total of twelve weeks, visiting major cities all across the United States.

 This page covers Johnny Winter in 1974, use the links below to quickly jump to the year: 1970 , 1971 , 1972 , 1973 , 1974 , 1975 , 1976 , 1977 , 1978 , 1979 .

 

 

Special Amazon offer, both albums released by Johnny Winter during 1974 "Saints and Sinners" and "John Dawson III" now available on a single CD package

King Biscuit (exact date unknown)

Absolutely KILLER show. Fragments of this shows on bootlegs:

14 December 1973 Syracuse Post-Standard preview

The Syracuse Post-Standard previews Johnny Winter's concert on the 10th of January at the War Memorial: Johnny Winter performs January 10

Johnny Winter, rock superstar, will give a concert featuring his unique staging and lighting Jan. 10 at the War Memorial. He was born in Beaumont, Tex., in 1944, and started on clarinet at five or six and then went to ukelele. He was about 11 or 12 when he started to play the guitar. When he was 15, a rock band of his, Johnny and the Jammers, won a contest and the prize was an audition in Beaumont's Hall Recording studio. Winter later played in Chicago, England and at the Woodstock Festival his performance was one of the highlights. Tijuana Smalls featured Johnny strumming a guitar in the background of their commercials. Few who saw it will ever forget the night at Madison Square Garden when Janis Joplin surprised her audience by bringing Winter on stage to perform with her.

His brother, Edgar, has developed as a headliner, so they could alternate using their road crew, making it economically feasible for Johnny to do 'shorter tours. Randy Hobbs of the McCoys plays bass for Winter and Richard Hughes plays drums. Winter's album "Still Alive and Well" included "Silver Trains." written especially for him by Mick Jagger and Keith Richard. Hughes and Hobbs continue to be Winter musicians, and they accompanied him on his 1973 tour which included sold-out appearances at Madison Square Garden, Toronto Maple Leaf Gardens and the Philadelphia Spectrum.

Friday 28 December 1973 Lebanon Daily News

The Lebanon Daily newspaper previews Johnny Winter's concert , planned for 18 January 1974

Rock Star coming to Hershey

HERSHEY - Rook star, Johnny Winter, will be appearing in concert Jan. 18, 1974, at 8 p.m. in the Hershrypark Arena. Johnny Winter first reached national attention in 1968 following an indepth study of" Texas music published in Rolling Stone. The article by • Larry Sepulanda featured the many prominent artists who have made their way from Texas to the height of current musical popularity and went on to mention Johnny as 'playing some of the most fluid blues guitar you ever heard.'" Club owner Steve Paul read this arhcle, flew In Houston to meet with Winter, and within weeks Johnny was packing the house at Paul's Scene and playing with the best musicians in the business.

Johnny Winter soon signed with Columbia Records and recorded his first album "Johnny Winter," and after its release, the New York Times described him as "a fountain of vintage blues". Since his first album, Johnny Winter has released four more albums, all on the Columbia label. Appearing with him will be the James Gang and Brownsville Station

1 January 1974 Anderson Indiana

1973 Was a Very Good Year for Rock and Roll

In a year of shortages, there was not a shortage of good rock material. 1973 was very good year for rock 'n' roll. Although there were a few disappointments. 1973 was the year when many established artists produced albums as good If not better than any of their respective careers. Artists with only a few albums under their balls found the formula to turn out high quality works and several new faces emerged with respectable debut albums.

The Beatles, as solo artists, had their best year since they disbanded. Ringo Starr released an album that could fall into rock's "easy listening" category. Surely the best by the large-beaked drummer, "Ringo" united ail of the fab-four on a single disc for the first time since their breakup. The album was by no means a break-through in rock music, but all the songs fit into Starr's somewhat nasal sounding vocals making a thoroughly enjoyable album. Paul McCartney's "Red Rose Speedway," which was released in the spring, was a disappointment, but his latest, "Band on the Run" although still not up to what he is capable of producing, is one of the better albums of his solo career and may mark a step towards better and more significant work.

"Band on the Run" will be reviewed later in Youth Seen. John Lennon hit a low point in his career when he released "Sometime in New York City" in 1972 but lie bounced back with "Mind Games" the best album of his career and the only album by a solo Beatle which can be compared to the former group's classics. Lennon is in Los Angeles now working on a new album of old '50's rock 'n' roll hits with producer Phil Spector and if "Mind Games" is any indication, it should be a masterpiece. George Harrison's "Living in the Material World," wasn't as inspiring as his "All Things Must Pass" album but was a decent effort nonetheless. Also, it has been said that Lennon and McCartney have settled their differences which could makeway for a Beatles reunion.

The number two group that became the number one group when the Beatles disbanded, the Rolling Stones, released one of the best albums of their careers, "Goats Head Soup." The Stones, who have always been dedicated to black music, finally got their production and managerial problems, ironed out, all the time maturing as musicians, to produce a blues and rock 'n' roll album of unprecedented quality. The Who released the best concept album since "Sgt. Pappor's Lonely Hearts Club Band" and the best rock-opera ever. Titled "Quadrophenia," the album is about the teenage frustrations, of a boy growing up in London during the mod era.

The Who's and particularly lead guitarist Pete Townsend's most ambitious work, "Quadrophenia" is a landmark recording of the '70's. Bob Dylan, who hasn't recorded very much in the past five years, appeared in the movie and wrote and performed the music for "Pat Garrett and Billy the Kid." A single from the soundtrack was released, "Knockin' at Heaven's Door" but the album was rather poor when compared to his earlier work. However, Dylan signed with Elektra-Asylum Records this year and an alburn, to be called "Ceremonies of the Horsemen" featuring the Band as back-up musicians will be released sometime this month. When Dylan switched labels, Columbia retaliated by releasing "Dylan," the worst ever by the poetic minstrel.

It is a collection ot songs written by other artists and Dylan's versions' don't even compare to the originals. Anotherr major disappointment this year was Jethro Tull, who released the absurd "Passion Play," two sides of Tull at their worst

Johnny Winter, the' albino blues guitarist from Texas, released the excellent "Still Alive-and Well," after a two year absence from recording. Winter had been fighting heroin addiction, and many felt he would never record again. Johnny's brother, Edgar, reacted stardom with his album "They Only Come Out at Night" from which two singles, "Frankenstein". and "Free Ride" were released. DesPite the 'death of Duane AllMan, the Allnan , Brothers Band made the second best album of their careers; "Brothers and Sisters." The country flavored "Ramblin' Man" was the first, successful single for the graup although they've had numerous album successes.

Elton John was the performer of the year, releasing two splendid albums, "Don't Shoot Me, I'm Only the Piano Player" and "Goodbye the Yellow brick Road," and a string of AM radio hits. Rod Stewart didn't cut 84 albums this year except "Doh La La" with the Faces, which, like all Faces albums, was a step below Stewart's solo efforts, However, Mercury released "Sing it Again Rod," a collection of Rod's greatest hits. Yes, also -was -very- quiet, this year except for their live album `YesSongs. 'Yes key-board Rick Wakeman released an excellent solo album, "The Six Wives of Henry VIII," and is plahning another, a musical adaptation of Jules Verne's "Journey to the Center of the Earth." The J. Geils Band finally reached stardom with their fourth album, "Bloodshot," one of the best records ever released by a white rhythm 'n' blues bend.

Their latest "Ladies invited," is even "better than "Bloodshot" both lyrically and musically. Steve Miller also reached stardom with "The Joker," already a certified Wilkie seller. BecauSe he released the single of the same name from the album, "The Joker's may be one of his biggest sellers although it isn't his best album. Miller, who began his career with a blues bend, later became one of the leading West Nast musician's with albums such as "Brave New World," "Children of the Future" and "Journey East of Eden," The Raspberries' contribution for 1975, "Side Three," Is the group's best so far. It had several outstanding cuts but the four lame cuts kept the album just above mediocre. Like the Raspberries, Blue Ash is dedicated to the British rock of the mid-60's.

Their debut album, "No More No Less," thankfully not as teeny bopperish as "Side Three," is one of 1973's outstanding alums. Another of this year's outstanding albums was made by a new group, Backman-Turner Overdrive. The band is dedicated to hard rock and roll similar to the type played by the Rolling Stones in 1966-67. Their album appropriately titled, "Backman-Turner Overdrive," is the best hard rock and roll albums so far this decade with the exception of Mott the Hoople's "Mott" Grand Funk Railroad decided to drop their pretentious "hipness" and released a solid rock album "We're an American Band." The most overlooked yet talented. artist in rock,

Marc Writs, churned out his second top-notch album, "Hothouse Smiles." Writs, who is every bit as good as Harry Nilsson and is lyrically two steps ahead of McCartney, possesses an uncanny ability to produce nice, the toe-tapping melodies. His lyrics sometimes sparkle with the sarcasm of Lennon at his best -and-or the wit of Ray Davies. Joe Walsh's "The Smoker You Drink, the Player You Get," is as good as any from his James Gang days howver, without Walsh at the helm, the James Gang hasn't made any noteworthy rock contributions. Led Zeppelin's fifth album, "House of the holy," was one of their best albums although the band seems to just get better and better with each new release, many artists who broke into stardom in the '50's and early '60's are still successful in the '70's

 

Thursday 10 January 1974 War Memorial

The announcement advertisement (source Syracuse Herald Journal 6 January 1974)

It took an in-depth study of Texas music, which was published in a national, contemporary music magazine, to dislodge Johnny Winter from his unwanted niche in rock, soul and country music. Winter, who returns to the War Memorial Thursday for a c o n c e r t at 8:30 p.m., yearned to devote himself to the blues. But performing on the Southern circuit, he had to give the audiences what they wanted. In the middle Sixties, blues was not it. However, the article covered Winter's guitar blues and brought him to the attention of the owner of a club called Paul's Scene. The owner, Steve Paul, flew to Houston and hired Winter. Within weeks, the young man had his wish — playing the blues steadily and packed houses. Late that year, he was introduced from the stage by an old friend while at New York's Fillmore East.

Winter joined his friend for a set which brought the audience to its feet, shouting for more. Not long after, the musician signed his first record contract with a major company. Titled simply "Johnny Winter," it was primarily a collection of Delta blues numbers.

Since that hit, he has continued his winning ways on records with four others. With the James Montgomery Blues Band supporting, Winter's is presented by WOLF.

6 January 1974 Charleston Gazette

Johnny Winter comments on the upcoming concert at Charleston

By J. P. Rool

Johnny Winter is still alive and well. And working as hard as ever. Contacted in New Orleans shortly before Christmas, Winter talked about his current tour which will bring him to Charleston next Sunday. Winter last toured to promote the release of his album "Still Alive and Well." He hit only major cities, he said, places where FM radio stations had made his music known to the public. This tour is to promote his next album ("Saints and Sinners" due near the end of this month) and he's hitting some towns he's never been to before. The reception, he said, has been good. "I was a little worried at first," he said. "We've only played the bigger cities before, and we're still pretty much of an underground act.

I was afraid people in some of these pikes hadn't even heard of us." Nevertheless, the Crowds have been good and Winter's, pleased. "We're doing the same kind of material we, usually do," he admitted. There's -some stuff - from the new album, but it seems people don't want to hear new stuff untill it's on a record" Winter says he's never been to West Virginia but he's anxious to get to Charleston and see the reaction get. His brother Edgar Was here recently and Johnny. Says he wants to do'll at least as well as he That remark prompted a question question about sibling rivalry between the two Winters, but Johnny denied it. "Rivalry? Not really.

Not There was a lot More before Edgar made it. He was always Johnny's little brother, you knoW. People wouldo't even call-him by his name, just say Johnny's. "I was always band leader and workin' and Edgar was always puttin' down my musk, sayin' rock'n'roll wasn't good music. He was into technical stuff and say-in' rock and blues wasn't legitimate, that he was into good music. It got better after he got a hit single," Winter admitted. Winter also admitted that though he's never had a hit single, the "Saints and Sinners" album has a couple of possibilities. "I don't want to talk about it right now, because I don't know exactly what we're going to do with them.

We might release them as singles or we might not, I just don't know right now, But there's two that can probably make it. We'll probably do them in Charleston. When talked with Winter by telephone that day; he just getting ready for his New Orleans concert before taking a Christmas break-resumed the tour the day after Christmas and will end at Jan. 20. He admitted that concerts are hard for him to get into, but that, once they begin, he's "My biggest problem is to Stay calm, be admitted. "I'm always nervous before I go on. A couple of hours before like show, I can't stand still. I Pace and worry. I get out there and the music starts I'm okaY.

Yeah, I'm looking forward to Charleston. I don't know if many people's heard our stuff up there, but we'll try and give 'em a good show. The show is 8 p.m. next Sunday at the Civic Center.

Sunday 13 January 1974 Charleston Civic Center

The Living Legend JOHNNY WINTER the Grand Master of Rock and Roll with special guest : Brownsville Station

Same day 13 January 1974: National Shows present Johnny Winter

18 January 1974 Hersheypark Arena

Johnny Winter, The James Gang, Brownsville

Sounds, 2 Feb 1974

Review: Saint and sinners

Hit Parader, Feb 1974

Article: The Other Winter - Johnny, the White Knight

 

Tuesday, 12 February 1974: Bottom Line Club, New York

The history of the Bottom Line Club (aka Greenwich Village CLub)

Monday, 11 February 1974: Pre-opening night party with Patti Labelle

The club was officially opened the following night Tuesday, 12 February 1974 with a Jam Session featuring Dr. John, Stevie Wonder, Johnny Winter and an allstar audience including Mick Jagger, Carly Simon, Bette Midler, Charles Mingus and Janis Ian , Billy Cobham, Don Kirshner, James Darren, Rip Torn, Geraldine Page and Bobby Charles.

February 1974, The Fort Worth Convention Center

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23 Feb 1974: Billboard Charts Saints and Sinners #42

Circus Magazine, March 1974

Front Cover Page of Circus Magazine March 1974: Johnny Winter

By: Michael Gross

Saints and Sinners - Johnny Winter's Celebration of Freedom. Johnny Winter's life was bound by more than any ten men - from his albino birth to his bout with drugs. A year after his return to rock and roll he's buried his shackles in a celebration of life.

Johnny Winter Circus Magazine 1974 Celebrates life with Saints and Sinners

In a huge Connecticut mansion, the kind reserved for bank presidents and rock stars, a tall, thin albino blues player kneeld before a massive fireplace, struck a match and touched it to pile of kindling. In a matter of seconds the dry timber had caught, and instead of sailing up the chimney, flooded into the room.

Johnny Winter Circus Magazine 1974 Celebrates life with Saints and Sinners

Johnny Winter is legallly blind. He can see well enough to function in a lit room, and his knowledge of guitar is so complete that he hardly needs to touch the fretboard to know where his fingers are going, but in a room so filled with smoke that the far wall is obscured, Johnny is in trouble.

In the kitchen the rest of the Winter family was about to begin a feast, prepared by Johnny's wife Susan. The rest of the band and various relations were seated around the table when they heard Johnny cry out. As everyone rushed to the smoking fireplace to open the stuck flue, Steve Paul, Johnny's friend, spiritual adviso, manager and general renaissance man led the way to the kitchen where the party was about to begin. Johnny turned to Steve, "That's what you call smokin'"

Just the night before Johnny and his band had been filmed for "In Concert". Then they wanted to set the crowd on fire. They wanted to cook. They wanted to set the place smokin'. And they did. BEcause Johnny Winter on stage is a confident man these days. It's already been a year since Johnny Winter returned to Rock and roll. And he returned as one of rock's biggest stars - turning his back on worst kind of rock and roll suicide - heroin. In the past year Johnny Winter's optimism about life has returned, along with his career and friends. Yet every step has been a struggle for him. Whether the tortures were placed before him by fate (his albino birth) or by his own hand (with a needle and a spoon), Johnny has fought and triumphed against them all. His dues have been paid over and over in business where dues have become a thing of the past. At thirty years of age, Johnny Winter is ready to set fire to a lot more audiences, And with the release of his latest LP, "Saints and Sinners", Johnny is making a declararion to himself and the world. That declaration can be summed up in one word: freedom.

Paul meets Winter: It's a freedom that took thirty years to find. The Johnny Winter story began in early 1944 in Beaumont, Texas. His parents were musical playing and singing on their own and in church choirs. He began playing msuic when he was just a youngster. His first and primary musical interest was the blues, and he played all over the south in a variety of bands, learning the ropes whule he was still in high school and along with his brother Edgar fronting groups like. "Johnny Winter and the Black Plague". While still in high school, Johnny began doing session work and some recording on his own. Some of these old tapes would surface years later.

During the club years Johnny learned the meaning of versatility. "The more versatile you were, the more they liked it. People would come in and yell "C'mon goddamit play a country song' or 'Let's hear Tennessee Waltz' or 'Let's have a little 'Misty''. And you had to do it to keep your job and the people appreciated it anyway. Then I had a contract and I had to do an about-face.

There had been a piece in a musîc magazine about the Texas msuic scene which described Johnny as "a hundred and thirty pound cross-eyed albino with long fleecy hair playing some of the greatest fluid guitar you ever heard". A star was born, even though he hadn't known the piece was coming out. Steve Paul, at that time the owner of "The Scene" in New York, flew to Texas and found Johnny. He quickly discovered that the boy from Texas lived up to the description. Not only that, he'd play with Mike Bloomfield in Chicago and really did know his blues. Their informal relationship soon turned formal as Paul negotiated a record contract for Johnny. It was reported that the Columbia Record Company paid $600.000 for Johnn'y services. Regardless of the sum, they were making quite an investment. In order to insure some return, they hoped Johnny as a white god, and the 'greatest' guitarist of all time.

Pressure cooker: "Columbia gave me all this money and here I was, nobody. There was all this pressure that I had to make it". Johnny said, sitting in an armchair in the living room of his Connecticut home. That pressure would be a constant in his career. "I had to prove myself 'cause there were two camps; people who thought I was great or God or whatever and the other people who though I was shit. Both of 'em are crazy, y'know. I was just a working musician doin' the best he could.

People forgot about the night he brought the house down at the Fillmore East in late 1968. They forgot about him packing the house at "The Scene" night after night. All they thought about was the 600 grand, and they let Johnny know, in print and in person that they didn't like it a bit. When "Johnny Winter" his debut album appeared, many people couldn't get past the hype to the beautiful blues it contained. Still, Johnny had broken and he liked it. He was able to play straight unaffected blues again. He'd signed with Columbia because they offered him total artistic freedom, and he felt the album was a fine showcase. The pressure was on, though and showed in his first national tour. It was almost a year before he felt the burden of proving himself lift.

Every company he'd ever recorded for began releasing their own tapes, and Johnny told an interviewer at the time "they were trash, just garbage". The reminders of the past didn't stop him from recording a looser, free album "Second Winter". Recorded in Nashvill, Second Witer included rock songs and blues songs, bottleneck and heavy metal. The blues purists screamed, but the critics liked it. "People really do it to ya - put ya in a category. And if you do smehtin' different - they really get pissed off. They say 'Look, he's sellin' out' No matter what you do that you didn't do before it's sellin' out."

Regardless of what the purists felt, Johnny liked the loose approach. The audiences seemed to like it more, too. When he whipped into a Check Berry or Little Richard tune, the excitement level in the hall was invariable raised. In order to pursue the direction, Johnny disbanded his group after a European tour. Living in upstate New York, he discovered that among his neighbours wre a rock group called the McCoys. They had stopped hangin'g on to sloopy a while back and were looking for a guitarist. Somehow Johnny and the band clicked immediately. With the infusion of their talent, especially the songwriting nad guitar playing Rick Derringer , Johnny felt he'd found the perfect situation. He could play old blues, Winter blues, rock and roll and jan for hours with the band called Johnny Winter And. Playing with a band rather than over them, Johnny's guitar playing grey more mature. Their album named after the band, was a critical success, but it wa on the road that their repuation grew. Their concerts were reported to have been constant classics. One was immortalized on "Johnny Winter And Live", still his most successful LP.

Vanished: By the time that album had appeared, Johnny had disappeared. The band had stopped touring and rumors flew in the rock gossip columns about Johnny being hospitalized for heroin addiction. "I was afraid, when I freaked out, that it was just gonna be OK. play the same songs every night. I just saw an endless tour, y'know. Alright, Milwaukee tonight, Boston, let's do Johnny B. Goode again and I didn't see any end to it. I said to myself that ain't no livin' man. I could never live that way."

For three years he'd been on the road, struggling for a reputation he'd deserved all along. "the main thing that really wrecked me and I think really wrecks a lot of rock and roll abnds is working so much that you don't have time to think and reflect about what you're doing and to be creative and do new things. We were working five, eight or twelve nights in a row and then they'd say you got two weeks to write songs, do an album and then you got another tour. You can't relax, or be creative. You're lucky once in a while but usually it's just a bunch of bull. You need time to do somethin' right. When people put deadlines on you, it's impossible. It was like that for three years.

So Johnny disappeared for almost two years. In the meantime, his brothe rEdgar's career had blossomed. Johnny showed up on the recording of Edgar's "Roadwork" album, on the song "Rock and roll hoochie koo"." but his own act had not taken to the road. Then finally, Johnny reappeared. "It was scry, and kind of exciting at first. Since I was fifteen I'd been playing gigs. I didn't go a week or two weeks at the most without playing since I was fifteen till about twenty-seven. After two years I was terrified. I didn't touch my guitar for three months and I had all kinds of fantasies like it was going to take me a year to get it back.

Once Johnny decided to "come back", he had to find a band. He went to California, looking for musicians. At the auditions, "there was all kind of people wanting to be in the band. Yeah, Johnny Winter, it's a good gig y'know. They didn't know what I was doin'. I wanted people who would be in my band if I was making ten bucks a night. I was miserable. I didn't get happy until I found people who cared.

Alive and well: He came back to New York City, prepared to make a studio album. "I didn't care who played on it. I was out of money and I needed some to keep lookin' for a band." Rock Derringer discovered a band that played all Johnny Winter material, and dragged him to see them. "He came back and said, 'I found your drummer.' We played together for five minutes and I knew it was together." Richard Hughes joined the band. Johnny then asked Randy Hobbs, bassist from his las band to rejoin them. With the addidition of Susan (as Johnny's wife), kidnapped from Steve Paul's office, everything came together. "We had our family."

"Still alive and well" was released. It included original material from Johnny, Derringer and Jagger/Richard. The audience could rest assured that Johnny was back, hopefully to stay.

For Johnny that feeling of assurance has been slowly growing. "I let it get to to the point where everything I did was life and death matter. You should never let it go that far. The thing is that I really enjoy playing music. I'd do it anyway. You tend to forget all the things you used to do to make you a person. You feel like a juke-box. I did. I don't now." He's faced the fact that stardom can be fleeting, and realizes that Johnny Winter is much more than a stage act. "Nobody stays on top forever but I'm going to be doing the best I can, so long as I'm around."

One other problem he's faced is the expectation of the audience. "I'd love to be able to get onstage in Las Veags or The Grand Ole Opry. I can't make the audience like it. I don't want to play for empty halls or in my bedroom, but I will if nobody wants to hear what I'm doing. I really do play for people as much or more than I do for myself and I'm not gonna play stuff they don't care about. When I hear a band I want to hear the songs I'm familiar with too.

Saints: To say simply that Johnny is back is an understatement. Johnny is back with vengeance. The confidence that grew out of the last album and a return to the road shines through on the album he just recorded a year after his return. "Saint and sinners" is an album full of promises. The major promise is that Johnny Winter will be around for a while.

"The last bunch of sessions we did we cout enought for at least two albums, so we're using some of the stuff we did then. It's real good, and it's still where I'm going. We did a Chuck Berry tune "Bonie-Moroney", "Stray cat blues" by the Stones and a few new songs. I wrote two on this album. One is an old Texas-Louisana type bar song and the other's blues-rock thing. We got one song by ALan Toussaint and a new song Van Morrison wrote for me. There are some old songs like "There's a riot goin' on" I think it's gonna be well rounded album. It's hopefully going to open up some new paths.

The idea of freshness, branching out, is what characterizes the album and the way in which it was recorderd. Johnny tried, for the first time to get away from live studio recording, and overdubbed his guitar and vocals on various songs. He's contiuing the practive begun with "Silver Train" on the last LP of using new material by establish artists. He's still playing good old rock and roll and blue stoo. Confidence flows out of every track, because Johnny is a pro. When he looks at the state of rock in 1973 and says bluntly that "it sucks," it's the voice of experience - of being born an albino, of playing bars for ten years, of grueling tours and rushed albums, and of two years trying to restore a personality from a burnt out shell - that makes his talent so formidanle and his music so enjoyable.

Driving back to Connecticut after the telveision taping of "In Concert", Johnny spoke once again about the last year "I put myself in that hospital because I wanted to save my life. When I got out, I just wanted to play. That excitement of being out isn't there so much anymore but it's all just gotten to be a much more comfortable thing. I don't feel like I got to prove myself anymore. I feel I've got the chance to try new things, see what works, and if it doesn't and I get frustrated then I've got to work harder to get out of it.

If Saint's and sinners is any indication, things are going to work out fine for Johnny from now on. A year ago, the sun was just peeking over the horizon. Today, it's bright spring morning. For Johnny, the cold, cold winter is finally finished.

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Friday 1 March 1974 St. Petersburg Evening Independent

Groups Rock this Weekend

If you are ready for the weekend the weekend is ready for you Saturday night Todd Rundgren will be appearing at Curtis Hixon Hall in Tampa. Sunday night Johnny Winter will be at St Petersburg's Bayfront Center. Todd Rundgren has wandered the "underground" music world for quite a while, with-standing the popularity urge to surface until recently. The song most heard on the radio lately. "Hello. It's Me," was initially done several years back when Rundgren was with a group called "Nazz" Rundgren has found a niche for himself in producing, as well as making records. He has engineered recordings for The Band (Bob Dylan's back-up group).

Grand Funk and an avante garde group called New York Dolls. His engineering prowess came brightly into light when he produced mixed and performed a solo album called "Runt." His latest album. "Todd." features more musicians but still the ever changing ever specifically abstract sound of Rundgren. Tickets for the 8 p.m. show are $5 for a limited advance or $6 at the door. Tickets may be bought at Rasputins, Budget Tapes and The Stereo Shop in Tampa: Stereo Tape and Bellas Hess in Clearwater; Slipped Disc if Largo; and Music Odyssey and The Real Place in St. Petersburg. Johnny Winter is rock and roll incarnate He will be appearing with another rock 'n roll group, Brownsville Station.

Winter although thrown into the recording limelight quite suddenly, wasn't quite an overnight success. He worked at it and he still works hard at bringing life to his music. Winter started when he was about 5 years old, playing the clarinet. When his dentist suggested he stop to prevent an overbite he switched to a ukelele until his hands were big enough to hold a guitar. With his brother Edgar. Johnny started a slow Texas route to fame. Edgar took a jazz turn along the line, while Johnny stayed with his rhythm and blues and rock. Now the two only occasionally perform together, as Edgar and Johnny both have reached high levels of success, fame and talent.

Brownsville Station is a '70s band with a '50s rock and roll flair. The group has been described as the cumulative development of rock music as it is today . . . Once four members the (vacancy left by departing Tony Driggins was not filled) the three remaining — Henry Week, Mike Lutz and Cub Koda — rock on. Tickets for the Winter-Brownsville show are $6 and are on sale at: Bellas Hess and Stereo Tapes in Clearwater: Slipped Disc in Largo: Music Odyssey and The Real Place in St. Petersburg and the Bayfront box office Showtime is 7:30 p.m. PHIL ROGERS

Friday 1 March 1974 St. Peterburg Times

Time has taught him to keep tours short (an interview with Johnny Winter)

By Bob Ross - Time Music Writer

You're a subculture's super-star. You are recognized instontly wherever you go. In a week, you will begin performing before several thousand raving admirers almost every night. What's it like? "It's loneliness: it's boredom. It's being treated like a jukebox instead of a human being," replies the relaxed nice, explaining why he, rock and roll star Johnny Winter, will not stay on tour for more than five or six weeks at a time. "PEOPLE SEEM TO forget we're people, too. They tend to make unreasonable demands," he says. "Even we (the stars) have to eat in restaurants and run to catch planes from time to time." The lanky white-haired musician is bringing his high-powered road show to St. Petersburg's Bayfront Center Arena Sunday.

We'll be fresh then for sure, 'cause the tour starts March 1 in Jacksonville," promises Winter by telephone from New York. "Besides, nowadays our tours are better organized." Nowadays? "Oh, man, it used to be open house. Like a 24-hour party, huge crowds backstage — I tried to accommodate everybody, and just drained myself." Winter openly discusses his once-mysterious withdrawal from the music scene about three years ago, when he vanished for two years from public view amidst rumors and controversy. "I DIDN'T KNOW what I wanted to do. Business, all the crates, the hassles were just too much. I wondered if I should play guitar, drop out, drive a truck somewhere, or What. "It took me a year to get myself together and Another year to get the right music-and musicians assembled.

Columbia (holder of Winter's recording contract) was very gond In me those years. They didn't pressure me, even though my contract requires two albums a year. I could have lost it all then, but they just waited 'til I said 'I'm ready,' and now things are much better all around." In his early days. Winter played some impressive country blues guitar. Now his repertoire Is entirely hard rock. Why doesn't Winter do a brief acoustic hit? "I'd like to — wish I could." asserts Winter in mellow tones that belief the earthy power of his singing voice. "But again, at a big concert, there are just too many fans who holler for what they paid to hear. You really have to play louder than they can yell."

This last comment came with a laugh. Johnny Winter does not mind playing loud music. He has the style and energy of a classic rocker and the talent to make any tune he chooses sound new and hot regardless of vintage. "I do miss playing small clubs, though," mused Winter, who is well-known for sitting to at after-hours jam sessions as the travels. "That's where I can just play what I want to, fool around and listen." Like most performers, Winter craves the small creative sessions that ultimately lead to improvements in his stage show. Winter is one of the few artists who can re-create — and often improve — tunes by such immortals as Chuck Berry and the Rolling Stones.

His comment on the subject is refreshingly honest: "If I could write songs that good myself. I'd do them." What he doesn't say is that his interpretations add 1970s crispness and power to great rock 'n' roll that otherwise would be less attractive to his ever-younger audience. "Yes, the crowds are younger all the Una" observes Winter. "Its true" Winter enjoys a unique business advantage, Malts to the fact that his brother Edgar is also a successful working rocker. "We share the same managers, roadies (equipment handlers) — everything except the musicians is the same.

When Edgar's on tour I'm home, and vice versa. We're able to split a lot of expenses for equipment and salaries that way. Will the fuel situation affect cross-country touring? "Not this time," says Winter. "We've get a plane leased already and a good road manager." Although he seems to be most happy at home — in New York and Connecticut with friends and neighbors —Johnny Winter obviously enjoys his five-week stints as "public property," as he puts it. "I like to stay busy anyway; But touring is really rough after awhile," he says. Don his playing suffer from the grind? "No. I'm playing better than ever, I think."

Sunday, 3 March 1974: St. Petersburg, Bayfront Center Florida

    Setlist:
  1. Good love
  2. Bad luck situation
  3. Bony moronie
  4. Stone county
  5. Rollin' cross the country [very rare]
  6. Be careful with a fool [with different arrangement]
  7. Silver train [with slide jam]
  8. Highway 61
  9. Jumpin' jack flash
  10. Johnny B. Goode
  11. All over now

A review of Johnny Winter's show at the Spectrum

By JOHN FISHER

Courier Tunes Staff Writer
PHILADELPHIA -


It was a little warm for Winter this weekend at the Spectrum. Johnny Winter roe into the sold-out concert ball behind a fireworks display, which would have made the fourth of July envious. Unfortunately for Winter and several burned members of the 22,000 plus audience, the fireworks weren't part of the show. They were a distraction to what otherwise was a fairly decent show.

Winter, long white hair flowing as he gyrated across the stage. never claimed any laurels as a composer. His claim to fame throughout the years has been to entertain an audience with guitar work which on his worst night would have to be described as skillful.He has a knack, somewahat uncommon among today's groups. to involve the audience and keep them with him from the start of concert to its finish.

There aren't that many tunes which he plays which you can readily identify and hum but you can boogie to them. All of the songs played by the Johnny Winter group featured a wailing guitar behind a sound rythm background of bass ard drumsWinter, being the master of the shrieking wailing guitar, handled the majority of the solo work Different from his last concert in Philadelphia. Winter brought along a second guitar player who showed he also knew how to put down a few riffs when the occasion called for i

The better moments of the concert occurred when the two guitar players faced off at center stage and engaged in a mock dueling of the guitars.

Although good, the second guitanst couldn't hold a match to the experience of Winter, but he did serve to compliment the style of the white-haired masterThe visual show with the Winter concert was downpLayeed. but the audience did respond !oud!y when the a sign lit up behind the concert stage announcing wishout any frills Johnny Winter

10 March 1974 San Antonio Express and Sunday News Magazine

The San Antonio News Magazine announces Johnny Winter's concert planned for Saturday 16 March, Winter Shows

Johnny Winter will feature songs from his new album, "Saints & Sinners," when he presents a concert at 8 p.m. Saturday at the Municipal Auditorium. Tickets, priced at $4.50 and $5.50,. are on sale al all Joske' and both Mr. Naturals.

11 March 1974 Maple Leaf Gardens, Toronto, Canada

 

13 March 1974: Amphitheater, Chicago?

 

16 March 1974: Municipal Auditorium, San Antonio

Johnny Winter will feature songs from his new album, "Saints & Sinners," when he presents a concert at 8 p.m. Saturday at the Municipal Auditorium. Tickets, priced at $4.50 and $5.50,. are on sale al all Joske' and and both Mr. Naturals.

 

 

17 March 1974 Hofheinz Pavilion, Houston

21 March 1974 59th National Orange Show, Swing Auditorium:

Johnny Winter and Brownsville Station

 

Friday, 22 March 1974: Swing Auditorium, San Bernardino

 

Johnny Winter San Bardino 22 Mar 1974

 

Saturday, 23 March 1974: Winterland, San Francisco

Included 'Brownsville Station' & 'Creation' as opening acts

Sunday, 24 March 1974: Salt Lake

Johnny Winter, Brownsville Station at Salt Lake 1974

Tuesday, 26 March 1974: Denver

Johnny Winter, Brownsville Station at Denver 1974

29 March 1974 - Long Beach Arena, Long Beach, California

    Setlist:
  1. Good love
  2. Bad luck situation
  3. Bony moronie
  4. Stone county
  5. Rolling 'cross the country
  6. Medley: Be careful with a fool / It's my own fault (27 minutes long, with superb solos]
  7. Silver train [23 minutes long! with slide jam; Johnny sings some lyrics after slide jam ]
  8. Jumpin' jack flash
  9. Johnny B. Goode
  10. Highway 61 revisited
  11. It's all over now

 

 

Johnny Winter Backstage Pass Long Beach Arena Mar 1974

A review of Johnny Winter at Long Beach: Long Beach warms Winter

It was the first.warm night after a month of gray skies. ' The crowd, numbering about 14,000, was out in full force to see Johnny Winter, and the West Coast debut of Brownsville Station at the Long Beach Arena Friday night.

Hawaiian, print shirts and surfer T-shirts replaced the rolled-sleeve look of winter plaids. Springtime means freedom and the mood of the night was carried along first by Brownsville Station and then by a powerful Johnny Winter. Brownsville Station surprised me — pleasantly. They have far more depth than their single hit of "Smokin' In The Boys Room." And while they're not exactly up in the exciting group category, they're not the lightweights I had expected.

INTRODUCED,

as being "directly from the Holiday :Inn in Hollywood . . ." the trio sped into a tight rock version of "Barefoctin" followed by "Gangster .ofLove." , Despite the gutsy brand .of rock and roll brandished by the Brownsville Station, they lacked originality.

Their expansive sound enveloped only one mood and did little candid exploration into fresh awareness.

Next to them; Johnny Winter popped up like a fresh daisy gulping springtime magic.By the time Winter got on stage, the Arena was filled with enough smoke to'warrant a first stage' smog aiert. Every now and then a blast of fresh air would expell from the faltering air filter system. Johnny Winter —' spelled out in three-foot neon letters, and the man himself, with his waist-length silver hair, patched jeans and six-inch platforms, ripped into an 18-minute "I Just Want to Rock and Roll."

Winter has a frenetic, urgency about his music. It screams out in loneliness and desparation. THE 30-year-old artist was a crowd pleaser with hia boogie, but oore of a musician with his deeply felt blues. His guitar solos were excellent and his mood range almost jarring.

"Bad Luck Situation," from his new album "Saints,and Sinners" is a Winter composition and came up a winner with a loud cheer of "alright" from an energy-tinged crowd

He did with a flashy, light show, and special slow soul blues. After 45. minutes,of musical rambling, he finally got to: , "I used to cry at night and walk the streets Love me a little bit and why in the world don't : you treat me right.^

 

 

Saturday, 30 March 1974: K.B.F.H. San Diego

    Setlist:
  1. Good love
  2. Bad luck situation
  3. Stone county
  4. Silver train
  5. Jumping jack flash
  6. Johnny B. Goode

 

Sunday 31 March 1974 Selland Arena

Johnny Winter, one of the country's leading rock and roll stars, will headline a concert Sunday at 8 p.m. Selland Arena. Supporting acts will be Black Oak Arkansas and Brownsville Station. Tickets are available for $5.SO' at the Convention Center box office

At least two of Ihe groups arc working hit recordings in the tour: Winter has a new album, "Saints and Sinners" and Brownsville Station a hit single, "Smoking in the Boys' Room."Black Oak Arkansas, which takes its name from the rural community in' which thu group originated, is perhaps the busiest rock and roll group in the country in terms of concerts, playing 150 lo 200 a year.

Apr 1974 - Billboard Magazine

Johnny Winter in White Suit 1974

 

Apr 1974: "Saints and Sinners" makes US #42

Sunday, 7 April 1974: United States Army Reserve

Nightbird and Company Cosmic Connections, together with Johnny Winter

Johnny Winter United States Army Reserve Nightbird and Company
Johnny Winter United States Army Reserve Nightbird and Company
Johnny Winter United States Army Reserve Nightbird and Company
 

MM, 13 Apr 1974

Review: Saint and sinners

 

15 April 1974 Johnny Winter talks about his addiction

Johnny Winter went on the road March 11 to April 8 and then he has three concerts May 30 and 31 and June 1. The road crew also works for his brother, Edgar Winter; the two take turns traveling.

This is just one difference from past days when Johnny Winter stayed on the road all the time. One reason was to keep working to keeo the same road crew together. One was to live up to having been the unknown artist to receive the biggest advance in music business history from a record company, in 1969 — to become the success .expected from that and to remain that success.

At the same lime, personal problems piled up and so did loneliness and the whole thing became a nightmare, made worse by drugs.

"I've been out of the hospital nearly two years," Winter says. "It'll be two years in May. I was in nine months, in New Orleans.

"I was using heroin. My personal problems were so bad. I thought 1 was using drugs till I could get off the road. I wanted to finish the tour really bad. i was really miserable. When the tour was over. 1 was c o m p l e t e l y psychologically addicted.

I couldn't get to sleep or rest. Horrible loneliness was the main tiling Being any kind of star you cut yourself off from people. I was determined 1 wasn't going to change. You can't help it. People don't relate to you in the same way. Even people who love you can't relate to you; there's an extra barrier, a wall, there. If you're around people for a while you can transcend that, but we kept traveling.

"You get on a horribly superficial level. Pretty soon you feel like everybody else is living and seeing each other and talking. You never communicate. It's all a big sea of motels and groupies and airports and halls. Everybody looked exactly the same and I knew what they wanted. I was really lonesome. I didn't feel I had a home life or friends.

"I got to be miserable. It was like the only thing that meant anything in the music business was how good you did on the last tour and how many record; sold. Life got to be unimportant. I can laugh about it now, only because I've sorted it all out. It was a nightmare when it happened."My values have completely changed. 1 realized the business end of it, being successful, wasn't that important. I still want to do it. It's something 1 love. But now I've got to have my private life and plenty of it. Never for anything would 1 get back' to being on the road all the time.

"The band is kind of like a family, but I'm staying away from the rest of it, the groupies, drug, party scene. "The place where 1 was didn't let you sit in a corner and feel sorry for yourself. I could have cared less about eating and taking a bath. They'd tell you you're really a mess and you messed up your whole life; they'd almost force you to react violently. I felt superior. I was sure they couldn't understand the music But I got some help out of it.

The albums out since Columbia signed Winter to a $600,000 in five, years are "Johnny Winter," "Second Winter," "Johnny W i n t e r And," "Johnny Winter Llv«," "St1!! Alive and Well" »»<! "Saints and Sinners" the latter No. 32 and climbing or the bestselling chart.

 

MM, 27 Apr 1974

Review: Saint and sinners

 

Zoo World - The Music Megapaper, 9 May 1974 Issue 58

Article: Much More Than Survival Johnny Winter's...
by Billy Altman

After two decades of rocking and rolling, the star concept remains the motivic force behind our music. Yet today, tastes are fragmented to such an extent that almost no performer can reach the kind of universal acceptance which once defined the star phenomenon. It now seems that the best strategy for making it is to seek out a little niche in the rock world, grab hold of a segment of the audience and try to hold on for as long as possible.

The list of rock 'n roll heroes who have managed to hold on while at the same time enticing more and more people into their camp can be counted on the fingers of one hand. Indeed, rock stardom is a tricky business. In 1968, how many of us suspected that in a few short years the likes of Jimi Hendrix, Jim Morrison, Brian Jones and Janis Joplin would be gone from the rock hierarchy' The psychedelic age of the sixties ended with a bang not a whimper, and there ain't that many around left to tell the story.

Entering the disarmingly modest apartment on Manhattan's east side, that Johnny Winter calls home, I realized that Johnny is indeed one of the few artists who has managed to make the voyage from the sixties to the seventies, and still remain a giant of the rock world.

We all know of Johnny's beginnings in Texas, and his almost instant stardom when he signed with Columbia Records. He was one of rock's first and most celebrated bonus babies, expected to go from rumor to legend in ten easy steps, and that he did. But when all the hype had settled it was on the strength of his music, of his powerful singing, frenzied guitar playing and the bearing of a true rock 'n roll soul that Johnny Winter had really made it. Yet like Hendrix, Morrison, Joplin and Jones, these qualities almost killed him. the pressures on a superstar don't readily come across to listeners and fans, because we only see what's offered on stage and we only hear what comes over the speakers. It's often hard to realize that beneath the image there's a living, thinking and feeling human being. Johnny Winter was already a star before he had to come to grips with the hard fact that endless tours and lonely motels. The strain finally took its toll and Johnny's growing dependence on drugs landed him in a hospital for almost a year.

Luckily for us though, the year away was of his own choosing, a time to seek out his own personal priorities. Now he's back with us again, and though his comeback album of last year was entitled Still Alive and Well Johnny Winter is much more than just a rock 'n roll survivor. He's playing some of the best music of his life, capturing a new and younger audience, and perhaps more importantly he's enjoying his music and his life a whole lot more.

I asked Johnny about his meteoric rise to the top and the pressures that went with all of the instant glory.

'It was strange, really,' Johnny says, 'that we didn't even know the pressure was there. Most groups kinda build up, play clubs for awhile, then get third spot on a concert and they have time to figure out what's going on, but we really didn't. We went from doing clubs to headlining and we were so naive about it that we didn't feel much pressure. We just figured OK, we'll get up there and play. Sometimes things were just falling apart around us, we didn't know anything about playing places that big, and you can't hear much onstage, so you've gotta trust your equipment people and we'd never had any equipment people. We didn't know if we were any good or if they knew what they were doing, so we were open to anyone that came along with a good line. I mean we had the worst losers working for us for about two years and I don't know how we did it, but things just kinda came together on the job. We would have our friends tell us, you know, 'this sounds terrible' or 'this guy's asleep at the board,' and after a lot of gigs we finally got it together. But in those days it was really a lot less planned, it was the psychedelic druggie days and everyone was flowing with whatever was happening, so it wasn't that difficult for us to make things go. Looking back, I can't believe how we pulled it off.'

I asked Johnny what he thought about all the hype and publicity that was showered on him. 'Well, I had been working hard for about twenty-five years trying to get people to pay attention to me, and when they started writing all those great things about me it never entered my mind that they were overdoing it. I mean there wasn't any way to overdo it. I WAS READY! It was hard though, 'cause people had me all over the place, but they had never seen me or heard my music.

'Reaction was great just about everywhere. California was kinda hard, we had to play there about three times before they liked us. In those days you were supposed to be anti-superstar, and I had played there before I made it, at the Fillmore on audition night, and people went crazy. But when I came back as a 'star' folks were ready to hate, and they did. We had these crazy people working for us, one guy who had worked for the Dead for awhile, and he convinced us that we needed this wall of amps, I mean A WALL, like about twenty twins on each side of the stage. The Fillmore was such a little place and it was so loud that you couldn't even hear the drummer. It was just a disaster. Lonnie Mack came on after us with just one little tiny amp and wiped us out completely. We fired that roadie the next day.

'It took about two years till we really got accepted and it was really important to me, 'cause I didn't want to be a big joke, like another Ultimate Spinach, so I guess that I worked harder than I might have had I been making it slowly. I was lucky 'cause I really didn't take it too seriously. I figured that the money didn't have all that much to do with it, I mean I wouldn't have taken the money if I didn't think I could make it back. But record companies a lot of the time won't work on you that hard if they don't have that much invested in you, so I knew that they'd be working their asses off doing publicity and making sure my record was distributed so they'd be sure to get their investment back. It was more security than anything else.'

I mentioned that I thought the late sixties blues revival probably helped a lot in his early success and Johnny agreed. 'I tell you, if we came in doing' the same thing now, I don't think people would even listen to us. It was a matter of being in the right place at the right time with the right thing that people wanted to hear. I really wanted to be successful. I mean I put out every kind of record imaginable, from early fifties stuff to R&B to big bands, but blues was really my favorite kind of music and I felt that I could do my best playing blues.'

As Johnny made it though, it was clear that he was as much a rocker as a bluesman, and as he stretched out his repertoire more, problems arose that brought about the breakup of his original band. 'The trouble was that that band was a blues band, and they couldn't play rock 'n roll too well. That's the main reason the band broke up - people really expected us to be like Cream or like Hendrix's band, but it was more like James Cotton or Muddy Waters . Even thought it was real loud and had a lot of energy, it was very rough and sloppy and bluesy, and that's the way we wanted it to be. I think what was wanted was a British variation blues style and we were into more raw, country blues. Eventually the bass player and drummer were getting so much criticism that it was just flipping them out. But no matter what people say, I think they were a good blues band. It's hard to do a good job when not everybody's on your side.'

After the breakup, Steve Paul, Johnny's manager, brought Johnny together with another band he was managing, the McCoys, who has come just about to the end of the line as a band and were desperately in search of somebody or something to save their careers. The McCoys had been doing a lot of interesting music on their last two albums but had fallen from the public eye, and Paul thought that they might be able to meet Johnny's expectations as his new band.

'Johnny Winter and...' as the group was called, brought out a whole new facet of Johnny's musical personality, with the emphasis on hard rock. Their second album, a live one, brought them to the top of the performing field, and there was a new and inspired frenzy to Johnny's playing and signing. The band toured incessantly, and as vacation time always seemed farther and farther away, the band and Johnny started leaning on drugs to keep them going.

'When we first got together, I thought they were nice little healthy kids,' Johnny recalls, 'but I soon found out that they were completely insane people. Right after we had formed the band, they took me out on a walk across a stretch of the Hudson River that had frozen over. I just knew that I was gonna fall in, and sure enough, I did, and it was so cold out that steam came up from the water when I came out and Bobby Peterson (the McCoys' organ player) saw this and decided that I was God. He started following me around for a week trying to be saved and then he came up with the idea that he was Judas and walked around with a rope around his neck. He was so dinged out he couldn't dress or eat or anything. Finally he tried to hang himself but the rope broke and he wound up in the hospital and left the group. Then Randy Z, Rick's brother and our drummer, took about 60 downs one night, just to see if he was mortal or not, and he had to leave the band, too. I don't know how Rick (Derringer) managed to do it but he stayed healthy through all of this craziness.

'All the touring and lack of rest was really getting to me, and I started using heroin, and the group was going in a different direction that I didn't like, a little too teenybopperish, and it seemed that my whole life was falling apart, so I dissolved the group and put myself in the hospital.' The nine months away from the rock scene gave Johnny a chance to sort things out and try to figure out what direction he wanted his life to take.

'I really could have left anytime I wanted. I wasn't like I was locked up or anything like that. I was OK after three months, but I wanted to graduate, I didn't want to say 'I think I can leave now,' I wanted them to tell me that they thought I could leave. I was really tired of being a rock 'n roll star, as a jukebox, and I was tired of the road. I knew that I wasn't going to continue my life the way that I had been living it. For three years I had never really had any time off. It was boring, it was lonesome, it was everything horrible you could think of. I was always trying to know people, and it just didn't work. There was a wall between me and others. If I went someplace, all I could do was say hello and sign a few autographs and it really scared me.

'I knew that if I wanted to stay alive, that I'd have to keep playing, but I also knew that I'd have to rearrange my life. It's a lot easier now. Edgar and I use the same road crews, so when he goes out, I stay home, and vice versa. Also, I can now keep my music and my private life apart, and that's really very important.'

Johnny's 'comeback' has been going quite well ('I still draw the craziest audiences of anybody I know'), and he's been able to show off more of his many different sides than ever before. 'With my first band, if I did anything except blues, people wouldn't want to hear it. Then I was doing really hard rock, and that's all they wanted to hear. Now I'm able to do a little bit of everything and have it accepted as ME. I hope folks like the new album (Saints and Sinners), 'cause it opens up a lot of different areas. I'll still get guys in the audience yelling 'Jumpin' Jack Flash' or 'Johnny B. Goode' during slower songs, but I think with time that I'll be able to do everything I want to do.'

It is significant that Johnny Winter now sees time as being on his side, time to do the things that he wants to do. He no longer has to fight to stay on top. He is residing in that very special place where success is a reward for deeds well done. And judging by his two recent albums and the impressive crowds he's been drawing since his return to the tour circuit, it looks like those deeds will continue to be rewarded for a long time to come. And that's how it should be for a star of Johnny Winter's magnitude.

Disc, 11 May 1974

Review: Saint and sinners

19 May 1974 Family Weekly

Lorraine Alterman lists her 10 Favorite records

Johnny Winter, the phenomenal blues guitar player from Texas, has emerged as one of America's hottest performers. "Listening to music," Johnny says, "should be an emotional experience. The way it makes you feel is much more important than the technical ability of the artists or performers. When listening to something you don't understand, try to be open and hear what the performer is trying to project, rather than judge it by guidelines you've already set up." .

Saturday, 1 June 1974: Madison Square Garden, opening act 10CC

Johnny Winter June 1974

New YORK: Johnny Winter Is all that the American rock fan needs for an evening's entertainment, Johnny and a pack of beer, an opportunity to shake and shout, wave arms in the end and finish the evening by throwing the empty beer cans through a window. Winter is the king of the boogie merchants; flash but not too flash, loud but not complex, intricate but never above the fans' heads. A perfect combination of talent and ability to judge what the audience wants to hear. In his way, Johnny Winter is to America what Slade are to England in this respect. Both ads are acutely aware of what to give their audience. Winter played a packed Madison Square Garden recently.

The orchestra level patrons were out of their seats for the whole show and the crush at the front looked less than comfortable. It was up, up, up all the way: rock 'n' roll from start to finish punctuated only by Johnny's sorties towards the mike between songs and hoarse shouts along the lines of "Yeh wanna Rock and Roll?" Unanimous "yeahs" inevitably bounced back. Most of his material was taken from the new "Saints and Sinners " album. The last time I saw Winter, the band was just three musicians. This time he's added an extra guitar player which filled out the sound even more and, thankfully, rang the changes a little from number to number.

A little variation has added considerably more colour to the band, even though the relentless boogie became a little wearying after an hour. There were times when you could walk outside for 20 minutes and return, convinced that the band was playing the same number. It must have been frustrating for the performer that this particular part of the show seemed lost on the crowd who continued to yell for more "boogles." Some fans even chucked beer cans and the like on stage causing Winter to interrupt the proceedings with a warning that any more missiles and he would end the show there and then. It stopped although it didn't stop other factions inside the Garden from chucking lighted fireworks from the upper levels of this cavernous structure. Winter's decided he's there to entertain rather than educate.

The audience, which included brother Edgar sat at the side of the stage, loved every move he made. - CHRIS CHARLES-WORTH.

 

 

Thursday, 6 June 1974: Columbus FAIRGROUNDS COLISEUM

Thursday, 11 July 1974: Jahrhunderthalle, Frankfurt (or Offenbach?), West Germany. This date of 11 July 1974 may be incorrect, and is actually 7 November 1974

A Photo of Johnny Winter fooling around, probable in 1974

 

Billboard Magazine, 15 June 1974

A full page ad in Billboard Magazine June 1974 on Johnnny Winter, Thunderhead in BogalUsa.

Transcript of this ad:

What the hell brings Johnny Winter back to Bogalusa?

He's producing at Studio in the Country

It's not Johnny Winter he's producing this time. It's Thunderhead, a band that excites Winter. But why in Bogalusa? Because nothing distracts, nothing interferes with the fire of their creation. There's nothing here. Except a million dollars of audio engineering floating on a six-inch nylon sandwich. 24 tracks operating.

 

JWS Bogalusa

48 tracks waiting on a custom console. Dolby noise reduction. And Mamie Tillman's cooking. After Johnny, Mandrill's here for a month.

Fly to New Orleans and we pick you up. Or 3600-foot paved landing strip here. Studio in the Country. Open 24 hours. Bill Evans, president and director of engineering; Jim Bateman, vice-president. (504) 735-8224. From New Orleans, (504) 523-1266. Or P. 0. Box 490, Bogalusa, Louisiana 70427

 

MM. 22 Jun 1974

Review: Madison Square Garden Concert

Rick Derringer , The Third Winter Brother?

NEW YORK: Johnny Winter is all that the American rock fan needs for an evening's entertainment. Johnny and a pack of beer, an opportunity to shake and shout, wave arms in the end and finish the evening by throwing the empty beer cans through a window. Winter is the king of the boogie merchants; flash but not too flash, loud but not complex, intricate but never above the fans heads. A perfect combination of talent and ability to judge what the audience wants to hear. In his way, Johnny Winter is to America what Slade are to England In this respect. Both acts are acutely aware of what to give their audience. Winter played a packed Madison Square Garden recently. The orchestra level patrons were out of their seats for the whole show and the crush at the front looked less than comfortable. It was up,up,up all the way: rock "n" roll from start tO finish punctuated only by Johnny's sorties towards the mike between songs and hoarse shouts along the lines of ."Do yer wanna rock "n" roll?" Unanimous "yeahs" inevitably bounced back. Most of his material was taken from the new "Saints and Sinners" album The last tim. I saw Winter, the band was just three musicians. This time he's added an extra guitar player which filled out the sound even more and, thankfulIy, rang the changes a little from number to number. A little variation has added considerably more colour to the band, even though the relentless boogie became a little wearying after in hour. There were times when you could walk outside for 20 minutes and return, convinced that the band was playlng the same number. It must have been frustrating for the performer that this particular part of the show seemed lost on the crowd who continued to yell for more "boogies." Some fans even chucked beer cans and the like on stage causing Winter to interrupt the proceedings with a warning that any more missiles and he would end the show there and then. It stopped although it didn't stop other factions inside the Garden from chucking lighted fireworks from the upper levels of this cavernous structure. Winter's decided he's there to entertain rather than educate. The audience, which included brother Edgar sat at the side of the stage, loved every move he made. -CHRIS CHARLESWORTH.

 

Thursday, 18 July 1974: Blues Summit in Chicago

Blues summit in Chicago, together with Muddy Waters, Willie Dixon, Junior Wells

This evening has been filmed and is available as Video: Blues Summit In Chicago

    Artists:
  • Muddy Waters, vocals, guitar 1-3,6,9,11
  • Michael Bloomfield, guitar 1-11
  • Dr. John, vocals 10, piano 1,2,5-11
  • Phil Guy, guitar 7-9
  • Willie Dixon, vocals 7,9,11
  • Koko Taylor, vocals 2,7,11
  • Buddy Miles, drums 2,6-11
  • Johnny Winter, vocals 2,8, guitar 6-11
  • Junior Wells, hca 3-6,8-11, vocals 2,4,5
  • Nick Gravenites, vocals 2,4, intro 3
  • Muddy Waters' Band (probably): Al Radford, bass 1,3-11 - ? guitar 1,3-5 - Willie "Big Eyes" Smith, drums 1,-3-5 - "Pine Top" Perkins, piano 1,3,4,11
    Tracks:
  1. "Blow Wind Blow/Introduction" (4.12)
  2. "Welcome and talk about the blues" (all)
  3. "Intro by Nick Gravenites/Long Distance Call" (10.41)
  4. "Messin' With The Kid" (3.47)
  5. "10 Long Years" (6.03)
  6. "Mannish Boy" (6.20)
  7. "Wang Dang Doodle" (3.12)
  8. "Walkin' Thru The Park" (4.20)
  9. "Hoochie Coochie Man" (5.09)
  10. "Sugar Sweet" (4.20)
  11. "Got My Mojo Working" (6.16)

Guitar Player - August 1974 Garden Concert

Beginning with his great grandmother's hundred-year old Spanish guitar with a neck "all horribly warped like a bow," Johnny Winter -- the Texas blues rocker -- has been stringing guitars since he was eleven. He's worked his way through the years with first a Gibson ES-125, then a white Stratocaster, a couple of Gibson Les Paul customs (one gold, one white), and a '66 Fender Mustang.

Johnny Winter 1974 Guitar Player magazine

 

With allowance money earned by grass mowing and lugging out garbage, Beaumont, Texas' best-known guitarist began accumulating his giant record collection of rock and roll (Carl Perkins, Elvis Presley, Little Richard, Fats Domino, etc.), post-war Chicago blues (Muddy Waters , Howlin' Wolf, Otis Rush, Sonny Boy Williamson, etc.), and later the blues of the Mississippi Delta, of Louisians, and Texas. "Lightnin' Slim and Lonesome Sundown and Lazy Lester; I mixed all that stuff up," Winter recalls. "A lot of it was still on 78s, but on the backs of albums by people like Muddy Waters I'd read about Robert Johnson, and Son House, and Leadbelly, and Blind Lemon. When their albums finally did come out, I'd remember their names and buy them, buy the Delta blues."

Today, Winter is still listening to those same artists, having found little in the more recent music scene that interests him with the exception of Jimi Hendrix, early Jeff Beck, Eric Clapton, and now John McLaughlin.

Even though Fender guitars are his favorite sounding instruments, Winter invariably hangs Gibsons around his neck, since he likes to rest his hand on a bridge which isn't as far down as on Fenders which he says further plague him because of their middle pickups, the tremolo bar's "interference with intonation," and because Johnny doesn't feel he can get as great a switch in tone when he pushes the strings as he can with a Gibson.

Winter, an engaging and jovial interviewee, answers questions quickly and thoroughly in an unabashed drawl "speeded up to a New York pace." But most interestingly, his responses come in a surprisingly expansive delivery (that unfortunately cannot be conveyed by the printed word) characterized by the timing of the best of story-tellers, by ready and accurate imitations of those of whom he speaks, and muted by a self-mockery that's back-handed but gloved.

When did you first get involved in music?

I started playing clarinet, but the orthodontist said I was going to have a bad overbite and that I'd better quit, so I found a ukulele around the house and daddy taught me a few chords. I had a rabbit that I liked a whole lot, and when the rabbit died my great grandfather felt sorry for me and bought me a baritone uke. I played that for a couple of years, me and Edgar, doing those barber shop quartet harmony things that daddy would teach us, like "Ain't She Sweet" and "Bye-Bye Blackbird." I didn't want to play guitar for a long time because my hands were too small, and those finger positions were too strange. But daddy said, "The only two big ukulele guys I can think of are Ukulele Ike and Arthur Godfrey. You don't really have too much chance playing ukulele. You'd better try guitar!" And then when rock and roll started coming out, and there weren't any uke players in rock and roll that I really liked, I thought, "OK, I'll try guitar."

How did you first get acquainted with the blues?

There was this black disc jockey on this black station in Beaumont who was also a guitar player. His name was Clarence Garlow. [A recording artist also for such labels as Aladdin, Feature, Flair, Folk Star, Goldband, Lyric, etc.] He had a blues show, and I called him up and asked him to play songs on the air for me. We got to be friends, and I'd go down to his show. He's the first guy that really played the blues that I ever came into contact with. He played like a mixture of the blues and Cajun stuff like Clifton Chenier: French-oriented blues. He was a weird guy, but he was nice, he was cool. Not too many white people were into the blues and Clarence could tell I was really digging it, so he didn't mind taking the time out -- like I was his protégé. I'd come down and he'd show me things. He'd play anything I wanted to hear. He was the first guy who turned me on to unwound thirds [strings]. I'd listen to those blues records like Bobby Bland and Otis Rush, and I wondered, "How can they push their strings, how can they do this!," like with a regular old set of Gibson Sonomatics [laughs]! So I used a whole lot of the tremolo bar and got that down until it sounded pretty close to where it should, even with an unwound third. Then I found what most people did was to take a second string and put it on the third, and they'd play with the regular bottom part and two seconds and then a first. And then I wanted to get real cool: I used a second for the third, a first for the second and an A tenor banjo string for the first. That was really cool, really hot lick! To say the least, it helped a lot.

Was Clarence Garlow your only teacher?

No there were several guys. I never took lessons like to learn how to read music or where to put my fingers. I would just ask these guys to show me whatever they thought I ought to know. The guy who really started me off was a guy named Luther Naley, a really good country guitar player. The last time I talked to him he was playing bass with Roy Rogers [laughs]. Luther was working at Jefferson Music Company in Beaumont. I guess he thought I was good, and we got to be really good friends. I really dug fingerstyle -- Merle Travis/Chet Atkins things. I still love those guys. Chet Atkins is a fantastic guitar player. I just got off on a completely different game. Country and western was all around, and Luther played real good country and western. He'd show me things like "Honky-Tonk." He'd really go to a lot of trouble. If I'd ask him to show something to me he didn't know, he'd go and get the record, and figure it out and come back and show me. When I got interested in blues, Luther really didn't know too much at all about that, so I picked that up a lot on records. I knew enough to go on from there by myself. I could listen to the record and learn the licks myself. For a while there was another guy, Seymore Drugan, that played in gig bands, and in the old days he worked for Rickenbacker for a while. He was kind of a jazz guitar player. I took two or three lessons from him and learned some chords and different things. I didn't want to get into jazz, but I thought it would be cool to learn some of the things that he could show me. His son, Dennis, ended up being my bass player in my first rock and roll band, Johnny and the Jammers [laughs].

When you were learning from records did you steal licks or did you just get the feel?

I would just learn how to play the record note-for-note. After I kind of got the feel of what was supposed to be going on, I just took what I heard and assimilated it, and I guess it would come out part mine and part everybody else's. There's nobody that really plays original. You can't. You can find some of everybody's licks in almost everybody's playing, but I tried to make it my own after I got the basic things down.

Did your parents support you psychologically?

At first they supported me, but they tried to convince me that it probably wouldn't be the coolest thing to do; that I'd be on the road all the time, and that all musicians were either drunks, dope addicts, or sexual perverts of some kind. And I said, "It don't have to be that way though." Of course, they were right. But after they realized that that was what I wanted to do, they did everything they could to help me.

Were they themselves musicians?

Mom played the piano and sang a little bit, just strictly for fun, and daddy played in the college bands -- sax and a little banjo, just mostly for fun.

Were you and [brother] Edgar the only white people in town that were really into the blues?

Edgar was never into the blues. He couldn't stand it. He plays his John Coltrane and Dave Brubeck records for me and says, "Now isn't that great?" and then I play my Muddy Waters and Lightnin' Hopkins records for him and say, "Now isn't that great?" and then I'll say "But what is that stuff you're playing for me, man? I don't feel it -- I mean there's feeling in it, but it just sounds like a bunch of notes; now listen to this!" and then I'll play some record where the guitar's out of tune and someone's screaming, and he'll say, "That's not even music! That's terrible, man! The guitar's not in tune, it doesn't have a melody line, nobody's playing together... " And I'll say, "Yeah, but it feels so good!" And he'll say, "It just makes me feel sick!" So when we were growing up it just went on and on like that. It's still going on [laughs]. We both have respect for what each other are doing, but really wouldn't want to be doing it ourselves. As to Edgar's jazz, it's fun to listen to, but I wouldn't want to live there.

Were you unique --

[Laughs] Ah man, I was really unique. Everybody thought I was crazy. Nobody wanted to hear that stuff. I was almost embarrassed to play it. I used to shut my door and people would come by and say, "What is that music, man? You don't really like that stuff!" I didn't find one other friend that liked the blues until I was about 23 or 24.

What about Clarence Garlow and....

Yeah, black people, yeah! I'd go to black clubs and play the blues, but that's the only place. I'd get a few gigs, and I'd go sit in places like The Raven. I met B.B. King there. I jammed with him the first time I met him. One night when I was about 18 I went down there. We were the only white people in a club of about 1,500 people. Nobody bothered us at all. Everybody was real cool, because I knew them from hanging around there before. B.B. was playing, and I wanted to show off, man, so bad. I wanted him to know I could play. And the more I drank the more I wanted to sit in. Finally, a few of my black friends came over and said, "Come on, man, why don't you sit in with B.B.?" And so finally I went up on break and asked him if I could [laughs]. B.B. thought I was crazy. He said, "Can I see a union card?" I whipped out my union card, and that shook him up, ‘cause that usually gets them, you know? I mean, if I was him, I wouldn't let anybody play. It was absurd, man: Some little white kid asking to sit in and play. He was big. People loved him. He just couldn't have me sitting in when he didn't know if I could play or not. He said, "Well, I don't know, you don't know our songs." I said, "Man, I know your songs. I know all your songs. I can play anything, just let me play." "I don't know," he said. "Let me think about it." Then my friends come over and said, "Is he going to let you?" "I don't know," I said. "Why don't you go ask him?" So we started out, about two or three hundred black people started yelling, "Come on! Let him sit in, man! Come on!" Finally B.B. realized that even if I wasn't any good, I had enough friends there that it wouldn't hurt to let me sit in and make an ass of myself. So, he let me play. I think I did one of his tunes, and everybody just flipped out. This was before any white people wanted to be a part of that scene, and those people knew I was really sincere, and I really wanted to be friends and loved their music. Anyway, everybody just flipped out and went crazy. B.B. told me, "Man, you're great! Keep on doing it, and you'll be successful someday." I saw him again years later, and he remembered me immediately, hugged me, and said all kinds of great things about me in all of his interviews. He really helped me a lot -- great person. But I used to hang out at The Raven and jam with whoever I could -- Bobby Bland, Junior Parker, pretty much everybody came in there. I kept doing that until the race thing started getting weird. A lot of younger black people were starting to resent white people coming into their club, and so I just didn't feel comfortable and quit hanging out there. It was a mixture of things. Partly, "You haven't let us into your clubs so why should we let you in our clubs?," and also because by that time the blues got to be a thing they didn't like. They didn't want black people playing it, much less white people. It was a disgrace to them; it was like the music of the poor ignorant black people. Before, you'd go to somebody's house, and you'd see Lightnin' Hopkins and Muddy Waters records, but after a while they'd break those records and get Nina Simone albums, and whatever else was supposed to be cool. The old stuff, blues, just went out. The black people were ashamed of it, and white people didn't like it yet. So there was just nobody to hear it until the young English guys started picking up on it.

What sort of guitars are you using now?

Firebirds, I love Firebirds.

Any modifications?

Just taking the tremolo off and changing the tailpiece.

Have you ever played around with different necks, like maple as opposed to rosewood?

Not really. I don't really know the difference. I like kind of large frets, but what the neck's made out of doesn't seem to really matter. I like real high action. I had it pretty high before I played slide, because I played hard. Just for pushing strings it's important for it to be high. When I have low action I can't get my finger under the string to push it as well. I'm just lost on a guitar with low action. The main thing I worry about when getting guitars is how easy it is to push the strings, how many notes I can get.

Where do you set the tone and volume?

Everything on all the way.

And what about your amps?

Everything on all the way, and all treble and no bass. We're using a stack of 100-watt Marshalls. One head and two bottoms, and one head and two bottoms of the Ampeg SVT's.

What amps are you using in the studio, the same Marshalls?

Yeah, pretty much. I used to hate Marshalls, they were just way too distorted. I didn't want to use anything except [Fender] Twins, but I guess after this many years of listening to music it's just kind of changed my way of hearing the guitar. I kind of like the distortion of Marshalls now. I like a little distortion. Not a gigantic amount but -- 'specially in a small group because you need more noise, a little more sustain. But the larger the group, the less distortion really fits in. All depends on the type of music I'm playing. On a slow pretty song, I don't like any distortion. But if it's a "Get it on!" with all that screaming, I like distortion.

What's your monitor system?

I don't know [laughs]! I don't even know how to plug in my amps any more, man! I don't know what's going on. I'm back in the old days of Fender Bassmans with no piggiebacks, and Super Reverbs and all that kind of stuff. That's the stuff I understand. I don't know what's going on now [laughs]. I really don't.

What sort of guitars have you got besides the Firebirds?

I've got three Firebirds. I've got a '58 or '59 sunburst Gibson. I'm terrible on remembering models, but it's a jumbo flat-top -- no fancy inlay work on it, probably the cheapest. I used it on stuff like "Cheap Tequila" and "Too Much Seconal" [Still Alive and Well]. Pretty much anything I need an acoustic guitar for, unless I'm using one of my steel Nationals. I love those little guitars [Nationals]. I've got a new one and a couple of old ones; I collect them. I've also got a two-pickup, solidbody Epiphone. I've got a doubleneck, I've got a fairly new V [Gibson Flying V], and this one isn't one of those really horrible new ones. In fact, it's pretty good. I'm not sure what year any of them are. I've also got a really strange all-metal guitar made by John Veleno. It's got the thinnest neck in the world. Since it's solid metal, you don't have to worry about it warping. But I'm not quite used to it. The neck's a little too thin. The worst part about it is that the neck is silver, and it's got little black dots on it, and when the spotlight is shining on the neck I really can't see the dots, so I haven't been using it on stage. But he makes pretty nice guitars. If I played it, and got used to it, I think it'd be a real nice guitar to play.

Do you read music?

No. I don't have the faintest idea.

How do you communicate what you want to the other musicians in the studio? Do you get someone else to write it down?

No, never [laughs]! No, no! Nobody in my band would have any idea if I wrote anything out. I just say, "Play this song," and if I don't like it, I'll say I don't like it and try to explain what it is that I don't like about it. We just work it out until it starts sounding good. It's kind of a trial and error thing. My way definitely isn't very rigid, things just kind of fall into place.

So you never got into theory or books or that sort of approach to music?

No, there wasn't any of that stuff I wanted to learn. I just wanted to learn some hot licks so I could show off [laughs].

Did you practice regularly?

It wasn't systematic, it was just that I didn't do nothing else. Every second that I wasn't doing something else that I had to do, I'd be playing guitar. It was just an obsession. I guess I played at least six or eight hours a day from the time I started until I was 15. Then when I started playing in groups, I didn't practice unless we were having a band practice. I'd just sit around too much. Otherwise, it was more like an hour a day.

Do you practice now?

Yeah, but usually it's when we're going to go on tour or going to make a record. I'll go a couple weeks and never even touch my guitar. Of course, when I start back, it definitely takes a week or so to get back in shape. It's hard making myself practice 'cause there's not much I'm interested in learning. I like my style, and if I'm working up a new tune, or if I do hear something that turns me on and I want to figure out how it's done, then I get out my guitar. But pretty much it's just practicing for a reason. We play so much on tour, that usually when I get off the road I don't want to see my guitar for a while anyway.

Do you use the little finger of your left hand very much?

I do use it some, but not as much as most people. I learned how to play all wrong. Same thing with my right hand. Since I started out playing Chet Atkins' style, I used a thumb pick. Really a flat pick would have been a lot better, but I've just been doing it so long, it'd be too hard to switch. And I never used my left little finger much until I finally decided that you could do a lot better things if you used all five fingers instead of four of them. And so I just made myself learn; and it was really hard. My little finger still isn't as strong as it should be, so if I want to use strength I use my ring finger instead.

Which do you use for the slide?

I started out using my ring finger, until a friend of mine in the Denver Folklore Society advised me to switch to my little finger so I could play chords and do all those other things with the other fingers. I've had my slide for years. I was using test tubes and playing with the back of my wristwatch and everything imaginable, and he said I'd better go to a plumbing supply place and get a 12-foot long piece of conduit pipe and have it cut into pieces and rounded out on one side. When I got it, it was kind of dull, gray, and real rough. Then I just played and wore that off, and it became kind of a shiny black, and then I played it for a little while longer and wore that off, and now it's kind of silver. Crust just sort of built up inside: Rust and dirt and sweat and everything. I love it! I don't even have any backup slides. I don't know how I've managed to keep myself together enough to keep this slide for five years [laughs].

How do you get your vibrato?

It wasn't until about '67 that I started using my fingers. Up to that point I always used the tremolo bar. And about that time, to be a cool guitar player you had to use your fingers. It was cheating if you used the bar. So I wanted to be cool like everybody, so I figured, "If those guys coming up can do it with their fingers, let them! I'll learn to do it with my fingers, too [laughs]!" I worked at it about a year getting better and better until I got to the point that the tremolo bar got in my way. It's harder to keep your guitar in tune with, so I'd really rather not use one, even though there are effects that are cool. Like Jimi Hendrix could use one so good! And people would put him down for using it, but man, it was just a whole different dimension when he used it. Even when his guitar would be horribly out of tune, he could play so cool, you'd hardly ever know it. He had a way of bending the strings just enough to where it could sound in tune, even though it was horribly out of tune. Like, if I'd pick it up and play a chord on his guitar, it would sound ungodly. I don't think there's anything wrong with using the bar, if you can do it and get a lot of extra effects. But it gives me a little extra trouble, and I'd just rather not have one.

Who makes your thumb pick?

Gibson. I wish I knew the exact model because they quit making them. I've been playing with these for so long it's the only pick I can play with. Luckily, I bought a hundred of them a couple of years ago, because I had so much trouble finding them, and a few months after that Gibson quit making them. I still got about 50 left, but I'm going to have to quit playing the guitar when I run out, unless I can talk Gibson into making me some more [laughs]. I figure once I get down to the last 20 I'm going to get up there and plead and beg, "Please you guys, I'll do anything!"

When you're picking do you alternate up-and-down strokes?

I don't really think about it. When I started out with the Chet Atkins' stuff I was using those metal fingerpicks, and they just got in my way, so I quit using them. But on my blues stuff, I'm still using my fingers some; mostly the first and second finger with the thumb.

Where do you get your licks? Off chords, off scales, off patterns?

I don't know [laughs]! I just hear them, man! I've listened to so many records and heard so many different things going on that I don't think about it. They just come from everything I've heard. I don't think scales, chords, or patterns.

What sort of strings are you using?

.009, .011, .016, .024, .032, .042. The brand doesn't matter.

How often do you change them?

When they break [laughs]. When the low ones start to really sound funky I'll usually change them -- or if I break one low one, that sounds too weird [to just change the one], so I'll change all of them. If I break a high one, it doesn't make any difference. With the top three: First, second, and third, I'll just change the individual strings, but if I break the fourth, fifth, or sixth, I'll change them all.

On stage are you very improvisational or do you repeat what you did on records?

A little of both. I've heard my albums so many times that I'll tend to play an hour or two almost like it was on the record. But I play a lot more guitar on stage than I do on record, so I can't really just repeat things. My playing's pretty much spontaneous. Sometimes I'll just decide to throw in something we've never done before to see if the band can handle it. I get real bored playing the same thing over and over again. It really drives me crazy. I like working clubs better than a record. But everyone in the band listens to the same records, so if I say, "Let's try this one," it'll usually come out pretty good. We learn more things on the bandstand then we would practicing. After I learned how to play guitar I never have liked to practice that much. I get off on turning people on. It's hard for me to put everything into it, when I know there's nobody there.

Do you use any tone modifying devices?

No. That stuff is so complicated that it just freaks me out. When I try any kind of gadget, it ends up ruining the show. I don't have the patience to work with it, until I get it right. I just go crazy, rip it out, and throw it at the road crew [laughs]. After trying everything in the world, I decided that that stuff just wasn't right for me. A gadget will work just fine in practice, but as soon as I get it out there [on stage], it gets scared. I think it gets stage fright. It freaks out. It thinks, "No, I can't do it! I won't work right!" If I ever found something that worked right, that I could control, I'd be the biggest gadget freak in the world. But they don't work for me, they don't like me. Sometimes, in the studio I'll use the wah-wah or the Univibe. I really like the Leslie-effect Univibe thing. But it seems like those gadgets are a big myth, although some people can work them so that they do add to the sound of their playing. But if you use them to cover up bad playing, or if they're the only thing exciting about your playing, they're useless.

What sort of tunings are you using?

Open A and open E. Sometimes I play slide in regular tuning, but not too often.

Did you ever get any ear damage?

I don't know if my ears have been damaged, but I know they feel damaged [laughs]. After a tour, sometimes the ringing in my ears will be louder than the people talking, but as long as I have time enough off, it goes away completely.

Have you had them tested?

Yeah, they're OK. I was very happy about that. But it definitely messes them up, if you don't take off. It's a lot worse for the people that are sitting out in front. I try to have my amps off to the side where it's not nearly so loud where I'm standing as it would be for the people in the second or third row. You couldn't pay me to go to a concert and sit up there in front. It's really dangerous. We were up to 135 decibels one night! I couldn't believe it! Those kids loved it. They were just right there with their ears against the amps. We had a kid one night that crawled up into the speaker horn! I'm sure he was just completely loaded, man! That much sound would just drive you crazy.

You once said that you and Jimi Hendrix didn't jam well together because you respected each other too much.

Yeah, we'd both just lay back and wait for the other one. I felt weird, man, because I loved his stuff, but I felt weird with him playing rhythm. I'd play a little bit, and then I'd lay back and wait for him to play, and he'd start laying back and waiting for me to play, you know. We jammed a lot of different places, and were in the studio a couple of times together. He'd get a bunch of his friends in, just jamming all night.

Did either of you sneak anything in on each other's records?

No, I never did do it. There's a bootleg out in London I was supposed to have played on, but I listened to it, and it definitely isn't me. It's horrible.

Do you have any advice for upcoming musicians?

In the early days nobody had the technical ability that they do nowadays. There weren't really good, fancy, rock and roll guitar players. Like Chuck Berry was the best, but it was pretty much just rhythmic things. It was a struggle for guitar players to just play Chuck Berry stuff. Like he was the Jimi Hendrix of the '50s, and nobody could play like that. Now guitar players are starting out playing stuff that's hard or harder. So kids are coming up with a lot more technical ability, but they don't know exactly how to use it, and how to fit it in with taste. I've talked to so many people who have been playing for a year-and-a-half or two years, and they're pretty fast, and they want to make it right. They don't realize that you've got to play, you've got to practice for years. You've got to play with other musicians, play a lot of different kinds of music to where you really know what you're playing, and why you're playing it. Not just throw in things and say, "Look, man, I can play a bunch of notes, man! I can play as fast as Albert Lee!" Some people will put stuff like that in some song where it don't have the least bearing on anything else that's going on. I guess things are so speeded up now that the general attitude is, "I want it, and I want it now!" But it really takes years if you're going to do it right, and a lot of kids just don't want to take the time to work on it and see where it's all going, and what it means, and where it comes from, and how they should apply it and use it in playing their songs. It doesn't make any difference how technically good or fast you are or how many notes you know; you just can't do it in two years.

In other words, the drive for stardom is not the same as the love of music?

No, it definitely isn't. Like I want to do a little bit of both, but you got to start out with the love for music. So many people just buy a guitar because they decided, "I want to be a rock and roll star. I'm going to learn how to play this son of a bitch." And after they get a few runs down they think, "Okay, it's time for me to be a star." You know, I was really ready to play for fifty bucks a week, if that's what it took. I wanted to be a rock and roll star, definitely, because I wanted to be accepted, and I wanted people to think I was good at what I did, but the basic drive and main thing was that I really liked what I was doing. You've got to have that first, or you can't make it.

15 August 1974: Inglewood Forum

Sunday, 18 August 1974: US Marine Corps Broadcast

Broadcast by the US Marine Corps starting the week of 18 Aug 1974 of "Bony Moronie", released on vinyl by Spectrum USA / Dialogue '74

Broadcast by the US Marine Corps starting the week of 18 Aug 1974 Broadcast by the US Marine Corps starting the week of 18 Aug 1974
Broadcast by the US Marine Corps starting the week of 18 Aug 1974  

 

Oor Magazine (Netherlands), 28 Aug 1974

 

Magazine October 1974

EVERYONE, by now, knows what Johnny Winter looks like, even if they've never heard the man's music (those who haven't will certainly be deemed fortunate by critics of Winter's recent albums).You'd have to be as short sighted as Winter is himself not to recognise his distinctive albinoid features. He's in Britain at the moment, preparing for the only British concert of his current European tour, at the New Victoria Theatre in London. The band he's brought with him for the tour includes regular Winter sidemen, Randy Hobbs and Richard Hughes, on bass and drums respectively. They've been with Winter for some time, and both appeared on his recent albums. A more recent addition to the band is second guitarist Floyd Radford. He joined a matter of weeks ago, and the London concert will mark his first appearance with Winter " We'd been playing as a trio for some time" explains Winter, his eyes half closed and permanently crossed" and I really wanted somebody else to help with my writing. "I was looking for another guitarist all the time I was finishing off my record, and it looked as if we were gonna come over here as a trio.

Then Floyd came up from California I'd known him for four ar five years, and I'd jammed with him before a few times (Radford was a member of Edgar Winter's band) and luckily it worked cut perfectly. We've only had four rehearsals, but it all fell together. We just got up and plaved." Essentially, it will be the same kind of situation that existed between W1nter and Rick Derringer, with the two guitarists working off each other. "Y'know, I go through phases where I don't want to play with anyone else. Sometimes I feel that I want to do everything myself. I just don't want anybodv on that stage with me. "Then, sometimes, if it's the right person, I really enjoy it I like to improvise a lot, so it's gotta be somebody who fits in naturally, the kind who knows my style and where I'm going. "The trio went down really well in America, but I think that it is really something that excites me more than it does an audience. But it can help to have scmebcdy to work off of, especially if you're having an off night. The other person can act as a kind of inspjration." So what about the new album, which you've recently completed, and which includes a new John Lennon song, " Rock 'n' Roll People "?

I was really glad to get that song, because John's been one of my favourite people for a long time. " And I've been hustling for a song from him for three or four albums. When I did the "Still Alive And Well" album, we called him up and asked if he had any extra rock 'n' roll songs. "And he said that if he did have any, he was keeping them for himself because he was just as short of material. " Then he was recording at the same studio as us and my producer talked to him and mentioned that I was recording there, and asked again if he had any songs we could use. "Rock 'n' Roll People" he'd written for hirnself, and had done it. But it hadn't come together right, and he didn't like it for himsef, so he gave me the tape and it was just perfect for me.' So, what ahout the rest of the album?

"It's a fairly strange record actually. It's got about half of what you might call old Johnny Winter. It's got three blues songs I wrote, kinda traditional songs "It's more like the kinda thing I was doing about '69. And then, it's also got some really radically different material. There's some blues, some rock 'n' roll, and then some very heavily produced ballads that I wrote. "And they're really out of character for me, and for what people expect from me. And then there's a country song called "Love Song To Me" which is about how much I love myself." Did the album, to some degree, return to the earlier days of the Winter bands? "Well, I've always wanted to be accepted for whatever I do well. I don't really want to change direction at all, I want to go in any direction I feel like following. "It's strange because when I was playing clubs down in Texas, variety was the main thing that people expected You had to be able to play everything "Then when I really made it I tended to ge: categorised as either this or that. You could do whatever you wanted as long as it was what people wanted and expected to hear from you. "Anything else they didn't wanna know. What I've been doing ever since I made it, is to get myself out of the kind of categories that people were trying to place me in. "It's a very difficult process. Audiences always want to hear something they know. "If you play them a song they've never heard, they don't usually wanna know, however well you play. I usually try to compromise and play half what the audience wanna hear, and half what I wanna play. "If I played just what they wanted and I didn't like it, then people would be able to tell. Because I'm not a very good actor, and it would come across. "And by the same token, if I played just for myself, then I should be doing that in my bedroom or somewhere. You have to remember that people have paid to see you, and they're gonna be pretty disappointed if they don't hear certain songs. "You tend to feel obligated then, even if you.ve played a song a half a million times, and have vowed never to do it again."

Winter's recent enforced absence from music, if nothing else, forced him to reevall1ate the way his career was developing. When he came back he decided that he wouldn't be trapped on any more gruelling coast-to-coast tours that went on for weeks and weeks. "I don't like being on the I road so much anymore. So I just don't do it. Like one of the things that really split me up was that on tour you don't have any roots. It's like you're in a different dimension "It gets to be really weird You get to feel not quite alive after the endless strain. We do at the most six weeks on the road, then take a vacation so I can concentrate on other things like writing and pruducing. "Music isn't what I want to get away from, I like working, but not on the road I'm still as active." I suggest that there has been som shift of emphasis from the essentially guitar led bands that dominated rock when Winter was last here.

"Yeah, I guess that's true I wanted to come over here a few days before we played the gig, so I cou1d find out what people are into. You orientated here. Now I don't know quite what to expect." The concert has been a sell-out, say reports. He looks a touch relieved. "Yeah? That's fantastic ... Y'know I was kinda hoping there'd be a few people around who would still be interested in what I was doing....."

Creem, Oct 1974

Johnny Winter's 108 inches, Photos holding oversized guitar.
Johnny Winter says: "Uh-oh, looks like I'll need a new pick." This guitar is make by Harmony, and is based on their old 1265 model. It was made 5 years ago a task which took some 600 man hours. It is 9' tall and weighs 85 pounds (380 pounds in its packing crate). It is 16,000 cubic inches, as compared to 1024 cubic inches for a regular guitar. It is the star of a David Frost show and a Johnny Cash Nashville Special, and will make a March appearance on NET's Mr. Rogers Neighborhood Show. It is worth $5000. There are 3 such guitars in the world, and it has won a listing in the Guiness Book of Records.

 

Tuesday, 22 October 1974: BBC TV studio, London, England

The TV session was for "The Old Grey Whistle Test" program (2 songs broadcast). The song "Jumpin' Jack Flash" has been released on the "DVD Old Grey Whistle Test Volume 3" l The photos below originated from this event.

 

Johnny Winter in 1974

 

Johnny WInter, Floyd Radford and Hughes,
Copyright 1998 Caesar Glebbeek - Used by permission. All rights reserved. E-mail: univibes@indigo.ie WWW: http://www.univibes.com

Johnny Winter BBC Grey Whistle 1974


Johnny, Floyd and Hughes,
Copyright 1998 Caesar Glebbeek - Used by permission. All rights reserved. E-mail: univibes@indigo.ie WWW: http://www.univibes.com

Johnny Winter BBC Grey Whistle 1974


Taken during a break, and Johnny playing some solo blues stuff.
Copyright 1998 Caesar Glebbeek - Used by permission. All rights reserved. E-mail: univibes@indigo.ie WWW: http://www.univibes.com

Johnny Winter BBC Grey Whistle 1974

 

 

Friday, 25 October 1974: Mind Over Matter

On 25 October 1974 was the official release date of Johnny Winter's single: "Mind Over Matter" in the UK

Saturday, 26 October 1974: New Victoria Theatre, London

 

Johnny Winter at New Victoria London 1974

 This Johnny Winter concert at the New Victoria Theatre has been issued on a bootleg recorded CD, "Golden days of Rock'n Roll"

The setlist of Johnny Winter at New Victoria London 1974 included:

    Setlist:
  1. Good love
  2. Boney maronie
  3. Roll with me
  4. Stone county
  5. Golden olden days of rock'n'roll [great!]
  6. Mean mistreater
  7. Black cat bone
  8. Silver train
  9. Slide jam [with bits of "leavin' blues" and "rollin' & tumblin'"]
  10. Silver train reprise

Randy Hobbs, Richard Hughes, Floyd Radford. Floyd joined the band only a weeks ago, and this London concert marks his first appearance with Winter. "We'd been playing as a trio for some time"; explains Winter. "and I really wanted somebody else to help me with my writing. I was looking for another guitarist all the time I was finishing off my record, and it looked as if we were gonna come over here (London) as a trio. Then Floyd came up from California, I'd know him for four or five years and I'd jam with him before a few times and it luckily worked out perfectly. We've had only four rehearsals, but it all fell together. We just got up and play.

Winter in an interview with Allan Jones (probable 1974)
Well I've always wanted to be accepted for whatever I do well, I don't really want to change direction at all, I want to go in any direction I feel like following. It's strange because when I was playing clubs down in Texas, variety was the main thing that people expected to hear from you. Anything else they didn't wanna know. What I've been doing ever since I nade it is to get myself out of the kind of categories that people were trying to place me in.
It's a very difficult process. Audiences always want to hear something they know. If you play them a song, they've never heard, they usually don't wanna know, however well you play. I usually try to compromise and play half what the audience wanna hear and half what I wanna play. If I played just what they wanted and I didn't like it, then people would be able to tell. Because I'm not a very good actor, and it would come across. And by the same token, if I played just for myself, then I should be doing that in my bedroom or somewhere. YOu have to remember that people have paid to see you and they're gonna be pretty disappointed if they don't hear certain songs.
You tend to feel obligated then, even if you've play a song a half a milliion times and have vowed never to do it again.

New Musical Express 26 October 1974

JOHNNY WINTER was in a very good mood. He'd been rehearsing with his new band for the European trip, the new album was about to be mastered and, aside from the fact that he wasn't yet sure what he would wear onstage in England, everything was going smoothly. Everything, that is, except this interview. One day the reporter was ill, another day the snarling New York traffic prevented our date with destiny . . . finally alter several attempts, Johnny Winter and your reporter managed to converse. Anyway . he was pretty excited about the trip to London. "I was trying to figure out last night when was the last ihe 1 was there . . . seems like it was 1971; it's been quite a while. People always told me that 1 would think it was strange over there because the audiences were quieter and more subdued, but 1 didn't find it that way at all. They were exactly the Same as American audiences if you do a good job and played rock and roll music, people would rock and roll, and if you played quiet music they would sit there and listen." They don't toss as many fireerackers.

New Musical Express October 1974

 

"No, that would be nice," he laughed. "You know, that never really happened at all until last year or so. lt seems as though every concert that I've done, or every concert I've gone to . and it's not all the kids it's just some of them who come to the concert to raise hell, and don't care. But all that firecracker and bottle-throwing stuff in the past year or two has really gotten worse and worse. It's weird that you brought that up because I was talking to Teddy my road manager about that the other night, and 1 said to him if anything ever ha ^en to me with that stuff, sna-t resil~ hurt or something 1 don't know, I71 have te put chial.en wire around me e. necarrse it's really I'd really get hurt bad. We had a bottle thrown at the drums once and it put a deut ii the drum set you can imagine what would happen if that hit someone in the head_.." And when the spotlights are on you you can't see anybody. .. I don't think they really want to hurt you; they just want to throw things. Maybe they ought to have some kind of search thing and not let kids into concerts with firecrackers . . . bottles, things like that. It's really only the high energy music that does it, though. It's like in the early 1950's when they wanted to ban rock and roll because it incited riots and people would go crazy. "Like, we just want people to have a good time. Like a party we don't want to do anything destructive I don't know what it is about goodtime music that makes people go crazy and want to tear up things. I just consider it goodtime music."

AS FAR as the new album is concerned, it's finished except for the mastering. Johnny's written more songs for this record than he has on any previous album. Five of them. Three are pretty blues based, he says, some of them are blues/ rock and some of them are blues the way he used to do it a long time ago. "This album is really strange because it's got some of the really older Johnny Winter stuff that 1 haven't done in a long time and it's got some very different things that people are not gonna believe are me. ?wo of the songs I wrote: one of them is a country and western tune about myself called "Love Song To Me" just about how much 1 love myself ... and I wrote an other really pretty ballad.

IS JOHNNY WINTER, perchance, on remote control? Through some incredible duplicating memory process he managed quite successfully to introduce the same combination of riffs into every number he and his remarkably lacklustre band tackled -right through from the only interesting toon of the evening, a new Rick Derringer, "Roll With Me" to "Mean Mistreater" and a meti-culously pedestrian "Good Love." The band comprises former McCoy and perennial Winter sideman, bassist Randy Jo Hobbs, and former Texan Winter copyists Richard I Hughes on drums and Floyd ,Radford on guitar.

 

.Radford mimics Winter's licks with roneo accuracy, Hughes' drumming is notable only for its absence of ferocity and drive and Hobbs' bass playing is consequently unnecessarily fiddly, lacking in bite. Thus the onus lies solely with Winter and -hard to know whether his style has dated in comparison to the progress of his contemporaries, or whether he's actually got worse -he seems for the most part unable to shoulder the burden without being brought to his knees. An apparent lack of pre- publicity still assured that the house was almost full, and, de- spite the fact that it's over two years since Winter was last here anc! in the interim period he's hardly made up for his absence with any hot material, the audience still seemed willing to bust its collective lungs in wel- coming him. Their ardour, however, subsequently cooled. Johnny -if I may address hirn thus -took the stage in rebuilt denims and a kind of blouse arrangement based on the marriage of a table clothand a T -shirt, which, for much of the set, concentrated on tan-gling itself within the workings , of his Firebird. ! Radford- in lime green me- taljic trousers, silver boots and metallic jacket -shook his boyish crop out of time with the music and tried to indulge in a little fitful movement with Johnny, who, as N.K. remarked acidicly, moved about the stage like a senile Cracker scything a field. Hobbs, badass flat cap mounted at a rakish tilt, concentrated on working up a good hoodlum persona. They were awful. Other titles included "Black Cat Bone", ..Golden Olden Days Of Rock n' Roll", "Silver Train", "Bonev Maronie" & "Stone County". The highlight.of the evening arrived with Johnny's references to .moonshine whusky' in "Mean Mistreater". :-.Neeeext ... Pete Erskine.

Monday, 28 October 1974: Palais De Sport, Paris

    Setlist:
  1. The Good Love
  2. Stone County
  3. Roll With Me
  4. Bony Moronie
  5. Mean Mistreater
  6. Black Cat Bone
  7. Silver Train
  8. Slide Jam
  9. Rollin' & Tumblin'
  10. Jumping Jack Flash
  11. Johnny B Goode (encore 1)
  12. Highway 61 Revisited (encore 2)
  13. Rock And Roll, Hoochie Koo (encore 3)
   

Rock Et Folk, November 1974

Rock and Folk Magazine Nov 1974

New Musical Express (Germany), 2 Nov 1974

Johnny Winter let's girls dance on the scene floor.

LÄSST MÄDCHEN AUF DER BÜHNE TANZEN

Endlich, endlich hat er sich nach langer Pause wieder auf Deutschlands Bühnen blicken lassen, der weisse Wirbel-wind der Rock-Musik. Johnny Winter absolvierte Ende letzten Jahres nach einer Drogenentziehungskur und nach vielen erfolgreichen Comeback-Auftritten in den Vereinigten Staaten eine Europa-Tournee, die ihn in Deutschland leider nur nach München und Frankfurt führte. Beide Konzerte waren. ausverkauft, in Frankfurt liess man Johnny sogar erst nach zwei Zugaben von der Bühne der Hoechster Jahrhunderthalle. Beim sehr später Abendessen beantwortete er die Fragen von ME-Reporter Lutz Wauligmann:

ME: Lohnt es sich eigentlich für einen in den USA so bekannten Musiker wie dich überhaupt in Europa aufzutreten? Johnny: Ob es sich finanziell lohnt, ist eine andere Frage. Mir macht es ganz einfach Spass nicht nur in Texas, Kalifornien oder New York aufzutreten, sondern auch für Leute in München, Frankfurt oder London zu spielen. Unsere Konzerte sind hier überall ausverkauft, trotzdem bezahlen wir bei einem Europa-Trip noch Geld dazu! Das tu' ich aber gerne. weil ich weiss wie sehr man mich und meine Band hier mag. Es klingt zwar unheimlich grosszügig, wenn ich sage, dass ich bei den Konzerten in Amerika das Geld verdiene, um es dann in die nichtrentable Europa-Tournee zu stecken - aber es ist schlicht und ein-fach die Wahrheit. Geld war nie wichtig für mich, dieser Spruch ist zwar reichlich abgedroschen, doch es ist wirklich nur Musik, was mich am meisten interessiert - jedenfalls nicht Geld.

ME: Apropos Musik. Bist du auch der Meinung, dass es momentan unheimlich wenig neue Sachen gibt auf dem Gebiet? Johnny: Richtig. Im Augenblick befindet sich die Rock & Musikszene auf einem Tiefpunkt. Aber das hat es schon öfter gegeben. Neue Trends wird es immer geben. Früher waren es Frank Sinatra, Eleis Presley oder die Beatles. Es wird immer neue Stars geben, die alle anderen Musiker enorm inspirieren. Moment-an passiert nichts Neues, aber das wird sich sehr bald wieder ändern. Musik wird es immer geben, weil sie viel an-törnender ist als Drogen oder Alkohol. Mit Musik 'high' werden ist das Schönste überhaupt. Augenblicklich wird zwar nicht mehr so viel improvisiert wie vor ein paar Jahren. die meisten Platten sind unheimlich durchdacht und arrangiert

ME: Ist dein neues Album, das jetzt gerade erschienen ist, auch perfekt durch-arrangiert? Johnny: In der Tat. Vermutlich ist es das ungewöhnlichste Album, das ich jemals aufgenommen habe. Ich selbst hab' für diese LP mehr Songs geschrieben als jemals zuvor. Es sind da ein paar Titel drauf, die mich sehr stark an den alten Johnny Winter von 1969 erinnern. Stücke also, die wir mit nur drei Musikern auf-genommen haben. Bei einigen Songs haben wir jedoch ganz schön rumgebastelt. In jedem Fall aber ist es typische Johnny Winter-Musik. Kompromisse gibt es bei mir nicht.

ME: Ein Titel auf dem neuen Album stammt aus der Feder von John Lennon. Wie ist es dazu gekommen? Johnny: John und auch die Rolling Stones sind bereits immer meine Lieblings-Komponisten gewesen. ich hab' schon erwähnt, dass ich auf dem neuen Album mehr Songs selbst geschrieben hab' als jemals zuvor, ganz einfach, weil ich mich nicht so sehr für einen Komponisten halte, sondern vielmehr für jemanden, der eine gute Show abzieht. ich nehme viel lieber ein Stück auf, das ein anderer geschrieben hat und das mir sehr gut gefällt, als dass ich mich selbst hinsetze und einen Song schreibe, der nur mittelmässig ist. Na, und die Komponisten, die mir gefallen, die trage ich einfach, ob sie was für mich schreiben wollen. So war es auch bei John Lennon. Ich hab' schon damals gefragt, als ich mit dem Album 'Still Alive And Well' beschäftigt war. Doch John steckte zu der Zeit selbst in einer Krise. Er sagte zu mir "Mann. wenn mir ein guter Rock' 'n'Roll-Song einfiele, würde ich ihn so-fort selbst aufnehmen". Dass sich jetzt auf meinem neuen Album eine John Lennon-Komposition befindet, ist eigentlich reiner Zufall. Das Stück heisst 'Rock'n' Roll People', und John hat es eigentlich für sich selbst geschrieben. Er hatte den Titel für sein gerade erschienenes Al-bum 'Walls And Bridges' geplant, aber er war mit seiner Version von 'Rock'n' Roll People' nicht ganz zufrieden. Zufäl lig waren wir beide zur gleichen Zeit in den New Yorker Record Plant Studios mit den Aufnahme für unsrer neuen LPs beschäftigt. John erinnerte sich, dass ich gerne eine seiner Kompositionen auf-nehmen wollte, deshalb schlug er mir vor, es doch mal mit 'Rock'n'Roll People' zu versuchen. Er war überzeugt, dass ich eher was damit anfangen könnte als er selbst. Ich war natürlich begeistert, hörte.mir den Song an, fand ihn sehr dufte und hab' ihn aufgenommen. Wie gesagt, wir arbeiteten beide im gleichen Gebäude. John in einem der oberen Stockwerke und ich im Erdgeschoss. Gleich nachdem ich seinen Titel aufgenommen hatte, rannte ich nach oben und spielte ihm das Tonband vor. John war wirklich ganz aus dem Häuschen, er tanzte regelrecht durchs Studio, und ich war glücklich darüber, dass ich ihn 1 nicht enttäuscht hatte.

ME: Wir wollen nicht vergessen zu et;; wähnen, wie dein neues Album heisst . . Johnny: Es steht ganz einfach nur mein voller Name 'John Dawson Winter 111' auf der Piattenhülile.

ME: Heute abend gab es beim Konzert in der Jahrhunderthalle einen Zwischen-fall, als ein reichlich ausgeflippter Fan auf die Bühne stürzte und dich beinahe zu Boden geworfen hätte. Hattest du keine Angst? Johnny: Der Kerl war wirklich ganz schön verrückt. Ich war mir nicht ganz klar darüber, ob der Typ mich nun mochte oder ob er mich umbringen wollte, Mann, war ich froh, als die Roadies ihn endlich von der Bühne geschleppt hatten.

ME: Vorher war auch schon ein Mädchen auf die Bühne gesprungen, um dort einen wilden Tanz vom Stapel zu lassen. Wie hast du darauf reagiert? Johnny: Oh, das fand ich sehr dufte. Als die Boas fies sie wegschleppten, hätte ich am liebsten hinterhergerufen "Komm. bringt sie zurück!"

 

Tuesday, 5 November 1974: Bremen TV Show

Johnny Winter with Floyd Radford on second guitar appear on a German TV solos, Floyd Radford performs some blistering guitar solos as well

Wednesday, 6 November 1974: Munich Kongressaal , Germany

 

Thursday, 7 November 1974: Jahrhunderthalle, Frankfurt/Main, Germany

Available on the bootleg album: Time

    Setlist:
  1. The Good Love
  2. Bad Luck Situation
  3. Roll With Me
  4. Bony Moronie
  5. Mean Mistreater
  6. Silver Train
  7. Slide Jam (includes) Rollin' & Tumblin')
  8. Silver Train
  9. Jumping Jack Flash
  10. Johnny B Goode (encore 1)
  11. Rock And Roll, Hoochie Koo (encore 2)

Saturday, 9 November 1974: Falkoner Theater, Copenhagen (Denmark)

    Setlist:
  1. Intro
  2. Good love
  3. Bad luck situation
  4. Roll with me
  5. Bony moronie
  6. Mean mistreater
  7. Black cat bone
  8. Silver train
  9. Slide jam [with some bits of "leavin' blues" and "rollin' & tumblin'"]
  10. Silver train [closing section]
  11. Jumpin' jack flash
  12. Johnny B. Goode

Review of Johnny Winter's concerts in Frankfurt and Munich

War das ein heisser Winter-Anfang!

In Frankfurt und München, und zuvor schon in London und Amsterdam, schwitzte das Publikum in proppenvollen Konzerthallen, und seit langem sah man wieder einmal Köpfe, die zum Takt kraftvoller Rockrhythmen rotierten, Leiber, die in Verzückung die wildesten Verrenkungen machten. Der Grund: Johnny Winter, der legendäre Gitarrist der Woodstock-Aera, ist nach bald fünfjähriger Abwesenheit zu uns zurückgekehrt. Dass man sich wirklich freuen durfte, bestätigt jeder, der dabei gewesen ist. Denn: Das hatte man nicht erwartet.

Denn wer hätte es ausgerechnet Johnny Winter zugetraut, Konzerthallen zu füllen, nachdem es nicht einmal Gruppen wie Deep Purple oder Sweet, die in der Publikumsgunst zuvorderst stehen, bei ihren letzten Tourneen fertiggebracht hatten. Zudem Johnny Winter war schon lange nicht mehr hier. Ausserdem wusste man, dass er drei Jahre in der Spritze hing und mehr als ein halbes Jahr in einem Nervensanatorium zum Entzug zubrachte. Der «schielende Albino» mit dem schlohweissen Haar brauchte keine Anwärmzeit. Gleich von Beginn an kam er mächtig in Fahrt. Seine Begleit-gruppe (ein zweiter Gitarrist, Bass und Schlagzeug) fegte los.

Dann kam Johnny und liess seine Gitarres sprechen. Bald hatte man die gewissheit: Er ist noch immer ein Gigant, seine Soli kommen sauber, glasklar und einfallsreich, er hat keine Effekthascherei, keine Tricks nötig, da ist sein Feeling, und da ist der Blues. Unglaublich, diese Vibrationen, die in die Beine, durch den ganzen Körper gehen, lassen einen nichtruhig dasitzen. Auch Johnny selber hilt es kaum aus.Er bewegt sich linkisch überiße Bühnenrampe, verzieht sein Gesicht, dreht sich um die eilee Achse, unbeholfen, beinabrf, tapsig; er richtet seine Gitarre wie ein Gewehr ins Publikum , entlockt ihr. ßie verrücktsten Tonkombinationen. funf minuten, zehn, das Solo dauert ab, Johnny geht in die Knie, derselbe Riff wird zum x-ten Mal gehracht, der Saal kocht.

Das ist die totale Musik, das ist Kommunikation ohne viele Worte. Der hässliche Blonde mit dem komischen Zylinder auf dem Kopf hat die Leute in der Hand, er ist pure Urgewalt, ohne Schnörkel und ohne Schminke. Johnny Winter, Leonard Cohen, Eric Clapton sie allen brachten in diesem herbst jede Menge Leute in ihre Konzerte, und sie törnten diese leute an. Ihre Namen stehen auch an der Spitze der Bestsellerlisten. Sie sind Profis, schon lange dabei. Und sie haben etwas gemeinsam: alle drei sind in den letzten Jahren für kurze oder längere Zeit untergetaucht.

Bei Claplon und Winter war es das Heroin, Cohen hatte einfach die Schmutze voll. Nun sind sie wieder da, um einiges reifer mild klüger. Und noch erfolgreicher als früher. Ob das ein Rezept ist, das auch fur andere gut ware?

 

Sunday, 10 November 1974: Stockholm (Sweden)

Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung 12 November 1974 review of "John Dawson Winter III"

 

13 November 1974 Soundstage announced

"Soundstage," a new series featuring pop music heavies known mainly by the 18-to-35 set, kicked off Tuesday on public TV with a one-hour salute to veteran bluesman Muddy Waters. The show is called "Blues Summit in Chicago." The saluters working with Waters are such celebrated — at least in Rolling Stone — citizens as Mike Bloomfield, Buddy Miles, Johnny Winter and Dr. John. After laboring through the show, all I can say is that it'll prove a total gas for blues freaks and interesting in varying degrees for serious and casual music fans alike

Monday, 25 November 1974: Capitol Theatre, Passaic, N.J.

    Setlist:
  1. Intro / Self destructive blues
  2. Bony moronie
  3. Roll with me
  4. Sweet papa john
  5. Pickup on my mojo
  6. Silver train
  7. Slide jam [with bits of "leavin' blues" and "rollin' & tumblin'"]
  8. Silver train [closing section]
  9. Johnny B. Goode
  10. Jumpin' Jack Flash
  11. Rock'n' roll, hoochie koo
  12. Roll over beethoven

7 Dec 1974: John Dawson Winter III #78

Monday, 9 December 1974: Civic Center, Nashville

Johnny Winter Promotional Letter
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