RIP Johnny Win­ter

Guitar Techniques - - Intro -

The late, and most def­i­nitely great, Texan gui­tarist John Daw­son ‘Johnny’ Win­ter.

The leg­endary blues­man Johnny Win­ter died on 16 July in his ho­tel room in Zurich, aged 70, at the end of a Euro­pean tour. His death came just four days af­ter play­ing what would prove to be his fi­nal per­for­mance, at the Lovely Days Fes­ti­val in Aus­tria.

Win­ter was born John Daw­son Win­ter II in 1944, and grew up in Beau­mont, Texas. He was born with al­binism, a con­di­tion that left Win­ter with a lack of pig­men­ta­tion in his hair, skin and eyes.

Win­ter said in a bi­og­ra­phy by Mary Lou Sul­li­van that his con­di­tion helped him iden­tify with African-Amer­i­can mu­si­cians, as: “We both had a prob­lem with our skin be­ing the wrong colour.”

He be­gan play­ing at an early age, and fell in love with the blues af­ter hear­ing it on the ra­dio, quickly de­vel­op­ing a fiery slide style us­ing both open E and open A tun­ings. He be­came one of the key play­ers as­so­ci­ated with the Gib­son Fire­bird, a guitar he once de­scribed as “the best of all worlds”.

Af­ter see­ing his 1968 per­for­mance with Michael Bloom­field and Al Kooper at Man­hat­tan’s Fill­more East, Columbia Records ex­ec­u­tives signed him for $600,000 – which was then the big­gest ad­vance in record in­dus­try his­tory. Win­ter re­leased his de­but and played Wood­stock in 1969, and though he never reached the lev­els of su­per stardom of con­tem­po­rary blues-rock pi­o­neers such as The Jimi Hen­drix Ex­pe­ri­ence and Cream, he re­mained true to his roots through­out a var­ied and re­ward­ing ca­reer. He pro­duced a trio of Grammy-win­ning al­bums for Muddy Wa­ters, was nom­i­nated for Gram­mys in his own right and was in­ducted into the Blues Foun­da­tion Hall Of Fame in 2003.

Win­ter’s fi­nal stu­dio al­bum, Step Back, is due on 1 Septem­ber via Me­gaforce, fea­tur­ing a cast of celebrity cameos from the likes of Eric Clapton, Billy Gib­bons, Brian Set­zer, Joe Perry, Joe Bona­massa, Les­lie West, Dr John and more. Win­ter is sur­vived by his wife, Su­san, and brother Edgar.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Australia

© PressReader. All rights reserved.