Trading licks with bluesman Johnny Winter

Winter is coming. Johnny, that is. And his band.
Chris Bitonti

The Details

Rock ’N’ Blues Fest
Featuring Johnny Winter Band, Edgar Winter, Leslie West, Rick Derringer and Kim Simmonds.
August 5, 7 p.m., $40-$70.
Pearl, 942-7777.

You’ve been playing blues for 40-plus years. Do you ever feel restricted by the genre? No, I love the blues. This is all I want to do. I have no desire to do anything else.

Was it tough to break the “white kid playing the blues” stigma when you started out? You couldn’t really play blues for white people back then. It wasn’t till those English guys started playing it that white people wanted to hear it. … When The Rolling Stones made it, I said, “I have got to be able to make it, because I’m 100 times better than those guys (laughs). They got good, but they weren’t too good when they first started.

Who were your early blues heroes? Muddy [Waters], of course. And B.B. King and T-Bone Walker.

You were credited with reviving Muddy’s career when you produced 1977’s Hard Again. What was it like working on his record? So much fun. … Muddy said in an interview [that] I knew all his music better than he did. I don’t think that was true, but it was nice of him to say it.

Any up-and-coming blues artists you keep an eye on? Jason Ricci. He’s a harmonica player, and he’s real good.

I read there’s a documentary in the works, shadowing you on tour. Yeah, we’re in the process of making it right now. It’s fun, and it’s overdue. This sh*t should have happened a long time ago.


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