Johnny and Edgar Winter in their childhood
Somewhere in the fifties, Johnny also played in the band of Burl Boykin, called: The Rockin' Rebels.
Has his first band: "Johnny (Macaroni) and The Jammers" (aka Johnny Winter's Orchestra).
The Winter brothers travel to New York to audition for Ted Mack's "Original Amateur Hour." Soon thereafter, they receive their first taste of rock 'n' roll.
Johnny Winter in 1960
One nite, late '62, he went to see B.B. King, who was playing in the Beaumont club called "The Raven". Johnny, Edgar, Ikey and Robert Reeder were the only white guys among 1500 fans of the great bluesman, anxious to play with him. Bobby drank more and more and and he asked the king if Johnny could play with them., and he replied cautiously "Can I see a Union Card?" Johnny whiped it out and B.B. King most surprised said: "Well, I don't know , I don't know...do you know our songs?", Johnny replied: "Man, I know ALL your songs!" And suddenly three hundred black people started yelling "BB Let him play with you". So the King agreed and Johnny Winter made the audience flip out.
New Years Eve 1963/64
Johnny Winter at the King Edward Hotel in Beaumont, Texas.
People from left to right are: Johnny Winter, Norman Samaha, Robert (Bobby) Reeder, Edgar Winter, and Ikey Sweaton bass. The band name was most likely: "The Gents" or "Johnny Winter and the Beaumonts"
Recorded "Eternally" and "You'll be the death of mine" on Atlantic Records
Bands: "It and Them" , Johnny Winter and the Black Plague.
Toured the south with the Crystalliers.
Plays lead guitar for: The Great Believers playing Tuesdays,
and Thurs thru Sat in a club called the "Act III Club"
Originally known as Amos Boynton and The ABCs this Houston-based quartet (The Great Believers) was an early outing for the Winter Brothers who had previously played together in Black Plague. The recorded the single: Comin' Up Fast (Part 1)/(Part 2)(Cascade 365)
The Great Believers also recorded another Johnny Winter composition, Easy Lovin' Girl, backing Roy Head.
Compilation appearances include: Comin' Up Fast (Part 1) on Mindrocker, Vol. 4 (LP) and Acid Visions (LP); Comin' Up Fast (Part 1) and Easy Lovin' Girl on Acid Visions - The Complete Collection Vol. 1 (3-CD).
The Great Believers band members were:
- AMOS BOYNTON - Drums
- DAVE RUSSELL - Bass
- EDGAR WINTER - Keyboards
- JOHNNY WINTER - Guitar, Vocals
Jammed with: Mike Bloomfield at his Fickle Pickle coffeehouse, Barry Goldberg, B.B. King.
On Sunday, 10 August 1969 signs a contract with Clarity Music Company (Roy C. Ames) to record the song: TOWN CRIER . The song "Town Crier" was never recorded by Johnny Winter
Plays lead guitar for: InsightAfter touring the Southwest for 2-3 years, returned to 1967 and became the house band at the Act III Club.
For a short period band leader of "The Traits" and released the single: Tramp.
In 1968 Johnny Winter records "Birds cant row boats" on the Pacemaker label
Concert-dates of Johnny Winter at the Vulcan Gas Company in 1968 include
|5 July 1968|
|7 July 1968|
|2 August 1968|
|16 August 1968|
|20 September 1968|
|10 October 1968|
|17 October 1968|
|8 November 1968, Downtown Tubes wit Stevie Miller|
|20 December 1968|
|31 December 1968|
|10 March 1970|
These shows of Johnny Winter at the Vulcan Gas Company, attracted the attention of a writer for Rolling Stone magazine, who had been writing an article about the Texas hippie scene. The author devoted three paragraphs to Johnny, whom he referred to as "the hottest item outside of Janis Joplin". The article brought nation wide attention to the album "The Progressive Blues Experiment", a collection of songs that Johnny's trio had recorded live at the Vulcan Gas Company, which was quickly picked up for national release by Imperial.
Friday 13 Dec 1968 - Johnny Winter arrives in New York.
"Discovered" by Rolling Stone's Larry Sepuvaldo. Who wrote in a Rolling Stone issue: "...a hundred-and-thirty pound crosseyed albino with long fleecy hair, playing some of the gutsiest fluid blues guitar you have ever heard-
- Winter meets Jimi Hendrix at "The Scene" club (46th Street and Eighth Avenue) in New York. In an interview with Univibes Johnny Winter describes Jimi Hendrix
- Friday, 13 December 1968: Fillmore East - Johnny Winter's first major appearence, welcomed on stage by Michael Bloomfield. This concert is partially available on the album: Al Kooper, Mike Bloomfield, Fillmore East, The Lost Concert Tapes 13 Dec 1968.
- Shady Grove in Maryland in 1968 (196? - Who remembers this?).
- Friday, 20 December 1968 and Saturday 21 Dec
1968 Johnny Winter and New Atlantis at the Vulcan Gas Co.
- Summer of 1968 - In the summer of 1968, John Sinclair
and the MCS put on something called the Motor City
Rock Festival- a ton of bands and three headliners over two nights: The Five,
Sun Ra and Johnny Winter. Sunburned and ornery as only a teenage purist can
be, I wanted to skip Winters's set. He'd been hyped in Rolling Stone as an
albino celebrigeek, and I figured any guitar player noted for the paleness
of his complexion could not be worth much. My girlfriend, who'd already seen
Johnny, told me that if we stayed, I'd love him. I listened to her, and then
I listened to him, and felt that love. What Johnny did that night was one
of the most indelible blues or rock show I've ever seen, white hot music under
cool blue spots. As Johnny roared through his Muddy
Waters gone to Texas show,
he got off what are still some of the most stinging slide riffs ever played
in my presence. And though he may have slowed the pace a time or two, the
band never stopped rockin'. Not for a minute.
Like so many of the greatest players of the Sixties (Dylan, Hendrex, Bloomfield, Clapton), Johnny Winter did not make much distinction between the blues and rock 'n' roll. That's why what you get here is as much classic rock--including Chuck Berry's "Johnny B. Good" and perhaps the best version of Dylan's "Highway 61 Revisited" ever put on tape--as classic blues. What makes these records blues are the long, elastic lines Winter's guitar strings out, the undercurrent of sadness that balances the exuberance, the structure and the origin of some of the songs ("Messin' With The Kid" from Junior Wells, "Rollin' And Tumblin" from Muddy Waters , "Rock Me Baby" from B. B. King); what makes them rock is the relentlessly attacking sheets of notes, the sheer physical exuberance that Johnny pours into the music, the refusal to bend to the pain they express and the sheer pace and force, which don't lift for a second, even on tracks as downhearted as "Too Much Seconal".
All blues musicians are essentially artists in pursuit of some fundamental truths about themselves and the people around them--about the human condition as they have known it. The music is about exploring as deep inside yourself as you can stand to go, and learning how you're connected to everyone you've ever encountered; about individual expression standing on the shoulders of all that has come before it. For Johnny Winter, that has been a lifelong task, from his first bands in Texas to the big-time rock 'n' roll career he had when he made the first of these records, to his great work with Muddy Watersand his departure for a territory that still engages him, out there on the road somewhere, maybe in your vicinity as this new collection spins. He is a true bluesman.
But he has also never lost his rock 'n' roll heart: For Johnny, that great Chuck Berry story about the country boy who carried his guitar in a gunny sack and strummed to the rhythm of the locomotive wheels is his own story. Yet, what called to him was finally not just his name in lights but the far more enduring sound of the blues itself. No matter what anyone imagines, he's the real thing, and as such must be heard to be believed and understood. The grace note is this: Everyone who listens up is amply rewarded. As a scoffing skeptic who became a fan, I'm living proof. Dave Marsh May 1997
1969 was such an exciting year with so many pop festivals and other music events that a entire page is dedicated to Johnny Winter in 1969