June 1, 2007
Wielding a modified Fender Electric XII, Johnny Winter shocked
guitarists like a bolt of lightning from a Texas thunderstorm with his
national debut in 1968. Since then, he has burned through electric
blues like an acetylene torch.
In the early ’70s, encouraged by his manager to rock out, Winter joined forces with former McCoys guitarist Rick Derringer to form Johnny Winter And. A bout with drug addiction briefly sidelined Winter in 1972, but he soared back in 1973, and became a top arena-rock act. In the late ’70s, he produced and played on a series of comeback albums for his idol and mentor Muddy Waters. In the ’90s, Winter endured a slow decline, both physically and artistically. Fortunately, he has gained strength since the new millennium, and garnered the reverence and respect due a master bluesman.