Wednesday, March 12, 6:45pm at the Alamo Ritz 1, SXSW marks the world premiere of Johnny Winter: Down & Dirty, the definitive, feature-length documentary by Lemmy co-director and producer, Greg Olliver. Q&A with Winter and the filmmaker will immediately follow and Johnny will be performing March 12 at Rowdys Saloon. Additional screening will be held March 13 at the Vimeo Theater.
Produced independently through Secret Weapon Films in NYC, director (and Texas native) Greg Olliver was welcomed into the Johnny Winter family for two years, traveling everywhere from Beaumont, TX to Japan and Hong Kong. The result is an intimate portrait of Johnny and the blues (“guitar is the only thing I was ever really great at”); his childhood (“I got in a lot of fights...Just ‘cause you’re a different color, they don’t like it? You don’t like black people because they’re black? They didn’t like me because I was too white?”); friendship and loss (Muddy Waters, John Lee Hooker); relationships (Janis Joplin and his current wife of over 20 years) and his crushing addiction to heroin and methadone (learn how his manager and bandmate Paul Nelson secretly weaned Johnny off a 30-year addiction).
“I grew up in Houston listening to the blues, so making a film with Johnny is a dream come true for me,” says Olliver. “And since there aren't many blues icons left out there, I feel very honored to be working with him. His is a story that needs to be told!” The film also features Edgar Winter, James Cotton, Billy Gibbons, Warren Haynes, Luther Nallie, Joe Perry, Tommy Shannon, Susan Tedeschi, Derek Trucks and more.
“I’ve had a great life…I’ve been through a lot of shit,” says Winter. In 1968, Rolling Stone introduced Johnny as “a cross-eyed albino with long, fleecy hair, playing some of the gutsiest, fluid blues guitar you’ve ever heard.” Jimi Hendrix sought him out as a sideman, his friend John Lennon wrote “Rock and Roll People” in his honor, he slept on a bag of garbage before his legendary Woodstock set and revived the careers of friends John Lee Hooker and Muddy Waters through Grammy-winning collaborations. (Muddy Wateres recognized his talent at first glance, sparking one of the great friendships of their lives. “It’s the most fun I’ve ever had playing music,” adds Johnny.)
So, why, Johnny, would someone want to see this film? “I always like stories about people that drink and have drug problems and women problems. It’s just interesting.”
“Still one of the world’s premiere electric guitarists” (New Yorker), Johnny Winter is now 70, clean, and performing more than a hundred dates per year worldwide. Sony Legacy released the retrospective boxed set True to the Blues: The Johnny Winter Story, and Winter will release Step Back in May 2014 (Megaforce), featuring Eric Clapton, Dr. John, Joe Perry and more. Greg Olliver’s film Lemmy premiered at SXSW in 2010 to critical acclaim, achieved certified gold in four countries , and was named the #2 music documentary of 2011 by Rolling Stone.
Johnny Winter at SXSW
Wed, March 12 @ 6:45 - Alamo Ritz 1 (320 E. 6th St.)
Johnny Winter: Down & Dirty World Premiere
80 minutes, Q&A with Johnny and Greg Olliver to follow
Wed, March 12 @ 12:30am - Rowdy’s Saloon (305 W. 5th St.)
Johnny Winter - performance
Thurs, March 13 @ 7pm - Vimeo Theater (Convention center)
Johnny Winter: Down & Dirty