To celebrate the worldwide release of the documentary Johnny Winter: Down & Dirty, we’re sharing a bonus scene in which Winter delivers a rare solo electric performance of his song “Murdering Blues.”
Johnny Winter: Down & Dirty is available March 4 on DVD and as a digital download. Created by acclaimed Lemmy co-director and producer Greg Olliver, the feature-length documentary offers a look at the life of the Texas blues legend. It presents never-before-seen photos and bonus footage, including extended interviews and Winter’s final studio performance—a solo resonator version of the Son House classic “Death Letter.” The film also features appearances by Winters’ family, friends and associated, including Edgar Winter, Clive Davis, James Cotton, Billy Gibbons, Warren Haynes, Luther Nallie, Joe Perry, Tommy Shannon, Susan Tedeschi, Derek Trucks and others.
The result is an intimate portrait of Winter, offering his reflections on 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. Winter continued to perform over 200 sold out shows a year until his death on tour in Switzerland in 2014.
“I grew up in Houston listening to the blues, so making a film with Johnny is a dream come true for me,” says Olliver, who premiered the film at SXSW to critical acclaim. “At the SXSW screening, Johnny was having so much fun. He was sitting behind me with a big tub of popcorn laughing at his own jokes and was really psyched to see himself on the big screen. At the time, there weren’t many blues icons left out there, I feel very honored to have worked with him. His is a story that needs to be told!”