Interview JOHNNY WINTER
Thursday 25th May 2014
Les Abattoirs - Bourgoin Jailleu
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Johnny you were born in 1944 in Beaumont, Texas.
AM : Do you think you were born to be a musician?
Oh Yeah, my parents were music lovers, my father sang, my mother played the piano.
When you were a kid what was the first instrument that you have touched, felt and played?
Clarinet was my first instrument.
AM : I read you also played ukulele.
AM : Do you still play ukulele sometimes?
No, it's not as good as the guitar, it's only got four strings on it!
AM : The sound is lovely too, it's different.
Yeah, it's nice but I like the guitar a lot better.
Who was the very first band or musician that inspired you?
AM : Why are you so attracted and attached to The Blues and not another kind of music?
It's just more emotional, it's got more feeling than any kind of music I've ever heard.
You have a brother called Edgar.
AM : He is younger than you.
Yes, three years younger than me.
AM : He is also a musician. What was the name of your first band with him?
Johnny and the Jammers.
AM : How long have you been playing with him?
We started up when I was fifteen and he was twelve.
AM : Do you play with your brother from time to time?
Yeah, sure, we still play together.
AM : For gigs or even just for the two of you to have fun?
Egdar lives in California and I live in Connecticut,
so I do not see him as often as I would like to.
1969 was a big year for you, wasn't it?
Sure it was. I signed to Columbia records and started to play in festivals.
AM : Yes, Woodstock for instance.
AM : So you signed to Columbia records for your first album called
Johnny Winter. Do you remember, what did you feel, at that time, when you
first hold this album in your hands?
I loved it. It is still my favourite album. It's one of the best album
I've ever made and that was the first year I got to do exactly what I wanted,
so it made me happy. Having your first album in hand is a great feeling!
AM : Did you think you could be so successful and have such a long career?
Oh, I always really hope so!
I guess working with Muddy Waters was one of your dreams come true?
Yes it was. I love Muddy. I love his music, I love him as a person.
AM : Did you have other dreams?
Not really, working with Muddy was, I suppose, more than I could be expected.
Now, let's speak about True To The Blues : The Johnny Winter Story. How can you develop?
It is some of the songs of my recording career.
AM : There are four CDs.
AM : Was it easy to choose the tracks for these CDs?
I didn't choose them, CBS did. There are so many. They did a good job.
I was very happy with the choices.
AM : Why this one and not another one?
I am sure it was not very easy for them to do it. There is so much stuff to pick from.
AM : Yes, you have so many songs. There are also unreleased songs on the CDs.
Yes, but I don't know how many.
AM : I think there are two.
there is an Upcoming documentary called Johnny Winter, Down and Dirty.
AM : Could you please tell us who has directed it?
AM : Who has produced it?
Greg Olliver has also produced it.
Your lattest album is called Roots. Let's show it to the camera. Why this title?
It was really Paul's idea, my manager to do songs I love. I thought it is a great idea.
AM : Yes, I agree with you. There are a lot of artists.
Yeah, lots of guests.
AM : Even your brother!
Yes! He plays Honky Tonk.
AM : We can also show to the camera the Johnny Winter Live From Japan. Can you speak about it?
It was recorded two or three years ago, in 2011 for the second time, when we were in Japan. It's a good one, I was very happy with it. We were in Japan in April this year before coming to Europe, back to the States and then back to Europe again.
I've found something funny on your website called the Screamin'Demon BBQ Sauce and the Screamin'Demon Hot Sauce.
AM : What happens when someone tastes this sauce?
It's not really horribly hot. A lot of people don't like it when it's too hot.
I think it's pretty good. I didn't make it myself, I thought they did a good job.
AM : You didn't give them the recipe.
(smiling) No I didn't!
AM : So everybody please use it for your BBQ parties and listen of course to
Johnny Winter's music!
Johnny do you believe you have a guardian angel?
I don't know.
AM : What about Paul Nelson?
He always helps me out.
AM : He takes you in the right direction?
For sure, he is.
AM : Are you happy to be free of any vices now?
Yeah. I'll do nothing bad for me anymore. I did when I was younger.
AM : Today you are going to play at Les Abattoirs venue in Bourgoin-Jallieu
in France. Could you please introduce your musicians?
AM : We've got Paul Nelson, my manager who plays the guitar,
Tommy Curiale the drums and Scott Spray the bass.
AM : Is the setlist ready for tonight show?
AM : Will you open the set with Johnny B.Goode?
AM : Johnny is there a story about the hat you're wearing?
I bought it in Miami, but it is actually made in Texas and also sold in Dallas.
There is a good store there and I bought a lot of hats from them.
I have it for a long time!
AM : Great. Thank you very much for your time. Have a good gig tonight
with your bandmates.