Monday, February 23, 2009
"Imagine a 130-pound cross-eyed albino bluesman with long fleecy hair playing some of the gutsiest blues guitar you have ever heard."
Blues guitarist Johnny Winter turns 65 today.
John Dawson Winter III was born February 23, 1944, in Leland, Mississippi.
Winter's musical legacy began as a 5-year-old playing clarinet in Beaumont, Texas. He continued on the instrument for four years but quit when an orthodontist informed him that he had a serious overbite. Winter then switched to ukulele but that only lasted until rock and roll came out.Soon after, he switched to guitar and Winter began to build up an impressive record collection that allowed him to study the blues masters and cop their licks.
Johnny and his brother Edgar played together in various teenage bands and the two albino brothers made quite an impression in their hometown.
In live performances, Winter often tells the story about how, as a child, he dreamed of playing with the blues guitarist Muddy Waters. In 1977, he accomplished this goal and produced the album Hard Again.
Today, despite experiencing several health crises in recent years, which have rendered him incapable of performing without being seated, Winter still tours regularly. Sitting down, the venerated musician concentrates on blues numbers and eschews his rock hits.