I shook Johnny Winter’s thin, pale hand back in the winter of 2007 when his manager Paul Nelson introduced me to him. This was in the band’s trailer before a show at Dundee’s Clearwater Theater. Nelson said, “This is the journalist who wrote all those nice things about you.” I had just published a piece about Winter in The Courier promoting him and the Clearwater show. Winter answered some questions I’d emailed his manager and I worked up a historical piece, put the e-interview at the end of it.
I wish I could tell you I remember a bunch of cool stuff Winter said to me that night, but I don’t. I was a little overwhelmed by being there. I remember he was gracious, quiet, mellow, spoke softly. He and his manager and band mates told stories about clueless journalists asking very uninformed questions. I nodded and laughed and hoped they weren’t about to roast me. They didn’t.
At the height of his career, Johnny Winter put everything into his playing and singing. He had style and speed and originality. His voice had soul and gravel. I think it’s fair to say he made an important contribution to the music world.
Thanks for sharing your music with us, Johnny. Rock on.