Johnny Winter is back! Here he is the other night on Letterman! David Letterman, after the performance, said: “God Almighty, that was great. Johnny, good to see you. Here’s what we’re going to do. Paul, get us a van. I’ll get some cheap speed, some coffee and some donuts and we’ll just drive all night."
Johnny went though some really, really tough times with heroin addiction and then addiction to tranquilizers. It is SO GOOD to see him back and wailing out! I saw him in 1999, at Yasgur's Farm for the 30th Anniversary of Woodstock, and it left me shaken. He looked like he climbed out of a hospital bed to perform. He was a shadow of himself and played slow blues; the only thing that hadn't let him down was his slide.
Now he's back and sounding like the platinum-haired Guitar God I used to see strutting around on the stage at the Chance in Poughkeepsie. He'd get full of whiskey and cocaine and blow the doors in! One night, in the alley behind the Chance, my friend and I were smoking something and getting ready to go in. We heard Johnny playing his guitar backstage through an open window. We began yelling stuff up to the window and Johnny would let us yell some stuff and then reply with a guitar riff!
I saw him, at a free concert outside New Paltz, a few days after Muddy Waters died in 1983. I taped that show and he totally wailed out. This was released on the Roky CD Club a few years back. SUNY New Paltz insisted that their sound system be used along with Johnny's stacks of Marshalls. Johnny fried the SUNY New Paltz sound system.
A friend of mine went to see him in Albany in 1978; up at JB Scott's or JB Stokes. Midnight comes and no Johnny. One o'clock comes and no Johnny. Two o'clock comes and no Johnny. Finally, at 2:30 am, Johnny slithers up to the mic and yells: "I'M TOO FUCKED UP TO PLAAAAAAYYYY!" Then he passed out and fell into the audience. The crowd rioted and tore the joint down. My friend became a HUGE Johnny fan that night!
Fucking Johnny is back. Awesome.