Gary James' Interview With
Johnny Winter

There are some musicians who just love to talk! And then, there are some musicians who let their music do the talking. Johnny Winter is in the latter category.

A man of few words, Johnny first broke into the national spotlight in the late 1960s when club owner Steve Paul brought him to New York. The ball was rolling and really, it has never stopped.

Q - Johnny, the era of music that you came up in, can you hear any of that influence in today's music?

A - Sure I can. Blues has influenced all types of music.

Q - I ask only because it's difficult at times to believe the 1960s ever occured.

A - But, they did! (laughs)

Q - In Lillian Roxon's Encyclopedia Of Rock 'n' Roll, she writes of you: "Johnny Winter is a true Blues artists and artists really don't have to go out of their way to prove their worth to the world. As soon as they show up and perform, the world sits up and takes notice." That sounds too simple to me. I say every time an artist steps onto a stage they have have to prove their worth to the world. What do you say?

A - I just play what I feel and hopefully the people will like it.

Q - You performed at The Scene. Did anybody like Jimi Hendrix or Jim Morrison or Janis Joplin drop by to catch your show? Did any of them get on stage with you?

A - Yes. They did all the time. When I would play with Jimi, sometimes he would play guitar and sometimes bass. My manager at the time, Steve Paul, was the owner of the club.

Q - You performed at The Fillmore East in December of 1968. You didn't go on until 2 A.M. Why so late?

A - Could have been many reasons for that. (laughs)

Q - Who was on before you? When did a concert start at the Fillmore East...11 P.M.? Midnight?

A - I've done so many different shows, it makes it difficult to remember those types of specifics.

Q - You studied Business at Lamar Technical Institute. You dropped out. Don't you think Business is something every musician should have a background in?

A - Yes. It's very important. Especially today.

Q - Did you have any idea that you would become as successful as you have been?

A - I always knew I would be successful.

Q - What if the success never happened. Would you have quit music or would you have been content to make the rounds of the small club circuit?

A - Like I said, I knew I was going to make it. But, as long as I'm playing, I'm happy.

© Gary James. All rights reserved.