Welcome to our new site, the web world of Winterland! The first thing I want to say is that this is going to be an actual experience in which my wife Monique (and I myself) will be actively and personally involved. The main reason for renovating and reopening this site is that I have a new album coming out.
I don’t make that many albums these days. They all mean a lot to me, but this one is particularly personal, and very special. So before I even get started, I feel compelled to explain my feelings, and clarify my motives and intentions here.
As most of you may know, my brother, Johnny, passed away in July of 2014. He was touring Europe and had just played the Cahors Blues Festival in France, which was destined to become his last show. He had traveled to Switzerland where his next show was scheduled, the one he would never play. He would pass away in his sleep there at the hotel in Zurich before he ever got the chance.
Let me just say that although Johnny may have departed this physical plane, his spirit, his music, and his presence will live on in my heart, always. Johnny was a true bluesman. He played music, and lived life. He came in, and went out the same way – true to the blues, and I love him for that.
Now after his passing, many people immediately started trying to convince me to do a Johnny Winter tribute album. Somehow, this just didn’t feel right to me. Then as time passed, I started to reconsider. This didn’t happen all at once. The first real change occurred on stage.
Just two weeks after his anticipated return, we were scheduled to start a tour called the Rock ‘n’ Blues Fest. Johnny and I were both playing with our respective bands, and there would have been jamming together at the end.
I was devastated, and expected the tour to be canceled, but the promoters wanted it to go on as planned with me and my band as the headliners. The first night, after playing “Frankenstein” to honor Johnny’s memory, I closed the show with “Johnny B. Goode”, “Rock and Roll, Hoochie Koo”, and “Jumpin’ Jack Flash”, dedicating the end of the set to my brother Johnny.
Playing those songs turned out to be a great source of strength and comfort to me. Everyone on the tour was so kind and supportive getting up to jam, and it became a kind of tradition. There was such an overwhelming outpouring of love and respect for Johnny, I began to realize that I had to do this for Johnny’s true, loyal, and devoted fans who wanted so much to see it happen.
The world seemed to be crying out for this, so maybe it was time to surrender to the natural flow of the universe and just let it happen. I realized a part of me deep down in my heart Did want to make this album. It was just the circumstances that never seemed quite right.
I talked it over with my wife, Monique. I trust her intuition more than my own judgment or analytical thinking, and we always make these kinds of decisions together. She was all for it and said, “I think you have to make this album, both for Johnny, for yourself, and for the world. You owe that acknowledgement to your older brother. If it weren’t for him, you wouldn’t be where you are today. There’s no need to worry about it. If it’s meant to happen, it will. Just let it be”
Here’s what finally decided the whole thing. A friend of mine said, “Wow! A Johnny Winter tribute album, what a Great idea. I know this guy you just have to talk to. His name is Bruce Quarto and he has his own label called Quarto Valley Records, but he doesn’t think or operate at all like the typical businessman.
He loves music, science, and the arts, and he has this unique personal vision of doing things he believes in to revitalize the industry, help authentic musicians, and make a real difference. I know Bruce will Love this idea. And what’s more, when he believes in something, he goes all out. He will do this the Right Way, and for the Right Reasons. Let me at least run this by him, and then you guys can talk.” I said, “sure, that can’t hurt.
Talking to Bruce was the real turning point. He’s such a character, full of boundless enthusiasm. To him, anything is possible. You can’t help but Love an attitude like that. The conversation got deep, and we talked for hours. Here’s the general gist of what he had to say.
“I was the guy sprawled out on the floor in the bean bag chair: amazed by the album covers, immersed in the liner notes, swept away by the music.” Of course I knew exactly what he was talking about, because I was that guy too. We all were once, unless you were just too young to have experienced it.
He went on, “I listened to Johnny’s music, I cranked up your “Frankenstein”, I blasted “Free Ride” in the car. There was so much great music in that era; it was magic! And there’s a whole world out there who might remember, or maybe never even heard it before. They deserve to. Let’s bring it
I’m up for that! – I said. But let’s talk about the album itself. Here’s the main question in my mind. Should this album simply be a tribute to the great legacy Johnny left the world, or rather a more personal dedication from me to my brother based on my own personal preferences, and what I think he would have wanted.
Bruce said, “I think you should just follow your heart. I want this album to be a success, but I’m not doing it for the money. In fact, I intend to donate a good part of my share to a charity set up to help disadvantaged musicians. I’m doing it because the world needs to hear this music. When I heard this, I knew Bruce was the right man.
The next person so deeply involved with this project that I most of all want to thank is Ross Hogarth. Ross started out as the engineer and mixer, but soon became a producer and co-creator. He loves Johnny’s music as much as I do, and is as familiar with it as Well. Ross, Monique and I thank you from both our hearts for all the hard work, the love and care, the thought and imagination, the artistic creativity, and all the great artists you helped bring into the project. It simply would not be the album it is, without you.
The whole story of this heartfelt musical journey is told in the liner notes for the album, of which what you’ve just read is only a small part. But just to give you a rough idea, here is a list of the songs and the amazing guest artists that played on each track.
1. Mean Town Blues
Featuring Joe Bonamassa
2. Alive And Well
Featuring Kenny Wayne Shepherd
3. Lone Star Blues
Featuring Keb’ Mo’
4. I’m Yours And I’m Hers
Featuring Billy Gibbons
and Derek Trucks
5. Johnny B. Goode
Featuring David Grissom
and Joe Walsh
Featuring Michael McDonald
Joe Walsh and Ringo Starr
7. Highway 61 Revisited
Featuring Kenny Wayne Shepherd
and John McFee
8. Rock ‘n’ Roll Hoochie Koo
Featuring Steve Lukather
9. When You Got A Good Friend
Featuring Doyle Bramhall ll
10. Jumpin’ Jack Flash
Featuring Phil X
11. Guess I’ll Go Away
Featuring Taylor Hawkins
and Doug Rappoport
12. Drown In My Own Tears
Featuring Edgar Winter
13. Self Destructive Blues
Featuring Joe Bonamassa
14. Memory Pain
Featuring Warren Haynes
15. Stormy Monday Blues
Featuring Robben Ford
16. Got My Mojo Workin’
Featuring Bobby Rush
17. End Of The Line
Featuring David Campbell Strings
When I look over this list, I am awestruck and humbled beyond words. Many of these incredible artists I met for the first time doing this album, but there are a few I share a long history with. My deepest and most profound thanks and gratitude to Sir Ringo Starr (The Greatest), to our longtime friend Michael McDonald for his magical voice, and to the guitar genius Joe Walsh the soaring Eagle. Donating your time and talent to support this tribute to Johnny means more than I can ever say.
In addition to all these great artists, I especially want to thank our dear friend and most amazing drummer, Gregg Bissonette, who played on every song (except one performed by the incomparable Ringo Starr).
Thank you, Gregg. The killer tracks you laid down became the soul and heartbeat of the album.
This recording has been years in the making, and I’ve given it my all. I can only tell a small part of the story here, but the album will tell you the rest. I want to thank everybody for everything: Johnny—my brother in musical inspiration; my wife Monique for her Love, encouragement, and support (without which I never would have done this); Ross Hogarth who put his whole heart and soul into it and worked as hard as I have myself; Bruce Quarto for his Love of the blues, of Johnny’s music, his faith in me as an artist, and his patience and understanding in how long it’s taken; Dave Hart for his belief in my talent, not only in management—but in friendship, while taking care of business, every day.
And my eternal gratitude to all the fantastic, amazing artists for their incredible heartfelt performances. You touched our hearts on behalf of Johnny and the Winter family.
It’s time to say goodbye for now, so here’s the last thing I want to say. When I was very young, I can still remember thinking … no matter how much time goes by, how old I get, what happens in my life, or how far I end up from home – there is one person in this world I know will always understand what I’ve been through, how I feel. And that person is my brother, Johnny.
It’s sad to say, but we drifted farther apart than I ever could have imagined back in those early days. So much has happened to both of us since then, but one thing will always remain the same … that bond, of brotherhood, of family, of music, and of Love. So in his name, I dedicate this album.
As we said before – the main purpose of this site is to give you a deeper look into the story behind the “Brother Johnny” album, and also to be The Place to go for the latest news on everything concerning it. There’s going to be a lot of that, which should make this a very active site—and we hope, a fun place to hang out. I’ll be around, or Sebastian (our right hand man) will be there monitoring the site, to handle all your questions and relay any messages. So drop by anytime to see what’s going on. Now, check out the new visualizer immediately following this message, and don’t forget to KEEP ON ROCKIN’!
Peace and Love,
Edgar & Monique
The man contains multitudes. Sure, it’s something which has been said about others, but for Edgar Winter it’s literally true: His musical multitudes alone are staggering, and they are not all of who he is. As his fans know well, he’s a joyful genius, a musical wizard capable of solving any problem, and for whom limitations don’t exist, only possibilities.
A self-taught virtuoso on almost all instruments known to man, winter has long been fearless in his fusion of genres and use of brand-new technology such as the synthesizer. It’s these multitudes which have defined him, and distinguished him all along from his legendary big brother, the late great Johnny Winter.