Johnny Winter

By Berkeley Harrington, Jr.

Question: How many tattooed, albino, blues guitarists does it take to fill Coyote's?

Answer: One.

Blonde Johnson opened the March 14 concert with an impressive (albeit long) set, chocked full of the kinda prolonged notes and heavy string-bending that is common in this kind of blues music. By the time they were finishing up, wiping the blood from their fingers and the sweat from their brows, the crowd was more than ready to see the man: Johnny Winter, a for-real legend, an honest-to-God rock and roll star. Johnny Winter, the man from Texas, the man who is single-handedly responsible for bringing Muddy Waters back from the shadows of obscurity, the guy with the long, white hair, Edgar Winter's older brother.

On the road promoting his new record, appropriately titled Hey, Where's Your Brother, Johnny came out wearing a black sleeveless T-shirt, a black cowboy hat, black sweat pants, and black rock-and-roll cowboy boots.

Johnny smiled a lot, his eyes crinkled up against the harsh glare of the spotlights.

Johnny played guitar.

Johnny played some more guitar.

Johnny sure enough can play that guitar.

The crowd was crazy for him, they loved him, they needed him, they worshiped him. I think maybe they were fans of his or something.

I was impressed with his dexterity . . . knocked out with his skill, awed by the power of his performance.

But still, I mean, you know, I thought something was missing.

What? C'mon, Johnny Winter? He's a legend I tell you! A certified Guitar God!

Yeah, well, I thought he was kinda flat.

No! No way! He's the best, man! He wasn't flat!

Not flat musically. I mean flat . . . "spiritually"?

Huh? You must be crazy. What do you mean?

Well, it was kinda like he had played those same riffs six hundred million times, and even though he still enjoyed playing them, they seemed kinda canned, ya know?


I mean it was great and all, how he came out and opened up with an instrumental. I mean, that took guts, but, well, I wasn't like converted or anything. And I was impressed at the sound he was able to get from a couple of little-bitty Fender amps jacked end to end. And his ability to play more notes in one song than most bands play in an entire set was pretty cool, but, well, I just thought it was kinda canned, you know?

Yeah, I hear you. Maybe I know somebody else who's gonna get "canned," ya know?