Johnny Winter’s Summers

Johnny Winter was found dead in a Switzerland hotel room late last night.

The 70-year-old albino guitarist/singer — called one of the 100 all-time greatest guitarists by Rolling Stone — was legendary throughout the blues/rock  world.

He also spent some legendary summers here, in the late 1960s and ’70s.

Raisin’ Cain: The Wild and Raucous Story of Johnny Winter says that to escape stifling summers in New York City, he “always rented a big summer house with a pool in Westport, Connecticut for vacations and rehearsals.”

One day, the book says, the house caught fire. Winter says the firefighters told him, “Get the fuck out of here….Don’t get anything, just get out of here.”

He adds, “They stole some grass we had too, those motherfuckers.”

Johnny Winter

Johnny Winter

Winter’s band White Trash played a concert in the Staples auditorium on July 11, 1971. But there was much more informal music.

A Staples graduate from the mid-’70s recalls that Winter and his brother Edgar would “hold court at the Playhouse Tavern [most recently the Dressing Room restaurant] on summer nights. The beer, drinks and aroma flowed freely.

“They often were joined by group members like Rick Derringer. Other rock stars would surprise the audience, like Joe Cocker and his Mad Dogs and Englishmen, as they prepared for their famous road show that followed.”

He adds: “Rock on, Johnny. RIP. 70 years young.”


12 responses to “Johnny Winter’s Summers

  1. Legend has it that he also recorded some of his albums here at producer/musician Dan Hartman’s studio in the old sea captain’s house on Edgehill Road.

  2. Sally Campbell Palmer

    The Playhouse Tavern was great! There’s nothing like it around now….

  3. Tracy Flood

    I used to see him driving his white Rolls. Very cool! Sad to hear he died.

  4. Mark Demmerle

    The current guitarist and bassist touring with Johnny Winter are good friends of mine and I am happy to report Johnny had gotten over ALL self destructive behavior.

    In conjunction with a fast paced touring schedule, he has collaborated with an Artist named Jodi Head who produced museum quality hand beaded guitar straps.

    Time to go listen to ‘Noth’in But The Blues.

  5. brad french

    Rumor was they were on a beautiful estate on Broad St. in Weston. It looked down on the gravel pit, now Crystal Lake.

  6. The 1971 concert at Staples you refer to did not include Johnny, nor was White Trash his band. It was his brother Edgar’s band, and Johnny was not in attendance. I was, and the show almost reached tent-revival levels.

  7. I lived next door to Danny Hartman on Edgehill Ln and met Johnny and Edgar Winter there. I had always had a big time crush on Johnny and when I met him I was speechless…:-) He was an amazing artist and person and will leave a legacy of incredible music behind. RIP Johnny! Maybe he will reunite with Danny and all the other passed Icons and make heavenly music 🙂

  8. BTW, Johnny did live in Moon Hill on Broad St in Weston for awhile. Fabulous house owned by the Janis family…

  9. Yes, once again another Westport back in the day story. Why aren’t there contemporary versions of these stories. Oh, I know “Dorothy were not in Kansas anymore”. I miss Kansas.

  10. David Anastasia

    The house on Edgehill is the one that caught on fire, and Jeff Reynolds died in it, Johnny would form Blue Sky Records and record with Muddy Waters in Weston in the 70’s.

  11. David, you are right about the fire. The kids also burned down the barn behind the house earlier…I think it was Teddy Reynolds that died up on the top floor of the house in 1974.Johnny recorded in the School House studio on Edgehill also, along with Muddy Waters, James Brown, Patti Labelle, .38 Special, Foghat with Dan Hartman of “I Can Dream About You” and White Trash fame…

  12. Correction- it was Teddy Reynolds that died.