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.”
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.”