I woke up this morning to a heavy dose of the Blues as word that the legendary guitarist Johnny Winter had passed away in his Zurich, Switzerland hotel room. He was 70 years old and had only celebrated this milestone year back in February 2014 where the photo I present below was taken.
According to reports, Mr. Winter had been in declining health over the last few years but that never stopped him from gigging it seemed. Fans from the NYC region could always count on several “Winter In Winter” residencies at the venerated B.B. King Blues Club in Times Square and in addition to these shows he would tour extensively and on occasion do meet and greets with the fans who wanted to shake his hand and thank him for the mastery that he put out there. I was happy to have been able to catch a few of his live performances at B.B. King’s as they were incredible displays of technique that resonated with influence. With his passing, the great band in the sky has added a guitar slinger like no other to their lineup. This sad news follows the only recently broadcast report about Tamas Erdelyi (Tommy Ramone, the original drummer for The Ramones) passing away only last week. Two legends gone in too short a time frame.
Johnny is survived by his wife, his younger brother Edgar, his band mates and more fans than can easily be counted. Thank you Johnny Winter for all of the wonderful and kick ass music that you gave us. You will never be replaced but you shall always be remembered and your sounds shall continue to live on and influence anyone who chooses to pick up a guitar. Rest in Peace Bluesman.
Guitarists around the world are in mourning today as the news hit the Internet about the passing of legendary axe-slinger Ronnie Montrose. He was 64 years old and his death comes after a long battle with prostate cancer. While the musician was known for his own eponymous group, he also worked extensively with Edgar and Johnny Winter, Sammy Hagar and Van Morrison among many notable others. His repertoire with his band Montrose, Gamma and as a solo artist spanned twenty releases and he influenced more Rock and Metal guitar players than you can count. PiercingMetal’s own Joe Kaufman reviewed his appearance at B.B. King’s back in 2006 and you can check that report out HERE. Interestingly enough, I happened to catch his Montrose singer Keith St. John only a few weeks ago when he was fronting a rebuilt Quiet Riot at this same venue.
Even though my background is as a drummer, I cannot say anything more than this was an incredibly gifted guitar player who knew how to drive the group forward with his technique. We send condolences and sympathy to his family, friends and worldwide fans. Thanks for the music Ronnie. You were one in a million.
Ronnie Montrose Wikipedia Entry: HERE
UPDATE: 4/3/2012 – The coroner’s office have officially reported that Ronnie Montrose’s death was due to a self-inflicted gunshot wound. What a shame. Suicide is never the answer.
Artist: Robin Trower
Venue: B.B. King Blues Club (New York, NY)
Opener: Jamie McClean Band
Label: V-12 Records
The name of Robin Trower is not a secretly whispered one for those followers of the six-string legends of music and this particular performer has been doing his thing since the late sixties as an original founding member of the band Procol Harum. I’m sure you know the name offhand as the song “Whiter Shade Of Pale” has been covered by a number of bands over the years and is a part of most people’s Rock and Roll psyche. I will admit that I am a casual fan at best and could not cite many of his compositions but that is where I let my friends be the music educators and ensure that I am properly schooled in his mastery. Trower has played at the legendary Times Square venue a number of times and tonight would be the first time that I got to enjoy him live and in close quarters. Since this was going to be my first time, I had to say that I was very excited. For those who might be unfamiliar with the venue, and shame on you if this is still the case after ten years, this show was a seated one and that meant if you didn’t get a ticket early that you were very likely to be turned away at the door. Looking around it was easy to see that this was an older crowd of supporters who had clearly been fans of the man’s work for decades. That is always nice to observe. Opening the show would be the Jamie McClean band that played a healthy dose of traditional Blues and while we did not arrive early enough to see them begin, we managed to catch the last three numbers. It was enough to get an idea about them and they were rather good. Perhaps I will see them again and maybe they will even offer up a set over at the Lucille’s restaurant space which is located right next to B.B.’s main venue. Did you know that this space offers its patrons free music every night? I only wish I had the kind of life that let me just absorb that and dine out again and again but alas I do not. So where was I? Oh yes, the Trower gig.
Continue reading Robin Trower @ B.B. King Blues Club (6/16/2011)