Archive for Edgar Winter

SXSW Keynote Speech: Dave Grohl

Posted in SXSW with tags , , , , , , on March 15, 2013 by 30daysout

Grohl 1

It all started with a riff: the monster jam that gives life to a great rock song. Dave Grohl, the Nirvana basher and Foo Fighters front man, traced his development as a rock and roller Thursday as he delivered the keynote address to a huge crowd at the South by Southwest (SXSW) music conference.

In Grohl’s case, it was “Frankenstein,” the thunderous 1973 instrumental hit. “I have to thank Edgar Winter for allowing that song to be on the 1975 compilation Blockbuster, by Ktel,” Grohl said. “My sister and I took that album home and we played it over and over … (the song) was an instrumental, no singing, but what I heard were the voices of each musician through their instruments, the sound of people playing music with other people.”

“Frankenstein” gave life to something dormant in Grohl, which was central to his theme on Thursday. “The musician comes first,” he said up front. “Nothing is as important as the musician.”

Bashing on a cheap Sears guitar in his bedroom, Grohl wrote songs about his life, his school, his dog and his dad. “Music instantly became my obsession,” he said. “It was my religion.”

On the podium at the Austin Convention Center, Grohl also demonstrated how he created songs in his bedroom. He inserted a cassette into a recorder and played a short riff on a guitar. He took the cassette and put it in another player, then taped his percussion over the guitar part onto a second cassette.

“I was multi-tracking,” he laughed. “To my chagrin, it wasn’t Sgt. Pepper’s. But I did it all by myself – it was my voice, all mine.”

Another seminal event for Grohl was attending a Fourth of July punk concert in Washington, D.C., on the steps of the Lincoln memorial, when he was a teenager. Thousands upon thousands of angry young people screamed at the walls of power until the cops finally moved in.

“It was a f***ing riot, and I was in heaven,” Grohl said. “It revealed to me that this music had the power to create an emotion, to start a riot and a revolution, or to save a young boy’s life. I knew I wanted to be somebody’s Edgar Winter, I wanted to be someone’s Naked Raygun.”

He was playing in bands, living in Hollywood with a group of female mud wrestlers (“That’s totally another keynote address,” Grohl said) when Dave heard the five words that changed his life: “Have you heard of Nirvana?” Grohl said, “They had Kurt and some songs, but no drummer.”

Grohl specs

Grohl hooked up with Kurt Cobain and Krist Novoselic in Seattle, and they started working out songs and practicing in an old barn. “What we were doing was speaking to each other without words. Our three voices resulted in a sound that caught the ears of other people,” Grohl said.

Courted by record companies, the band found themselves in the New York City office of a label bigwig. “What do you guys want?” asked the big shot. Cobain calmly looked back at the man and replied, “We want to be the biggest band in the world.”

Grohl said, “Think about what music was like at that moment in 1990. The Top 10 songs of that year included people like Phil Collins, Sinead O’Connor, Madonna, Mariah Carey … and the No. 1 song for that year was ‘Hold On’ by Wilson Phillips! How in the world did Kurt think we could even make a ripple in that atmosphere? How were we going to compete with Wilson F***ing Phillips?”

But, like those days in his bedroom, Grohl realized his band was being left to its own devices. They went into the dingy Sound City studios in Van Nuys to start laying down tracks, far away from the watchful gaze of the suits. “Sound City was a shithole with brown shag carpet on the walls, and this couch they’d been renting for 10 years!” Grohl said. “But that old Neve board captured something … a sound … it was something we’d been waiting our whole lives for, for this music to be captured on tape.”

It would become Nevermind. “We made that ripple!” Grohl exclaimed. “We didn’t think – nobody thought – though, that ripple would become a tidal wave.

“I like to think the world heard three human beings, finding their voices and putting them proudly on display. It was honest, it was pure and it was real,” Grohl said. “No one had told me what to play … and now, no one would tell me what to play ever again.”

But it all crashed in 1994, when Cobain committed suicide. “I was lost, and I just quit,” Grohl said. “The music had betrayed me, I felt. I turned off the radio and put away the drums … it just hurt too much.”

Eventually, the old feelings stirred back to life. Grohl remembered a day long ago, July 4 in 1982 when he and thousands of young punks rioted at the feet of Lincoln. “I felt it again, so I booked six days of studio time to record some of my own songs,” he said.

Grohl played every instrument on this new recording project, fueled by coffee and the revitalized passion to create music again. “I was the same one-man band who made songs back in my bedroom 20 years earlier,” he said. “But instead of songs about my dog and my bike and my dad, these songs were about starting over. Well, maybe a few were about my dad … I was still the same kid I was at 13 years old.”

This would become the Foo Fighters. “I had to do this all by myself. I was left alone to my own devices, and I found my voice again. There was no right or wrong, it was pure, it was real and it was all mine.”

Grohl said this is a story he seeks to tell in his film directorial debut, Sound City. The feature documentary was showcased at SXSW and Grohl brought his Sound City Players (including members of the Foo Fighters, Novoselic of Nirvana and John Fogerty, Stevie Nicks and others) played in Austin the night of Grohl’s address.

“In the movie we tell the story of this magical shithole that gave birth to great and classic albums by Neil Young, Fleetwood Mac, Rick Springfield and so many others,” he said. “It’s where we created Nevermind and started our own little revolution. But it’s also about the human element of creating music … it always comes right back to that.”

Celebrate Your Freedom

Posted in Rock Moment with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on July 2, 2012 by 30daysout

We are taking a few days off to celebrate our country’s birthday and if you are an astute reader, you will know this is simply last year’s July 4 post with a few different songs tossed in.

Wherever you are, take a few moments to appreciate your freedom – and remember there are still places in the world where armed thugs can kick down your door and drag you away just for reading this blog.  Celebrate freedom this weekend, and let it ring around the world.

You are welcome to enjoy the enclosed music at your summer party.  See ya!

MP3: “Star Spangled Banner/Purple Haze” (live at Woodstock) by Jimi Hendrix

MP3: “American Idiot” (live) by Green Day

MP3: “Freedom Blues” by Little Richard

MP3: “Do You Remember the Americans” (alternate track) by Manassas

MP3: “Promised Land” by Chuck Berry

MP3: “Fourth of July” by Dave Alvin

MP3: “Let’s Turn This Thing Around” by Peter Case

MP3: “Freedom” by Richie Havens (2009 version)

MP3: “Simple Song Of Freedom” by Tim Hardin (live at Woodstock)

MP3: “Every Hand In The Land” by Arlo Guthrie (live at Woodstock)

MP3: “That Ain’t My America” by Lynyrd Skynyrd

MP3: “Rednecks” by Randy Newman

MP3: “I Shall Be Free” by Bob Dylan

MP3: “Listen To Me” by Bill Miller

MP3: “Back In The U.S.A.” (live)  by Edgar Winter’s White Trash w/Rick Derringer

MP3: “Fourth of July” by Soundgarden

MP3: “American Tune” by Paul Simon

MP3: “America, Fuck Yeah”  by Team America, South Park or whatever

MP3: “Living In America” by James Brown

MP3: “Last Night I Had The Strangest Dream” by Johnny Cash

It Came From Halloween – Scary Rock and Roll!

Posted in Lost Classics! with tags , , , , , , , , , , on October 20, 2011 by 30daysout

Alice Cooper and friend

Face it – rock and roll isn’t that scary.  Unless you’re an uptight parent, or some kind of preacher.  Rock music about Halloween, and the stuff that comes with Halloween, is goofy and funny, but it isn’t frightening.  Although I must admit, I got a bit of a fright the first time I saw Adam Lambert perform … but thankfully that’s not rock and roll.  Or is it?  Bwahahahaha!

Back in the day, there was Alice Cooper.  He had an act that involved boa constrictors, decapitating baby dolls with a guillotine (or something) and an electric chair.  Alice also had Top 40 hits – “I’m Eighteen,” “School’s Out” and “No More Mr. Nice Guy” among them.  Successful, certainly; entertaining, probably.  But scary?  No.

Before Alice, back in the 1950s, there was Screamin’ Jay Hawkins.  He jumped in and out of a coffin during his stage act, performed fake voodoo rituals and had some pretty crazy music.  But his snake wasn’t even real.  After Alice, you can take your pick among the punk rockers of the late 1970s: they were kind of disturbing, but honestly not scary.  And from the 1990s, you had Marilyn Manson – the less said about him the better.

So by default, I guess Alice Cooper is the scariest guy in rock and roll.  Unless you count Adam Lambert …

MP3: “Black Juju” by Alice Cooper

MP3: “Feast of the Mau Mau” by Screamin’ Jay Hawkins

MP3: “Excitable Boy” (live) by Warren Zevon

MP3: “Frankenstein” (live) by Edgar Winter

MP3: “Don’t Fear The Reaper” by Blue Öyster Cult

MP3: “Skeletons In The Closet” by Alice Cooper

MP3: “Skull Ring” by Iggy Pop w/the Stooges

MP3: “Screamin’ Ball (At Dracula Hall)” by the Duponts

MP3: “Haunted House” by Jumpin’ Gene Simmons

MP3: “The Blob” by the Five Blobs

MP3: “This Is Halloween” by Danny Elfman

MP3: “Bo Meets The Monster” by Bo Diddley

MP3: “Witch Queen of New Orleans” by Redbone

MP3: “Hallowed Be My Name” by Alice Cooper

MP3: “Iron Man” by Black Sabbath

MP3: “Monster Motion” by Bobby “Boris” Pickett

MP3: “Out Of Limits” by the Challengers

MP3: “Purple People Eater” by Sheb Wooley

MP3: “Here Comes The Bride (The Bride of Frankenstein)” by Elvira, Mistress Of The Dark

MP3: “Ghostbusters” by Ray Parker Jr.

Your Sister’s (Record) Rack: Edgar Winter’s White Trash

Posted in Lost Classics! with tags , , , , on June 14, 2010 by 30daysout

Giving our big sister’s record collection a break for a few weeks, while we pull some out of my own stack.  Today we take a listen to one of my favorite live albums of all time, 1972’s Roadwork by Edgar Winter’s White Trash.  Winter is a stellar musician who grew up in Southeast Texas and with his brother Johnny left behind some scorching hot records in the late 1960s-early 1970s.  Johnny of course was the most popular as the 1960s waned – he became a guitar god with his incendiary performance at the Woodstock festival.  Little brother Edgar played sax and piano with Johnny at Woodstock, and he sang a couple of songs.

On the basis of that performance Epic Records signed Edgar to a recording contract and he put together White Trash, a soulful Southern roadhouse group made up of good ole boys from Texas and Louisiana.  When I was a kid I in the mid 1960s I had a paper route in Groves, Texas, and one of my stops was a place called the Black Kat Klub.  Many afternoons I could hear Johnny and Edgar’s band on the second floor above the club, every once in a while I’d see them while they were hanging out in back of the club.

Edgar cut one solo album, Entrance (1970) with brother Johnny’s band and a second, Edgar Winter’s White Trash (1971) with the hard-working roadhouse gang White Trash.  The guy who shared lead vocals (and played sax) was Jerry LaCroix, a Louisiana native who grew up in the Beaumont-Port Arthur area of Texas and who made a name for himself as one of the lead singers of the classic roadhouse band The Fabulous Boogie Kings.  LaCroix would co-write with Winter six of the 10 songs on the White Trash album and the two planned to go to Europe and burn Winter’s record company advance locating the “best musicians in the world.”

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Ringo will turn 70 onstage

Posted in News with tags , , , , , , , on January 19, 2010 by 30daysout

Ringo Starr will be the first ex-Beatle to turn 70 years old, and it will happen this summer.  Are you feeling old?  Not Ringo, apparently – on the night of his birthday, he’ll be onstage in New York City.

Celebrating his 70th birthday on July 7, Starr will perform that night at Radio City Music Hall with the latest edition of his All-Starr Band, featuring Edgar Winter, Gary Wright, Rick Derringer, Richard Page of Mr. Mister and Wally Palmer of the Romantics.  Ticket information isn’t available yet;  visit or Ringo’s website for updates.

Starr’s latest album, Y Not— featuring a duet with fellow Beatle Paul McCartney, 67, was released on Jan. 12.

Ringo Starr official website

From Texas to Woodstock

Posted in Rock Moment with tags , , , , , , , , on August 8, 2009 by 30daysout

Johnny Winter

When I worked at a small Southeast Texas daily newspaper, we used to try to find “local” angles in pretty much everything in order to have something special for the readers.  Once I thought about writing a column for the 10th anniversary of Woodstock (that would be in 1979) about all of the people from the Golden Triangle area of Texas (Beaumont-Port Arthur-Orange) who played at Woodstock.  It was a pretty lame idea back then to put into print, but today this is the internet — and it’s the 40th anniversary of Woodstock, so why not?

Ahem.  You know about Janis Joplin, I suppose.  Born in Port Arthur, Texas, attended high school there, left for Austin then San Francisco and hit it big with Big Brother and the Holding Company.  But when she played Woodstock she’d already left that band – she had the Kozmic Blues Band playing behind her (which unfortunately didn’t include her Big Brother guitarist Sam Andrew).  Joplin is a legend and you know her place in history – in a week or so we’ll tell another story about her.

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Classic Rockers, Fall 2008

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , on September 24, 2008 by 30daysout


The fall is here and the time is right for dancin’ to the sounds of some classic rock.   A handful of new releases (and one older one) are here for your perusal today. 

Let’s start with The Cosmos Rocks by Queen + Paul Rodgers, as they are calling themselves.  Of course, you know Queen lead singer Freddie Mercury died in 1991 and since 2005 the remaining group members (Brian May, guitar; Roger Taylor, drums) have been performing with singer Paul Rodgers (Free, Bad Company).  The Cosmos Rocks kinda sounds like Queen, kinda sounds like Bad Company, and it’s a pretty good effort.  “Cosmos Rockin’,” which kicks off the album, indeed rocks, as does the single “C-Lebrity” (written by Roger Taylor and with background vocals from the Foo Fighters’ Taylor Hawkins).   One of my favorites is “Call Me,” a loping country-rock goof with a lead guitar part lifted straight out of “Killer Queen.”  Rodgers fits right in with this band, the album is great – we shall see them on tour later this fall.

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