“Johnny graduated to guitar, and it became evident that he was going to be the guitar player, so I just said I’ll play everything else, so I played bass for a while, and then I switched to drums, and electric pianos came out, and I had to have one of those, and organs got popular as well, which was a blessing, because I remember trying to play those old upright pianos and beating your hands bloody on those.”
The musical apple did not fall far from the Winter tree.
“Our whole family was musical,” Edgar Winter said. “My dad played guitar, banjo, and he played alto sax in a swing band in his youth and sang in the choir. My mom had a beautiful voice. She played classical piano, and my granddad played fiddle, violin, and my great-grandfather played trumpet. I thought music was just sort of a household activity.”
It was a matter of time before Edgar Winter dragged his father’s alto sax out of the attic and gained an interest in jazz. His brother, Johnny, was not interested in a saxophone player in their band, so Edgar set out to start his own group. But later the brothers would reconnect and play music together again.
“Johnny was the one with the dream, with the ambition,” Edgar Winter said. “He read all the magazines and watched ‘Bandstand,’ and he was Johnny Cool Daddy Winter with the shades and the guitar and the girls. I was the weird kid that played all the instruments, and I enjoyed just learning, figuring out the songs, showing everybody what to play, so there wasn’t a lot of rivalry. Johnny loved the spotlight, and I just loved music.”
Johnny Winter died unexpectedly in 2014 just two weeks before the brothers were set to go on tour. Edgar Winter is now working on a tribute album to celebrate his brother and his music.
Winter’s momentum on and off the road never wavers.
“Every time I play a show, I try to play it as if though it were the first and the last, because you never know,” he said. “In other words, the first is that you want to approach it with new ears, and also you never know when the last one is going to be, so make it count. I give it my all every time I go out there.”