GRAMMY-nominated musician Edgar Winter was the featured guest for a recent installment of the GRAMMY Museum's An Evening With series. Before an intimate audience at the Museum's Clive Davis Theater, Winter discussed his musical influences, creating the Edgar Winter Group and recording his 1973 GRAMMY-nominated hit "Frankenstein," among other topics. Winter also performed a brief set, including "Frankenstein" and the blues standard "Tobacco Road."
"'Frankenstein' was a song that developed as a live performance song," said Winter. "We started to do it live and people went crazy. … It has that hulking sort of lumbering monster feel."
Born and raised in Beaumont, Texas, Edgar Winter is the younger brother of guitarist Johnny Winter. The brothers began performing together as teens, starting groups such as Johnny And The Jammers, the Crystaliers and the Black Plague. Though ukulele was his first instrument, Winter later became adept on bass, guitar, keyboards, drums, and saxophone. After appearing on his brother's 1969 album Second Winter, Winter signed a contract with Epic Records. His debut album, Entrance, was released in 1970, showcasing his unique fusion of blues, rock and jazz and featuring original compositions, collaborations with his brother and a cover of John Loudermilk's "Tobacco Road." Winter subsequently assembled Edgar Winter's White Trash, a large horn ensemble, for two albums, Edgar Winter's White Trash (1971) and Roadwork (1972). Winter formed the Edgar Winter Group in 1972 and released They Only Come Out At Night, which reached No. 3 on the Billboard 200. Produced by guitarist Rick Derringer, the album yielded the No. 1 instrumental hit "Frankenstein" and "Free Ride," which cracked the Top 20. In 1973 "Frankenstein" garnered Winter two GRAMMY nominations for Best Pop Instrumental Performance and Best Instrumental Composition.
Though he would not attain similar commercial heights, Winter released albums such as 1975's The Edgar Winter Group With Rick Derringer and 1976's Together, a live album collaboration with his brother. Several albums followed, including The Edgar Winter Album (1979), Standing On Rock (1981), Not A Kid Anymore (1994), and Winter Blues (1999).
GRAMMY-winning artist Eminem sampled Winter's song "Dying To Live" on "Runnin' (Dying To Live)," which is featured on the soundtrack to the 2003 film Tupac: Resurrection. Winter's most recent studio album, Rebel Road, was released in 2008. The album features 11 songs in the vein of his classic '70s hybrid sound. An active touring musician, Winter has U.S. tour dates scheduled through August.
Upcoming GRAMMY Museum events include Celebrating Woody With Barry Ollman (April 12), A Heavy Metal Evening With Zakk Wylde (April 18), The Drop: Eve 6 (April 24), and a screening of George Harrison's Living In The Material World (April 30).
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