Edgar Winter still in top form for Temecula fans

Published on April 1st, 2021

By Jim Dail

Edgar Winter loves to play, and he’s looking forward to playing in Temecula at the Balloon and Wine Festival on June 8.
“I love the Balloon & Wine festivals,” he said. “We do so many biker rallies and rib fests. This is a little more cultured.”
Winter knows about different cultures. Born in Texas, he moved at one point to New York and now resides in Beverly Hills.
“I’m a New York redneck living in Beverly Hills,” he joked.
He’s been playing all over the world since the ’70s and continues to do so.
“We go from small clubs to playing 20,000 seat arenas the next day,” he said. “I spend a lot of time working at home. I get to feeling sedentary sitting behind a computer. I got to get up and run around”
Winter has been running on stage a long time.
He’s probably best known for the Billboard chart-topper, “Frankenstein,” which hit Number 1 in 1973. The song featured the synthesizer, the first synthesizer solo as a matter of fact. While Del Shannon’s monster hit “Runaway” featured what some believe was a synthesizer solo, it was actually a Musitron, not a synthesizer.
“It was a new frontier, on the cutting edge,” Winter said.
Of course, it was a double edged situation: innovative, but costly to some musicians.
“The synthesizer put so many musicians out of work,” he noted. “People had a tendency to imitate instruments, use it for sweetening things.”
Interestingly enough, the song “Frankenstein” wasn’t even going to be the “A” side of the single.
“My whole approach to the synthesizer was kind of sci fi, you know let’s see what we can create that’s never been heard on a song,” he said.
The question is, was the instrument detrimental to music? Winter doesn’t think so.
“There are innovations in music and the synthesizer allows you to get a real extension of yourself as an insturment,” he pointed out. “But it’s like any other instrument. If you don’t put any care into programming it you’ll end up with a flat, uninspiring sound. You must put real love and sensitivity into the programming.”
However, the synthesizer is not his instrument of choice.
“The alto sax is my favorite,” he said. “It took a long time to settle on an instrument. My dad played it. It’s really an organic instrument because life’s breath supports the tone.”
He’s getting a real chance to shine with the sax on his latest projects. Interestingly enough, it was a movie that lead to his current endeavors.
The producers of “Wag the Dog” were looking for a song and had a call out for songs.
“They got hundreds of submissions,” he said. “They wanted an old ’20s or ’30s blues song.”
So Winter wrote his song, “Good Old Show,” and recorded it with a slide guitar accompaniment and sent it in.
“It took me three hours to put together,” he said. “I thought because they were getting so many submissions I didn’t envision it going through.”
However, the next day he got the call and the song was used in the movie.
“That got me thinking that I’ve never done a blues project, so I decided to do it,” he noted.
Rather than doing a collection of blues songs, the band set out to demonstrate the variety that exists within the blues genre.
The result was the CD “Winter’s Blues.”
“So of course people started to ask me when I was going to do a jazz project,” he said.
So, now he has two more CDs in the works, “Jazzing the Blues” and “Rockin’ the Blues.” Just don’t ask him which one is coming out first.
“I’m not sure which is coming out first,” he said. With a DVD in the works for release in England, it could very well be “Jazzin the Blues” that is released first.
“Europe is more jazz conscious,” he said.
The DVD will feature a concert recorded in the late ’80s with Leon Russell. While there is no release date for the DVD, Winter expects it will be releases sometime this year.
The best thing about the projects are that they in a sense sum up his entire career.
“It sort of parallels my music development,” he said. “I started on blues then as a teen became enthralled with jazz. Later I got a love for rock and roll.”
So what can Balloon and Wine fest attendees expect to see on the stage?
“Tell Temecula to get ready to rock and roll,” Winters exclaimed.


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