Edgar Winter – Back In the Blues
Live, Edgar Winter is a musical and singing wonder, an experience that no one should be without. As recently as two years ago, I was yet again blown away by an Edgar Winter performance in Plymouth MA that my wife Pamela and I are still talking about. So when you get the opportunity to see this musical wonder, don't let it pass. November 11th and 12th Edgar Winter will be headlining "Blue For Vets 2005" at The Regent Theatre in Arlington. This is the perfect opportunity to experience Edgar Winter with 2005 Grammy Award winner Alvin Youngblood Hart in an intimate concert venue and support homeless veterans all at the same time.
Today, I am proud to have spent some time speaking with the man himself. Edgar is a well-spoken, humble, open and above all thankful and generous man. This is such a refreshing change from many who understandably, may seem jaded from living in the "dog-eat-dog" world of entertainment. Ladies and gentlemen; meet Edgar Winter.
The Winter brothers grew up with music at the helm. I recalled a photo of the brothers sitting at the piano with their mother. Edgar remembers;
"Johnny & I first started out playing ukulele. We would play ukes and sing Everly Brothers songs. I remember going on TV when I was six. My mother told me we went on a kiddies radio show called the "Uncle Willie Show" when I was four. I don't remember, but it does indicate that we started out really young". My very first memory of music is sitting in my mothers lap, being nestled as she played the piano and just hearing this beautiful heavenly music flowing over me. She played classical piano and I just barely being old enough to peek up between her hands, realized that she was creating that music, I remember watching her hands and hearing the sound of the music. I think that's quite a different musical experience than a lot of people who either may remember playing records or songs that they heard on the radio. My first memories of music where of someone actually creating it live. I think that that feeling of love, security, being safe and being part of something bigger than myself, might have influenced my orientation to music. I always had a very deep love of it. That's what I think of when I look at those early pictures".
"Certainly I remember our Dad showing us our first chord on the ukuleles. He also had a barbershop quartet that used to come over to the house. I really looked forward to that because I loved hearing to those barbershop harmonies. We also used to every Thursday go over to my grandmothers for fried chicken and I especially remember those nights, we would sit around and watch the old TV shows like Nat King Cole and Dinah Shore and listen to old records and sometimes play. Those were very special family gatherings".
"Entrance" was a very innovative concept album musically, combining Pop, Blues, Jazz and Classical. Was there someone or something that drove the inspiration for this album?
That was definitely the concept that I wanted to present. When I met Clive Davis and signed with CBS, I had explained that to Clive, I credit and thank Clive Davis for allowing me to make that first album. I had explained to him that this was an experimental concept and that I knew it wasn't commercial and I wasn't expecting to sell many albums with it. Contrary to a lot of what is thought and said about Clive, he was totally understanding and gave me the opportunity to make that first album with complete musical freedom to do it exactly as I wanted. Had it not been for that, I probably never would have made that album. I think its interesting because a lot of times what record companies will do is say, well give us a couple of commercial things and then you can experiment. For whatever reason, Clive was totally supportive and understanding and I really appreciate that".
"I think that album represents what initially I wanted my career to be about, which was simply to broaden musical horizons, forge new frontiers, expose people to a really wide variety of music and break down what I considered some of the senseless musical prejudices that exist. I never could understand why people who love Classical, can't appreciate Rock, or why people who were so into Jazz, can't enjoy Country. Some of those do seem to be almost at opposite ends of the spectrum. In terms if Jazz and Country, Jazz is very complex and Country is very straight forward, very simple. I think the cause of that a lot of Country people think that Jazz is just a bunch of noise, and then Jazz people think that Country is so simplistic, what's the point… and then you get someone like Bruce Hornsby, who is a great fluid Jazz player but whose music retains that sincerity and simplicity of country music. That's what I love. Ray Charles did the same thing. He blended Blues, Gospel, and Jazz & Country. I wanted to follow in that tradition and in those footsteps, to be an innovator and to just ignore those categories and to play the music that means something to me regardless of what it is. I don't see those categories being of any significance whatever. I understand that people have to label things in order to be able to discuss them and talk about them, but that doesn't affect the reality of the music and what it is. To me all those forms are equally valid and they all have a certain tradition that lies behind them. It's more the person playing the music and their spiritual outreach and understanding of what that music is and it goes far beyond the form and the tradition of what it is. I think that all music has that in common, regardless of what style or form it is. I will say that as far as my own style is concerned, if there is any style that is a common thread that runs through all of my music, it is Blues".
Do I hear a direct Mose Allison influence?
"Absolutely! A song like 'Jump Right Out' is certainly a good example of it. Yeah, I love Mose. The album 'Jazzin' the Blues' refers back to that, more than anything I've done since then. It is even more obvious in that than it is in Entrance".
"In discussing Entrance, one of the things that people aren't aware of is that that was a real collaboration with my brother Johnny, and he wrote most of those lyrics. When you look and the Entrance theme lyrics
and New York acts just the way that L.A. does
Even change saying you're different and strange
Sufficient enough you remain while your friends just keep putting you down
Wondering why they keep hanging around - about you - without you
Now is the time a new day is just beginning
To me those are great lyrics and they're Johnny's lyrics. They are so totally different; they represent a side of Johnny Winter that most people don't even know exists, a very introspective and poetic side of Johnny. We worked on a lot of those songs together. A lot like 'Fire and Ice' were mostly mine. They are very Zen-like with a lot of interplay of opposites. Prior to this, I had never written anything but I had written most of this music. I had all of the chords and melodies and I played them for Johnny and he came up with most of the basic lyric ideas, them we worked on them together to refine them. Entrance was the closest thing to a Johnny/Edgar Winter collaboration that has ever been recorded".
I understand you consider sax your main instrument,
"Yes I do".
What are your biggest influences both vocally and musically?
"Mose Allison vocally, later Stevie Wonder for sure vocally. I listened to all of the old Blues singers Muddy Waters and Howlin' Wolf, all the same people that Johnny listened to and all of those early people, Sam Cook, Jackie Wilson and Little Richard all affected the way I sang".
"In terms of music and Saxophone, when I first started out, before I got into Jazz, the first saxophone I heard were all the solos on the Little Richard stuff (Lee Allan), I loved his playing. The Bill Dogget song 'Honky Tonk' with Clifford Scott maybe and Boots Randolph were the early guys that I listened to. In my teens when I discovered my Dad's alto sax up in the attic and really started playing it, Cannonball Adderley was the person I most wanted to emulate and I later realized after I'd been listening to Adderley for 7 or 8 months. Then someone said that's a lot like Charlie Parker, then I listened to Charlie Parker. I loved John Coltrane, Miles, Clifford Brown, and Sonny Rawlins, all of the Jazz guys. Earl Bostic was one of the early guys that I listened to. When I discovered Saxophone and Jazz, that was really a dramatic change in direction, because up to that time, I was just playing music more or less for fun".
"Certainly my most dominant and profound influence is Ray Charles, vocally and instrumentally as well. Ray just changed everything for me the whole way that I thought about music. First of all I think his voice is so soulful and there is so much depth and sincerity in the way he sings. I think that he has had such an impact not only on me personally but on music in general. People who don't even think about Ray Charles and don't even attempt to copy him are still influenced. That sincerity and intensity a vocal delivery was just so amazing that it just became a part of the universal unconsciousness of all singers and everybody in some way is really trying to do that in some way whether they realize it or not. I loved his Gospel screams. Ray incorporated that style of Gospel piano that was so much a part of his music. He also had a great Jazz horn section with Hank Crawford, David Fathead Newman and Marcus Belgrave, all great players. "What I Say" had the Afro-Cuban Latin rhythm, introduced that, which was part of Jazz, but you never heard that in Pop music until that point. He innovated in so many different ways, the electric piano in 'What I Say'. As soon as I heard that I thought 'Oh! Now I can play a piano. Finally! There is a piano that I can actually hear'".
Speaking of Ray, it seems like perfect segue into talking about "White Trash". Throughout your career you have been very generous in sharing the spotlight, in spite of the fact that, with all of your talent, one would argue was not necessary from a business standpoint. The first 2 White Trash albums begin this pattern with Jerry Lacroix who is heavily influenced by Ray Charles. How did you two hook up and was that experience like?
"Ray Charles is the perfect segue, Jerry idolizes Ray Charles and can sound exactly like him when he wants to. He and I played in bands when I was a teenager and we played a lot of the Ray Charles songs in that band. Not necessarily the ones we picked, "I've got news for You" (was on Ray's Genius + Soul = Jazz) Our arrangement is somewhat different, but what I love about that song is it has a cool Jazzy horn section and it's got Johnny's real primitive slide guitar on it. White Trash was a reunion of a lot of the guys that I played with in my early high school years. Some of them weren't necessarily in the same bands but it rival bands. For example, I never played with John Smith, John played with other bands, but we knew each other. Jerry was in a band called Jerry and the Dominoes, Jerry Count Jackson. I had a band called the Twilights and we all played together for short periods of time but for the majority of the time, we were in other bands. When I started to put together a band, I went all over the country looking for musicians. I went to NYC and California, Berkeley and Boston where a lot of the music schools were. But there was an indefinable something that I was accustomed to growing up in Texas. At that point I realized that there was something very special about that area and about the music that is played there. I didn't really appreciate it until that point. After going all over I knew that the band I wanted was the guys I grew up playing with. So I got in touch with all of them and we put together White Trash and we were basically white guys playing white music. We wanted bring the intensity of that soulful Gospel music put it into a Rock context. If you think Rock & Roll has energy, it pales in comparison to a Pentecostal Tent Revival. We used to sneak into those revivals as kids. It was an amazing experience. To this day, when I look back on everything I've done, I feel the most emotional about that music. It is exactly what I grew up doing and playing, how I learned music and what I played in clubs, it is really well represented by that band and the music we played".
These albums had some very strong writing with songs like "You Were My Light", "Dying To Live", "Fly Away" and the classic "Save The Planet". Can you tell me what you feel most proud of?
"Dying to Live is the one that meant the most. After writing that song, I really realized that I had something to say and I really could be a writer. It is one of the most personal songs that I have written. A lot of it goes back to Woodstock, which really changed my life, changed the way I thought about music. There were people there writing and singing songs that they really believed in and I could see that music could do a lot more that just entertain people. It had an ability to really reach out; Touch people; Change their lives. That was something that I had really never thought about. I think a lot of the great songs that people like are the ones that are the most personal; that reveal a sort of vulnerable side. Those are the songs that are the most difficult to write".
Last year "Dying To Live" was used in the hit "Runnin' (Dying To Live)." The song was produced by Eminem and features vocals from Winter, Tupac and Notorious B.I.G. The tune was a Top 20 hit on several of Billboard's charts including the Hot 100 and the Hot R&B/ Hip Hop Singles.
As Edgar talks I find myself amused at modesty around his being a showman. On stage he is bigger than life. He is a showman. Just see him perform "Frankenstein" as he jumps from instrument to instrument or trade vocal licks with his guitar player. Edgar continues
"Having played in bands with Johnny, Johnny was always the Front man. He was very much the opposite. He read all the magazines and watched bandstand. He was like "Johnny Cool Daddy Winter" with the pompadour and sunglasses. He always dreamed of that kind of success. I was the quiet kid that played all of the instruments and actually did all of the work".
The Edgar Winter Group
This phase is the most significant success commercially, especially with the album "The Only Come Out At Night". I wondered if this direction was your own idea or that of the CBS?
"I had decided at that point it was time for me to try to justify the faith and support I had received from CBS to try to reach out to a wider audience. So my intention was to put together the quintessential all-American rock band and I set out to do just that. I knew that in order to create that I would have to find not only great musicians but could write, sing and have the stage presence and charisma to make it an all-star rock band. That turned into an all out talent search and the first discovery was Dan Hartman who had sent a demo tape into our office, Blue Sky Management, Steve Paul, and as soon as I heard the tape, I said "this guy is fantastic" we flew him to New York and after playing with him for 15 minutes, I invited him to join the band because I knew that was the real beginning of the Edgar Winter Group. Then we found Ronnie Montrose who had played with Boss Skaggs and Van Morrison. What I loved about Ronnie, he had this very raw energy and a sort of rebellious unpredictability that I really liked. He was sort of a rebel. That gave the band an extra added edge. He in turn recommended Chuck Ruff. Chuck had such a positive energy in his playing, very happy, just looking at him made you want to smile. I've never seen anybody have so much fun behind the drums. We started to write and I became convinced that the strength and direction of the band lay in the co-writing with Dan Hartman. I thought 'Free Ride' would be the first single and maybe 'Hanging Around'. The great irony is that of all the songs we worked so hard on and we thought were commercial, the one that actually captured the imagination of the fans was 'Frankenstein', a song that we never took seriously and had never even intended to be on the album. It was more of an accident. Free Ride initially never went anywhere. We released 2 or 3 singles and the album had been out almost 6 months and our manager Steve had said the album has pretty much run its course. It's time to start thinking about the next one and out of nowhere 'Frankenstein' started getting airplay on the underground college radio stations. We started getting requests for an edited version that they could play on AM radio. If anyone was responsible for the success of the Edgar Winter Group it was you, the people who heard that song on the radio, it got to #1. It was really a grass roots movement. Subsequently we re-released 'Free Ride'".
"They Only Come Out At Night" had an album cover with Edgar's profile. He had makeup and women's jewelry. So I asked, "What was the story with the Androgyny Thing"?
"As far as I was concerned it was a satirical comment on the times. I never expected people to take that seriously. To me an album cover is to catch the eye and sell the album. I think that that picture was really striking and very artistic. I never thought of the personal sexual implications behind it and I was really surprised when people were really expecting me to come out and be that person on stage. I said, well you're not going to see that, that was a cover and that is all it is. When I first saw the picture, I thought 'this is the most bizarre cool unusual thing'. It wasn't a concept, we had done a whole photo session with Scibulo who was a Fashion Photographer and this make-up guy who was probably obviously gay and at the end of the session he said 'Let's just do this crazy thing and see what these pictures come out like'. I never really thought these pictures would be seriously considered for the cover, to me we were just doing it as a gag. After seeing all the pictures, it was such an undeniably powerful image that I determined to go ahead and use it. I think it is a great Album Cover. I have no problems about it at all, talking about it or defending it. This was an era of Alice Cooper and David Bowie and it was like 'Who can be the most outrageous?' To me that was part of what Rock and Roll was all about. The title has an interesting story, when I was a little kid back in Beaumont, I remember I was going to the kiddies show the double feature movie and I was standing out in the lobby and this cowboy guy in a cowboy hat came out with his son and when his son saw me. His jaw just dropped a mile. He had the most fascinated, strange look, his eyes got as big as saucers. He was looking at me in the most peculiar way. I had never seen anything like that in my life. We were about 20 feet away and I guess his father figured that we were out of earshot, so he bent down to his kid, he was imparting this great pearl of wisdom and he said "See dat…. well dats an Albeeeno, they only come out at night" For some reason that phrase stuck in my mind and I thought that's really cool. I will use that because it goes with the idea of Frankenstein and the imagery of things that go bump in the night".
"'Frankenstein' was written years earlier when I was still playing with my brother Johnny's Blues band. I was looking for a song to showcase my instrumental talent. The situation was that Johnny would do the first part of the show with the Blues Trio and then say 'Now I'm going to bring out my little brother Edgar'. At that point nobody even knew I existed. It was like 'Wow man there's two of them!'. I wrote this instrumental where I played Hammond D 3 and Alto Sax. We had two sets of drums on stage and I did a duo drum solo with Johnny's drummer Red Turner. We called it 'The Double Drum Song' that was the original riff to 'Frankenstein'". He sings "Da Da Da Da… Da-Da-Da Da…, It didn't have all of the middle section but we played that song for over a year. After I formed my own band it was really gone and forgotten". "Then with the advent of the synthesizer, I was looking for once again an instrumental to showcase and feature the synthesizer I thought that riff would sound good with that subsonic reinforced synth bottom. So we worked up for a live song. It was right around that time that I had seen the ARP2600 in the music store. It was different than any other synthesizers in that it had a separate remote keyboard that was attached by a long snakey umbilical cable to the guts. The control panel which had lots of cool sliders, knobs, switches and the way you created the sound was by plugging in multiple little mini patch cords to re-route the signal from one component to the next so you ended up with this control panel with a whole ocean of spaghetti patch cords to create the sound. It was like a real science fiction, mad scientist contraption if ever I've seen one. I looked at that keyboard and Wow! I was really frustrated being stuck behind a big massive bank of keyboards. When I saw that remote lightweight keyboard I thought "Wow, it looks like you could just put a strap on this thing and walk around without any trouble!" Which is exactly what I proceeded to do. So I was the first guy to come up with the idea of putting the strap on the keyboards. That really fit in with the instrumental. I thought this would be a really cool live stage gimmick to make the song interesting and entertaining, but I had no intention of recording that song. It still was untitled, it never had a name, and we just started calling it 'The Instrumental'. Live, it was like an instant sensation! I vividly remember the first time walking on stage with the keyboard; it was one of those real 'Rock & Roll' moments. Two weeks after I did that first show with Billy Preston, I saw Billy doing it on TV and I thought, It must have been a good idea! It's already being copied. Back in those days; there were two categories of songs, live songs and recording songs, at least in our minds as a band. 'The Instrumental" was a live song; we thought it had nothing to do with the albums we were recording. In those days, tape was always rolling because there was a chance that somebody would come up with that magical moment or that riff that might be forgotten later so you wanted to make sure that everything was on tape. We had 3 or 4 versions of 'The Instrumental' that were 15-20 minute versions. Usually we would play that song just to warm up because it was really fun to play, to stretch out and really jam on and get loosened up and we had all of these versions lying around. At the end of the recording Rick Derringer suggested mixing 'The Instrumental' just for fun. I thought it was a crazy idea, but I love crazy ideas so I thought, this is a good excuse for everybody to get more blasted than usual and have an 'End of Session Editing Party'. It was the last night of recording, editing and mixing. Back in those days, the only way to edit anything was to physically cut the master tape and then to reassemble it with splicing tape. We had the thing all in pieces lying all over the control room, draped over the backs of chairs, laying on the couch, and some of it rolled up on the console. 'I know the main body is here. That's the head over there' (The melody to the song is referred to as the head). We were making fun of it like that old spiritual 'The foot-bone's connected to the ankle-bone, the ankle-bones connected to the leg-bone'. We were trying to figure out how to put the thing back together when Chuck Ruff mumbled the immortal words, 'Wow man it's like Frankenstein' Throwing the analogy of an arm here and a leg there, pasting it back together. As soon as I heard that I thought 'Wow! That's perfect! Frankenstein!' It even has that visual imagery, when you listen to the song it has that hulking lumbering monster feel to it. I couldn't have written a song more like Frankenstein if I had tried. So The Monster was born! Another reference to that song and the album, If you look at all those elements it gives you the impression that there was a strong concept behind the whole thing, when in fact, it was a lot of coincidental, happenstancial elements that just happened to fit together. In terms of the cover that you mentioned, and the instrumental Frankenstein and the title They Only Come Out At Night, each one has it's own separate story, but they did really come together and it felt like it had a really cohesive plan and direction behind it, when it fact that wasn't the case. A lot of people thought that I identified with the Frankenstein monster or that I loved the movie. I saw the synthesizer as a great symbol of technology out of control, running amok and I saw myself more as the mad doctor – the mad scientist synthesizer creator and the song itself as the monster creation. That was the image I had in mind when I named it and the rest, as they say, is history".
Let's talk about the famous Edgar Winter Scream. Even when I think about all the soul screamers including the legendary Five Blind Boys, none seem to have the vocal control you have. Was there a specific influence for this? How did it start? How did you discover you had this ability?
"I always thought of it as a Ray Charles thing. Ray had a couple of songs with long screams at the end. One was 'Drown In My Own Tears' and 'Fool For You'. I loved Ray's scream. When I first heard him do that I thought 'Wow! That's the coolest thing I've ever heard in my entire life!'. When I first tried it, it wasn't something I could immediately do, but I started working on it from the time I was a little kid. I loved doing it on stage. It was such an exhilarating thing. Then I started to hear about primal scream therapy and I thought maybe there's something to that. Maybe that's why I enjoy it so much. It is kind of a release. When I did Tobacco Road, I thought definitely I'm going to include the scream at the end.
"It seemed like a perfect place to do it, then expanded that into the vocal scat guitar duo with Johnny. Tobacco Road really became the song to feature me as a vocalist and that was probably the most unique thing, as far as my vocal style, that and my scream and scatting. I think this is a really unique, individual characteristic that I have. I learned to sing a lot from scatting Jazz hits and from singing horn parts to horn players. As a result, that was really good for developing accuracy, pitch, and control. Usually when you're singing parts, you want horn players to know exactly how it should be brayed. And using the voice as an instrument like that, a lot of singers never sing like that, with that idea in mind of actually using the voice as an instrument. The scream is something I still love and I usually will warm up with it and I always used to enjoy, when I was younger, really try to push it, see how long I could hold it. I don't know, maybe a half a minute is about as long as I ever got, which is a pretty good long time".
Canada's Richard Newell a.k.a. King Biscuit Boy told me once that you really had to initially over-stress your throat and let it heal up to achieve this effect. Does this sound like something you have done?
"Any legitimate singer would say that was horrible abuse of your voice, I never had any voice lessons, I pretty much ignored any of that, I learned to sing from the people I like, if they sang with gravelly, raspy voice, that seemed natural. I always wanted my voice to be more raspy than it is. I have a pretty clear voice. When I stopped doing drugs in the mid '80s and finally stopped smoking cigarettes in 1990, my voice got much clearer, like a choirboy's voice. I had to really work at it to kind of roughen it up. All the vocalists I talk to have completely, very individual ideas about singing, and preparation. I know a lot of guys who have vocal exercises and have special things, like tea & honey & lemon. I don't do anything. I just get up there and sing. Now I've gotten to an age where, I find, I have to sing the night before, which I never used to have to do. I used to have to try to save my voice. I use to try to remain silent. Now whatever is going on, I find just the opposite. If I'm going to sing on the weekend, like if I'm going like Friday, Saturday and Sunday, I will sing on Thursday night, and that helps. I look at screaming as strengthening your voice. I never looked at it as an exercise. In the same way that guitar players have to play guitar all the time developing calluses to be able to play and bend strings, which can be painful if they stop playing. I think of screaming as being good for your voice".
Edgar is now working on the last of a Blues trilogy that began with "Jazzin' The Blues". The second was his last studio release (prior to "Live at the Galaxy") called "Winter Blues". This trilogy evolved out of his contribution to the movie, the main song called "Good Old Shoe" sung by Willie Nelson and Pop Staples.
"Mark Knopfler from Dire Straits was doing the score for that and it was like a real cattle call." There were literally hundreds of writers and they needed a song called 'Good Old Shoe', not Shoes. They found a lot of old Blues songs with the plural. If you remember the movie, there was this guy, this maniac, Shuman or Shumaker or something like that, he was a war hero and this song was written to have appeared to be an old Blues song from the 20's or 30's. These guys, played by Willie Nelson and Pop Staples, were hired by the spin doctor in the movie to write this song and then go back and plant it in the library of congress archive to look like it was an old Blues song. They were going to use it to grandize this guy Shu; He was going to refer to him as Good old Shu. It was a really primitive, gutbucket, back in the alley, Delta Blues song, similar to what my bother Johnny does. After having written that song, I thought, although Johnny is the Blues man in the family, I love Blues and I've never really done a Blues project".
"Having completed that, I decided, now I want to do my Jazz project, which I'd been wanting to do for years. I thought I'd just extend this working concept into the Jazz realm. I thought it was really interesting because it sort of paralleled my own musical development. I started out doing Blues and rock and then became interested in Jazz. People tend to think of Blues as something that already happened, it's something old that is over with, without realizing the profound impact and influence that it has had and continues to exert on every form of popular music that exists today. I wanted to demonstrate how Blues developed into Jazz, as it got more complicated and urbanized with Boogie and Dixieland and Ragtime. At that point I realized 'I'm doing a trilogy beginning with Blues thru Jazz and I should just complete that and show exactly what I'm talking about by doing the final entry in the trilogy 'Rockin The Blues'. That is going to be an example of modern rock music to show how those styles that I've done in the previous two albums actually have become integrated into Pop music. Rocking the Blues is just going to be slamming drums, a whole cacophony of synthesizers, screaming vocals and roaring guitars. It will be probably the heaviest band that I've ever done, reminiscent of Frankenstein in a lot of ways. I want to show how all of that stuff came into the early kind of rock, with Rock, Soul, Gospel, Rockabilly, Country, Blues, but also how fusion and all of that stuff, how Led Zeppelin thru a lot of metal stuff that is going on today. It's going to cover all of those things".
There is another project in the works for Edgar. He doesn't have too much to say about at this time but it sounds like a great idea. Maybe one that will give him the notoriety that he so richly deserves. It will be a Broadway musical, loosely based on "Frankenstein".
"That actually has come about when I got really interested in swing music and I met Artie Shaw. He had some music that he wanted lyrics to. So I started writing these swing songs and got the idea of putting them into a musical and then thought Frankenstein would be a really cool vehicle. I had done a swing version of 'Frankenstein' on 'Jazzin The Blues'. We are right now working on developing this musical with interesting people getting the funding for it. I have 8 or 10 songs and the whole concept, but I am going to probably find somebody, in that Broadway world to collaborate with to write 'the book' for the musical".
"I'm constantly working, I don't have that much time, so I have to do it in sort of my 'spare time' but it is another whole area that is unexplored for me and it is stuff that I'm really excited about it, I love the idea, I can't go into it because I don't want to give too much of it away. I've always enjoyed defying description and category and doing unexpected things and that is another one that I think people would not necessarily expect, but I have been really having a lot of fun with this and I think it's going to be something really unique".
I asked Edgar to quickly throw out a couple of words in response to some names.
Jerry Lacroix: "Soulful, Real, Magical"
Rick Derringer: "Masterful, Complete Guitarist"
Dan Hartman: "Innocence, Genius, Talent"
Johnny Winter: "Brotherhood, Love"
"I have such emotional thoughts; we were inseparable as kids. We learned to play together, but I can't think of a word that encompasses all of that".
When the interview was over Edgar asked me to extend to you his heart felt words of gratitude.
"I just want to make sure that you thank all my fans out there for their continued support, coming to shows, buying CD's, visiting the website. It means a lot to me to know that there are people out there who still care and appreciate what I do. It allows me to do what I most love, play music and see people out there Rockin' and having a good time and make a living at it as well! It is the best of all possible worlds. I consider myself so fortunate! I couldn't do it without them. 'Till I see you next time .... 'Keep On Rockin'!"