2012 Blues ‘N Rock Fest Goes On TourApril 19, 2012
What was previously known as Hippiefest, a touring concert package that appeared at various outdoor venues throughout the country, has now evolved into the Rock ‘N Blues Fest with the 2012 edition spotlighting five world-class performers who were first inspired by the blues. Headlining the 2012 Rock ‘N Blues Fest will be the legendary Johnny Winter along with performances by Edgar Winter, Rick Derringer, Kim Simmonds and Leslie West.
Collectively, these five titans of rock have culled 4 Grammy Awards, 10 Grammy Nominations, 14 Billboard-charting songs, 18 Billboard-charting albums, 10 Gold albums, and 4 Platinum albums. Johnny, Edgar, and Leslie all played the original Woodstock in August of 1969.
20 dates have been scheduled (more could be added!) with the tour kicking off on Sunday July 29 at Pantages Theater in Tacoma, Washington and ending on Friday August 31 at Country Club Hills Theatre in Chicago, Illinois.
Personally, it’s my intention to make it to the Wednesday August 29 gig at the Fraze Pavillion in Kettering, OH.
I have a ton of memories of seeing all of them at various times, especially in the 1970’s. I think I’ve seen Johnny Winter three times, Edgar Winter three times, Rick Derringer eight times (once with Edgar Winter), Kim Simmonds/Savoy Brown & Moutain twice each.
“I think the blues will always be around,” says legendary blues guitarist Johnny Winter, who will be performing as part of the Johnny Winter Band. “People need it.”
As the story goes, at the age of 17, Johnny went to see B.B. King in his
home state of Texas, and requested a turn at the mic. King eventually gave
in and handed his guitar to Johnny, who ended up getting a standing ovation
for his performance.
Johnny released his first solo album, The Progressive Blues Experiment, and
the music world took notice, leading to his historic performance at
Woodstock. Twenty years and several successful solo albums later, he was
inducted into the Blues Foundation Hall of Fame. Named as one of Rolling Stone magazine’s 100 Greatest Guitarists of All Time, Johnny Winter still remains one of the top blues/rock guitarists touring today.
Joining Johnny for the Rock ‘N Blues Fest tour will be his younger brother,
“As far as I’m concerned, blues and jazz are the great American contributions to music,” comments Edgar, who will be bringing the Edgar Winter Band along for the almost two-month trek.
A multi-instrumentalist (keyboards/sax/percussion) whose music encompasses many different genres including rock, blues, jazz and pop, Edgar first hit the national spotlight with his early recording of Tobacco Road, featured on his 1970 debut album, Entrance. Edgar would soon form the band White Trash and release two hit albums in ’71 and ’72 titled, Edgar Winter’s White Trash and Roadwork.
Hot on the heels of the certified gold album, Roadwork, Edgar would put together an entirely new outfit called The Edgar Winter Group that would originally feature guitarist Ronnie Montrose. The band’s first effort, They Only Come Out at Night, would spawn both the hit singles, Free Ride and Frankenstein, and remain on the charts for an incredible 80 consecutive weeks.
More recently, Edgar achieved chart success in 2003 with the song, Dying To Live featured as Runnin” (Dying to Live) in the film Tupac Resurrection as
the Eminem-produced song hit #5 on the Billboard Hot R&B/Hip Hop Singles
Next on the bill is rock guitarist Rick Derringer, who’s had an illustrious
career as both a solo artist and critical band member. Derringer was the lead guitarist and vocalist of The McCoys at age 16. Derringer is the creator of the
well-known rock anthem, Rock and Roll, Hoochie Koo. The song continues to
be a staple on rock radio and was featured in several movies including The
Spirit of ’76, Rush, Stag, What A Girl Wants and the cult classic, Dazed and Confused.
Derringer has had a successful solo career and as a member of his own band, Derringer, Johnny Winter And the Edgar Winter Group.
In 1977, he would appear on the last Led Zeppelin North American Tour. In the years to follow, Rick would perform with such artists as Alice Cooper, Steely Dan, KISS, Todd Rundgren and Weird Al Yankovic among others including both Johnny and Edgar Winter. From 1986 to 1992, Rick would tour with Cindy Lauper and co-write a song from her True Colors album titled, Calm Inside The Storm. Before embarking on last year’s Hippiefest tour, Rick toured Europe with Ringo Starr as a member of Ringo’s All-Starr Band.
Considered one of the architects of British blues, Kim Simmonds began performing professionally in London in the mid-60’s after learning how to play guitar by listening to his brother’s blues records as a teenager. As leader and founder of the legendary blues rock band, Savoy Brown, he has 49 album releases currently available and continues to tour all over the world with the band as well as a solo acoustic act.
In 1967, the band would help propel the UK blues boom movement that brought blues music back to the United States, invigorating the style forever. In the process, Savoy Brown became part of the framework that launched the rock and roll music of the 1970’s, with their vast influence stretching into modern rock as we know it today.
In 2011, the band celebrated its 45th anniversary by releasing a new CD titled, Voodoo Moon. Later in the year, Kim would release his most recent effort, Out Of The Blue, a collection of varied material that placed him in a new setting as both singer and songwriter. Among the most loved, most respected and longest running of its genre, Savoy Brown is one of the magical names in blues rock. Kim Simmonds will be performing the best of the best at this year’s Rock’n’Blues Fest.
Although perhaps best known as a founding member of the band Mountain, guitarist Leslie West began his musical career with an R&B/Blue-eyed soul rock outfit called The Vagrants, who would quickly enjoy a few hits. Shortly after the formation of Mountain with bass guitarist/producer Felix Pappalardi, keyboardist Steve Knight and drummer N.D. Smart in 1969, the band would find themselves performing on day two of the legendary Woodstock festival in August of that year.
Not too long after the event, new drummer Corky Laing would join the fold and the band would release their first Billboard Top 40 single, Mississippi Queen. The rest is rock history as the song would be played on rock radio for years to come.
Considered one of the pioneers of heavy metal, Rolling Stone magazine once identified them as a “louder version of Cream.” In the early seventies, Mountain would temporarily disband with Leslie and Corky collaborating with Creem bassist Jack Bruce for a cutting-edge group called West, Bruce and Laing. In 1976, West would play guitar for the track, Bo Diddley Jam on Diddley’s 20th Anniversary of Rock’n’Roll all-star album. In 2005, he contributed to Ozzy Osbourne’s Under Cover album, performing guitar on a remake of Mississippi Queen. The following year, he immersed himself in the blues, once again, with his latest solo album titled, Blue Me, on the Blues Bureau International label. Later that year (2006) he would be honored by being inducted into the Long Island Music Hall of Fame. In addition to fronting Mountain, Leslie continues to record and perform on his own.
2012 Rock “N” Blues Fest Tour Schedule:
Sunday, July 29 – Pantages Theater in Tacoma, Washington (w/o Leslie West)
Wednesday, August 1 – The Winery in Saratoga, California
Friday, August 3 – Sam’s Woodsite in Mammoth Lakes, California
Saturday, August 4 – The Grove in Anaheim, California
Sunday, August 5 – The Palms Concert Theatre in Las Vegas, Nevada
Thursday, August 9 – Cape Cod Melody Tent in Hyannis, Massachusetts
Friday, August 10 – Newport Yachting Center in Newport, Rhode Island
Saturday, August 11 – Spy Class Ridge Winery in Sunbury, Pennsylvania
Sunday, August 12 – County Center in Westchester, New York
Tuesday, August 14 – Bergen Performing Arts Center in Bergen, New Jersey
Wednesday, August 15 – Keswick Theatre in Glenside, Pennsylvania
Thursday, August 16 – Mayo Performing Arts Center in Morristown, New Jersey
Friday, August 17 – South Shore Music Circus in Cohasset, Massachusetts
Saturday, August 18 – NYCB Theatre in Westbury, New York
Sunday, August 19 – Mount Laurel Performing Arts Center in Bushkill, Pennsylvania
Tuesday, August 21 – Count Basie Theatre in Red Bank, New Jersey
Friday, August 24 – The Peabody Auditorium in Daytona Beach, Florida (date billed as “Hippiefest”)
Wednesday, August 29 – Fraze Pavilion in Kettering, Ohio
Thursday, August 30 – DTE Energy Music Theatre in Clarkston, Michigan
Friday, August 31 – Country Club Hills Theatre in Chicago, Illinois