Johnny Winter plans on staying true to his “Roots” for his next album.
After scoring raves for last year’s “Roots” albums, which featured 11 blues staples recorded with guests such as Winter’s younger brother Edgar along with Derek Trucks, Blues Traveler’s John Popper, Vince Gill, Warren Haynes of the Allman Brothers Band and Gov’t Mule, among others, Winter tells Billboard.com that he’s like to do it again.
“I’m very happy with the way it turned out, so there’s a good chance we’ll do a ‘Roots 2,'” he says. “I haven’t picked the songs yet, but I’d like to have (ZZ Top’s) Billy Gibbons play. I’d like the have Dr. John play. I’d like to have Mark Knopfler play on something. I’d like to have (Eric) Clapton, B.B. King, Buddy Guy. I don’t know if I can get ’em all, but those are the people I’d like to have.”
Winter is, of course, hoping his long friendships with those other musicians will be an effective lure, as well as the success of the first “Roots” project.
“I don’t know if they’re working or if they’re busy, if they have time to do it — that’s the main thing,” he explains. “Some of them might like to do it but might not have the time. I just think about the songs I’d like to do and then put the players on them.”
“Roots” was part of a busy 2011 for Winter, which also saw him play on Sly Stone’s “I’m Back — Friends & Family” album and on William Shatner’s “Seeking Major Tom.” He says the latter was particularly enjoyable.
“I always liked ‘Star Trek,’ so it was a lot of fun,” Winter says of working with the actor-musician, known for his role as Captain Kirk. “I thought it might have been weird with him just talking the song [Deep Purple’s ‘Space Truckin’], but it turned out really cool the way he did it.” He’s less enthused about the remake of Stone’s “Thank You (Falettinme Be Mice Elf Agin),” however.
“It was fun to do, but I didn’t like they way they mixed it,” Winter explains. “I couldn’t hear myself, but there’s nothing I could do about it.”
In addition to his own dates, Winter will be part of this year’s Rock ‘N’ Blues Fest tour, joining Edgar Winter, Rick Derringer, Leslie West and others. The tour kicked off July 29 and will include some collaborations during its month-long run, according to Winter.
“I always like to play with those guys,” he says. “I’ll probably have them sit in with me ’cause I don’t really know a lot of Edgar’s material or Rick’s stuff, but they love all my stuff,” Winter says. “I just like to play, y’know? I get tired of traveling, but I don’t get tired of playing. I don’t think I’ll ever stop playing.”