Edgar Holland Winter (born December 28, 1946 in Beaumont, Texas) is an American musician who had significant success in the 1970s and 1980s. He is a keyboard player, vocalist, saxophonist and percussionist, well-versed in jazz, blues and rock. He is the second son of John and Edwina Winter, who were very much responsible for Edgar and his older brother Johnny Winter's early musical awareness. Both Edgar and Johnny have albinism.
After recording with his brother, Edgar was signed to his own Epic Records contract in 1970 and recorded two R&B flavored albums, Entrance and Edgar Winter's White Trash. In 1972 he formed The Edgar Winter Group which included Dan Hartman, Ronnie Montrose and Chuck Ruff. It was with this band that he had his biggest successes: first with the 1972 album They Only Come Out at Night which featured the #1 hit instrumental "Frankenstein" which pioneered the use of the synthesizer as a lead instrument and reached number one in the U.S. in May 1973 and the top 15 single Free Ride; which reached number 14 that same year, then the album Shock Treatment which featured the song "Easy Street".
The preponderance of vocals and songwriting by Hartman on Shock Treatment led to the release of Jasmine Nightdreams with all vocals by Winter. It was nominally a solo album, but it used the same personnel as the Edgar Winter Group. A full band album followed, the Edgar Winter Group with Rick Derringer, featuring songs and vocals by Derringer.
Success was waning, however, and Edgar teamed with brother Johnny for a live album of blues and early rock classics, including Harlem Shuffle (later a revival hit for the Rolling Stones). This album too performed below expectations, so the White Trash was reformed. They recorded Recycled, and toured as an opening act to support the album. The tour was cut short by a tragic plane crash, which killed some members of the tour's headliner, Lynyrd Skynyrd. This was followed by two solo albums, an attempt at literate disco on the Edgar Winter Album and a return to 1970s rock on Standing on Rock. Since then there have been more obscure solo albums and session work, namely with David Lee Roth on Crazy from the Heat in 1985, which included a cover version of the song Easy Street.
With over 20 albums and many television and radio appearances both to promote his music—and to give his opinion on everything politically incorrect— Edgar Winter's music is solidly in the popular vein. Winter's 1970s albums are bluesier than his later albums, but there are blues tunes like "Big City Woman" on his 1990 album Not a Kid Anymore. In 2005, "Frankenstein" was featured in the PlayStation 2 music video game Guitar Hero. It has also been covered by Gary Hoey on the 2003 album "Wake Up Call", as well as by Derek Sherinian in his album album Inertia. "Free Ride" is the main song used in the Disney/Pixar video game "Cars" which is the video game spin off of the animated film of the same name, the initial guitar riff is used on the menu screens and the full song features during game play.
In 2006, Winter joined Hamish Stuart, Rod Argent, Richard Marx, Billy Squier, and Sheila E touring with Ringo Starr & His All Starr Band. In 2008, he is appearing in the 10th All-Starr Band with Colin Hay, Billy Squier, Hamish Stuart, first timer Gary Wright and, on drums, Gregg Bissonette.
Edgar also produced, arranged, and performed on the album Mission Earth (1986). This album's words and music were written by Scientology founder L. Ron Hubbard. L. Ron Hubbard supposedly left detailed instructions and audio tapes for the musicians and producers to follow when making the album. Edgar described Mission Earth as "both a return to rock’s primal roots and yet highly experimental". Winter had glowing words for Hubbard when he wrote, "Ron's technical insight of the recording process was outstanding." Winter also described Hubbard's delineation of counter-rhythm in rock as something "which was nothing short of phenomenal, particularly inasmuch as it had then been entirely unexplored and only later heard in the African-based rhythms of Paul Simon's work, some five years after Ron’s analysis.
Tropic Thunder (2008)