Walter Trout Biography
Updated biographt due March 1st 2015
Walter Trout’s backstory is a page-turner you won’t want to put down. Five decades in the making; it is equal parts thriller, romance, suspense and horror. There are musical fireworks, critical acclaim and fists-aloft triumph, offset by wilderness years and brushes with the jaws of narcotic oblivion. There are feted early stints as gunslinger in bands from John Mayall’s Bluesbreakers to Canned Heat, and the solo career that’s still blazing a quarter-century later.
Los Angeles, CA --- The day hundreds of thousands have waited for has arrived. Walter Trout has announced his plans to return to stages across the globe in 2015. Following a liver transplant, and extensive rehabilitation, the esteemed Bluesman feels strong enough to resume his career of fifty plus years. Trout shares, "The last year has been one where the blues truly came calling, and I came face to face with death more than once. My wife moved me to Nebraska to improve my chances of getting a life-saving liver transplant, and after a long wait, I got my new liver on May 26th, 2014. Since then I have been filled with immense gratitude. Gratitude for the fans who supported me via fundraisers, cards, messages, thoughts and prayers, for the donor and his or her family, for medical science, for my family, and for life itself. Everything matters more to me now. Now, 8 months after my transplant I feel like a new man. I have strength and energy. In some ways I feel like I am in my 20’s again! The past couple of years of playing I was getting dizzy spells, severe cramps in my hand and forearm and played many shows in severe pain. It turns out that was a result of my deteriorating liver. That is gone now! I am able to play better than I have in years. I feel reborn. I cannot wait to get back out on the road again and do what I love to do for my fans. The future looks great!”
Walter Trout's 2014 release THE BLUES CAME CALLIN' captured Trout reflecting on his omnipresent thoughts about mortality and his renewed appreciation for being alive. Amongst the twelve new songs, ten are originals. One is written by John Mayall for the occasion, and the other is a J.B. Lenoir cover. Trout searches his soul on this album and lays it bare allowing the celebration of his career to be infused with new appreciation for life. THE BLUES CAME CALLIN' was produced by Walter Trout and Eric Corne.
In 2014, Mascot Label Group's Provogue Records reissued multiple titles from Trout's career, presented a career spanning documentary, and released an official biography Rescued From Reality - The Life and Times of Walter Trout. Co-written with British music journalist Henry Yates, the manuscript features previously untold stories, and is packed with rare photographs from the Trout's personal archive. It documents an initially blissful childhood, shattered by divorce, abuse, and violence. As the story unfolds, it leads us through Walter’s life of heartache, poverty, living on the street and being “the only white guy” struggling in famous blues bands in LA in the late 1970’s. Walter reflects on his time in the 1980’s when nobody cared to hear the blues, to being “discovered” and having long-time gigs as a hard-playing and hard-drinking and drugging globetrotting sideman with Canned Heat and John Mayall. The book chronicles how Walter eventually became drug-free, broke out on his own and embarked on a solo career in 1989.
Rewind to the mid-Sixties, and he was put on his path by an older brother with a habit of blasting the family home in New Jersey with seminal blues-rock platters from Paul Butterfield’s 1965 debut to John Mayall’s seismic Bluesbreakers with Eric Clapton. “He brought home John Mayall, and told me, ‘You gotta hear this guy!’” reflects the 62-year-old guitarist, who was soon inspired to buy his first Gibson Les Paul while on a day trip to Philadelphia. “I have fond memories of all those records. I still listen to them.”
Local bands never got the breaks, and in 1973, Trout made the death-or-glory move to LA, where he slept on couches and scrabbled for work. “I came out here and it was a overwhelming thing,” he says, “because I didn’t know anybody. I just started going around to clubs where there were bands playing and asked if I could sit in. My first gig, I was stand-up lead singer in a country band, singing Merle Haggard tunes. And with my third paycheque, I went and bought that Strat that’s still on the cover of all my CDs.”
In a city of Hicksville hopefuls, Trout’s ferocious talent on lead guitar and gift-of-the-gab soon marked him out. “I went to a party and that’s where I met Jesse Ed Davis, who was the first really famous guy I played with,” he remembers, of the sideman era that also saw him work alongside Big Mama Thornton, Lowell Fulson and Joe Tex. “I just weasled my way into his band, and I was with Jessie for two years.
By 1981, Trout had switched to West Coast boogie-blues titans Canned Heat for a period he diplomatically recalls as “turbulent”, but even this gig was topped three years later by a fantastical phone call from John Mayall, dangling the revered guitar slot in his iconic Bluesbreakers outfit. “As far as being a blues-guitar sideman, that gig is the pinnacle,” states Trout. “That’s Mount Everest. You could play with B.B. King or Buddy Guy, but you’re just gonna play chords all night. This guy features you. You get to play solos. He yells your name after every song, brings you to the front of the stage, and lets you sing. He creates a place for you in the world. Where do you go from there…?”
Trout would answer that question in emphatic style on March 6, 1989. As guitarist, his tenure had brought thrilling flammability to the Breakers’ sound and produced stone-cold classics including One Life To Live, but as the newly sober guitarist played a lavish show at a Gothenburg symphony hall on his 38th birthday, he sensed the hand of destiny. “To walk away from the Bluesbreakers,” he admits, “a lot of people thought was completely crazy, because I could have stayed with John as long as I wanted. I mean, John to this day is like a dad to me. He was behind me when I was all screwed up, kept me in the band, believed in me, and gave me the opportunity to progress and grow up in a certain way. So that was a huge decision, and it was scary, but I had to do it, because I knew I had more, y’know?”
Quarter of a century later, what seemed like career suicide has been vindicated by a thrilling catalogue of 23 solo albums, a still-growing army of fans and accolades including a nod as “the world’s greatest rock guitarist” in legendary DJ Bob Harris’s autobiography The Whispering Years, and a #6 placing on BBC Radio One’s countdown of the Top 20 Guitarists of All Time. In 1996 the Walter Trout Band fan club was started which had over 700 members in 16 countries.
As Walter Trout powers into his 26th year as a solo star, there’s no whiff of the ennui or creative autopilot that hobbles the later output of most veterans. On the contrary, there’s a sense of growing momentum, perhaps even of a little surprise. “It’s hard to believe I’m still alive, to be honest,” he smiles. “I should have been dead by 30, with the life I was leading. But I still have a career, and at 63, I’m still climbing the ladder, which keeps it exciting, instead of trying to rekindle past glories. I feel like I play with more fire than when I was 25. I’m still reaching, y’know…?”
In 2014 Walter Trout shared, "To play my music for people has become even more important to me. When I think about looking out into the crowds of people and connecting with everyone on a soul level, and sharing the experience of music with them, this is what keeps me fighting to get back: My family and my music is my lifeline. These days, it means more to me than ever before.”
For further information and/or interview requests, please contact Wouter Wiegeraad, Mascot-Provogue Records Tel +31-10-5120384 Fax +31-10-5121170 email@example.com
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- 2:07 PM Jun 11th
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- 11:40 AM Jun 9th
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