CLEARWATER — For anyone who loves rock and blues, Hippiefest 2012 is a must-see experience. Imagine Johnny Winter, Edgar Winter, Rick Derringer, Leslie West and Kim Simmonds playing on one stage. Get ready for a rocking Saturday night at Ruth Eckerd Hall.
"Legendary guitarists will be on this show who do not ever play a concert together," said Rick Derringer, rock legend.
Derringer remains best known for the song Rock and Roll, Hoochie Koo, which not only still plays from radios and iPods but has played in several movies, including the cult classic Dazed and Confused. Derringer appeared on Led Zeppelin's last North American tour and has performed with Alice Cooper, Steely Dan and Kiss. He has also played Europe and South America with Ringo Starr's All-Star Band.
"Any tours I get an opportunity to do with Ringo are great. It gives you the feeling of what it was like to be a Beatle," Derringer said. Regarding Hippiefest's 29 concerts in three months, he said, "Hippiefest is not only fun, but it gives us all an opportunity to be on the top of our game."
From teens who grew up playing Guitar Hero to their parents who listened to rock blaring from boom boxes to grandparents who remember when Woodstock was a current event, the show appeals to all generations.
Legendary blues artist Johnny Winter played at Woodstock. Rolling Stone named him one of the 100 greatest guitarists of all time.
"I think the blues will always be around," said Winter, who will be performing as part of the Johnny Winter Band and headlining the Hippiefest tour. "People need it."
His younger brother Edgar, who gave the music world the megahits Free Ride and Frankenstein, is also on the bill.
Guitarist Kim Simmonds formed a band called Savoy Brown, some of whose members later became the band Foghat. After 49 albums, Simmonds still tours the world.
Leslie West is a founding member of the band Mountain, best known for the song Mississippi Queen. His guitar playing is unmistakable. "At one time, Eric Clapton called him the best guitarist ever," said Derringer.
Correspondent Theodora Aggeles can be reached at [email protected]