Rockin’ Johnny Burgin came to Chicago from South Carolina to study at the University of Chicago (following in the footsteps of Elvin Bishop, Dick Shurman, Dave Waldman and others).
It could be said that he did his “graduate” work in south and west side taverns playing guitar behind Tail Dragger for several years, and in 1995 he struck out on his own. He did well and soon amassed followings on both sides of the Atlantic for his energetic performances of Chicago blues judiciously salted with whammy bar and wah-wah surf-guitar accents.
Burgin has made considerable contri- butions with his guitar to recordings by Billy Boy Arnold, Jimmy Burns, Tail Dragger, Little Arthur Duncan, Paul DeLay and others. He dropped out of music for several years, but triumphantly resurfaced to tour here and abroad. He then released Now’s the Time (self-produced) and Grim Reaper (2012), his third CD for Chicago’s venerable Delmark label.
Most recently he has issued Greaseland and Neoprene Fedora on West Tone Records, which celebrate his relocation to California with a fusion of hard-hitting Chicago blues with fresh, post-modern inventiveness.