Walter Trout (born March 6, 1951, Ocean City, New Jersey, United States) is an American blues guitarist, singer and songwriter.
Trout’s career began on the Jersey coast scene of the late 1960s and early 1970s. He then decided to relocate to Los Angeles where he became a sideman for John Lee Hooker, Percy Mayfield, Big Mama Thornton, Joe Tex, and many others.
Between 1981 and 1984, he was the lead guitarist in Canned Heat. He toured with them extensively in the US, Europe, and Australia. From 1984 to 1989, he was the lead guitarist in John Mayall’s Bluesbreakers following in the footsteps of guitarists like Peter Green and Eric Clapton. Trout recorded and toured with the Bluesbreakers all over the world. The many successes on stage were accompanied with a self-destructive lifestyle offstage. Trout recalled in a 2018 interview with Blues Radio International that while playing with John Mayall, he was rescued from a complete descent into alcohol and substance abuse by a post-gig encounter with Carlos Santana.
Trout left the Bluesbreakers in 1989 and formed the ‘Walter Trout Band’ which developed a successful following in Europe, especially Scandinavia where he found himself playing to large festival crowds such as at the Midtfyns Festival and Skanderborg Festival. The Times named Trout’s first solo album, Life in the Jungle, “the greatest album in the history of the blues-rock genre.” Between 1990 and 1992, Trout’s first two albums sold over 100,000 copies.
In 1991, his song, “The Love That We Once Knew” climbed the charts in the Netherlands leading to a Top 10 radio hit. Performances at Park Pop and Pink Pop solidified his status there. When home between tours and until 2005, Trout hosted all-night jams with his celebrity friends in Huntington Beach. Such jams featured Richie Hayward (Little Feat), Jesse Ed Davis, Mick Taylor, John Mayall, Garth Hudson, Billy Gibbons, TM Stevens, Teena Marie, and many more.
In 1994, the official Walter Trout Fan Club for the Netherlands and Belgium was founded, followed in 1996 by the official International Fan Club which had members in 14 countries in Europe, America, Asia and Australia.
In 1998, Trout released his self-titled US debut album and renamed his band ‘Walter Trout and the Free Radicals’ (later renamed ‘Walter Trout and the Radicals’ and currently simply ‘Walter Trout’). Since, Trout has been recording prolifically and touring in North and Central America, Europe, Australia, and India.
In 2002, he was featured on the Bo Diddley tribute album, Hey Bo Diddley – A Tribute!, performing the song “Road Runner” and many more guest appearances on other recordings.
In June 2013, while touring Germany, Trout got the first signs that he was suffering from cirrhosis of the liver. With his health deteriorating, he continued to tour until told he needed a liver transplant within 90 days. Supported by donations from fans, his wife raised the money needed for them to move out of state for lengthy stays in order to qualify for transplantation in various states. In 2015, Trout had recovered and was able to go on tour in Europe. His 2015 album, Battle Scars, chronicled his battle with liver failure and the excruciating wait for a donated liver to become available. On May 26, 2014, Trout received the lifesaving operation.
Also in 2014, a documentary hosted by Dutch rock journalist TJ Lammers about Trout’s life was released to coincide with Trout’s album, When the Blues Came Calling. At the same time, a biography, Rescued From Reality, co-written by British music journalist, Henry Yates, was released.
In 2015, Trout had recovered and returned to performing at the Royal Albert Hall in London. He was introduced onstage by his wife.
In November 2015, Trout became a patron of The British Liver Trust to help raise awareness and much-needed funding for the cause. Trout, and his wife, Marie have helped raise awareness for Donate Life Nebraska and are also patrons of the Danish Liver Foundation, as well as Organdonation – Ja Tak. “I’m only still here because someone donated their liver” he said.
In 2019, Trout’s album, Survivor Blues, debuted with two consecutive weeks on the Billboard Blues Chart at number one and stayed in the top ten for twelve weeks. Metal Zone magazine, reviewed his performance in London by naming Trout “the ultimate, supreme bluesman of the 20th and 21st centuries.” https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Walter_Trout