Fan footage of the late Johnny Nitro playing at RWC Blues Jam (May 2009)
As reported by SF Gate, the Bay Area blues scene lost one of its hardest working musicians over the weekend when longtime San Francisco blues guitarist Johnny Nitro, known for his guitar chops and his raspy singing voice, dropped dead Saturday night in his North Beach apartment. His apartment was directly above the oldest bar in San Francisco, the Saloon bar on Grant Avenue -- a venue he came downstairs to play at regularly. I saw him play there and at other Bay Area venues over the years on many occasions and he would always play his heart out and clearly lived his life for the blues. Nitro, who was 59, reportedly had been suffering from heart disease and diabetes for a good few years and recently had to be hospitalized for a few days after he collapsed onstage during a gig. As well as tirelessly gigging in local bars/clubs, mainly, Nitro was also a teacher at the Blue Bear School of Music at Fort Mason. Rest in peace, Johnny Nitro. You will be missed.