The true origins of Oven Mitt Johnson are somewhat of a mystery. Depending on the interview you read, he grew up either in Detroit or Memphis, or he "hatched out of a fireball from space".
Whatever his origins, Oven Mitt has emerged as a powerful force in the blues. Legend has it that he struggled for years as a typical (un-mitted) blues guitarist playing the coffee house and yuppie bar circuit. Back then, he was known simply as "Johnson". Everything changed one night in 1989 when he opened for Hot Glove Simms in Nashville.
According to witnesses, Hot Glove's guitarist had a heat stroke halfway through the set and Mr. Johnson was asked to fill in. After the first song, Johnson looked over and noticed for the first time that Hot Glove Simms, the famous virtuoso blues pianist, wore mittens while playing - a fact that Hot Glove Simms had sucessfully kept a secret from everyone but his closest friends and band members until then.
After the show, Hot Glove Simms asked the blues artist who would later become known as Oven Mitt Johnson to join his band. Hot Glove took this young blues man under his wing and, in exchange, Mr. Johnson helped Hot Glove Simms to develop a new repertoire that showcased his mittens, rather than hiding them.
The two became like brothers and Mr. Johnson became increasingly proficient and daring with his guitar playing - until one night when he started noticing that the strings were actually heating up. He ignored the phenomenon at first and continued playing. By the end of the night, however, his strings were glowing like the heating elements in a toaster and he suffered 2nd degree burns on his finger tips. His doctor ordered him to stop playing guitar.
The next day, Hot Glove Simms gave him the name Oven Mitt Johnson along with his first oven mitt and encouraged him to start his own band.