Winger (band)

Last updated

Winger 2007.jpg
Winger in March 2007.
L–R: John Roth, Kip Winger, Reb Beach.
(Photo by Rick Audet)
Background information
Origin New York City, New York, U.S.
Years active
  • 1987–1994
  • 2001–2003
  • 2006–present
Associated acts
Past members
  • Cenk Eroglu

Winger is an American rock band that has combined elements of glam metal and progressive metal. Formed in New York City, Winger gained popularity during the late 1980s and early 1990s. The band's two platinum albums, Winger and In the Heart of the Young , along with charting singles "Seventeen", "Headed for a Heartbreak" and "Miles Away", put them on the top of the charts by the early 1990s. In 1990, the band was nominated for an American Music Award for "Best New Heavy Metal Band". [3] As the music scene changed in the early to mid-1990s due to the popularity of grunge, their success faded after their third release Pull . [4]

Rock music is a broad genre of popular music that originated as "rock and roll" in the United States in the early 1950s, and developed into a range of different styles in the 1960s and later, particularly in the United States and the United Kingdom. It has its roots in 1940s and 1950s rock and roll, a style which drew heavily on the genres of blues, rhythm and blues, and from country music. Rock music also drew strongly on a number of other genres such as electric blues and folk, and incorporated influences from jazz, classical and other musical styles. Musically, rock has centered on the electric guitar, usually as part of a rock group with electric bass, drums, and one or more singers. Usually, rock is song-based music usually with a 4/4 time signature using a verse–chorus form, but the genre has become extremely diverse. Like pop music, lyrics often stress romantic love but also address a wide variety of other themes that are frequently social or political.

Glam metal is a subgenre of heavy metal, which features pop-influenced hooks and guitar riffs, and borrows from the fashion of 1970s glam rock.

Progressive metal is a fusion genre melding heavy metal and progressive rock that combines the loud "aggression" and amplified guitar-driven sound of the former with the more experimental, cerebral or "pseudo-classical" compositions of the latter.


Winger disbanded in 1994. In 2001 they reunited and have since conducted several successful tours. In 2006, the band's 1993 touring line-up (minus Paul Taylor but including John Roth) reunited to record the band's first studio album in over 13 years, IV , and toured in support of the album into 2008.

<i>IV</i> (Winger album) 2006 studio album by Winger

IV is the fourth studio album by American rock band Winger, and the first after their 1993 album Pull. According to frontman Kip Winger, one morning he "just woke up and heard the new Winger record" in his head, knowing just what he wanted to do with it. It was released in October 2006 on Frontiers Records. The album is the most musically progressive album of Winger's career. Lyrically, much of the album is sung from the perspective of U.S. soldiers stationed overseas. Kip Winger was inspired to do this after performing solo shows at U.S. military bases, and being touched by the stories of the soldiers he met.

In 2009, the band released their fifth album, Karma . As of 2013, Winger still performs on mini-tours, festivals and private events. [5] Their most recent album, Better Days Comin' , came out in 2014.

<i>Karma</i> (Winger album) 2009 studio album by Winger

Karma is the fifth studio album by American rock band Winger. The album was released on 16 October 2009 in Europe and 27 October 2009 in the United States. The inspiration for a new Winger came about at the end of 2008, when Kip Winger had the vision to meld the more commercial, heavier and song-oriented approach of the first two albums with the more "thinking-man" approach of the last two studio records. Kip Winger said of the title that "We were discussing the very interesting path the band has had and we have all been through so much together. So we went for Karma as this is a word that truly sums up the experience of being in the band."

<i>Better Days Comin</i> 2014 studio album by Winger

Better Days Comin' is the sixth studio album by American rock band Winger. It was released on April 23, 2014, debuting at #21 on the Top Current Rock Albums Chart and #85 on the Billboard 200.


Main career and break-up (1987–1994)

The debut album, Winger, was released on August 10, 1988 on Atlantic Records. The record was a success, achieving platinum status in the United States, and gold status in Japan and Canada. On February 11, 1989, the album peaked at number 21 on the Billboard 200, [6] and was in various places on the chart for 63 weeks. [7] Radio and MTV hits from the album included "Madalaine", "Seventeen", "Headed for a Heartbreak" and "Hungry". In 1990, the band was nominated for an American Music Award for "Best New Heavy Metal Band".

Atlantic Records American record label

Atlantic Recording Corporation is an American record label founded in October 1947 by Ahmet Ertegün and Herb Abramson. Over its first 20 years of operation, Atlantic earned a reputation as one of the most important American labels, specializing in jazz, R&B, and soul by Aretha Franklin, Ray Charles, Wilson Pickett, Sam and Dave, Ruth Brown and Otis Redding. Its position was greatly improved by its distribution deal with Stax. In 1967, Atlantic became a wholly owned subsidiary of Warner Bros.-Seven Arts, now the Warner Music Group, and expanded into rock and pop music with releases by Led Zeppelin and Yes.

United States Federal republic in North America

The United States of America (USA), commonly known as the United States or America, is a country comprising 50 states, a federal district, five major self-governing territories, and various possessions. At 3.8 million sq mi (9.8 million km2), the United States is the world's third or fourth largest country by total area and is slightly smaller than the entire continent of Europe's 3.93 million sq mi (10.2 million km2). With a population of more than 327 million people, the U.S. is the third most populous country. The capital is Washington, D.C., and the most populous city is New York City. Forty-eight states and the capital's federal district are contiguous in North America between Canada and Mexico. The State of Alaska is in the northwest corner of North America, bordered by Canada to the east and across the Bering Strait from Russia to the west. The State of Hawaii is an archipelago in the mid-Pacific Ocean. The U.S. territories are scattered about the Pacific Ocean and the Caribbean Sea, stretching across nine official time zones. The extremely diverse geography, climate, and wildlife of the United States make it one of the world's 17 megadiverse countries.

Japan Country in East Asia

Japan is an island country in East Asia. Located in the Pacific Ocean, it lies off the eastern coast of the Asian continent and stretches from the Sea of Okhotsk in the north to the East China Sea and the Philippine Sea in the south.

Shortly after that tour, Winger released its second album In the Heart of the Young, which went 1-and-1/2 platinum in the U.S. and Gold in Japan. Hit radio tracks and MTV videos included "Can't Get Enuff", "Miles Away" and "Easy Come Easy Go".

Cant Get Enuff 1990 single by Winger

"Can't Get Enuff" is a single by American rock band Winger, from their album In the Heart of the Young.

Winger followed the release of its second album with a 13-month world tour, playing over 230 dates with Kiss, Scorpions, ZZ Top, Extreme and Slaughter. Paul Taylor left the band after the tour, citing exhaustion after years of touring. [8] Their third studio album, Pull , produced by Mike Shipley, was recorded in 1992/1993 as a three-piece band. It was originally to be called Blind Revolution Mad, after the opening song. Reportedly Kip Winger, anticipating that critics would dismiss the album out of hand, renamed it Pull as a tongue-in-cheek reference to the CD being used by critics as a skeet shooting target. The album was not as successful as the previous albums saleswise, but gained solid reviews. On the following tour, John Roth was called in to replace Paul Taylor on rhythm guitar. The album coincided with the rise of grunge, which swept aside the brand of melodic pop-metal that Winger represented.

Kiss (band) American band

Kiss is an American rock band formed in New York City in January 1973 by Paul Stanley, Gene Simmons, Peter Criss, and Ace Frehley. Well known for its members' face paint and stage outfits, the group rose to prominence in the mid-to-late 1970s with their elaborate live performances, which featured fire breathing, blood-spitting, smoking guitars, shooting rockets, levitating drum kits, and pyrotechnics. The band has gone through several lineup changes, with Stanley and Simmons the only remaining original members. The original and best-known lineup consisted of Stanley, Simmons, Frehley, and Criss.

Scorpions (band) German rock band

Scorpions are a German rock band formed in 1965 in Hanover by Rudolf Schenker. Since the band's inception, its musical style has ranged from hard rock to heavy metal. The lineup from 1978–1992 was the most successful incarnation of the group, and included Klaus Meine (vocals), Rudolf Schenker, Matthias Jabs, Francis Buchholz (bass), and Herman Rarebell (drums). The band's only constant member has been Schenker, although Meine has been the lead singer for all of Scorpions' studio albums, while Jabs has been a consistent member since 1979, and bassist Paweł Mąciwoda and drummer Mikkey Dee have been in the band since 2003 and 2016 respectively.

ZZ Top American rock band

ZZ Top is an American rock band formed in 1969 in Houston, Texas. The band has, since 1970, consisted of vocalist/guitarist Billy Gibbons, bassist/vocalist Dusty Hill, and drummer Frank Beard. "As genuine roots musicians, they have few peers", according to critic Michael "Cub" Koda. "Gibbons is one of America's finest blues guitarists working in the arena rock idiom [...] while Hill and Beard provide the ultimate rhythm section support."

After disbanding in 1994, bassist/lead vocalist Kip Winger went on to a solo career, guitarist Reb Beach went on to touring projects with artists Dokken, Alice Cooper and has held a permanent guitar spot in Whitesnake since 2002. The band's other members pursued or resumed careers as session musicians.

Reunions (2001–present)

In 2001, it was announced that all original members of the band would return to the studio to record the song "On the Inside" for The Very Best of Winger . In 2002, all five members embarked on a reunion tour of the U.S. and Canada on a bill with Poison. According to Kip Winger, in a 2008 interview with rock and roll comic C.C. Banana, it was important to include all five members because "it was the big, long-awaited reunion so I wanted to include everybody who had ever been in the band." [9] In 2003, it was confirmed that activity had been halted due to Reb Beach's touring commitment with Whitesnake as well as his solo album "Masquerade" and involvement with "supergroup" project The Mob with King's X frontman Doug Pinnick and Night Ranger drummer Kelly Keagy.

On July 16, 2005, it was announced that Kip Winger would perform as the lead singer for the Alan Parsons Live Project at the Common Ground Music Festival in Lansing, Michigan. [10] [11] In May 2006, it was confirmed that Winger had reformed without one of its original members Paul Taylor, to record another album and tour Europe. The album, IV, was released in Europe in October and the nine-country "Winger IV Tour" ran in the last two weeks of the same month.

On February 25, 2008, the band performed in Providence, Rhode Island, as part of a benefit for survivors of the Station nightclub fire. The concert, along with other artists was debuted on VH1 Classic on March 23, 2008. In late 2009, it was confirmed that Winger would record a fifth album Karma , with a tour to support it. Most recently, John Roth became the guitarist for Giant and will appear on their latest album Promise Land set for release in February/March 2010. [12]

Winger released their sixth studio album titled, Better Days Comin' in April 2014, after teasers were published on Kip Winger's website and on the official Winger Facebook page as well.

As of late 2018, Winger was playing club dates. They were scheduled on Dec 29, 2018 in Westland, Michigan.

Style and influences

The band's musical style combines elements of glam metal and progressive metal. [1] [2] Kip Winger, in description of the band's musical ability and style, said, "Our band was known to musicians, and a lot of musicians showed up to see me play — watching, trying to figure out how I'm playing. We were like the 'hair band' [version of] Dream Theater." [13]


In Korn's song "All in the Family", Fred Durst claims that Jonathan Davis's favorite band is Winger.

Beavis and Butt-head

Winger was the subject of frequent ridicule in MTV's animated series Beavis and Butt-head during the mid-1990s. The neighbor boy Stewart, who was always trying to be accepted by Beavis and Butt-head, was usually depicted wearing a Winger T-shirt, as opposed to the Metallica and AC/DC shirts worn by the title characters. Beavis and Butt-head thought of them as "wussies", belittling their videos — especially the "Seventeen" video. According to the documentary Taint of Greatness: Part 2 on the Mike Judge Collection Volume 2 DVD, this was due to Kip Winger telling MTV he would not let the show make fun of him. In a 2005 interview, Reb Beach said that this treatment on a popular cartoon caused a decline in popularity for Winger:

So we released the record and went out on the road and that's when the floor fell out from under us practically overnight. Some guy came to the bus with a copy of Beavis and Butt-head and in it they hung a nerd up by his underwear while he wore his Winger T-shirt. They went to his house, and his loser family (including the dog) were all wearing Winger T-shirts. That week people stopped coming to our shows and record sales came to a screeching halt. "Down Incognito" was taking off at radio when DJs just dropped it from their playlists because they were too embarrassed to have their station associated with it. A month later I called Atlantic Records and they had never heard of Winger. [14]

Mike Judge continued to mock Winger in his next animated series King of the Hill , as the character of John Redcorn was a former roadie for the band until embarking on a Native American vision quest, where he discovered that "wrangling groupies for Winger was not my proper life path".

In a 2010 interview with Eddie Trunk on That Metal Show , Kip himself denounced the rumor that he told MTV to not make fun of him. In August 2011, Judge stated in an interview with Billboard: "I thought [Kip Winger] had a problem with the show, but it turns out he was OK with it", Judge told "We tried other bands [logos] but nothing worked as well [as the originals]". [15]

Winger/Metallica friction

About this same time, Lars Ulrich of the band Metallica could be seen throwing a dart on a poster of Kip Winger in the video for "Nothing Else Matters". When asked about this, Kip Winger once stated: "That is why it's the great irony that we ended up on that geeky guy's shirt on Beavis & Butt-head, because Metallica couldn't play what we play, they couldn't do it, they literally — technically — couldn't do it. And I'll challenge those chumps to that any day of the week, but we could play their music with our hands tied behind our back. And so, I was a little teed off about that, but in the end, none of that shit matters..." [13]

In reference to the dispute Winger wrote the song "Hell to Pay", in which Metallica song titles and lyrics are used in opposition to the band that wrote them. In 1994 or so, when the magazine Metal Edge asked Kip who he would like to look like, given the chance to look like some other rock star, Kip took his shot at slapping the drummer of Metallica: "I would not like to change my looks really, I think I look OK already, but someone I would NOT have liked to look like is Lars Ulrich."

Band members


Winger (band)


Studio albums

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  10. "Alan Parsons official website". Retrieved 2011-09-13.
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  12. Frontiers Records
  13. 1 2 Kip Winger Interview at Heavy Metal and Power Metal Portal Archived February 12, 2006, at the Wayback Machine
  14. Reb Beach, interview 2005
  15. Gallo, Phil (2011-08-01). "'Beavis and Butt-head' to Return With Fewer Music Videos Due to Licensing Constraints". Retrieved 2012-12-09.
  16. Though he was an official band member from 2006 until 2009 and appeared on the 2006 album IV, Eroglu was absent for most live shows during 2007.
  17. Donnie Wayne Smith has filled-in for John Roth live sporadically since 2014.