Kip Winger - Winger, Alice Cooper - Back
Interviewer: Cameron Edney - http://www.myspace.com/insideout666ints

During the late eighties Winger were one of America's most successful hard rockin' acts. Forming in 1987 Winger became an overnight smash with their debut self-titled album. The bands debut album achieved platinum status in the United States, and gold in Japan and Canada. Radio stations around the world and the very popular MTV both ran tracks such as 'Seventeen', 'Madaline' and 'Headed for a Heartbreak' on heavy rotation, making Winger a household name. The band featuring ex-Alice Cooper bassist Kip Winger and guitarist Reb Beach went on to release two more albums during the late eighties and nineties, which was also loved by fans and critics worldwide and earned Winger touring spots with such greats as Kiss and The Scorpions. Over the years, bassist and vocalist Kip Winger has remained heavily involved in the music industry. Not only has he remained the driving force behind Winger he has also penned three solo albums and has written musical scores for feature films.

In 2002 Wingers popularity soared to highs seen in the late eighties when they toured the United States with hard rockers Poison after an eight-year hiatus. Since then the band have been playing live and last year released their long awaited album 'IV' which has left fans blown away. After twenty long years Winger recently announced they will be playing two shows in Australia. This is Wingers first Australian tour and none other than Los Angeles hard rockers Ratt will join them also for their first Australian trek. I recently caught up with Winger's main-man Kip to discuss his musical beginnings, working with Alice cooper, the bands latest album 'IV', the upcoming Australian tour and much more.

The time has come to be 'Baptized By Fire' with the one and only Kip Winger


Metal Fanatix: Hi Kip, how are things going mate?

Kip Winger: Good, thank you!

Metal Fanatix: Mate firstly I want to thank you for putting some time aside to answer the following questions for our readers, finally after twenty years you will be heading to Australia, you must be excited! I guess the million dollar question is why has it taken so long for you guys to head to Australia?

Kip Winger: So are you going to give us a million dollars? Cool [laughs]

Metal Fanatix: [Laughs] I'll see what I can do [laughs]

Kip Winger: Basically it was the right time. Winger disbanded in 94' but never really "broke up" - we went separate ways to do our solo stuff etc. At the time our genre wasn't too popular. I got into my own thing, in 2002 we were offered the Poison/Cinderella tour and it just so happened we were doing a "best of". We toured for a few months, then in 2006 were we offered a good deal to do a record and I had already been thinking that it was time and I knew what to do with it. I'm not the kind of artist that can crank out the same record every year, it has to come from genuine inspiration.

Metal Fanatix: Unfortunately this time around, you will only be playing to fans in Sydney and Melbourne. Do you have any intentions on heading back for a full-scale tour down the track?

Kip Winger: Ah no, not at this point, we will see how this goes.

Metal Fanatix: Even though this is a whirlwind tour will you get any time to see the sites while you’re here?

Kip Winger: Probably not but I have been there before on promotion and saw a lot of stuff. Australia’s a very cool place.

Metal Fanatix: Sharing the Australian bill with Ratt surely makes this a show not to be missed. Tell us about your relationships with the guys and how you both came together for the tour?

Kip Winger: I don’t know them too well, I've always been a fan. Actually we're managed by the same guy. I'm excited about it, I think it's a great bill.

Metal Fanatix: There is no doubt that there is a resurgence in the Metal scene here in Australia which has seen bands such as Winger, Ratt, Tesla, Testament and Exodus finally making there way here for the first time, is the scene still thriving over there in the states?

Kip Winger: It's doing pretty good. It’s not like the late eighties early nineties but it's decent.

Metal Fanatix: Kip, I’d like to go back into the past for a moment and talk about your career. You grew up in a very musical environment, having parents who played in a Jazz trio. By the age of seven you had formed your very first childhood band ‘Blackwood Creek’ what comes to mind when you look at those early years?

Kip Winger: A lot of dreaming about were I was going. Ironically I've re-formed Blackwood Creek and am working on a record now. You can see what we are doing at http://www.myspace.com/blackwoodcreek and here a song, power trio stuff. In the early days, when I got home from school , we'd jam everyday and gig on the weekends. It went on from there until I ended up in New York.

Metal Fanatix: I have read that you admitted to taking Ballet classes during your late teens, this is something that I would imagine most guys in the metal scene would want to keep somewhat secret!

Kip Winger: Why? Afraid to admit that they were serious about art and committed to fearlessly perusing that which made them more whole as an artist. Perhaps I should have been happy filling my arms with tattoos and drinking myself into oblivion to be cool [laughs]

Metal Fanatix: [Laughs] yeah good point I guess mate! Your early musical beginnings; seen you growing up in a Jazz environment, learning classical guitar and doing forms of dance. How did the cross over to heavy metal initially come about?

Kip Winger: It's not a stretch at all, most kids hate what their parents like. We were into Black Sabbath etc... People really have the wrong impression about me, because I've gone out on my own and studied all these different things. Picture this: me and my brothers in the neighborhood gang getting busted for smoking pot and breaking and entering in the local elementary school at the ripe old age of eleven.

Metal Fanatix: [Laughs] That is pretty metal dude! During the late seventies in the New York area you would open for groups such as The Good Rats and Twisted Sister, would you say this was your first real eye opening experiences into how the industry worked, trying to secure record deals and touring?

Kip Winger: No, I'd done a thousand gigs before that, those were exciting because there was more of a crowd. My first real eye opener was joining Alice Cooper's band.

Metal Fanatix: Speaking of which, many fans around the world know you of course for the amazing work you have done over the years with Alice. Growing up influenced by Alice I could never imagine what it would have been like to be asked to play bass for him. When you look back on that time of your life what fond and horrific memories come to mind?

Kip Winger: It was a glass of blood a day! It was the first time I'd played for VERY big audiences and I was relatively young so it was really a blast. The band was made up of very interesting people. Kane Roberts is one of the smartest people I've met, as is Alice...It was a very hedonistic, great time. The only bad thing that happened is dislocating my knee on the last song of one show. Alice thought I was down as part of the "Showmanship" I couldn't get up. We ended the set and everyone went off. There I was laying on the stage until someone figured out i couldn't get up, pretty funny really!

Metal Fanatix: [laughs] yeah that’s a pretty good story dude [laughs]

Kip Winger: Working with one of my heroes has happened twice. Four years ago I got a call from Alan Parsons, who asked me to be the singer of his new band. The coolest part of the story is that, when I was sixteen I sent Alan a demo of my band. He actually replied , and when I went to the first rehearsal, I showed him the letter...

Metal Fanatix: That’s awesome dude! Mate, as we all know Winger formed from the friendships you had made with members of Alice’s band and the first self-titled album was a great success. It seems that in a matter of years you had gone from a struggling musician to playing with one of the biggest rock stars in the world to then go on and share in your own creative success. At any point did you lose hope and think it was all over?

Kip Winger: Any artist probably thinks of that everyday. I've had my share of lean times for sure, but I'll always have the resources to compose music. That's all I care about.

Metal Fanatix: When you work with an artists such as Alice Cooper what is the single most important lesson you can learn?

Kip Winger: Have your parts down cold. Then party!

Metal Fanatix: Kip there is no doubt that you are an amazing musician and vocalist, when you’re out on the road do you do anything specific to warm up before a show?

Kip Winger: Unfortunately my voice doesn't kick in unless I warm it up everyday, so as far as the voice goes, I’m a lunatic about warming up. But I never even pick up a bass unless I'm on stage.

Metal Fanatix: What equipment are you currently using?

Kip Winger: I'm using a Warwick Bass, SWR Amp, Alvarez acoustic guitars, and any keyboard that's in front of me.

Metal Fanatix: Looking back on all the craziness that used to go on during those tours, all the backstage debauchery and so on can you believe you have survived it?

Kip Winger: It made me younger if anything!

Metal Fanatix: What arguably has been the best show of your life thus far?

Kip Winger: Oh, they are all different. Paris is always good to play.

Metal Fanatix: Mate 2006 saw the release of the most recent Winger album titled ‘IV’ as 2007 draws to a close are you guys gearing up to head back into the studios?

Kip Winger: Not yet, I'm mixing my forth solo record now. Then Blackwood Creek.

Metal Fanatix: When the time comes to enter the studio do you think you will approach the next album in a different way to some of the albums you have recorded in the past or will you be sticking with the Winger formula?

Kip Winger: With the band it's always Reb and I working out the songs the we record them.

Metal Fanatix: In a few words, what comes to mind when I mention tracks such as ‘Disappear’, ‘Livin' Just To Die’, ‘Short Flight To Mexico’ and ‘Your Great Escape’ from the latest album ‘IV’?

Kip Winger: I really tend to think of the album as a whole. My interpretation of the songs isn’t so important. I like the songs you’re pointing out but for me the stand out tracks are. ‘Right Up Ahead’, ‘Blue Suede Shoes’, ‘Generica’, and ‘M16’

Metal Fanatix: During your time in Australia are there any plans to film any of the footage for an upcoming DVD release?

Kip Winger: No, we already have one to come out in a month.

Metal Fanatix: You have appeared on some amazing albums over the years, what one would be your favorite to listen to and why? Is it even possible to narrow it down?

Kip Winger: Honestly, I never listen to anything I've done once it's finished. Sometimes I will reference the sound of an album during mixing, other than that I never listen to my own stuff.

Metal Fanatix: Kip you have grown up influenced by some of the greatest rock bands in the world such as Led Zeppelin, Alice Cooper and The Beatles, do you feel you have played a large role in influencing today’s hard rock / metal acts?

Kip Winger: I wouldn't have a clue! Some people have told me that and I'm always shocked by it. It is nice to know though.

Metal Fanatix: Who have you been surprised to learn is a fan of the band?

Kip Winger: That's a funny question, Winger has been so controversial, they probably wouldn't admit it [laughs]

Metal Fanatix: [Laughs] Are you currently listening to any of the newer hard rock/metal bands? If so who?

Kip Winger: I listen to a lot of unknown bands off myspace, no names come to mind though. They're not knew but I really like Muse!

Metal Fanatix: They are a great band mate! Kip, what is the one band you never want to hear again and why?

Kip Winger: No one band does all bad or all good, I like it if it's good and don’t like it if it's bad.

Metal Fanatix: That’s a fair point mate! Kip I want to again thank you for your time today, have a blast while you’re in Australia. Do you have any last words for our readers?

Kip Winger: Can't wait to come down there, Cheers

Grab Your Copy Of The Latest Winger Cd 'IV' Where All Rockin' Albums Are Sold.

To keep up with all the latest news on Kip head to the following websites:


http://www.wingertheband.com - Official Winger Site
http://www.kipwinger.com - Official Kip Winger Site
http://www.myspace.com/kipwingermusic - Kip Winger MySpace Site
http://www.myspace.com/insideout666ints - Inside Out 666

© Cameron Edney October 2007, June 2008 Not to be re-printed in any form without written permission.