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  KIP WINGER: IN CONVERSATION ABOUT WINGER AND HIS SOLO WORK

Gary 'Rockulus' Clarke

Rockulus Maximus

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kip winger

In recent times I have become a fan of Kip Winger's classical output which really is a contrasting style of music to his testosterone output with the band Winger.

The band have a new album in the shape of 'Better Days Comin'' so the promotional machine was grinding in to action, and I was thrilled to have the opportunity to chat with the man who was behind such intense classical arrangements like 'Conversations With Nijinsky' and 'Ghosts' as well as being the focal point for a band with hit singles like 'Miles Away' and 'Seventeen'.

Our conversation began with me noting the album title and the positive connotations from such an album name as 'Better Days Comin''.

Kip: "Well it's funny, it's more of a sarcastic title actually. There's so much shit going on in the world that there's gotta be better days comin' basically. How much further down can you go? So there is an element of sarcasm to it, but you know the song is a feel-good song, the actual track 'Better Days Comin'' it was our answer to 'Down Incognito' when we wrote that we were thinking that might be a good name for the album 'cos it's so fresh. There wasn't any huge concept behind it or anything like that."

Article continues below...

 
 


I picked up on the reference to the title track and probed further.

Kip: "It is generally a happy song. Basically, like, just forget about your troubles because there's plenty of them. It is very seventies; we had trouble finding out which era it actually came from because the verse is, well it's not really a sixties sounding verse and when you hit the chorus it sounds like it could have been Earth, Wind & Fire or something.

"That's just the way it happens with Reb and I, we follow on to certain things and you know, right out of nowhere we have this wacky song and we don't know where it came from. Like I say, it was really our answer to 'Down Incognito' because we wrote the whole record, and I thought we need an up-funky song like 'Down Incognito' so we wrote that."

I shared my observation that it had been nearly five years since the band's last album and what it must have been like to approach a follow-up album to 'Karma' which was so well received.

Kip: "It's funny; I didn't even know there was five years between albums until we sat down to do it. Honestly, it's like Reb you got any time to make a record? 'cos he's out with Whitesnake you know. Whitesnake stopped touring for a while, and I was like cool – let's make a record. So he flies here; we sit down and crank up the drum machine and start ripping out the riffs. It's the same as it was since the very first album.

kip winger

"I've never gotten in to my head about it, 'cos you can really out-think yourself to oblivion and get writer's block and stuff. We just sit down and come up with the coolest riffs we can. We've always been a riff-orientated band since day one. 'Seventeen' guitar riff - to this day it's hard to find guitar players that actually play it correctly in cover bands and stuff. So we just really focus on trying to make cool riffs really, writing like these pop melodies over them and that's the same way with every single album; try to be self-critical about which ideas are good and which ones suck!"

At this junction of his answer, it reminds him of something else he wants to share. I'm all ears as he continues.

Kip: "It was quite the contrary actually, we felt like people liked 'Karma' so we don't have anything to prove anymore. I mean, we wanted to do something good but it was like, what do you want to do now? Where do we go from here? You know we just did it the same exact way we always do it and just keep a watchful eye that the ideas are at a certain quality you know, that's really the key to what we do."

The first single from 'Better Days Comin'' is the hard rocking 'Rat Race' which I referred to as being "riff-tastic", and I asked whether that was Reb bringing the main idea to the creative table.

Kip: "Yeah totally. That's a great word actually - I'll have to adopt that. "Riff-tastic"; 'Queen Babylon' is like; I tell this story a lot; we were in one of those things where we're writing and it's terrible. We're both not getting off on it; it's sucking – Reb just like breaks out and Reb goes – This sucks! We need something like this, and he played the whole riff verbatim; one riff - just done! He pops them out like that every once in a while. You can see very clearly in the 'making of' we did on this record which is by far the best 'making of' we've ever done – like how the whole thing went down. But yeah, 'Rat Race' was a "riff-tastic" riff that Reb just fuckin' popped out."

Kip expresses how some galloping riffs don't always appeal to him, but on these songs they felt right and sounded good.

Official video for 'Rat Race'



Kip: "The guy who wrote the words you know, Donnie Purnell from that band KIX - he used to be in them, well Donnie wrote the words for both 'Queen Babylon' and 'Rat Race'. They turned out really good, so I was happy with that. A lot of times on this rock stuff nowadays, I can only write a certain kind of lyric anymore 'cos I've written so many "fuck me" songs that I just don't have it in me anymore.

"I'm really good at political satire and like introverted weird emotional songs like 'Storm In Me', but if I'm blocked for one second I'll just send it over to him and say got any ideas? Sometimes he does, sometimes he doesn't. But he did on that, on those two he did a great job."

My curiosity gets the better of me and I steal the chance to tackle Kip about the comparisons between his solo output and the band Winger.

Kip: "The solo thing is like how much experimenting can I do to bring this together? You know it's like Peter Gabriel meets America meets Neil Young meets; I mean Debussy in classical music. There's all these different elements that go into my classical music that's a complete experiment plus I work with other players and let them jam over it, and then I edit their jamming. With Reb and me it's like okay, riff number one – let's do this riff. We then get the riff happening, and once it's happening like, we go to the next section. Like I say its riff-orientated music and we write melodies over riffs."

When I heard 'Ghosts' and knowing the reception for his classical arrangements were positive, I pushed Kip further about how the solo aspect came to be.

kip winger

Kip: "When I studied ballet as a kid I heard Stravinsky and Debussy and all these classical composers, I thought 'fuck, somebody wrote that?!' It kind of blew me away that somebody wrote it. I never had formal training, but right around 'This Conversation Seems Like A Dream' time my first wife died in a car wreck; and there was really nothing left for me to do but to study. I really began at that time to study the real essence of what composition is all about with some really amazing teachers."

Kip reveals the success of the classical venture and also announces: "That's been my musical passion that overrides everything. I could give all this up just to sit at the piano and compose classical music. That's really my highest calling and I love doing the band though and its fun. I have gigs and opportunities and stuff. Anyone in their right mind; who would turn it down that's kind of how that goes."

This experience talking with Kip Winger was eye-opening for several reasons. You receive the nonchalant Rock guy who has achieved commercial and critical success over the course of his band's six studio albums, but there is a man who works hard and pushes himself to accomplish far more complicated and intricate results through his love of music. He has survived the lowest of times like the bad press received via 'Beavis And Butthead', and when Metallica were throwing darts at a Winger poster in one of their videos. But Kip Winger has also risen from those times to stand proud with an album like 'Karma' and know that due to his prior successes that his band can record and release albums when the times are right.

kip winger

I wasn't as impressed with 'Better Days Comin'' as I was with 'Karma' and you can read my review elsewhere on the mighty MetalTalk. It sounds like a band trying out different things that felt right at the time, and perhaps it will prove to be a grower? All I do know is that after speaking with Kip, he really wishes to pursue his classical forays more and more.

With 'Ghosts' and 'Conversations With Nijinsky' coating my ears with a constantly progressive classical arrangement, all I can say is that he's very good at composing and it'll be interesting to see where it takes him.


8.5.14





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Brazilian thrash/stoner act Panzer have just released a new lyric video on for the second track of the album 'Honor'...

bush BUSH ANNOUNCE OCTOBER 20th RELEASE FOR 'MAN ON THE RUN'
Multi-platinum alt-rock band Bush have announced an October 20th release date for their highly anticipated new album...

absolva ABSOLVA RELEASE VIDEO FOR 'LIVE FOR THE FIGHT'
The video features Luke Appleton (Iced Earth) who is playing bass for the band on the forthcoming European Tour...

giants of rock GIANTS OF ROCK FESTIVAL: FIRST BANDS ANNOUNCED
The reformed Family and pomp rockers Magnum will headline the event...

weapon uk ESTRELLA TO SUPPORT GILBY CLARKE ON TOUR AND ANNOUNCE A NEW SINGLE
The band are currently gearing up for a thirteen date trek with Clarke that includes dates in Wakefield, London and Edinburgh...

weapon uk WEAPON UK ANNOUNCE TOUR DATES FOR NOVEMBER
Weapon UK have tour dates confirmed in support of their critically acclaimed album 'Rising From The Ashes'...

amulet AMULET DEBUT ALBUM 'THE FIRST' RELEASED IN SEPTEMBER: FIRST TRACK NOW ONLINE
The album track 'Mark Of Evil' has just been uploaded to Soundcloud. Raise your fists and bang your heads on this one...

michael schenker MICHAEL SCHENKER'S GUITARS STOLEN FROM GERMAN RECORDING STUDIO
German police are examining evidence and the studio for fingerprints and DNA evidence to help catch the criminals...

jimi jamison JIMI JAMISON OF SURVIVOR PASSES AWAY AGED 63
Jimi Jamison, lead singer of Survivor, very sadly passed away on Sunday night...

distorted harmony DISTORTED HARMONY UNLEASH FOOTAGE FROM 'CHAIN REACTION LIVE!'
The Tel Aviv quintet are looking forward to bringing their show to Europe this November...

ensiferum ENSIFERUM TO BEGIN RECORDING SIXTH STUDIO ALBUM NEXT MONTH
"We are convinced that this will be a ground breaking album for us and the whole genre. Modesty? What's that?"...

les-fest wildfire LES-FEST WILDFIRE ANNOUNCES FURTHER ACTS FOR SUMMER 2015
Max Raptor, Anihilated and more join the stellar array of main stage bands...

mystery deeexpus THE HOUSE OF PROGRESSION & THE MERCH DESK PROUDLY PRESENT MYSTERY & DeeEXPUS LIVE
It's a night of Prog at The Borderline on Tuesday 9th September, one of three chances to see this unique pairing...

butcher babies BUTCHER BABIES ANNOUNCE DETAILS FOR UPCOMING 'UNCOVERED' EP
The breakthrough Metal act have chosen five of their favourite tracks to get a makeover...

avenged sevenfold AVENGED SEVENFOLD RELEASE NEVER BEFORE SEEN ORIGINAL VIDEO FOR 'UNHOLY CONFESSIONS'
Take a fresh look at the 2004 track taken from the essential 'Waking The Fallen: Resurrected'...

reckless ambition RECKLESS AMBITION AND DIRTY LIONS TO PLAY THE ROCK PATCH THIS SATURDAY
Anyone who hasn't seen Reckless Ambition, then you are in for a real treat...

meshuggah MESHUGGAH ANNOUNCE 25TH ANNIVERSARY SHOWS IN EUROPE
Celebrate 25 years of musical deviance on this tour which includes a date a London's Roundhouse...

mr big MR. BIG CHANGE RELEASE DATE FOR NEW ALBUM "...THE STORIES WE COULD TELL"
The original line-up are back with some of their most powerful material to date and their signature hard rock sound...

well eavy 'WELL 'EAVY - VOL. 1' COMPILATION TO BE RELEASED BY HANGMAN - AMULET'S OWN LABEL
Get down to the free entry release party in Camden on 29th August...

slipknot DEF LEPPARD TO PERFORM NFL PRE-GAME SHOW AT FIRST LONDON NFL GAME OF 2014
Joe Elliott: "I know what the atmosphere in the ground is like for 'our' football so I'm really looking forward to performing there before the NFL game..."

slipknot SLIPKNOT REVEAL NEW ALBUM AND TOUR INFORMATION
'.5: The Gray Chapter' will be released on October 21 followed by US dates with Korn...

hard rock hell HARD ROCK HELL 8 ANNOUNCES MORE ACTS
The Vintage Caravan, Blue Pills, Horisont, Spiders and Santa Cruz have been added to the line up for November...

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