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  KIP WINGER: IN CONVERSATION ABOUT WINGER AND HIS SOLO WORK

Gary 'Rockulus' Clarke

Rockulus Maximus



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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"Every snare hit I do from now on until the end of my career will be a small tribute to Lemmy..."

iron maiden IRON MAIDEN'S STEVE HARRIS DROPS THE PRICE OF HIS ESSEX MANSION BY £1MILLION
The eight-bedroom mansion was on the market for £6.75million in 2012 but it's "guide price" is now a mere £3.95million...

hrh aor ALL GUNS BLAZING FOR NEW HRH AOR 5 ANNOUNCEMENT
Phil Lewis & Tracii Guns unite under the L.A. Guns banner once again for next year's HRH AOR 5 being held next March at Camp HRH in North Wales...

deep purple DEEP PURPLE 'LIVE AT THE NEC' DVD ON THE WAY: FAREWELL JON, WELCOME DON
The two share keyboard duties during the night in a very fitting "passing-of-the-torch" moment...

status quo ROCK 'TIL YOU DROP WITH STATUS QUO 1981-1986 VINYL BOX SET
In addition to the studio albums the box set will include an extra disc of b-sides and extended mixes...

zz top ZZ TOP TO RELEASE THEIR VERY FIRST OFFICIAL LIVE ALBUM IN SEPTEMBER
"In an abstract surrealism style, this collection is a definitive chronicle of the band hangin' together for four plus deluxe decades..."

tygers of pan tang TYGERS OF PAN TANG "SPECIAL TIME" HAS COME WITH NEW RELEASE
"The new Tygers album is finished, done and dusted and ready to unleash on our 'Tygertastic' audience. You're gonna love this one, it's a MONSTER..."

andy fraser ANDY FRASER OF FREE'S LAST RECORDING WITH SAIICHI SUGIYAMA ONLINE HERE
"'Melting Away' became one of Andy's last recordings. He still had so much to offer and I was really looking forward to continuing to work with him."

ritchie blackmore RITCHIE BLACKMORE'S RAINBOW TO PLAY AGAIN BUT WITH LESS DEEP PURPLE SONGS
"I would do probably ninety-five percent Rainbow songs; that's what they seem to want to hear. And it didn't occur to me. I just naturally assumed they wanted to hear everything."

saxon EXCLUSIVE: THIS IS WHAT OUR FAVOURITE ROCKERS THINK OF THE CURRENT POLITICAL CLIMATE
Comment from Saxon, Slash, Thunder, Iron Maiden, Uli Jon Roth, Hawkwind, Cher, Johnny Rotten, Machine Head And More...

beyond the black UK EXCLUSIVE: BEYOND THE BLACK SINGER JENNIFER HABEN IS LOST IN FOREVER AS FIVE MEMBERS DEPART THE BAND
"I have enjoyed the time together with the guys very much and am grateful for everything we have achieved together in Germany. I am currently looking for new colleagues..."

cats in space CATS IN SPACE SET TO RELEASE SLADE CLASSIC WITH DANNY BOWES OF THUNDER ON GUEST VOCALS
"It's is one of my favourite Slade songs, so when they asked me to sing on their version it took me a good second and a half to say yes..."

guns n roses WAS BREAKING NEWS: GUNS N' ROSES ADD MORE TOUR DATES FOR OCTOBER AND NOVEMBER
The Gunners' newly announced dates are for South America with ten dates in Argentina, Brazil, Peru, Chile and Colombia with more to be announced soon...

keith moon YOU WON'T GET FOOLED WITH OFFICIAL KEITH MOON COMMEMORATIVE DRUM HEAD
Manufactured as a special, custom product by Remo, these 14" high-gloss drum heads are a perfect collector's item for true fans of the legendary drummer and The Who...

the answer WAS BREAKING NEWS: THE ANSWER AND THE DEAD DAISIES ANNOUNCE NOVEMBER UK TOUR
"The fact that we get to debut this new material with our mates The Dead Daisies just adds to the rush we're currently experiencing. You really don't want to miss this one!"

ian gillan IAN GILLAN SAYS: "IT'S A WONDERFUL THING, VINYL..." WITH NEW COLLECTION ABOUT TO BE RELEASED
"You just bought something significant, not easily disposable. And look at the sleeves - aren't they cool..."

quireboys THE QUIREBOYS NEW ALBUM ON THE WAY: "THE LYRICS ON THE TITLE TRACK ARE SOME OF SPIKE'S BEST EVER!"
"I approached the songwriting from a different angle and it felt good. There's a lot of passion there."

48 hours 48 HOURS TO ROCK THE UK TO A CITY OF ASHES
"We're hitting the road in September for a co-headline tour with our broseph's City Of Ashes! This will be one of the unsigned tours of the year!"

hammerfall WAS BREAKING NEWS: LIVE LIFE LOUD WITH HAMMERFALL ON 2017 EUROPEAN TOUR: NEW ALBUM ON THE WAY
"We can't wait to get back on stage again to have a gigantic Heavy Metal party every night with all our Templar friends!"

joe perry AEROSMITH GUITARIST JOE PERRY REPORTEDLY SUFFERS HEART ATTACK DURING HOLLYWOOD VAMPIRES GIG
"Thanks to everyone asking about our brother Joe Perry," Alice Cooper wrote. "He is stable right now, with family and is under the best care."

onslaught ONSLAUGHT, BEHOLDER AND ANIHILATED TOUR PROMISES TO BE A TOUR DE FORCE
"By the time we hit the road in November it will be well over two-and-a-half years since we did the last run and we feel the time is now right..."

arw ARW (JON ANDERSON, TREVOR RABIN AND RICK WAKEMAN) ANNOUNCE BAND FOR UPCOMING WORLD TOUR
"I have played with arguably the three greatest bass players ever and I can't wait to play with one of them again!"

marillion MARILLION UNVEIL 'THE NEW KINGS' FROM FORTHCOMING STUDIO ALBUM 'FEAR'
'The New Kings' can also be heard on Marillion's current tour which starts on Monday 11th July in Barcelona...

michael des barres AN AMERICAN WRITER ASKS WHY IT TAKES A BRITISH EX-PAT TO ASK, "WHAT'S GOING ON?" MICHAEL DES BARRES HAS THE ANSWER
This incendiary cover of Marvin Gaye's classic confronts America's issues in an incredibly timely and head-on manner...

freedom call FREEDOM CALL RELEASE A NEW METAL HYMN 'HAMMER OF THE GODS', AVAILABLE FOR DOWNLOAD NOW
The trademark bold vocal harmonies remain. The track is taken from forthcoming opus 'Master Of Light'...

guns n roses STEVEN ADLER JOINS GUNS N' ROSES ON STAGE IN OHIO: FOUR FIFTHS OF 'APPETITE' LINE-UP PLAY TOGETHER FOR FIRST TIME SINCE 1990
"On the drums, you might know this guy. Ladies and gentlemen, Mr Steven Adler..."

ac dc AC/DC BASSIST CLIFF WILLIAMS TO RETIRE AFTER ROCK OR BUST WORLD TOUR: "IT'S BEEN SURREAL"
"AC/DC has been... you know, just... I don't know what else I would wanna do. I love the music and I love playing in the band, and I'm all filled up..."

guns n roses GUNS N' ROSES USE THEIR ILLUSION TO SILENCE THE DOUBTERS WITH US TOUR GOING SO FINE
Axl is clearly in his element on this tour, running across the stage to jump on the monitors mid-song and displaying all the panache of a man completely on top of his game...

stray del bromham STRAY TO ROAM AROUND THE UK ON TOUR INCLUDING A RARE REUNION OF THE ORIGINAL LINE-UP
No need to move a mountain as both Stray and Del Bromham's Blues Devils are on their way to a venue near you...

amorettes THE AMORETTES ANNOY THE NEIGHBOURS WITH RAUCOUS NEW SINGLE
'Let The Neighbours Call The Cops' was co- written by vocalist Gill Montgomery and Black Star Riders front man Ricky Warwick...

eagles of death metal WAS BREAKING NEWS: EAGLES OF DEATH METAL WANT YOU SO BAD ON TWO UK DATES IN AUGUST
This is EODM's first visit to the UK since the band were caught up in the terrible events at The Bataclan Theatre in Paris back in November 2015...

soil SOiL 'SHINE ON' THE UK WITH COMPREHENSIVE TOUR
"We are looking forward to seeing some new places and making some new friends this time around..."

acid reign ACID REIGN GET IN FESTIVE MOOD EARLY WITH SPECIAL GIG ANNOUNCEMENT
'Tis the season to Thrash as Acid Reign team up with Shrapnel with far from obnoxious results...

iron maiden IRON MAIDEN: LEGACY OF THE BEAST MOBILE RPG GAME IS OUT NOW
"We've always wanted to make a quality Maiden mobile game as we think the combination of Eddie and the music is so well suited..."

rick parfitt status quo EXCLUSIVE: STATUS QUO'S RICK PARFITT SEEMS TO BE 'FINE FINE FINE' AS HE IS SPOTTED OUT AND ABOUT
Following the recent health scare a picture has emerged online of him taking a walk in Kingston over the weekend...

bullet for my valentine BULLET FOR MY VALENTINE TO PLAY 'THE POISON' IN FULL FOR THE FIRST EVER TIME
"We promised you something special right? See 'The Poison' played in full for the first time in Manchester! Tickets on sale now here..."

alter bridge WAS BREAKING NEWS: ALTER BRIDGE TO HEADLINE ARENAS ACROSS EUROPE THIS WINTER WITH GOJIRA AND VOLBEAT
This will be their biggest headline tour yet with twenty-four dates across fifteen countries, kicking off on November 4th 2016

the mission WAS BREAKING NEWS: BAUHAUS FRONTMAN PETER MURPHY TO GUEST WITH THE MISSION ON THEIR 30th ANNIVERSARY UK TOUR
"Peter's appearance will help make these shows the special events that we always wanted and hoped they'd be..."

iron maiden IRON MAIDEN ILLUSTRATOR DESIGNS SHIRT FOR ONE DIRECTION'S ZAYN MALIK, MAIDEN LAUNCH THIRD TROOPER BEER AND HI-ON-MAIDEN TO HEADLINE PICCSTOCK
A full-bodied beer using a blend of chocolate and crystal malts to give "a roasted malt and caramel backbone with hints of liquorice and honey"...

bruce dickinson BRUCE DICKINSON TO TAKE PART IN TOP GEAR STYLE CHARITY ROAD TRIP
"The enthusiasm from the group is amazing which will lend itself to making it an unforgettable trip..."

anvil WAS BREAKING NEWS: ANVIL ANNOUNCE UK AND EUROPEAN TOUR FOR OCTOBER/NOVEMBER
Anvil will not only be playing dates in Scotland and Wales but also English towns which rarely see major international artists, such as Huddersfield, Doncaster and Grimsby.

status quo IT'S TIME TO GET 'DOWN DOWN' TO BUTLINS AS SECOND STATUS QUO FAN CLUB CONVENTION IS ANNOUNCED
The weekend will feature live music from ex-Quo drummer John Coghlan and his band with long time friend of the band, Jackie Lynton also scheduled to appear...

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