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Winger is a Americanmarker Hard Rock band formed in New York Citymarker that 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 the band on the top of the charts by 1990. As the music scene changed in the early 1990s with the popularity of grunge, the band faded when their third release Pull, only went gold.

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 like Dokken and Alice Cooper, and the band's other members pursued or resumed careers as session musicians. Rhythm guitarist/keyboardist Paul Taylor left the band before the recording of its 1993 album Pull and was replaced by guitarist John Roth for the album's tour; Roth has been a full-fledged recording and touring member since then. The band reunited in 2001 for several successful tours, but halted activity again in 2003 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, resulted in a single self-titled album in 2005. In 2006, the band's 1993 touring line-up (minus Paul Taylor but including John Roth) re-united to record the band's first studio album in over 13 years, IV. The band has toured in support of the album into 2008. In 2009 the band released 5th album Karma.


Formation (1987-1988)

Winger was formed in 1987 by Kip Winger after he did some backing vocals on Twisted Sister's fifth album Love Is for Suckers. Kip Winger was a former member of Alice Cooper's band as was lead guitarist Reb Beach, who also worked on the Love Is for Suckers album. Paul Taylor was also a natural recruit for Winger, having also played with Alice Cooper's band. To round out the line up, they recruited former Dixie Dregs drummer Rod Morgenstein. The band initially wanted to call themselves "Sahara", but since the name was taken by another band, the group chose the name Winger. The name "Sahara" can still be seen on the cover of their first album.

Main career and break up (1988-1994)

The debut album, Winger, was released on August 10, 1988 on Atlantic Records. The record was a success, achieving platinum status in the United Statesmarker, and gold status in Japanmarker and Canadamarker. 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".

Shortly after that tour, Winger released its second album In the Heart of the Young, which went double 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".

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. Their third studio album, Pull, was recorded in 1992/1993 as a three-piece band. It was originally going 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 produced by Mike Shipley, but was not as successful as the previous album. On the following tour, John Roth was called in to replace Paul Taylor on rhythm guitar.

Reunions (2001-present)

In 2001, all original members of the band (including both Taylor and Roth) returned to the studio to record the song "On the Inside" for The Very Best of Winger. In 2002, all 5 members embarked on a reunion tour of the US and Canada on a bill with Poison, but they once again disbanded afterwards. According to Kip Winger in a 2008 interview with rock & roll comic C.C. Banana, it was important to include all 5 members because "it was the big, long-awaited reunion so I wanted to include everybody who had ever been in the band."

Kip Winger performed as the lead singer for the Alan Parsons Live Project, for their July 16, 2005 show at the Common Ground Music Festival in Lansing, Michigan USA. In May 2006, a press release announced that Winger has 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 Islandmarker 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 a press release announced that Winger recorded 5th album Karma released in October, with a tour to support it.


Winger was the subject of constant 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 heavier Metallica and AC/DC shirts worn by the title characters. Beavis and Butt-head thought of them as "wussies". According to the documentary Taint of Greatness: Part 2 on the Mike Judge Collection Volume 2 DVD, this was due to Winger telling MTV he would not let the show make fun of him. This has been cited as a reason for the band losing popularity. Mike Judge would continue to slyly 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."

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: "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 -- That is why it's the great irony that we ended up on that geeky guy's shirt on Beavis & Butthead, because Metallica couldn't play what we play, they couldn't do it, they literally - technically couldn't do it. And I'll fucking 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 t'd off about that, but in the end, none of that shit matters..."

Band members

Current members

  • Kip Winger – bass guitar, lead vocals, keyboards, acoustic guitar (1987–1994, 2001–2003, 2006–present)
  • Reb Beach – lead & rhythm guitars, backing vocals (1987–1994, 2001–2003, 2006–present)
  • John Roth – rhythm guitar, backing vocals (1993–1994, 2001–2003, 2006–present)
  • Rod Morgenstein – drums, percussion, backing vocals (1987–1994, 2001–2003, 2006–present)

Former members

  • Paul Taylor – rhythm guitar, keyboards, backing vocals (1987–1992, 2001–2003)
  • Cenk Eroglu – keyboards, rhythm guitar, effects, backing vocals (2006–2007)

Session members

  • Dweezil Zappa – left side guitar solo on Winger (1988 — track "Purple Haze")
  • Maria Kitsopoulos – strings on Winger (1988 — multiple tracks)
  • Sandra Park – strings on Winger (1988 — multiple tracks)
  • Rebecca Young – strings on Winger (1988 — multiple tracks)
  • Hae Young Ham – strings on Winger (1988 — multiple tracks)
  • Beau Hill – backing vocals on Winger (1988 — multiple tracks)
  • Ira McLaughlin – backing vocals on Winger (1988 — multiple tracks)
  • Chris Botti – trumpet on In the Heart of the Young (1990 — track "Rainbow in the Rose")
  • Micheal Davis – trombone on In the Heart of the Young (1990 — track "Rainbow in the Rose")
  • Nate Winger – backing vocals on In the Heart of the Young (1990 — multiple tracks)
  • Paul Winger – backing vocals on In the Heart of the Young (1990 — multiple tracks)
  • Alex Acuna – percussion on Pull (1993 — tracks "Like a Ritual", "Who's the One")
  • Frank Latorre – harmonica on Pull (1993 — track "Down Incognito")
  • Denny McDonald – backing vocals on IV (2006 — multiple tracks)
  • Paula Winger – backing vocals on IV (2006 — multiple tracks)


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See also


  1. Alan Parsons Official Website
  2. Common Ground Music Festival | Lansing, MI
  3. Kip Winger Interview at Heavy Metal and Power Metal Portal

External links

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