Unsung Heroes No. 6 – Kip Winger

18 11 2008
Kip Winger - Seriously Talented

Kip Winger - Seriously Talented

Another incredibly talented musician who suffered a similar fate to Rick Springfield (see Unsung Heroes No.5) is Kip Winger. That is to say, after coming to prominence in the 80’s, riding the wave of “Hair Metal” and Def Leppard wannabes, Kip, and his eponymously -named band Winger were labelled Leppard-lite and without substance. Indeed, Kip suffered because with his film star looks and designer stubble, no-one seemed to want to take the band seriously. This must have been incredibly frustrating for the bass player/vocalist, who first found fame with Alice cooper’s band. But scratch beneath the surface and you can hear a songwriting craft far, far more refined than the Lepps. Killer hooks, classic tunes, and a throaty vocal delivery beg a second listen. By their third album, “Pull”  – Winger had transformed their sound into something darker, and it was undeniably quality rock.

Subsequently, Kip mined a rich vein of alternative styles as he released a brace of solo albums, “Songs from the Ocean Floor” and “This Conversation seems like a Dream” where even an idiot would be  hard-pressed to deny this man’s vocal and compositional talents. These two albums are sublime. The nuances he developed during this period would inform the Winger “comeback” album “IV” -making it every bit as worthy as its predecessors, guitarist Reb Beach’s mastery the icing on the cake.

With his latest solo offering, “From the Moon to the Sun” Kip once more uses guitarist Cenk Oroglu as the perfect foil, and the variety of styles on this album is breathtaking.

Deep within this embarrassment of riches, there is a track, “Ghosts” – featuring a string section and piano. It is written by Kip, bit he appears not to play on it. This indicates a man confident in his abilities, able to let go and allow the music to do the talking.

But this piece doesn’t talk. It sings.

Kev Moore




3 responses

21 11 2008

You are so right. Kip Winger is undervalued as a musician in so many ways. Though his work with Winger was classic rock awesome, however short lived. I actually know a site, http://www.backstageauctions.com that is hosting this great Christmas auction with a bunch of Kip Winger goodies, for those who might be intrigued.

29 11 2008

Good call this one. “Pull” was so much more substantial that Winger would ever have been given credit for and his solo albums are all impressive. I was lucky enough to catch his solo acoustic show when he supported Bob Catley a few years ago, and the man was simply superb, even the earlier Winger songs sounding great in stripped down format.

29 11 2008

Thanks Bill, totally agree with you on the stripped-down Winger songs, i was listening to them this evening – “blind revolution mad” works beautifully in this format. I envy you catching the show!

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