The band Winger is an American glam metal and progressive metal rock band that achieved success in the late 1980s and early 1990s. Named after the lead vocalist and primary founder Kip Winger, the band had some insane success in those days, due to heavy rotation by MTV (back when MTV really was “Music Television,” not the garbage on that channel these days) of three hits by the band: “Madalaine,” “Seventeen,” and “Headed for Heartbreak.” Other major hits include “Can’t Get Enuff” and “Easy Come, Easy Go.” The indisputable fact is that the camera loves Kip Winger; watch more than one of their videos and you will see all the hair, the glam, the postering, not to mention the virtuoso guitarists Reb Beach and Paul Taylor trading riffs that are emulous and street-wise. So, is it any wonder that what loused up Winger’s meteoric rise to fame was ridiculous mid-90s entertainment scene jealousies? Yeah, believe me, Kip could tell you all about it. Here was a newcomer band that had hits on the Billboard 200 for 63 weeks, were nominated on the American Music Awards show for “Best New Heavy Metal Band” and yet they were ultimately stymied by,”Beavis and Butt-head!” Okay, stop laughing everyone–stop laughing! Yeah, it’s too good, but it’s true! And the Winger band did not deserve what followed.
Before we get to that, let’s lay out the essentials for the Winger band: they were formed in 1987 by Kip Winger, having left the Alice Cooper band, which Kip had joined in 1985. The four original members are: Kip Winger-lead vocals and bass guitar; Reb Beach-lead and rhythm guitars, keyboards; Rod Morgenstein-drums; Paul Taylor, rhythm guitar, keyboards; and they also had a touring guitarist on rhythm, lead and bass guitar, John Roth. The Winger discography is this: Winger (1988); In the Heart of the Young (1990); Pull (1993); IV (2006); Karma (2009): Better Days Comin’ (2014); In addition, Kip Winger has written classical music scores played by different symphonies and has a current broadway musical based on the legacy of Jack the Ripper.
So what was the deal with “Beavis and Butt-head”, which was a smart-ass cartoon series run by MTV in the 1990s, and how did it impact Winger’s successes? For this you have to look at the fan page for Reb Beach, which is an amazing compilation, and Reb, who has also played extensively with Whitesnake (as well as gigs with Alice Cooper and Dokken) should be given one’s due for the phantasmagorical website for all the Winger (and Whitesnake) fans of his: http://www.rebbeach.com/history_faq_2005_interview.htm
Here is how Reb described what happened with the “Beavis and butt-head” debachle:
“The experience was very sudden. I had just bought a house on the lake in Florida and life was good. We spent years on one record that was by far our best, and I figured it had to at least go gold, since our last one went platinum, and this one was better. If the record went gold I would have gotten like a $200,000 publishing advance. Life was good.
“So we released the record and went out on the road and that’s when the floor fell out from under us practically overnight. Some guy came to the bus with a copy of Beavis and Butthead and in it they hung a nerd up by his underwear while he wore his Winger t-shirt. They went to his house, and his loser family (including the dog) were all wearing Winger t-shirts. That week people stopped coming to our shows and record sales came to a screeching halt. “Down incognito” was taking off at radio when DJ’s just dropped it from their playlists because they were too embarrassed to have their station associated with it. A month later I called Atlantic records and they had never heard of Winger.
“So, how did it change me? When you are just going up and up and all of the sudden you go straight down, it changes you for the better… eventually. I am sure I was getting a little cocky. That went right out the window. I had lived the perfect life up until then, so I was due for some kind of disaster. It changed me very much by making me have to grow up fast.” (Excerpt from: Reb Beach’s website http://www.rebbeach.com)
Now let’s hear from frontman Kip Winger, and this is the best way to give any band’s true history, from verbal descriptions of the group members themselves. This is from an interview in “Grantland” in 2014 by Steven Hyden:
Steven: How old were you when you first started playing in bands?
KIP: “ About 7. My brothers and I played in a band. It was me and my two older brothers and one other guy from the neighborhood, this guy Pete Fletcher. We started getting gigs when I was about 8 or 9. We were getting paid to play very, very early. I could play anything by the time I was 15. Anything rock, anyway. I was playing 2112 and shit like that when I was fucking 14 years old. But, I mean, I’m not so interested in bass. It’s just the instrument I played, and I was good at it. Writing is really my thing.”
Steven: I read that you started studying classical music when you were a teenager. Did you see metal and classical as being interconnected?
KIP: “It’s not true. I was a self-taught musician. I took piano lessons and I studied classical guitar when I was 16, so I guess that is true, but that was, like, just baroque music and stuff. That’s where I learned to play really fast and complicated. That kind of led me down the path to classical. But I dropped out of high school, man. I wanted to get a record deal. So I got a GED when I was 15, and then toured with my band and all that shit. I didn’t really start studying classical music until I was 35. There was the Beavis and Butt-Head thing, which took the band out. Metallica fucking threw darts at our poster, and fucking told their fans to put a curse on us and hate us. I don’t really understand what that was about.”
“I couldn’t get a gig, so it was like, ‘Cool, I’m going to go back and start studying the way I’ve always wanted to study, because now I’ve got the time, basically.’ It’s kind of a weird, backward way to do it, but it turned out great, I think.
“See, my brain works like a classical musician. I’m more interested in the really complex stuff. Like, when I hear really complicated counterpoint, a fugue, or something like that, it turns my brain on. Like, ‘Wow, what the fuck is that?’ I latch onto it and I can track it really well. “ (From: “Conversation with Kip Winger about Being Taken Seriously, Prog-Rock, and Metallica’s Scorn,” Grantland, April 24, 2014)
There you have it, Glam Metal and Glam Rock fans! You want your kid to become an incredible rock star? Hand him a guitar at age 7, but you have to get him off of the computer first.
Meanwhile, Winger is on tour in 2019, check out their website for details, including the Monsters of Rock cruise departing Miami, February 24 through March 1st. http://www.wingertheband.com/
GLAMOUR ROCK MUSIC PODCAST for 2013
FOR 30 minutes of uninterrupted glam metal rock music. ALL RIGHT
BLAST OFF!! with
BLACK N BLUE “Hell Yeah” “Monkey” “Target”
ALICE COOPER “Elected” “No More Mr. Nice Guy”
VAN HALEN “Drop Dead Legs” “Panama” “House of Pain”
Keep it here for the BEST music there is GLAMOUR ROCK and METAL ROCK music.
Enjoy! Coming to you from the Southeastern United States of America. Send requests to: Media3413@yahoo.com with tagline: Podcast Request
February 17, 2013 | Categories: Glam Rock, Heavy Metal Music | Tags: Alice Cooper, Black N Blue, david lee roth, Eddie Van Halen, Entertainment, Glam Metal, Glam Rock Music, Glam Rock Podcast, Glitter Rock, Music, Podcast | Leave a comment
Alice Cooper was born Vincent Damon Furnier in 1948; he is an American rock singer whose career spans more than four decades. Alice Cooper was the inventor of the genre of rock music known as “Shock Rock”, which he achieved by incorporating a mixture of horror and vaudeville with garage band punk lyrics into his act. According to Wikipedia, Alice Cooper used “guillotines, electric chains, fake blood, boa constrictors, and plastic baby dolls” in his act. Although Alice Cooper’s brand of music is more in the distinction of conceptual rock or hard experimental rock, when you view the video from the 1970s UK performance by Alice Cooper(from the then-popular TV Show “Top of the Pops”), you will see there are also origins in Alice Cooper’s music trending towards Glamour Rock and Glitter Rock. And in the spirit of Election Year politics, the song is “Elected” -timeless classic from Alice seeking YOUR VOTE FOR PRESIDENT! Well, not really but listen to this: Alice Cooper was so innovative in this style of music that he was often compared to another ground-breaking Glam Rock innovator of the 70s, David Bowie.
Alice Cooper’s roots are in Detroit, Michigan; the band broke into the mainstream of rock music with the 1971 hit “I’m Eighteen” and 1972’s hit “School’s Out”. The commercial peak of the Alice Cooper band’s success was with 1973’s album Billion Dollar Babies. (For this and the following information , see Wikipedia.) In the year 1975, Alice Cooper came out with one of the most conceptual albums of the time, called Welcome to my Nightmare. Ask any rock fan from the 70s era, and most likely they have a copy of that album. In 2011, Alice Cooper released Welcome to My Nightmare 2, and in 2011, the original Alice Cooper band was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. The original Alice Cooper band members are Alice Cooper (Vincent Furnier) on vocals and harmonica, Glen Buxton on lead guitar, Michael Bruce on rhythm guitar, Dennis Dunaway on bass guitar, and Neal Smith on drums. This original band’s roots can be traced back to 1964 when Vincent Furnier at age 16 was eager to enter the annual high school talent show and gathered up some of his classmates to form a group for the show. They called themselves The Earwigs, obtained some used instruments from a local pawn shop in the Detroit area, and mimed their way through some Beatles’ songs, dressing up as the Beatles. The group won the talent show, and loved the experience of being onstage, so they formed a more permanent rock group while still in high school and called themselves The Spiders. Alice Cooper has said that the band’s musical roots include not just the Beatles, but also The Rolling Stones, The Who, The Kinks, The Doors, and The Yardbirds.
In 1966, the Spiders graduated from High School and the band scored a #1 hit on the radio
with “Don’t Blow Your Mind.” By 1967 the band was making regular trips to L.A. to play gigs. They renamed themselves Nazz and relocated to Los Angeles by the end of the year. In 1968, the band called Nazz had to change their name when they came across the fact that Todd Rundgren already had a band with that name. Furnier thought that the band needed a gimmick to succeed, and chose the name Alice Cooper, because it sounded innocent, in contrast to the band’s look and sound. Later, Cooper nee Furnier said that the name change was one of the most exigent career moves that the band made. To grab more headlines and generate more controversy, the Alilce Cooper band decided to push the concept of a male villain dressed as a murderess in tattered women’s clothing and makeup. Alice Cooper in his 2007 book Alice Cooper, Golf Monster said that his look was inspired by film, such as Bette Davis in “What Ever Happened to Baby Jane”, where Bette wears caked makeup and smeared eyeliner. (Alice Cooper at one time had difficulty with alcoholism and to become sober took up the game of golf, thereby “trading one addiction for another” hence the self-imposed title “golf monster.”
After an unsuccessful gig in California, the Alice Cooper band was approached by music impresario Shep Gordon, who arranged an audition with bizarro rock star, Frank Zappa, who was looking to add another act to his record label. Zappa told the band to come to his house at “7 o’clock” for the audition; the band mistakenly thought he meant 7am. Being awakened at 7 in the morning for the Alice Cooper band’s unique hard-rocking sound impressed Frank Z. enough to sign the band to a three record deal. Afterwards, Alice Cooper’s brand of “Shock Rock” happened by accident due to an onstage antic with a stray chicken. Alice Cooper later developed this concept of “Shock Rock” to the hilt, such as the 1971 tour which featured gothic torture models, and a staged execution by electric chair. Taken in its entirety, along with the band’s tight, sequined outfits, and Glam Rock style costumes (designed by rock fashion icon Cindy Dunaway) persuaded Warner Brothers to offer Alice Cooper a multi-recording contract.
The Alice Cooper band’s first hit was “I’m Eighteen” on the third album Love It to Death. The next album Killer featured hit songs “Under My Wheels” and “Be My Lover.” More hits followed; however, the biggest hit of all, and one that anyone who was a teenager in the 70s recalls precisely, was “Schools Out”, which reached #2 on the charts, and sold over 1 million copies. The next album was Billion Dollar Babies, featuring the hit of the same name, as well as “Elected” and “No More Mr. Nice Guy.” Around this time, the British parliament sought to ban Alice Cooper from performing! due to the stage show where Alice sported a boa constrictor snake, accompanied by the murderous axing of bloodied baby dolls.
The original Alice Cooper band’s last studio album was 1973’s Muscle of Love with A.C.’s last hit single “Teenage Lament ’74”. In 1975, Alice Cooper released his first solo album Welcome to My Nightmare. To avoid legal complications, Vincent Furnier adopted “Alice Cooper” as his legal name. What followed was a successful solo career with subsequent albums such as Alice Cooper Goes to Hell (1976), Lace and Whiskey (1977). The albums in the 1980s were not as successful, and these included Flush the Fashion (1980), Special Forces (1981), and Zipper Catches Skin (1982). Alice Cooper’s alcohol consumption began to cause considerable problems on tour, affecting Cooper’s onstage performances. During the Welcome to My Nightmare tour in Vancouver, A.C. tripped over a foot light and plunged several hundred feet onto the concrete floor amidst fans, who thought it was all part of the act. However, Welcome to My Nightmare also preceded another ground-breaking event in rock history, which was a prime-time television special called The Nightmare, starring A.C. and Vincent Price, which aired in 1975, and garnered a Grammy nomination.
The latest update on Alice Cooper, which can be viewed on http://www.alicecooper.com: After finishing up his tour with heavy metal artists Iron Maiden, and continuing to tour around the world this fall, Alice opened up a dedicated maze at Universal Studio Hollywood’s based on A.C.’s album Alice Cooper Goes to Hell. Earlier in the year, A.C. joined on allstar Glam Metal jam with Queens’ Brian May, Deep Purple’s Ian Paice, Whitesnake former guitarist Micky Moody, Led Zeppelin’s John Paul Jones, and Iron Maiden’s Bruce Dickinson.
October 2, 2012 | Categories: Entertainment, Glam Metal Rock Music, Glam Rock, Heavy Metal Music, Metal Rock, Music, Rock Music | Tags: 70s Rock, Alice Cooper, Glam Metal, Glam Rock Music, Heavy Metal, Heavy Metal Music, Rock Music, Shock Rock, Welcome Nightmare | Leave a comment