"Just For The Record" is a brand new section at the RockUnited site where 'DJ Urban' has a look at some old(er) records/albums in the great history of hard rock and metal. It could be some "obscure" minor record label release that simply didn't get the attention it so rightly deserved the first time around. It could also be a what you would call a "classic" album or sort of a best-seller. They all have one thing in common though. They all ROCK and and they all have at least one classy enough band member to answer our q's.
WINGER and their third album "Pull" from the year of 1993 (Atlantic Records). Band leader as well as vocalist/bassist, Kip Winger, moved to NY in 1985 in hope to receive a record deal, but ended up as a waiter. Lady Luck smiled upon him rather quickly though as Kip records the albums "Constrictor" and "Raise Your Fist And Yell" as a band member of Alice Cooper, where he also becomes friends with the keyboard player Paul Taylor. The two of them decide to start up their own band with guitarist Reb Beach and drummer Rod Morgenstein. Two albums where the 1990 release "In The Heart Of The Young" is a massive best-seller with several hit singles. In 1993, "Pull" was an alternative to the grunge and it's basically a timeless platter and effort with a slightly moodier and heavier approach than previous Winger albums (the eighties keyboard sound and production is gone). It's a "lost" classic and a perfect showcase of their talents as a band. Excellent songwriting, amazing arrangements, and a production that sounds just a fresh today. Kip Winger has since recorded many fine rock/prog-ish albums, both as a solo-artist and with his band. His latest album 'Ghosts' was recorded in NYC, live at Clinton Recording studios with 30 musicians, several of whom are with the New York Philharmonic. However, here to give us his insight on the 1993 "Pull" album, the one and only, Mr. KIP WINGER...
How long did this album take to make from start to finish, recording-wise?
It took about a year to write. As you know the timing of that was very difficult because the biz had changed overnight (due to grunge of course). It took six months to record in California.
What kind of initial budget are we talking about here?
How much of the budget did you actually spend on useless equipment and other nonsense?
None. I don't do that and never have. At the time you could only dream of having equipment that is now available to everyone. Average studio was 1500 to 2000 per day, on a lock out for six months. At 1500 per day X 180 days... that's 270K before you pay producer and mastering, so we did ok...
What kind of 'sound', production wise, did you have in the back of your mind, prior to entering the studio?
Exactly what we got. The Beau Hill years were fine (the self-titled debut from 1988 and 'In The Heart Of The Young' from 1990), and I'll give credit where credit is due. I worked with Beau from the time I was sixteen and he definitely help further my career. But his mixing skills leave a lot to be desired. He's extremely talented and great at song structure, etc, etc. And knows his way around the studio, but couldn't mix real instruments too well. There was always too many samples and no bass, etc, etc. I really learned how to make a proper recording from Mike Shipley (producer of "Pull"). Who, in my humble opinion, is the best mix engineer in the universe for rock and pop.
What kind of input did the producer have during the process?
Well, not much, the songs were very clearly defined and demoed by the time we recorded. You can hear it on the Winger Demo Anthology. What Mike Shipley did was realize it in a phenomenal way. Also it was the first time I was able to "hear" timing on a micro scale. Mike's ear is better than anyone I've ever met. I basically produced the record with Mike and am credited as co producer.
And were you pleased with the final outcome? (sound - production wise)
Did the producer use any (weird) experimental miking and/or recording techniques?
No, I did some very involved background vocals, but that's it...
How much time did you spend on overdubs?
Three months-ish... Usually we'd take turns punching each other in, etc, etc. We were very careful with the feel and timing of all the tracks.
Which band member spent most of his days in the studio and why?
Me, always me... LOL!... Winger has always been me full hands on.
Which band member hardly spent any time at all in the studio and why?
Well, not because he wouldn't do more, but Rod Morgenstein, he comes in to do drums for three or four days then splits...
Let's talk about the lyrics. Are you just as fond of them today or are they typical of its time?
I think there are some of my best lyrics on there. I'm most happy with "Blind Revolution Mad", "Who's The One", and "In For The Kill". We wrote the same as every record, but I was a bit stumped on lyrics. We brought in someone to help write some stuff... a supposed great lyricist. I'm like fuck this, I can do way better. But I need the jump start. I had just gotten together with my first wife at the time and we drove from New York to Miami Beach, and then to Santa Fe and back to New York. And I basically wrote all the words in the car driving.
How did you go on about capturing your 'live sound', or perhaps you didn't?
We don't. I don't care about trying to sound live in the studio. I come from the Mutt Lange mentality and I learned a lot from Mike about that... (Mike also produced the Def Leppard album "Adrenalize" in 92').
Did the record company interfere anything on your "sound" and "songs", considering what's 'hot and not' at the time?
No, only that they push for one more song, and that song turned out to be, "Down Incognito", so I'm glad they did.
Your favourite songs off the album and why?
"Blind Revolution Mad", encapsulates who Winger really is. "Who's The One" is one of those songs you sit back and go... "did I write that"?
Any 'oh-I-wish-we-had-never-recorded' song on this album?
Nope, no regrets what so-ever.
Were there any other tracks recorded during those studio sessions that didn't make the cut?
"Written In The Wind ", and a lot of people ask why, but it doesn't really fit into the track listing.
What's your honest opinion about the songs and the production today? Dated, fresh, a mess?
Are there any 'crazy' behind the scenes anecdotes from these sessions that you can share with us?
Were you ever a "priority" case or merely just another release at your record label?
Always a priority, until the change of the guard at Atlantic and then we left.
Did you ever feel like the record label supported you guys enough afterwards? (promotion-wise, tours, etc.).
Well, Yes actually, I get a lot of money from those records!
Any regrets whatsoever? (regarding the album of course)
If there's anything you'd like to add, say, or promote, please do:
Thanks for the interview and listening to Winger
Interview by: Urban "Wally" Wallstrom,