I interviewed Kip Winger some hours after his solo acoustic performance in Ludwigsburg, Germany. It had been a rather exhausting day for him, and I was the last one to interview him. He was clearly quite tired, but still had plenty of time for RockUnited.Com's questions. Now, let's see what the gentleman had to say...
"Music, music, music"...that's what's going on in the world of Kip Winger these days. "I have a new solo album almost ready to go, and the new Winger album is going to be released on the 20th of October." As for the new Winger album (entitled "IV"), Kip described it as being a continuation of "Pull". There are no "archived songs" on the album, as it's all "brand new stuff. Reb and I sat down and wrote the whole album in eighteen days. That was great, because we know our roles now. He plays guitar, I sing, we arrange... and then I spent about two months on the lyrics, and maybe another month and a half recording and mixing it."
Writing lyrics has become easier for Kip during all these years of songwriting. "I'm faster now actually. It used to take me a very long time." While the band's been unfairly lumped with the more cheesy hair metal bands because of songs like "Seventeen", most of their material has had more depth in the lyrics than the other bands of the genre. Kip doesn't dislike the song though. "It was our biggest hit, so there's nothing I can do about that...I like playing it, as long as people know that I'm not so serious...tonight I was like (singing) 'She's only thirty-eight'..."
It wasn't all interviews for Kip at Rockfabrik. "I have checked out some of the bands here, I was watching Danny Vaughn earlier and I'm gonna watch the last band, Fair Warning. I liked Danny, he's a good singer."
Now with the Winger album "IV" to be released soon, I had to ask why he didn't bring the whole band along. "I tried to get the band over but Rod couldn't make it. So we'll start rehearsing in Cologne on the 7th for the European tour." This tour will include a long-awaited gig in Finland too (Sunday, 15 Oct.), and Kip was looking forward to it. He wanted to know about the venue (Nosturi), and I told him the little I knew...it's a popular club for gigs and a quite a few videos have been recorded there.
The gig won't be the first time Winger's been in Finland. "We played the Giants Of Rock there in...1991 I think. Finland was nice, I remember the hotel, it was beautiful, right on the river somewhere..."
So, what can we expect of the Winger gigs on the European tour? "It's gonna be very raw, very heavy, a mixture of the old Winger and the new Winger. We're gonna play about hour and a half, two hours, something like that...good musicianship is what you gonna see there..."
I asked Kip to compare the band gigs and the solo gigs. Is it more challenging to play solo? "Yes, because you can't make a mistake. Any mistake you make everybody's gonna know it... It's very challenging but it's fun, man...I'm playing all these songs that everybody's singing along, it's pretty great...I'm happy to be here."
Kip Winger is not only a solo artist and the frontman of Winger, he has recently worked as a producer for The Mob, a band project featuring his Winger bandmate Reb Beach, Doug Pinnick, Timothy Drury and Kelly Keagy. "They brought me in at the end, because nobody could finish it. They had a few songs, and they were sending stuff back and forth via e-mail, but they couldn't finish it. Serafino from Frontiers called me if I could finish it. So, I made everybody come to me because I don't believe in sending stuff via e-mail. I re-wrote all the songs with Reb and Doug Pinnick came in and wrote the lyrics and sang...I think it's a pretty good album!"
There will be more projects of this kind in the future. "I'm getting more and more into it...It's weird, dude, you know...I like to do interesting projects, if I'm musically interested, then I'll do it. If I'm not, then I won't do it. I should be more interested in making money, but I'm not...the thing is, if you listen to my albums in a hundred years they're still going to sound good...I try to do quality, that's the thing, cause that's all I have left. If you or anybody else listen to my records you'll know that I've put everything I had into it."
With all the serious stuff out of the way, I asked whether Kip had any funny stories from the early days. "Everything with Alice Cooper was a funny story! You know, I came to New York and tried to get a job as a musician, played some sessions and auditioned for a lot of shit...I was lucky to be able to play on Alice's "Constrictor" album, I played on four songs on it. I was a huge Alice Cooper fan, and when I met him and guitarist Kane Roberts we hit it off very well, so I didn't have to audition for his band. When we went out on tour, we auditioned everyone else. It was like...I was waiting tables as a job, and then out of sudden I was a fucking rockstar overnight!"
The first tour with Alice was Kip's first taste of "Rock'n Roll lifestyle". "Alice was always into golfing, so we'd be up partying all night and we'd come in at 6 in the morning and he'd be leaving the hotel to go tee up! It was a big tour for women too, At one time I had like eight naked chicks in my hotel room...I don't do that so much anymore (laughs). I guess the best experience of my whole time in Alice Cooper was actually the first show, which was "live on MTV" with 20.000 people. It was weird for me, because four months earlier I was like 'Hi, may I take your order?'."
Interview by Kimmo Toivonen,