80's Rock: Winger

wingerWinger is an American rock band formed in New York City 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, sold poorly.

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.

History
winger_2Winger 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.

Career
The debut album, Winger, was released on August 10, 1988 on Atlantic Records. The record was a success, achieving platinum status in the United States, and gold status in Japan and Canada. 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".

winger_1Shortly 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.

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.

Reunion
winger_3In 2001, all original members of the band, except for Taylor, returned to the studio to record the song "On the Inside" for The Very Best of Winger. However, by 2002, Taylor had rejoined the lineup as well. That year, all four original members embarked on a reunion tour of the US and Canada on a bill with Poison, but they once again disbanded afterwards.

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 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 Island 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.

Courtesy of wikipedia.org and Hair Band Rock - 80's Rock


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