Growth + Tragedy = Change
Interview by R. Scott Bolton - October 2000
With a new solo CD in stores now, entitled "Songs From the Ocean Floor," Kip Winger once again enters the music world with an album that's sure to draw its share of controversy, criticism and praise. However, after playing guitar with Alice Cooper and fronting the once phenomenally popular hard rock band that bore his name, Winger is no stranger to any of this.
After Winger went down in flames along with bands like Warrant and Slaughter at the end of the hair band 80s, Kip recorded and released a different-sounding solo CD, "This Conversation Sounds Like a Dream" which some critics compared to the brilliance of Sting and others laughed off as a commercial sell-out. This year, after the untimely death of his wife and a seasoning of the years, Kip is back with "Songs From the Ocean Floor," another album that differs vastly from the hard rock sounds Winger (the band) was so popular for in its heyday.
But there is a maturity in "Songs," that there may not have been in Kip's earlier solo effort and the new CDs shining production values and vastly superior songwriting may open doors to the work of Kip Winger that have been closed before.
The bottom line is this: Those interested in the fun-but-hollow hard rock that filled the airwaves in the 80s will probably find nothing to like in "Songs from the Ocean Floor." Those a little more demanding, however - or those willing to expand their horizons - may find the new solo CD by Kip Winger a welcome surprise.
We caught up with Kip recently and asked him a few questions about life - present and past - and about his new CD, "Songs From the Ocean Floor."
"Songs From the Ocean Floor" is, overall, a much more sophisticated and complete
recording than your previous CD. The songwriting is better and the execution is excellent. Would you say that the intensity of emotions you were feeling at the time gave you an added edge of creativity?
Kip Winger: In part that is true. The main thing is that I've been studying composition for the last four years. I'd say it's the life experience combined with the lessons that enabled me to go much further.
Rough Edge: The production on "Songs From the Ocean Floor" is also simply magnificent. Everything is crystal clear and very well mixed. What, if anything, made the difference between this and the previous record?
Kip Winger: Thanks! I'd say more experience in the studio is the main reason. I had a vision of the sound of this album from the beginning, and stayed true to that until I finished.
Rough Edge: According to your bio, you consider "Songs from the Ocean Floor" "the culmination of all my influences in music." Tell us a little about that.
Kip Winger: I'm a child of the 70's; influenced mostly by albums that had a wide variety of style. Throughout the years I have tried to hone my skills to gain mastery over the music in my head.
Rough Edge: Tell us a little about the musicians who appear on "Songs From The Ocean
Kip Winger: It is basically the same line up as Conversation: Rod Morgenstein, the Dregs and Winger, Andy Timmons, Simon Phillips, Alan Pasqua, Alan Holdsworth and Giant, Robbie Rothchild the percussionist from my last album, and a various assortment of new players.
Rough Edge: Which song would you consider your "favorite" from the new CD and why?
Kip Winger: I don't necessarily have one favorite. The most difficult one to write was "Only One Word" because of the subject matter. "Resurrection" sums up a lot of what the album is about.
Rough Edge: Are there any tracks you wish you could go back and tweak a little?
Kip Winger: No. I mixed it three times.
Rough Edge: "Songs from the Ocean Floor" and "This Conversation" are both considerably different than any Winger album. Can you describe the differences and tell us why they are so different? Is it just a matter of growth or was it a conscious effort?
Kip Winger: Both. A matter of growth, and a conscious effort to do my own thing.
Rough Edge: What has audience reaction been to the new material? Compared to Winger material?
Kip Winger: Very good. I've managed to take a lot of Winger fans with me.
Rough Edge: You've done some other producing recently, specifically, Rob Eberhard Young. What is it like producing someone else's material rather than your own? What is it about producing that you like and don't like?
Kip Winger: In general, I don't feel artists should need producers. A producer should only be there to enable an artist to be himself. It was a good learning experience to produce Rob, but I've got so much music going on in my head that I probably won't be doing much producing.
Rough Edge: You've said that you believe that "Pull" is the best Winger album. In what ways?
Kip Winger: Lyrically, musically, and production.
Rough Edge: Why do you think that bands like Winger, Slaughter and Warrant wound up bearing the brunt of the grunge-era anti-metal disdain? And aren't you pleased that that type of music seems to be gaining popularity once again?
Kip Winger: Because those three bands came at the end of the era. So we took the brunt of the backlash. It's nice to see people enjoying the music again.
Rough Edge: What can fans expect to find online at http://www.kipwinger.com?
Kip Winger: Information they wouldn't find about me anywhere else.
Rough Edge: Got any great Alice Cooper stories?
Kip Winger: You probably wouldn't expect it, but Alice is funnier than Jerry Lewis.
Rough Edge: What are you future plans? Is a tour in the works?
Kip Winger: Acoustic shows in Europe in November and December, and I'm trying to put a Spring tour together, and a possible Winger reunion.
Thanks for talking with us, Kip.
Kip Winger: Thanks for the interview. Take care!
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Revised: 23 Aug 2016 22:57:11 -0400.