From the beginning they had hate. I remember certain magazines like RIP and Metal Maniacs calling the band a joke even before Beavis and Butthead started their quest to destroy em. Hell, Metallica did a pretty good job destroying the bands credibility. Lars and James must have felt threatened by Kip Winger’s looks and bass playing abilities and ballet pirouettes, in their quest for world domination.
So what happened.
Kip Winger left Denver in 1985 and went to New York, in search of a recording contract. He ended up recording and touring with Alice Cooper on “Constrictor” and “Raise Your Fist And Yell”. Paul Taylor was also working with Cooper and the two became friends and wrote some songs together. Winger then went back to New York and was living with Reb Beach, with both of em doing studio sessions for others. They also wrote a few more songs together. Taylor came back into the fold and Rod Morgenstein came last.
When you look at the make-up of the band, Reb Beach is a jazz/fusion type of player, Kip Winger is classically trained, Paul Taylor is a rhythm and blues players and Rod Morgenstein is also a jazz/fusion type of drummer. And they played hard rock music. They could all play and they looked good. Perfect marketing for the label and MTV.
“Madalaine” was on MTV in the U.S for ages, and the station wanted more. “Seventeen” is their “Sweet Child O Mine”, hooky, melodic with some serious playing and real dumb lyrics.
The opening lyrics are reminiscent of the Lennon/McCartney classic song, “I Saw Her Standing There”. Of course when “Seventeen” broke through, the band was criticized for promoting sexual activity with teenage girls. No one yelled at The Beatles for it. Even Beavis and his mate Butthead had fun with this song in their jokes.
Listen to the riffage in this song.
It’s probably one of the most complex songs of the 80’s, even more complex, than the stuff Vito Bratta would write. I saw a comment on one of their YouTube songs that called Winger the Dream Theater of Hair Metal. I wouldn’t disagree with that.
And the solo from Reb Beach. There is no way you can’t like it. He is a true guitar hero.
“Headed For A Heartbreak” came next and became one of the most requested songs on MTV and the debut just kept on selling.