Winger

Winger

Glam prog (chest) hair metal band Winger released their self-titled debut album (Atlantic Records) in 1988. A quartet of singles in Madalaine, Headed for a Heartbreak, Hungry, and the most outrageous lyrics in the hair metal game in Seventeen make for a strong debut album for Kip Winger and the band.

Winger: How every seventeen year-old named Madalaine is headed for a heartbreak

Recorded at Atlantic Studios in New York City, and coming in at a concise 43:50, Winger’s self-titled album was produced by Alice Cooper, Warrant (DRFSR), and Ratt collaborator, Beau Hill.

Winger songs are an eclectic mix of hair metal, prog rock, and power pop balladry. I think this is due to the outstanding musicians who made up the band. Moving beyond Kip, we have:

Reb Beach (lead guitar, backing vocals)

Reb was in hair metal bands Winger, Whitesnake, and Dokken. Beyond that, he contributed to a ton of other projects, including Alice Cooper, Danger Danger, Twisted Sister, and even Chaka Khan.

Paul Taylor (keyboards, backing vocals)

Beyond the band Winger, Taylor has played with Eric Martin of Mr. Big, Aldo Nova, Steve Perry, and other rock legends.

Rod Morgenstein (drums, backing vocals)

Drummer Rod Morgenstein teaches percussion at Berklee in Boston. So there’s that. Plus, he’s played with guitar legend Steve Morse.

The guys Kip chose to play with are no slouches. I mean sure, they might not have had Kip’s gracious chest plummage. But really, who does!?

Rating

I give Winger an 810

It’s actually got some strong songs.

Winger's Self-Titled debut album cover
Laser AND leather chaps! Ok, just laser.

The Winger album cover art is interesting. The multi-layered face thing … The string or laser beam (unsure) through the eye … The Def Leppard lettering …

Slicing your head like a laser beam … the album cover is as if Kip foreshadowed his future contribution to the Bill and Ted’s Bogus Journey soundtrack.

Track listing

  1. Madalaine
  2. Hungry
  3. Seventeen
  4. Without the Night
  5. Purple Haze
  6. State of Emergency
  7. Time to Surrender
  8. Poison Angel
  9. Hangin’ On
  10. Headed for a Heartbreak
  11. Higher and Higher

Track 11 “Higher and Higher” was a B-side of the Madalaine single

Winger notes

Madalaine

Big Mark Slaughter YEEAAAAHH from Kip to start Madalaine. For it.

You need to see the video to watch Kip Winger rip out the power bass player look.

Shreddy guitar fun in the solo with some solid whammy/tapping.

KEY CHANGE! Like an old friend, always nice to see.

Hungry

Whoa! What a video (and song).

Alright, let me set the scene.

Bro, she hasn’t been dead for more than 30 seconds. Kids these days …

Anyway, Hungry rocks.

Seventeen

Like Benny Mardones Into the Night, but hair metal.

Both Into the Night and Seventeen’s lyrics are superiorly creepy. But hair metal is the great equalizer, and Winger’s song rocks.

Seventeen is written like an 80s hair metal madlib.

I’m only 17. I’ll show you love like you ain’t never seen. She’s only 17. Daddy says she’s too young, but she’s old enough for me.

These lyrics are criminal in MANY states.

Look at them laughing in the video. They know something is wrong with all of this and … nevermind, bitchin’ solo.

Big “Uh” at 2:33.

She loves to work shirtless Kip overtime. Are seventeen year olds even legally allowed to work overtime? Pretty sure not.

She’s a magic mountain, she’s a leather glove, she’s my soul, it must be love.

I feel disgusted just typing it. But hey, it was the 80s, I guess anything went. At least Reb smokes out dope riff after dope riff.

Without the Night

You can feel the heartbreak thumping in your metal heart on Without the Night.

Kip’s bass interplays well with the synth. His vocals take on a Jani Lane on Cherry Pie tone on this track 4 ballad.

Some nice medium power Dimarzio Super Distortions (guessing) all over the lead track.

Purple Haze

Winger adds all the sex to Purple Haze that Jimi Hendrix left out. And all the aquanet. And all the falsetto.

I don’t hate it though. They don’t back down when faced with the challenge of covering Jimi, and I applaud them for it.

Cameo by Dweezil Zappa, cause why not?

State of Emergency

Fun vocal effects. Decent riffing to kick State of Emergency off. I don’t hate this glam prog thing. This could have been on the Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure soundtrack - it has the right feel.

Is it me or did the chorus go minor in the second half of the song!?!? Total pro move.

I bet the keys player (Paul Taylor) suggested it. Every band needs one. A keys player that is.

… and a choral modulation.

Time to Surrender

A song made by bad asses, for bad asses. Reb Beach sprinkles notes like cheese on a pizza. Rod Morgenstein hits pretty hard on Time to Surrender.

Poison Angel

Not be confused with Fallen Angel by Poison, Poison Angel follows in the footsteps of Seventeen with a fistful of innuendo, just NOWHERE near as good.

Poison Angel is co-written by Kip Winger and Reb Beach … and it sounds like it was. Total bass and guitar shred it up tune.

Love the ending, from the dive bomb to extra shred.

Hangin’ On

Bitchin’ intro! Calls out to Damn Yankees Coming of Age, with a hint of early Van Halen.

And a … Warrant Pre-Chorus!?

Gang vocals are keeping me interested.

Reb Beach really rocks. I underappreciated him in my youth.

Back to the Damn Yankees riff post chorus (or maybe Damn Yankees lifted it from Winger). Who cares?

Headed for a Heartbreak

Kip Winger is like, “Coheed and Cambria, here, hold my beer! THIS is how you do prog rock!”

Jokes aside, Headed for a Heartbreak is a pretty decent tune. The entire band shows up on this tune, especially Paul Taylor’s keyboards.

I can see Kip penning Headed for a Heartbreak now, thinking, “gosh, the song is good, but the video will ascend to echelons not seen before or since. it will have a white piano, the color purple, someone half drowning, and it shall feature my chest hair! prominently!”

Higher and Higher

Higher and Higher is just a standard, upbeat 80s hair metal track. A few verses, a few choruses, typical lyrics, a progressively more bad ass solo, whammy bars, high vocals, etc., etc., etc.

The list could go on, but the album does not.