Winger Frontman Explains What Ruined the Band’s Career, Recalls How Metallica Contributed to Their Demise

Kip Winger, the leader of the glam metal band Winger, recently had a chat with The Metal Voice where he discussed his work and career. One of the things that they touched upon is how outside factors ended up hurting the band’s reputation and, ultimately, affecting their business.

One of the main issues was MTV’s animated show “Beavis and Butt-Head” where a character named Stewart, made to be deliberately nerdy and lame and who was constantly ridiculed, wore a Winger t-shirt. Asked about the impact that the show had on Winger, Kip pointed out how the show had the power to make or break a band. He offered:

“We’re a very misunderstood band. In the early ’90s stuff didn’t help us at all when all that kind of stuff went down with grunge and ‘Beavis and Butthead.’ It really was kind of a nail in the coffin for a lot of people to just keep an open mind about who we actually are.”

“Part of it’s our fault because. I was not savvy about marketing. When Reb and I were writing the first album we watched MTV and there’s Bon Jovi and Whitesnake and Poison and Def Leppard. So we thought what are we gonna wear? Well, let’s just do that kind of thing. We were so focused on the music, if the solo is cool, if the Riff is cool. We didn’t like to go, ‘Well wait a minute, let’s not dress up that much.'”

Asked to elaborate further on “Beavis and Butt-Head,” he said:

“For example we’ll take White Zombie, ‘Beavis and Butthead’ were like ‘Oh White Zombie’s cool’ and then White Zombie went triple platinum, like overnight. It was the biggest show in MTV history so a lot of people benefited from ‘Beavis and Butthead’ but we were like on the shirt of the geeky guy who represented it sucked.”

“There’s a lot of other bands that might have been better suited for that role. I did speak to Mike Judge [the show’s creator and main voice actor] through email at one point and he was just kind of like ‘It just happened to stick.‘”

Beavis and Butt Head - Stewart's a Nerd

As if the glam metal band already didn’t suffer enough while transitioning from the 1980s into the 1990s, mostly due to the rise of grunge, it seems that the show was the final nail in the coffin for them. And, what’s more, there was also the whole Metallica thing where Lars Ulrich threw darts at Kip Winger’s poster in the “Nothing Else Matters” video. As Kip added:

“I think it hurt a lot of the bands like us and you have to also add in the aspect of Metallica throwing darts at my poster. So that came first and I think it inadvertently chose us because of that. Mike Judge said it was just luck of the draw, bad timing.

“As far as the ’80s goes, I don’t think that the ’80s would have survived much longer anyway. [The] ’80s music had run its course and we came a little too late.

Winger - "Proud Desperado" - Official Music Video

During this era, Kip also went through a series of personal tragedies, including his wife’s passing. He recalls:

“I tell this story a lot. I moved out to New Mexico, we lost our record deal, our publishing, everything was gone. Then my first wife passed away in a car wreck and I was totally in oblivion and that’s when I decided to write and to start studying classical music for real.

“I’d always wanted to write orchestral music and never felt like it was within my reach and I thought ‘You know what, I’m just gonna go for it.’ And I had the time because I couldn’t get arrested. I mean there were no gigs to be had, for years.

Winger - "It All Comes Back Around" - Official Music Video | @WingerTV

“The only gig that I did during that time on my first solo record was Porter’s bookstore at 4: 00 p.m in the afternoon playing to 10 people after a year before headlining to 8 000- 10 000 people.”

Elsewhere in the chat, Kip was asked to explain why we had to wait nine years for the new album. He said:

“Time got away from us. Reb [Beach, guitarist] was working heavily in Whitesnake, I did a lot of other projects, classical music and the Get Jack [musical] and quite a few solo shows. I wrote a lot of solo music that has yet to be released. I was super busy and time just got away from us.

Winger - Headed For A Heartbreak (Official Music Video)

“We actually started this album in 2019 but then Covid hit and kind of wiped everybody out. So it might have been out a little earlier but basically because we were both too busy to get it together.”

When asked what is different about the new album compared to the previous one, he said:

“This is the only album that every member of Winger played on every single song. So it’s actually the definitive Winger album because Paul Taylor played on every song and actually Paul has a solo on this album for the first time in our history. He played the solo on Broken Glass.

Winger - Miles Away

“The main difference is that it’s all original guys playing on every song, so it’s really the ingredients of our whole history on every track on the album. I tried to grab the inspiration from the first album and then combine it with the depth of the stuff that followed.”

Photos: rick (Winger 23), creepin Death (Lars London 2008 crop)


  • David Slavkovic

    David always planned for music to be nothing more than a hobby. However, after a short career as an agricultural engineer he ended up news editor at KillerGuitarRigs, senior editor at, as well as a freelance contributor to online magazines such as GuitaristNextdoor.