Kip Winger Talks Lars Ulrich, Joe Elliott And Next Winger Album


December 29, 2008

Winger frontman Kip Winger was recently interviewed by rock & roll comic C.C. Banana. Over the course of this irreverent interrogation, Kip discusses his new solo album, his experiences touring with loose cannon Jani Lane and his current feelings toward Lars Ulrich, who famously threw darts at a photo of Kip in Metallica’s “Nothing Else Matters” music video. Kip also reveals his intentions to record another album with Winger and responds to criticisms made earlier this year by Joe Elliott of Def Leppard, who referred to Winger as a “shite band.” A few excerpts from the interview follow:

C.C. Banana: Kip, what are you currently up to?

Kip Winger: I have a new solo album out called “From the Moon to the Sun.” I’m also playing some solo dates and I just wrote a big classical piece for a choreographer friend in New York. Overall, I’m just moving forward and writing new music.

C.C. Banana: What ever happened to original Winger guitarist to Paul Taylor? He was on tour with you guys for the 2002 reunion (alongside his replacement John Roth, oddly enough) but he wasn’t involved with the latest studio album and he wasn’t with you on the more recent Winger tours. Is he busy shacking up with Fiona or something?

Kip Winger: Man, I thought I was the one who shacked up with Fiona! No, Fiona and I never did anything like that. I actually did ask Paul to be on “Winger IV” but he declined because he was already working on other stuff. He’s just a very busy guy. For the 2002 tour with Poison, we did it as a 5-piece almost as a statement. It was the big, long-awaited reunion so I wanted to include everybody who had ever been in the band.

C.C. Banana: Who the hell is Cenk Eroglu? He does he appear on “Winger IV” but he wasn’t on tour with you either. Is he a real person or did you just make him up?

Kip Winger: Nope, he’s real. Cenk Eroglu is an exceptionally talented guy from Istanbul who sent me his music almost 10 years ago. I was so blown away by it that I actually flew to Turkey to start working with him. Cenk and I are kindred spirits with regard to music and production. He even co-wrote a lot of the songs on my new solo album. So when Paul Taylor declined to be involved with the new Winger album, I wanted Cenk to provide the keyboard element. Unfortunately, touring with Cenk just didn’t work out because he’s very much in demand as a producer in Istanbul. And that was okay, because I think the best live version of the band is the four-piece.

C.C. Banana: Tell everyone why they should buy the “Winger: Live” CD and DVD, despite the fact that the cover looks like it was designed by a 4th grader.

Kip Winger: Ha! The truth is that some wires got crossed between our manager and the video director. As a result, no photographer showed up to shoot the show. We ended up having to pull still frames from the video footage. I agree with you, it’s not the greatest cover, but the music kicks ass!

C.C. Banana: The song “Baptized by Fire” contains a section in which you actually start rapping! How drunk were you when you thought that was a good idea?

Kip Winger: Well, that was right around the time when Tone Loc was hitting it big, so I thought I should try putting some rap in there somewhere. I was actually one of the first rock guys to do a rap so I played it safe and kept it short.

C.C. Banana: What was the deal with that triangular face with the target eye and laser beam on your album covers? Was that supposed to be your attempt at a metal mascot like Iron Maiden’s Eddie or Megadeth’s Vic Rattlehead?

Kip Winger: That’s a very good question! I actually have no idea what that was but we just sort of went with it anyway. It was designed by a friend of mine and when our first record came out, it won an award for album cover of the year! Can you believe that? So we figured we’d keep using it as a logo or whatever.

C.C. Banana: Did it have a name?

Kip Winger: No, we never did have a name for it! People should send in their suggestions so we can finally give it a name!

C.C. Banana: Is it true that you once brought a dead puppy back to life just by flashing your smile?

Kip Winger: Yeah, right! My teeth are all stained these days from drinking too much coffee.

C.C. Banana: In 2005 you were a featured artist on the VH1 Metal Mania Stripped Across America Tour, along with Don Dokken, Stephen Pearcy and FireHouse. Jani Lane was also on the bill, but he ended up missing a bunch of shows and having a few well-publicized onstage meltdowns. Tell us what it was like dealing with a liability like that on tour?

Kip Winger: Poor Jani. That’s a sad story, man. Jani is such a talented guy but he just can’t seem to keep it together. He’s a good performer, a good singer and a good songwriter, but he is also proof positive that drugs and alcohol will lead you to Hell. He’d be on stage and after three songs he’d throw the mic down and say, “Fuck this shit, I’m out of here!” To me, that’s cardinal sin #1. The show must go on, baby! We finally had to throw him off the bus. We actually made him ride in the van! When he’s straight, he’s a sweetheart of a guy. It’s all because of the drugs and alcohol, man. Just stay away from that stuff! Even Nikki Sixx will tell you that.

C.C. Banana: Do you know if anyone ever actually used the “Pull” album for skeet shooting?

Kip Winger: Haha! I don’t know for sure, but somebody probably used it as a coaster at some point.

C.C. Banana: You have been known to occasionally auction off your old stage clothing on eBay. Does it ever creep you out to think of what those rabid Winger fans do with your clothes after they buy them from you?

Kip Winger: No, I never even think about that.

C.C. Banana: Just so you know, I did NOT bid on your dragon pants. I did not bid on them five times. I did not do anything of the sort.

Kip Winger: I’m just not a packrat. I don’t keep shit like that but if people want to buy it from me, that’s cool. I just turn it around into more recording gear or I give the proceeds to charity.

C.C. Banana: Is there anything less glamorous than touring Borders bookstores?

Kip Winger: Hey, Borders was great for me, man! I really dug it! How many people can play an acoustic guitar in a bookstore during the day and still draw a crowd? We’d get 100 to 150 people at these shows, so that was pretty cool. I actually built a solid fan base by doing this. At first, a lot of people didn’t understand what I was doing, but after they came out and saw the show, they understood and they’ve been coming back ever since.

C.C. Banana: Can you kick Mikhail Baryshnikov’s ass?

Kip Winger: I doubt it!

C.C. Banana: Have you ever thrown darts at a photo of Lars Ulrich?

Kip Winger: I’ve never done that. I really never had anything against the guy. In fact, when I first heard Metallica’s Black Album, I thought it was a really cool record… and then they just started taking shots at me, for whatever reason. But it’s okay, Lars is not really that talented. He’s got a lot of fucking money, though, so I’m sure he’s happy. I actually felt sorry for him when I saw that “Some Kind of Monster” documentary. He was sitting there next to his dad, just seething with unmoved emotion over things that were still unresolved. It was really kind of sad to watch. But I do like Metallica, they’re a good band.

C.C. Banana: The reunited Winger seems to have hit all the obligatory bases over the past few years: reunion tour, greatest hits compilation, demo collection, new studio album, live album and home video. At this point, what does the future holds for Winger the band and Kip Winger the man?

Kip Winger: Overall, my future holds writing more music. That’s really all I care about and it’s all I want to do. I’m actually working on a lot of classical music right now, for anybody who cares about that kind of stuff. As for Winger the band, we tend to make the rounds every year and a half or so. We went to Japan and Australia not too long ago, Europe before that. We’ll probably put out another Winger record about a year from now. Playing with Reb, Rod and John is just so much fun and I’m always motivated by the fact that I get to write for such good musicians.

C.C. Banana: Do you have any other topics you’d care to address, Kip?

Kip Winger: Yeah, I just want to say that I read what Joe Elliott said, slagging off bands like Poison and Winger. I’ve gotten used to being the punching bag, I take it all! But Poison is really good live and Bret Michaels’ own response to Joe was awesome. I also love Def Leppard and I think they’re a great band. But if Joe Elliott wants to meet me at an L.A. club of his choice with an acoustic guitar, leave the Pro Tools at home and I’ll open up a can of whoop-ass on him!

The entire interview is available at

A video clip of C.C. Banana interviewing Kip Winger can be viewed below:

Courtesy of