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Kip Winger, Reb Beach, Rod Morgenstein, Rob Roth (Winger)

Interview with Kip Winger, Reb Beach, Rod Morgenstein, Rob Roth from Winger
by Dimitris Kontogeorgakos at 20 March 2010, 9:03 PM

It was an interview planned to be contacted only with Kip Winger. Eventually, there was also Reb Beach and after a some time the rest of the band joined in turning this interview into a fruitful discussion. So, read below what was said leaving aside all the small talk in between that I mostly enjoyed. It is always nice to talk to really down to earth musicians who keep their feet to the ground no matter what.

So, how did you find the show yesterday (01 December 2009) ?
Kip Winger: The crowd was amazing. Have you been there?

Yeah I did and it was really great. What about the venue; did you like it?
Kip Winger: What are you doing now? This is a really stupid question!
Reb Beach: (altering his voice) Did we like it? Did it look like we were having fun? Come on, we had a great time!
Kip Winger: Where is this question going? Are you going to ask us how do we feel playing into big arenas and now we are playing in small clubs?

Wait a minute guys I believe you have misunderstood me; if you waited for the next question you'd understand my point.
Kip Winger: Ok, let's hear it.

Before fixing a live date do you look the venue you are going to play?
Kip Winger: No. We sent a contract saying the size of the stage we play and we showed them yesterday but what we could possibly do?
Reb Beach: Could we say “Fuck you, we are not going to play” ?
Kip Winger: In this way the fans get fucked.

So, you played yesterday for the fans.
Kip Winger: Absolutely.

So, this where my initial question was going. I did not mean in any way to sound aggressive…
Kip Winger: Please don't take offense to anything we say…
Reb Beach: He is a nice guy Kip. But know that his answers will be totally different for mine because we are exactly the opposite in every way…(laughs)

So, Reb did someone steal your guitar pedal yesterday?
Reb Beach: Yeah someone stole it right off the stage. That was the first time someone has seen me angry. It was a very expensive pedal…
Kip Winger: The guys grabbed the pedal and run out of the club.

Talking about a small venue… So, let's move on; you have played live in the US and in Europe can you spot the differences between them?
Kip Winger: In general I think the audiences in Europe are better because they listen to the music in more detail. Between New York and L.A. there are some great audiences but I just prefer…. mmm this is political incorrect. What I find is that the Europeans listen to the music more intensely than the Americans…
Reb Beach: (with a funny voice) So, are you saying that the Americans are musically dummer? (all laughing).
Kip Winger: I did not say that. I think Europeans take it more seriously like listening to the band and knowing everything about the band. You know it's a little more detailed.

Will you tour the US?
Kip Winger: Hopefully we will. We are tying to plan that now but we have difficulties booking gigs since Reb is in WHITESNAKE, Rod teaches in Berkeley and John is also in GIANT, so it is tough you see.

Let's talk about music; what are the differences between “Karma” and “IV” from your point of view?
Reb Beach: Well, I can say something here. Even that I feel nervous that Kip is sitting beside me and we have not done an interview together for years I have to say that with ”IV” I got to his house and he told me that he had a vision about how the album should be from front to back. “So, just sit there and when I need a guitar riff I am going to ask for”. So, I was the guitar-riff writer guy. But he did all the rest. That album was his baby and his vision.
Kip Winger: No….
Reb Beach: Yes, Kip, this was exactly the way and I won't do that ever again (laughs). You know he is the classical genius, a 76-piece orchestra guy who writes for ballets (actually he has wrote one lately) and this was his chance to kind of insert all that into a Rock album and do his thing. But, with ”Karma” when I got to his house he asked me “What do you want to do Reb?”, I said that I wanted to go back to the old sound.

Yeah, I also believe that this album is more guitar-driven than the previous.
Kip Winger: We took a six pack of beers, a bag of weed and sat down for 10 days and wrote these 10 songs.

(John Roth and Rod Morgenstein joined the conversation)
Kip Winger: Hey man, you can interview the whole band. Do you know how rare this is? I don't even know if this has ever happened.

So, now that you are all here I have to jump to this question; is Kip an easy person to work with?
Reb Beach: He is very easy.
Kip Winger: Do I have a bad reputation?
Reb Beach: He is awesome, he listens what you have to say and he is a genius. He will take your idea and make the most of it.

Really, the writing process just took 10 days? Was it so intense?
Reb Beach: Yeah man, we wrote one song per day. Kip asked us to write a song per day or at least a piece of a song per day. I said OK, I am going to do it. I wrote one song in two months. But with Kip you get up in the morning and star working and by noon you are in the studio working all-day-long until you're done.
Kip Winger: That's why in Nashville where I live everybody fucking writes.
Reb Beach: For me this is impossible unless Kip is whipping me to work. But I can still get wasted while he is whipping me (laughs).

What about the title of the album; is there a special meaning behind it?
Reb Beach: It is really about WINGER. Back in the 80s when we were listening to all those bands we were thinking that we could better than them. So, now we thought that this album could be successful and it would be like karma after all the bad things that happened to us.

So, Kip what is the story behind BLACKWOOD CREEK?
Kip Winger: We had a band with my brother and those guys so we did an album for the old-good-times sake.

Can we expect something like this in the future?
Kip Winger: I really don't know. We finished this album mixing old ideas with some new ones in a 70s, very poppy and simple way. It was really cool.

You are all busy outside WINGER so my question is: can an artist be fully dedicated in a band when he is doing several things on the side?
Rod Morgenstein: This question could be “can walk and chew gum at the same time” ? After all, we have been doing this for so long so, yes, we manage with that…
Kip Winger: No matter in how many bands we are in, we have certain standards for this band and definite vibe that is pretty obvious when you see us live. This is 16 years of chemistry…

Another one question for Kip; you had the premier for “Ghosts” so, how does it feel like?
Kip Winger: Well, it was not like a premier since it was performed with the Tucson Symphony that was really cool. But the actual premier is the ballet with the choreography and all this stuff. It is a dream that came true for me. I wrote it a while ago but I was thinking of doing something like this like 20 years. It is very very exciting.

How different was it working for “Ghosts” when compare to the work with WINGER?
Kip Winger: I have been trying to do this for a long time. I actually felt like home. You know something, I am not a jammer. All these guys can jam really well but I am not like it. When I do music it has to be precisely where to do what. So, I do Rock music like orchestra music. It is all got to be in its place. I can jam with the band in the Blues but that's it…
Rod Morgenstein: We totally disagree with him because he can jam great.

Have you ever thought of rearranging WINGER's music and add some classical elements?
Kip Winger: I thought of this two days ago. Maybe we can call it WINGER-suite (laughs). We could do “Rainbow In The Rose” or “Headed For A Heartbreak” or “Hungry”. Maybe we will do it. I do not know when, but I have thoughts about it.

So, you have been in the band almost for two decades; do you feel satisfied?
Rod Morgenstein: Well, this is not an easy question to answer; it is a mixture of feelings. There is the musical satisfaction in terms of you can listen to your CD and be proud of the band. It was a really interesting career all these years playing in all venue sizes but this band also had its ups and downs. When music changed all of a sudden and Metal took a dive with NIRVANA and PEARL JAM taking over the scene. Then there was a frustrating time period when everyone thought that this sound was very cool. So, to be is a combination of what we have accomplished in terms all the different albums we made but still we could do a lot better… John Roth Personally, I don't really care how many peopled are watching us live as long as they sing every single lyrics like last night. That is the most satisfied. When you make an album and send to the world you never know what the reaction will be. But when you see such a reaction as a performer it is the ultimate reward.

This is great to hear something like this from musicians who have been around so many years. Because, I think most of the new bands care more about the selling numbers than they do about the fans. Rod Morgenstein: Really? Who, for example?

There is no point of giving specific names. But it is the reality…
Kip Winger: You say that the new bands care of the albums they are selling?

Yeah I do.
Kip Winger: In that case, good luck.
Rod Morgenstein: Yeah, good luck because it is not the right time to worry about the numbers. If you are not doing it because you love it, then what's the point?
Kip Winger: You can hear the music, I think. This is why there is so much shitty music out there. On the other hand the Internet has brought in front many great bands and artists that you'd never have heard of them. So, it is really a double-edged sword.

Have you ever thought of celebrating the 20 years with WINGER?
Kip Winger: Why? We don't feel that we have achieved something special. We were always trying hard so we never noticed what we have done.
Reb Beach: If you think hard we are an 80s band that came out on the late 80s. Actually it was 1989 when the Hard Rock scene was in its way down. But now we are all doing the same thing; playing in the same places like we do. Kip Winger: BON JOVI and DEF LEPARD were bigger than everybody else and they are still big.
Reb Beach: DEF LEPARD came out in 1980. I remember buying ”On Through The Night” and being jealous of the guitarist who had my age!

Have you ever felt threatened by the press in any way?
Reb Beach: Just tonight! (laughs)
Kip Winger: Are you kidding? We were more attacked than every other band. What do you think? This is our question to you. Do you think that we were threatened?

Yeah, I believe so.
Kip Winger: Thank you! This was a rhetoric question after all. It definitely affected us back in those days, but what can you really do about it? Are you talking about the “Beavis And Butt-head” thing?

No, it is more of a general question.
Kip Winger: So, you are asking if we listen to the critics and read their reviews?

Rod Morgenstein: We do read the reviews but we also know that this is what one person wrote and not a team of people. On the other hand we are humans; so, when a bad review comes in -especially in the first days- it hurts! I mean, you spent a lot of time working into the music and then one comes to say that it sucks.

So, thank you very much guys for your time. It was a real pleasure talking to the entire band.


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Edited 06 July 2022

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