Winger: Kip Winger (vocals, bass); Paul Taylor (guitar, keyboards); Reb Beach (guitar); Rod Morgenstein (drums, percussion).
Personnel: Kip Winger (vocals, guitar, keyboards); Reb Beach (vocals, guitar); Paul Taylor (vocals, keyboards); Rod Morgenstein (vocals, drums); Ira McLaughlin, Beau Hill (vocals); Dweezil Zappa (guitar); Hae Young Ham, Maria Kitsopoulos, Rebecca Young, Sandra Park (strings).
Recording information: Atlantic Studios, New York, NY.
Unknown Contributor Roles: Brad Miskel; Ron Feddor.
Since Winger was marketed largely on the looks of lead singer Kip Winger, and since their sleazy rockers and lovelorn ballads cover the same old pop-metal territory, the band's high-quality musicianship tended to get overlooked. Guitarist Reb Beach earned wide praise from other musicians, and he, ex-Dixie Dregs drummer Rod Morgenstein, and keyboardist Paul Taylor bring a distinct progressive metal influence to many of the tunes on Winger. Even if the lyrics are standard issue, the album is impeccably composed, crafted, and played, with melodies, riffs, and guitar solos taking off in unexpected directions and keeping the listener slightly off balance -- no easy task in the cookie-cutter hair metal genre. The only misstep is an overdone, tight-assed, totally misguided recasting of "Purple Haze." Otherwise, Winger is a surprisingly accomplished debut. ~ Steve Huey