Kip Winger grew up in Colorado and played in several small bands in the area while a teenager. He moved to New York City in 1982 and began work on writing music. IN 1984 he wrote a song that the band Kix recorded for their third album. The next year he joined Alice Cooper’s band as their bass player. Paul Taylor played keyboards and guitar in the band during that time.
Kip left the band and began working on new songs with guitar player Reb Beach. Paul and drummer Rod Morgenstein soon joined them in a band that named itself Sahara. Alice Cooper suggested that they change the group’s name to Winger and they recorded their first album in 1988. Their music was primarily hard rock, and they found quick acceptance: their first album sold over a million copies and earned a platinum record.
The first single from the album did not gather much notice, but their second single, Seventeen, reached #26 on the Hot 100 and #19 on the Mainstream Rock chart in 1989.
Later that year they released their third single from the album, Headed For A HeartBreak. The record more closely resembled a power ballad than the hard rock their first two singles offered. The result was higher charting: #19 on the Hot 100 and #8 on the Mainstream Rock chart.
The group released their second album in 1990 and once again earned a platinum record. The group released the hard rock song Can’t Get Enuff as the first single from the album. The single failed to reach the top forty on the Hot 100 but gave the group their highest-scoring single on the Mainstream Rock chart when it peaked at #6.
Another power ballad followed in a few months. Miles Away reached #12 and was their most successful record on the Hot 100 and peaked at #14 on the Mainstream Rock chart. It was also their only record to chart in the UK, but it only reached #56.
The group toured for over a year to support the release of their second album. Some of their stops featured several bands, including Kiss, Scorpions, ZZ Top, Extreme and Slaughter. Paul left the group after the tour, citing exhaustion.
The group recorded a third album in 1993 and added John Roth to replace Paul when they toured. The group disbanded in 1994. Kip began a solo career while Reb toured with Alice Cooper and Whitesnake. Rod and John returned to doing studio work.
The group reunited for two years in 2001 and more permanently in 2008 and continues to tour periodically. They maintain a website at http://www.wingertheband.com/.
The most distressing treatment the group had while together came from Beavis and Butthead and King of the Hill cartoons. Mike Judge poked fun at the group by putting Winger t-shirts on characters that everybody else in the cartoons ridiculed. Mike tried t-shirts featuring other groups, but he claims that Winger shirts worked best. Over time, Kip seems to have become more accepting of the jokes.