How MTV created and killed Winger

Originally published at: How MTV created and killed Winger | Boing Boing

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Wow, and here I thought it was because they sucked, learn something new every day.

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I always thought Kip Winger was in The Lost Boys:

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Shame on Beavis and Butthead for denying us the opportunity to hear more pedo glam “metal” on the MTV!
/s

FFS, that song isn’t about being 17, it is about having a sexual relationship with someone who is “only 17” which is a hard pass as far as I am concerned.

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Yeah, I figured the Matt Gaetz-iness was what had something to do with it.

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Warrant had issues with their tour bus, and brought it to our charter company to get it repaired one day. We took a look inside, and it was floor to ceiling red velvet. The only thing it was missing was a stripper pole.

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Gosh, it’s almost like popular music isn’t a meritocracy or something.

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I just finished reading Nöthin’ But a Good Time, which covered Winger’s rise and B&B-assisted fall among a bunch of other hair metal stuff. I wasn’t into this music much back in the day, but it was a very entertaining read about a very bonkers time in the music business.

My takeaway is a lot of these bands got really lucky to be involved in the land rush, and many of them are doing just fine now on the nostalgia circuit.

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Could be worse I suppose.

(Shudder)

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I’m no expert, but to me they sound like the most generic possible '80s hair metal, which I guess left them open to both being pushed up - and off - the charts, based entirely on whether someone like MTV was willing to promote them.

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I remember playing Diablo (the first one) with friends back when it first came out.

I pop into the game, wearing what was at the time my best armor.

My friend piped up with “Are you wearing a Winger shirt?”

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Most of the hair bands in the 80’s were interchangeable - the music was almost 100% a copy and the look was identical.

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To be fair, hair metal was already on the way out in 1993 without the help of Beavis and Butt-Head.

Grunge, hip-hop, techno, other more DIY forms of music were exploding at this point in time leaving hair metal with its self-indulgence and excesses in the dust. Many far superior hair metal contempraries also fell off the charts during this time - this wasn’t unique to Winger.

As others have mentioned, with 80s nostalgia being huge right now many of these groups are doing just fine on the nostalgia touring circuit.

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Ted Nugent went all the way down to 13 in Jailbait. Jailbait lyrics by Ted Nugent with meaning. Jailbait explained, official 2021 song lyrics | LyricsMode.com Which considering Courtney Love’s allegations is probably closer to autobiographical than his lawyer would probably care to have him admit.

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Cue Steel Panther

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As a rock guitarist for 40 years, I remembered when Winger came out: they knew how to cater to what that market said did well, but here’s the thing: they are all session-level players. Reb Beach, the guitarist, had massive chops, a total virtuoso.

The drummer, Rod Morgenstein, was another ridiculously hot session player. In Winger, all these guys were “slumming” because they wanted to see what life would be like as rock stars. And the little video is right: MTV made 'em AND broke 'em. The irony, aye…

You might not like that music, or the look, or the “sexism”, but Kip Winger - who was also penalized for being a “hunk” - grew up in a very artsy family. He was a classically trained ballet dancer before Winger, then, when Beavis and Butthead wrecked 'em, he won a Grammy for Conversations With Nijinksy: a classic music album.

So: the story of Winger is even weirder than what the guy in the video presented.

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It never fails to astound me the level of talent and musicianship that was in many of these hair metal bands that was largely squandered.

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cough/beatles/cough

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and look like the most generic possible '80s hair metal. even among themselves, they look the same.

Thats so true of a vast amount of popular culture, never mind the genre.

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