WINGER's 'Meticulously Produced And Recorded' New Album Will Include 'A Pretty Big Surprise'January 26, 2023
In a new interview with Sam Wall, WINGER guitarist John Roth spoke about the band's recently recorded seventh studio album. He said: "It'll be out on Frontiers [Music Srl] in May or June; we don't have a release date yet. [There's] 12 songs on the album. One song's a pretty big surprise.
"To me at least, there's always a song on a WINGER album that comes at you from left field," he explained. "Like on 'Karma', we did a blues song — Kip [Winger, WINGER frontman] and I co-wrote a song called 'After All This Time'. On 'Better Days Comin'', the title track, 'Better Days Comin'', it's kind of funky and it's fun and it's different for WINGER; WINGER's a pretty heavier, darker, metal-ish kind of band. So there's a song on this album that's very different for the band, which is cool.
"It's meticulously produced and recorded, [with] tons of layers of background vocals," he added. "It's heavier lyrically, maybe. All of WINGER's records have a heavier overtone, because the guitars are tuned low; it's just more aggressive. And there's a little bit of a progressive flair on one of the songs. But I think people are gonna really enjoy the album. I hope it's well received."
Roth also spoke in more detail about the WINGER songwriting process, saying: "Well, Kip and Reb [Beach, guitar] are the primary songwriters of the band; they are the nucleus. But I did co-write one song on this album with Kip.
"With WINGER, it normally starts [as] the musical idea. A lot of people write from lyrics and melodies. Most of the songs I write, I have a melody or a lyric which is like the nucleus or the starting point for a song. But with WINGER, it's a riff, it's a musical idea.
"I remember when I was first co-writing with Kip on some songs on 'Better Days Comin'', we're not demoing the songs. We're writing 'em; we're recording the actual songs," he explained. "So, I'm looking at him, going, 'How do you know that you just want one more bar here?' He's, like, 'I hear where I wanna go with the lyrics.' And I'm, like, ''Cause you're making a lot of really big-time decisions for the arrangement,' and we're recording final guitar parts and the lyrics have to revolve around it.
"So everything starts with the music with WINGER," Roth added. "But as the songs are being written and the riffs are coming about, the melodies are in Kip's head. Kip's the maestro, you know? He's the maestro of the band. So he's thinking as we're writing — what the melodies are gonna [be], how they're gonna work around the riffs, and inevitably making final judgment calls on the arrangement as we're cutting the songs. [It] used to be you'd demo songs. You'd demo a song out, and sometimes you couldn't beat the demo. You'd be, like, 'There's a magic on the demo we cannot beat.' So WINGER really doesn't have that problem anymore 'cause as we're writing the songs, we're cutting the final parts."
Asked if he enjoys working that way, Roth said: "I like it. I like it, 'cause stuff moves fast. It's quick. It's exciting. Because a song can sit there when you're layering parts on a song for months at a time. It can get a little bit too thought out, you know what I mean? So when you're writing and you're creating the song, the final [album version], when you're writing [and recording it] instead of coming up with the demo [first], it's exciting. Things move fast."
WINGER's next LP will be the follow-up to 2014's "Better Days Comin'".
In December 2020, Beach described the new WINGER material to the 213Rock Podcast by saying: "It's WINGER — heavy riffs with big vocals. Very catchy songs and very heavy stuff — very progressive."
A month earlier, Beach told the "Pat's Soundbytes Unplugged" podcast that he and Kip had initially pieced together ideas for 11 tracks for WINGER's next album, but that Kip "threw away six of 'em, saying that this has to be like the first BOSTON record where every song is undeniable. And he just wants it to be progressive and like nothing he's hard before," he said. "I brought him these riffs that are just straight-ahead rock riffs, and he said, 'I already know what the next three chords are gonna be after I've heard three chords.'
"We're going for something that's poppy and sing-along stuff yet cool, heavy, progressive riffs — kind of like [2009's] 'Karma'," Reb explained. "That's what we're going for."
In the spring of 2020, WINGER invited artists, friends and fans — including Alice Cooper and members of SCORPIONS, STEELHEART and WARRANT — to sing along to "Better Days Comin'", the title track of the band's sixth studio album. An official music video for the new version of the song was made available in late April of that year.
WINGER formed in the late 1980s and soared to immediate success with its 1988 self-titled release. The album spawned the hit singles "Seventeen" and "Headed For A Heartbreak" and achieved platinum sales status. "Winger" also stayed on The Billboard 200 chart for over 60 weeks where it peaked at #21. Their next album, "In The Heart Of The Young", also achieved platinum status behind the singles "Can't Get Enuff" and "Miles Away". The change in musical climate of the mid-'90s, compounded with unprovoked ridicule on MTV's popular "Beavis And Butt-Head" show, led the band to go on hiatus in 1994. In 2001, WINGER reunited and has not looked back since. Kip also earned a 2016 Grammy nomination for the classical album "C.F. Kip Winger: Conversations With Nijinsky", recorded with the San Francisco Ballet Orchestra.
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