Style: hard rock
Home: New York City, New York
Members: Kip Winger ~ vocals/bass/acoustic guitar/keyboards
Reb Beach ~ guitars/b. vocals
Rod Morgenstein ~ drums/b. vocals
Additional: Frank Latorre ~ harmonica
Alex Acuna ~ percussion
I consider Winger a guilty pleasure. Big hair rock with some awesome guitar playing courtesy of the creative Reb Beach. They remind me of Dokken in some ways in that respect. Basically straight ahead 80's rock with all the cliches we all both love & hate, but underneath is some magical guitar playing that is quite creative. Almost too creative for the mold of the music ... to be honest ... another hint at Dokken there. Pull is Winger's third album & finds the boys already in the land of grunge & it's not a surprise to say they'd break up after this release, like so many of their peers who chose not to struggle on. This album finds them as a three piece, rhythm guitarist/keyboardist Paul Taylor leaving from exhaustion after a long tour. John Roth would take his place on tour & also in their reunion albums. In some ways Pull is the transition album. It doesn't have the slick sound of the earlier albums, less pop & more harder edged, though Beach always has had a metal influence in his chops. The lyrics also begin to go a bit more serious (i.e. "Blind Revolution Mad", "In For The Kill"), though never too serious for their own good. At the time, the sound developed here could have been seen as the what if moment - what if the band had continued to develop & record what would it sound like? In hindsight, their reunion actually answers that question as the follow-up of IV in some ways builds more on this album than the earlier 80's releases. This later Winger is far heavier & less pop in some ways, moving away from the hair metal template. Actually, there should be a new category of music for old bands rediscovering their music as they now sound like the next generation that was once inspired by them. Pull wasn't commercially successful at the time, probably due more to the grunge influence, though its actually a bit more creative & heavier than what Winger pulled out before. But, really if you like one Winger album you'll probably like the others. It's interesting to note one direction that they creativity went here is in the heavy use of acoustic guitars, on most of the ten songs actually, as either part of the layers & more often than not the focus of a bridge or intro. It's as if they're trying to pull away from the hair metal sound or expand it, while the world has changed where the acoustic guitar is no longer just the power ballad instrument. Listen to "Down Incognito" with its thumping bassline, acoustic guitar bits & a harmonica for a fusion of styles, along with a highlight of the album. Though, there is a bit of an acoustic excess that keeps the album more mellow than many might want & makes it very pop ... in a way that Bon Jovi is today for a quick comparison. There are a few weak songs on the album, but they suffer more because of the lyrics than the songs themselves which are trying. The template is just too small for these boys. Sort of the same problem I've had with Dokken, to mention them a last time.