Interview: Kip Winger looks back at In The Heart Of The Young

Kip Winger in 1989
Kip Winger in 1989
(Image: © Paul Natkin \/ Getty Images)

Following the lasciviousness of their debut album’s hit Seventeen, Winger sought some muso credibility but also needed to repeat their previous album’s multi-platinum sales.

With the Seattle explosion on the horizon the odds were stacked against them – and any band having their record produced by hair-metal guru Beau Hill – but tracks such as Rainbow In The Rose showed that with In The Heart Of They Young the band had achieved clear artistic growth.

In The Heart Of The Young features in Classic Rock’s 100 Best Albums Of The 90s, which feature in issue 247 of the magazine, available now from all good newsagents and online. Below, Kip Winger looks back at the album…

What goals did Winger set themselves with In The Heart Of The Young?

[Laughs] I had no specific goals. Back then I largely didn’t know what I was doing. Nobody had expected us to sell two million copies of the debut, and we sold close to a million of the second one. Direction-wise, the band felt like it was time to do something that was a little more progressive.

Rainbow In The Rose ticked that box, but did less discerning listeners just think it was more of the same?

The album was way bigger in Europe than it was in the States, and I consider European fans to be way more attentive listeners, so that maybe says a lot.

What about Beau Hill’s production on the album?

It’s perhaps a little light, and grunge music was on the horizon, so it got caught in the crossfire. There was too much sampling on the drums. I’d like to remix it some day and boost the rawness.

Upon hearing the album, Atlantic Records’ verdict was that there wasn’t a hit on it.

Yeah. So we went away and added Can’t Get Enuff and Easy Come Easy Go. Can’t Get Enuff is still a cool song, but although Easy Come Easy Go was very popular it wasn’t representative of what we wanted to be.

Given the time the album came out, I still think it did pretty good. Shortly after we put it out we didn’t know that it was doomed, though we knew that we were.

Are there any songs from it that you now play through gritted teeth?

Little Dirty Blonde is my least favourite song of ours. It might have been cool if it had been recorded by Van Halen. We played it okay but didn’t really capture the swing it needed. It’s a little too slick.

Kerrang! called you “the blowdried Bee Gee”, and you got some bullying from Metallica. Can you now look back at that and smile?

I can certainly see why it happened. I had a background in ballet and theatre and I was quite flamboyant. I was intentionally trying to put a muso-type band around a David Lee Roth or Paul Stanley-style frontman, and nobody really saw that. However, I got a Grammy recommendation for my classical record (Conversations With Nijinsky, 2016), and to me that sets things straight.

Classic Rock’s 100 Greatest Albums Of The 90s is available now.