When Kip Winger achieved success as a classical composer, it surprised those who only thought of him in terms of his 80s pin-up era. But in 2017 the Winger leader demonstrated how much more there was to him, telling Prog about how much inspiration he’d taken from Peter Gabriel.
“I was a fan of Genesis and the first few Peter Gabriel solo records, but I really became fanatical in 1982 when Security was released. This exemplified the future for people like myself. The record stepped out of the norm so far that it was a total game changer. His choices and use of sounds, sampling and overall orchestration and production, was so cutting edge it was astounding. Lyrically it was above and beyond 99 percent of everything else.
”In my opinion, Gabriel, more than any other artist, set his own personal standard incredibly high. One gets the sense that he’s constantly questioning his material and constantly improving right up to the very end; so much so that when you listen to the music, you can hear ideas that didn’t materialise on the records, and the music on the records still develop long after they’ve been recorded and released.
”He’s been an influence on me in every way. Musically, lyrically, production, musicianship. You can hear it in my solo records. It may sound ironic having come from a band like Winger, but to put this into perspective, I wrote the song In The Heart Of The Young in 1983 before I was in Alice Cooper’s band. Many of the songs I wrote during that time were in the vein of Security.
”While I was with Alice Cooper, the metal scene was coming back and I came from the late 60s, early 70s; so I went in that direction with Winger. Personally, as the music on my solo record shows, I was further in the direction of Gabriel. If you listen to a song like Don’t Let Go you’ll hear that.
”With an artist like Peter Gabriel, you can be sure that he thought out the concepts behind his music to the highest level, to the point that the musical conclusion is nothing short of a work of art. This is the difference between musicians who are entertainers versus musicians who are true artists.
”A chance to work with him would be incredible. But in a way I do work with him, or rather he works with me as a mentor; having Peter Gabriel on your shoulder always raises the bar a bit higher.”