Winger have made peace with the man whose TV show they blamed for ruining their career.
MTV’s Beavis and Butt-head mercilessly mocked the band in the 1990s, with the cartoon duo’s geeky neighbour Stewart often seen wearing a Winger t-shirt, in contrast to the AC/DC and Metallica t-shirts worn by the title characters. Beavis and Buttt-head also mocked the band’s videos and called them “wussies”.
At the time, Winger guitarist Reb Beach said the show led to DJs dropping the band’s songs from playlists and record and gig ticket sales dried up as a result.
But frontman Kip Winger says he finally buried the hatchet with Judge when the show made a comeback in 2011.
He tells The Weeklings: When they did the Beavis and Butt-head remake I found Mike and told him I wanted to clear the air. I never tried to sue MTV or Mike, I never had a problem with the cartoon. I mean, it was David and Goliath, really. There was nothing you could do but take it like a man. It certainly didn’t help us, I’ll tell you that. But it was a funny show and Mike’s a funny guy.
“Winger was a band that was popular for some of the wrong reasons, man. So we ended up on the show. I don’t believe there was any malicious intent. We exchanged some emails; Mike is a very nice guy, no hard feelings. I was hoping maybe he’d give me a voice-over role in the new cartoon though.”
Kip adds that although the MTV show hurt the band’s career, the channel itself was instrumental in Winger’s early success. MTV showed the video for 1988 single Seventeen on heavy rotation, helping to drive sales of the band’s debut album Winger.
Kip says: “The first record came out and did nothing for six months. Nothing. The record company was ready to cut us. We kept pushing to get gigs and finally talked the label into letting us do a video. You had to audition to do a video back then. A video was $250,000 for the low end.
“So we were in this little rehearsal room in Hoboken, New Jersey, playing for the execs and they gave us the video and we got on MTV. Madelaine hit and got on the top ten, then Seventeen came out and they just hammered that shit and that’s how the record broke.”
Winger released their sixth album Better Days Comin’ last month. Kip adds: We enjoy working together, it’s not like we have to go out and play for the money even though we hate each other. Nothing like that, man. Reb and I have a lot of fun and we’re still inspired so why not? I feel like it’s got some really great Winger moments. I have a lot of shitty ideas but I try to self-edit and get the job done.”
Winger play the main stage at Download on June 15, followed by a brief UK tour with support from Jettblack and Black Wolf:
Jun 17: Glasgow O2 Academy
Jun 18: Newcastle O2 Academy
Jun 20: Bristol O2 Academy
Jun 21: London O2 Academy Islington