You've no doubt heard of hair-metal supergroup Scrap Metal, featuring former puff-metal dudes Gunnar & Matthew Nelson (of Nelson), Mark Slaughter (Slaughter) and Kelly Keagy (Night Ranger). With the exception of Matthew Nelson, who lives in L.A., all those other dudes live here. But when I heard not only that Kip Winger of Winger would be joining the boys for a show (opening with an acoustic set), but that he also lives in Nashville, I just couldn't believe it. He's also opening for Foreigner at the Wildhorse on Oct. 8.
Yes, Nashville is a haven for former glam-metal frontmen. It would be easy to bray at these one-hit or one-genre wonders, but I try to resist that. Because if you follow popular music for more than six months, you know that nearly all of it has a limited shelf life. And who saw grunge coming? Everyone was too busy squirting whipped cream onto chicks with their asses hanging out of Daisy Dukes to notice.
But, seriously, Kip Winger? Winger was the pretty boy on bass with a bunch of hired guns behind him—someone even people who were actually into hair metal's preening and posturing found hard to take seriously. I would know, because I was right there at the skating rink when these sorts of monumental musical shifts were being hashed out. It was a weird time to come into pop music, because if, like me, you heard hair metal before punk or real metal, it was easy to believe that this screechy, oversexed, glammed-up pomp for big-haired whores was deeply, deeply rebellious. Also, I had an influential older sister offering a steady diet of the likes of Ratt.
But anyhoo, in 1988, Winger unleashed a little song called "Seventeen," (clip above) which I can pretty much credit with my rush to the dial in a desperate search for anything not involving a nearly 30-something dude crooning about how a 17-year-old will "show you love / like you've never seen." Ewww. True, I had earnestly appreciated ballads by Skid Row, but Winger was where I drew the line. Thank God for college radio.