Kip Winger: When Hair Metal Grows Up


You might remember Kip Winger as the guy who sang about banging 17-year-old girls as frontman for the late-’80s metal band Winger.

While most of his hair-metal pals can be found these days whining about how hard it is to get stripper girlfriends once you’re fat and broke, 50-year-old Winger has aged with amazing grace.

For nearly two decades, he’s been studying composition and writing classical music, including pieces for the San Francisco Ballet. That’s what brought him to Oberlin College last week, where he spent three days rehearsing and recording his latest piece for the ballet Conversations With Nijinsky, which scholars confirm is not at all about nailing chicks. Helping Winger was an orchestra of 60 students from the college’s music conservatory.

“I’ve worked with professional orchestras before, and they really had an edge on the energy,” Winger says of the Oberlin students. “They were eager to do it well, and it sounded very fresh.”

Winger found the students receptive to his project, possibly because they had not even been born by the time his band was the punch line of daily jokes on Beavis and Butt-head. “The tone is that this is a cool place to be and study,” he says. “And judging by the level of musicianship, I’d have to say whatever they’re doing, they’re doing it right.”

Sleep well, gentle Oberlin: Kip Winger approves of you.