Charles Frederick Kip Winger (born June 21, 1961) is an American rock musician, a member of the rock band Winger, and a solo artist.
Winger was born in Denver, Colorado to parents who were both jazz musicians.
He grew up playing in a band named Blackwood Creek, with his brothers Nate and Paul plus friend Peter Fletcher (formerly in Pigmy Love Circus). Blackwood Creek broke up in 1980. Kip, his brothers, and Fletcher also played the Denver area bar scene while calling themselves Colorado.
At age 16, Winger began studying classical music after hearing the works of composers such as Debussy, Ravel, and Stravinsky in ballet class. At that time he sent a demo tape to Alan Parsons, from whom he received a personal reply. Years later, when Winger was chosen to be the lead singer of The Alan Parsons Live Project, he presented Parsons with that letter from 30 years prior.
In 1982, he studied with Sam Guarnaccia in Denver then moved to New York City and waited tables while studying composition with Edgar Grana.
Kip Winger's first commercial break came in 1984, when he co-wrote a song for Kix's third album, Midnite Dynamite. During that time he was working closely with the record producer, Beau Hill, recording bass and vocals on various records. While Reb Beach was working on Fiona Flanagan's Beyond the Pale record at Atlantic, Winger and Beach were introduced to each other and later began recording demos. In 1985, Winger joined Alice Cooper's band. After making two albums with Cooper, Winger left in March 1987 to focus on his own band.
Winger returned to New York to work on songs with Reb Beach. They were joined by drummer Rod Morgenstein and keyboard player Paul Taylor. They initially performed under the name Sahara, but eventually changed their name to Winger, at Alice Cooper's suggestion.
The band Winger released three albums (Winger (1988), In the Heart of the Young (1990), and Pull (1993) before moving on to solo careers.
Kip Winger then moved to New Mexico to work on his solo career, and study with Richard Hermann at the University of New Mexico.
Tragedy struck Winger in November 1996 when his first wife, Beatrice, was killed in an automobile accident.
He worked and recorded three solo records in Santa Fe, New Mexico: This Conversation Seems Like a Dream, Down Incognito and Songs from the Ocean Floor.
In 2002 Winger moved to Nashville, Tennessee and began working on his fourth solo record, From the Moon to the Sun (2008), which he co-produced with Cenk Eroglu.
In September 2006, it was announced that Winger would be reformed, with the Pull era line-up, to record the band's fourth studio album, IV, and to go on tour to support it. During this tour, Winger recorded Winger Live which was released on CD and DVD in 2007. It was also confirmed that an anthology of rare tracks and early recordings, Demo Anthology (2007) would be released, as well as an autographed limited edition album, Seventeen: The Demos, where only 300 copies were made.
In 2009, Winger recorded their fifth studio album, Karma, which was hailed as their best record. The band toured the US, Europe and South America.
Following the release of From the Moon to the Sun, Winger studied with Michael Kurek and composed a thirty-minute symphonic piece, "Ghosts", written for strings, piano and harp for a ballet commission. A world premiere with the Tucson Symphony Orchestra on November 14-15, 2009 has been confirmed. Choreographer Christopher Wheeldon created the ballet "Ghosts", which premiered at the San Francisco Ballet on February 9, 2010, with set design by Laura Jellinek, lighting design by M.L. Geiger and costume design by Mark Zappone.
Winger was nominated for an Isadora Duncan Award for Excellence in Music. The ballet was a hit and was brought back for a second season in 2010.
Winger was honored by the United States Government and Military by being presented with an honorary plaque and a historic United States of America flag. His musical composition, "Blue Suede Shoes", honoring the service and sacrifice of the United States armed forces and their families, was honored. In a surprise presentation ceremony during the taping of the PBS television program, Legends & Lyrics, Winger was praised by General Harold Cross for his work on IV.
On the television program Beavis and Butthead, one of the recurring characters, Stewart Stevenson, wears a Winger t-shirt in contrast to the AC/DC and Metallica shirts worn by Beavis and Butthead.
He has participated, and performed, as head counselor in the Rock Fantasy Camp with other musicians including Roger Daltrey, Steven Tyler, Todd Rundgren, Jack Blades, Kelly Keagy, Bruce Kulick, Bill Leverty, Steve Lukather, Duff McKagan, Mark Slaughter, Carmine Appice, and Rudy Sarzo. He was featured in an episode of the American TV show "Pawn Stars" in May 2013 as helping the host, Rick Harrison, through Rock Fantasy Camp.
In the early 1990s, the Jackson Guitar Company made a Kip Winger Signature Bass.
During the late 1980s Winger dated the actress Rachel Hunter.
His first wife Beatrice Richter, whom he married in 1991, died in a car accident in November 1996.
He married Paula DeTullio in July 2004. They currently reside in Nashville, Tennessee.