NEPA Scene Staff

’80s glam metal band Winger performs with Last in Line at Penn’s Peak in Jim Thorpe on Oct. 22

’80s glam metal band Winger performs with Last in Line at Penn’s Peak in Jim Thorpe on Oct. 22
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From a press release:

It was announced today that glam metal band Winger, who released platinum albums in the late ’80s and early ’90s, will perform at Penn’s Peak in Jim Thorpe on Friday, Oct. 22 with Last in Line, a heavy metal band formed by the original core lineup of Dio’s 1984 album “The Last in Line.”

This will replace Last in Line’s show with Lynch Mob that was scheduled for the same date at Penn’s Peak (325 Maury Rd., Jim Thorpe) after it was rescheduled from March 22, 2020 due to the pandemic. Doors for this new concert open at 7 p.m., and the music starts at 8 p.m.

Tickets, which are $32 in advance or $37 the day of the show, go on sale this Friday, Aug. 27 at 10 a.m. ​via Ticketmaster, the Penn’s Peak box office, and at Roadies Restaurant and Bar (325 Maury Rd., Jim Thorpe). Box office and Roadies Restaurant ticket sales are walk-up only; no phone orders.

“Winger’s musical pedigree was practically unmatched in ’80s metal,” Rolling Stone magazine wrote. “The band crafted a debut album that combined hard-pop melodies with plenty of proggy, technically dazzling instrumental work.”

Formed in 1987, Winger soared to immediate success with their 1988 self-titled album. It spawned the hit singles “Seventeen” and “Headed for a Heartbreak” and achieved platinum sales status. “Winger” also stayed on the Billboard Top 200 chart for over 60 weeks, where it peaked at No. 21.

Their next album, “In the Heart of the Young,” also achieved platinum status and contained the singles “Can’t Get Enuff” and “Miles Away.” The change in the musical climate of the mid-’90s, compounded with unprovoked ridicule on MTV’s popular animated comedy show “Beavis and Butt-Head,” led the band to go on hiatus in 1994 following the release of their critically acclaimed third album “Pull.” In 2001, the group reunited and hasn’t looked back since.

Winger continues to make a name for themselves with relentless touring and recent studio albums “IV,” “Karma,” and their latest, “Better Days Comin’.” Released in 2014 via Frontiers Records, “Better Days Comin’” shows the band on top of their game, winning back fans and critics alike because of their exceptional musicianship, songwriting, and Kip Winger’s powerful vocals.

From the opening riff of album opener “Midnight Driver of a Love Machine” to the final outro lick of “Out of This World,” it is clear that one of the most misunderstood rock bands to come out of the late ’80s is back and better than ever. Hard-rocking songs like “Queen Babylon,” adrenaline-fueled rocker “Rat Race,” the inspired progressive rock of “Tin Soldier,” and touching ballad “Ever Wonder” display the band’s diversity while always centering on great songs. Kerrang magazine described it as “a hard-hitting album. … Winger’s blood is still pumping… so are the tunes.”

Comprised of original members Kip Winger on vocals/bass, Reb Beach on guitar, and Rod Morgenstein on drums, plus longtime guitarist John Roth, Winger’s latest album and tour schedule showcases the group firing on all cylinders. This resurgence in popularity has seen them break back into Billboard’s Top 100 and, in 2016, Grammy nominee Kip Winger hit No. 1 on Billboard and iTunes charts with his debut classical music album “Conversations with Nijinsky” with the San Francisco Ballet Orchestra and conductor Martin West. The band is currently working on their next album.

“This is a band who refuse to merely glide on past glories,” Classic Rock magazine said. “Winger push their own boundaries.”

Drummer Vinny Appice, bassist Jimmy Bain, and guitarist Vivian Campbell – Ronnie James Dio’s co-conspirators and co-writers on the albums “Holy Diver,” “Last in Line,” and “Sacred Heart” – formed Last in Line with esteemed vocalist Andrew Freeman in 2011. Their debut album, “Heavy Crown,” was released in February of 2016, landing at No. 1 on the Billboard Heatseekers chart. Initially, the release was preceded by tragedy when Bain unexpectedly passed away at the age of 68 on Jan. 23, 2016. Last in Line, honoring what they knew would be Bain’s wish to keep the band moving, brought in renowned bassist Phil Soussan (ex-Ozzy Osbourne) and committed to sustained touring in support of the album, hitting festivals, headlining clubs, and sharing the stage with metal luminaries such as Saxon and Megadeth.

In late 2017, the band gathered in Los Angles to start the recording of the second album, which was produced by the band members and Jeff Pilson (Foreigner, Dokken, The End Machine), who also produced the debut album. Having really gelled as a band while touring in support of the first album, the songwriting on the aptly named “II” came readily to them, creating a record that shows a big progression in sound while immediately being recognizable as Last in Line thanks to Appice’s rhythms, thunderous bass from Soussan, amazing vocals from Freeman, and the roaring guitars of Campbell.

“The musical style of ‘II’ is different from ‘Heavy Crown,’ but it wasn’t something that we planned to do,” Campbell explained. “Phil is a more intricate player than Jimmy was and that, together with the natural growth and development of the band, led us to the songs on the album. As always, we simply started to jam on ideas and see where they led us. But it’s fair to say that the songs on this album sound more developed, with more parts and more experimentation than the songs on ‘Heavy Crown.’ The first album set a tone, but on ‘II,’ we developed that idea and took it to the next logical stage.”

On the sound of the new record and songwriting process, Appice said, “I always sound like me. Viv and I have been playing together for years and have the same feel and pulse and attitude. Now with Phil on bass, he allows a more melodic approach on the bass parts, making the songs even more interesting. He fits in perfectly being from the same musical family and time as me and Viv. Mr. Freeman sings from his soul and completes the band’s sound with his melodies and amazing range.”

“The songwriting process was the same as Dio’s ‘Holy Diver,'” he continued. “First, we have fun writing together. We get in a room and jam on riffs and chords until we hit on something good, then continue to build it into a song. Andy puts his magic on it and it all works out very well.”

Asked about the first single, “Landslide,” Freeman said, “‘Landslide’ was the first song we wrote for this record. It was really easy to write, as all of the parts fell into place quickly. The title ‘Landslide’ is a metaphor relating to the day to day struggles that we all go through as people. Trying to keep on course when dealing with adversity, manipulation through media, and leadership. It’s meant to inspire strength and resolve.”

“[It] was refreshing to be able to write songs in such an organic fashion – by jamming and developing ideas as a group, without bringing in preconceived songs – something I haven’t done for ages. The result was a true collaboration, a concept that is so rare these days!” Soussan added, speaking about how it was joining Last in Line and the development of the songs.

“Vinny has a unique style of drumming that, beyond keeping beats, inspires riffs and arrangements, and Vivian has a way of playing that has a conviction to every note. He is able to turn every riff into a signature. Andrew was creative and unrestricted, focusing his contemporary influences into vocal stylings and hooks that are outside the classic rock clichés. He is very much a perfectionist. Beyond trying to remain true to Jimmy’s playing and to the heritage of the relationship between Viv and Vinny, everyone was completely open to exploring any possible idea. I am honestly prouder of our efforts on this album than anything in which I have been involved in for a very long time. With ‘II,’ I would like to think that we have stretched out from ‘Heavy Crown’ to test some uncharted waters… the evolution of Last in Line!”

“II” was released on Feb. 22, 2019 via Frontiers Records.