Kip Winger Finally Got an Apology From Metallica
By the early ‘90s, the Winger band had a pair of platinum albums and seemed poised for even bigger commercial heights. Meanwhile, Kip was rock’s latest pretty boy, gracing magazine covers and pinup posters.
“I'm not gonna lie to you: I was a total ham,” Winger told Yahoo Entertainment, noting that he did “all the pictures and all that [teen idol] stuff.” Perhaps that’s what made him such a prime target.
Metallica released “Nothing Else Matters” as a single in April 1992, with an accompanying video that featured candid footage of the band working in the studio. In one of the clips, drummer Lars Ulrich was seen gleefully using a picture of Kip Winger as a dart board.
“The irony is that before that happened, the Black Album came out, and I called my drummer and said, ‘Man, you should check out the drums on this record. It's really awesome!’ I love the drumming on the Black Album," Winger said. "And then next thing I know, Lars has got a dart in my forehead.”
Watch Metallica's 'Nothing Else Matters' Video
Metallica’s insult began a bad run for Winger. Grunge soon took over the music world, rendering glam-metal bands like his namesake group obsolete. Then Beavis and Butt-Head debuted on MTV and began featuring a wimpy character named Stewart Stevenson, who infamously wore a Winger t-shirt.
To Kip, the Metallica clip and Beavis and Butt-Head jokes were connected. “Apparently, they tried a few different names on the Stewart t-shirt, and mine was the one that stuck,” Winger told Yahoo. “It could have been Poison; I don't know, it could have been anybody. But mine stuck, and I think it’s because Metallica threw darts at my poster. I think the two go hand-in-hand.”
Winger added: “It’s just not cool to diss musicians. Even with the most poppy musicians who people might hate, a lot goes into it, man. It's a person's whole life, devoted to what they believe in. So, I don't believe in slagging off fellow musicians. That's basically it.”
Winger went on to have a successful second career as a classical composer, before getting a little closure decades later. He cleared the air with Beavis and Butt-Head creator Mike Judge in 2011, and more recently heard from the Metallica camp.
“James Hetfield called me to apologize about a year and a half ago,” Winger said. “He was really contrite and was like, ‘You know what? That was uncool, and I'm sorry we did that.’ It was a very nice conversation. It seemed that the guy was completely awesome, and I totally could be friends with him. But, you know … it was really Lars” who threw the dart.
Winger says he’s never gotten an apology from Ulrich. Despite that, he insists he’s “all good” with Metallica now.
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