As we progress through the digital age where information is more readily on-hand than it’s ever been, stories emerge about things we may have never considered. Consider this: Kip Winger has not shared with the world that Metallica almost ruined Winger’s career – and that Lars Ulrich has never apologized.
According to Ultimate Guitar, Winger is celebrating its 35th anniversary in the music business.
In the early ’90s, Winger went from a platinum-selling mainstream darling driven by clever songwriting, high-quality musicianship and good looks to a band that “people wouldn’t be caught dead buying a ticket” for in a matter of weeks, as guitarist Reb Beach recently explained – and it all had a lot to do with Metallica and (subsequently) Beavis and Butthead.
Metallica in particular did metric tons of damage to Winger’s reputation by releasing footage of Lars Ulrich throwing darts at a poster of Kip Winger as part of both the mega-popular “Nothing Else Matters” music video, as well as “A Year and A Half With Metallica” documentary.
Speaking to Brando of the “Appetite for Distortion” podcast in a new interview interview, Kip Winger recalled how differently Lars Ulrich and James Hetfield bore the responsibility of dealing such a blow to fellow musicians (transcribed by Ultimate Guitar):
“You can see a video on Howard Stern, where [Lars is] going, ‘Man, I threw darts at Kip but it was nothing personal’ – and he’s never apologized, but James Hetfield called me about a year and a half ago, and apologized for the incident. James was really cool.
“And, you know, James is the kind of guy I could totally be friends with. He was very sincere, and it wasn’t like, he just called to apologize and then blow me off. He’s actually texted me a few times; we text every now and then.
“I don’t think Lars would ever call me to apologize. But you know… I think everybody was just young kids. And they were thinking it was funny. To me, it’s not funny to slag off a fellow musician. But, who knows? I mean, they were just doing what they were doing.”