Misunderstood and maligned 80’s poster boys Winger are back for the attack with their first new album in five years! It is their sixth studio release, due out in April (the 18th in Europe and the 22nd in North America), and is titled Better Days Comin’. Indeed, we hope so, ‘cos everyone in my neck of the woods misses the musicianship and the melodies. Not only that, but I’m sure the ladies miss the muscles and the five o-clock moustachioed shadows!
Personnel this time around features Kip Winger on bass and vocals, Reb Beach (lately of Whitesnake fame) on lead guitar, John Roth on rhythm guitar, and the incomparable Rod Morgenstein (Dixie Dregs, Steve Morse Band) on drums and percussion. The album is available for pre-order from Amazon.com in both standard and deluxe formats. The deluxe edition comes in a slick digipak with an extra track (“Another Beautiful Day”) and a DVD featuring a ‘making of’ section and videos for the title track and “Rat Race“. They have also been confirmed for June 15th’s Download Festival (alongside Aerosmith, Alter Bridge, Steel Panther, Volbeat, bluesman extraordinaire Joe Bonamassa, Buckcherry and Jake E. Lee‘s Red Dragon Cartel.
In other Frontiers news, The Huffington Post (yes, you did read that correctly!) is premiering Asia’s latest “Gravitas” EPK (featuring an exclusive look at their new album). You can see their latest video for “Valkyrie” here:
Produced and written by band members John Wetton and Geoff Downes, Gravitas is deeply introspective within a clearly accessible sound. The album also introduces the world to the band’s new guitarist, Sam Coulson, who replaces Steve Howe in the line-up.
From the title track, which chronicles a man’s struggle in the battlefield of life, to the powerfully compelling tale of unrequited love, The Closer I Get To You, the album is a tour de force for the band whose music has become a staple to rock fans.
“Pure, unadulterated and stereotypical ASIA, with raw energy, enthusiasm and free from impurities,” says John Wetton. “It conveys the spectrum of emotion and colour from real life agonies to ecstatic fantasy of escapism. Great songs, fabulous performance. ‘Gravitas‘ is ASIA by ASIA. At last.”
“With the addition of Sam it allowed us to take the band in a slightly different and perhaps tougher direction,” adds Carl Palmer. “As a band we have been able to grow, while at the same time remain true to the classic ASIA sound that our fans know and love.”
ASIA’s debut album exploded onto the music scene in April 1982 and was the best selling album in the world that year. Featuring Geoff Downes (keyboards), Steve Howe (guitar), Carl Palmer (drums) and John Wetton on lead vocal and bass, the group was the logical successor to their collective bands of the 70’s – Yes, ELP, King Crimson, UK and The Buggles. The original ASIA reformed in 2006 for the first time in 23 years.
“It always was a great live band, but this time the dragon has awoken with fresh energy, direction and purpose,” Wetton continues. “As with any new ASIA album, putting it all together presents something of a challenge,” adds Geoff Downes. “Everyone involved rose way above and beyond this challenge. There is a renewed energy when we step on stage now; we can feel it and I know the fans can feel it.”
For ASIA’s long-devoted fans, the band’s return to the concert stage cannot come soon enough. As Palmer says: “Performing on stage is where this band truly comes into its element. Seeing the fans reacting to our music is what makes it all worthwhile. It is the fuel that drives this train we call ASIA.”
Also, tickets are on sale for the Frontiers Rock Festival in Milano (Trezzo) on May 1st, 2nd and 3rd. Michael Sweet (Stryper, Boston) and House of Lords also have new material coming your way. In fact, I believe the HOL LP (“Battle“) is already out!