Still Rockin': A Spirited Conversation with Paul Taylor of Winger
For many of us we think the era of rock has faded. We are offered small reminders of the foundation that held a generation riveted with hit after hit – the 1980’s medleys that we know all the words to and the incredible talent and bands that brought them to life. For me, an iconic group that helped drive so much in the way of musical showmanship but also a healthy amount of hits is the band Winger. Formed by Kip Winger, a group of very talented progressive metal individuals rocked sold out stadiums, put their stamp on the glam rock era, but ultimately left a mark on audiences everywhere that will stand the test of time.
I was so incredibly fortunate to spend a few moments having a Spirited Conversation with one of the original band members, Paul Taylor. Paul is a multi-talented musician most notably for his abilities with keyboards and guitar in addition to vocals. As a band member for Winger, Paul might be best known for writing one of their number one hits, Miles Away. But Paul has seen his share of the rocker journey playing with Alice Cooper, Steve Perry of Journey, and Tom Keiffer of Cinderella. Paul is not as well known, but is nonetheless a driving force behind, countless TV and commercial scores. His greatest hit? The theme song to Sabrina the Teenage Witch.
Over lunch at the fabulous Barndiva in Healdsburg, CA, Chief Communications Officer, Roxanne (who is a close friend of Paul), Paul and me shared a few thoughts with us about the current state of music. Some selected clips from our conversation are below:
Paul has continued to tour and do reunion gigs, but he considers himself a music writer first and foremost. Paul never got a big head about being in one of the most successful rock groups of all time, and he always believes in moving forward and not looking back. Paul does feel the industry has changed especially with new technology. The idea of a streamed song with tons of downloads just isn't the way to make money. Musicians still need to focus on tours, selling merchandise, and other broader efforts at commercial pathways to make a decent living.
And the best part of our conversation is that Paul is new to the world of bourbon thanks to a tasting of of Basil Hayden:
Paul has seen so much in his global music career and has more stories than we had time for. The key takeaway about why Paul has lasted through the years while watching many bands struggle was in his diversification. Paul learned early on that by keeping his options open he was able to have more musical collaborations and in turn, more business opportunities, a good lesson for all entrepreneurs to keep in mind.