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WHITE LION – Roaring With Pride
Kelv Hellrazer
Metal Forces, Issue 25 (1987)

White Lion (l-r): Vito Bratta, Greg D’Angelo, James LoMenzo and Mike Tramp
Pic: Ron Akiyama

So White Lion finally gets an LP released In the UK. Can you believe it? Pride is finally with us and my opinion of it hasn’t changed. It’s still possibly the finest slab of hard rockin’ vinyl this year. As I said in my review, White Lion has the makings of a Judas Priest, a Scorpions or a Def Leppard, except White Lion has produced an effort that has so much more stronger songs than the three of those bands put together. Now it’s up to Atlantic Records to push the guys, and I have a feeling that they will. The problem at the moment is that too many bands are being signed, especially in LA, and they’re only getting half ass deals and are not getting any promotion. Let’s hope this isn’t the case with White Lion.

Recently I crossed phone lines with vocalist Mike Tramp and guitarist Vito Bratta. Firstly, I quizzed Mike. What’s your opinions on the Pride project? Mike: “I think it’s fucking great. It’s everything we wanted. I mean, it’s three years since Fight To Survive so we’ve grown a lot. Not that I would compare Fight with Pride. We’re proud of our first LP. It was just cool to record an LP with our rhythm section finally. It was the first time we’ve played together with this line-up in the studio. We just got to do everything we wanted on this LP and there’s not one thing on the LP that we do not stand behind one hundred per cent.”

So how did you end up with Michael Wagener producing? Mike: “Wagener actually called us up and asked to work with us, and that was cool enough. Everything he suggested was fine with us, like recording in LA and doing digital recording and all that kind of stuff. We were originally set to record again with Peter Hauke in Frankfurt like we did with the first, but this time with Atlantic behind us we had a bigger budget so we wanted to go all the way. We did actually go to Frankfurt and record for the second LP, but when we got the deal with Atlantic we scrapped it. We wanted to do it in a totally professional way. We got the band out of New York so we could be in a totally relaxed atmosphere. We were able to work with people that could give us everything.”

So what happened with bassist Dave Spitz? Mike: “Well I got him in the band, and then he walked out on us the night we had just finished shooting the video for ‘Broken Heart’. He had to be in the video, he couldn’t give us a week to find someone else. But with Greg (D’Angelo; drums) and James (Lomenzo; bass) now in the band, this is our strongest line-up. There never has really been a complete line-up until now.”

So Vito, tell me a bit about the songs on the LP? Why wasn’t ‘The Web Of Desire’ and ‘Ready To Rock’ included? Vito: “First of all there’s not a lot to say about the songs on the LP as far as how they came about. They’re not really about any past experiences or anything like that. As for ‘Ready To Rock’, I hardly even remember that song. You say it was on a live tape? Well, if a song isn’t strong it doesn’t make it to our album, so it must have been pretty poor. ‘The Web Of Desire’ was a cool cut but we had to sell it to MCA. They were waiting to see if The Money Pit movie was gonna become a huge success, so that they could put a soundtrack LP out. Well it was a success, but not as big as it should have been. It was kind of weird music, and ours would have been the only rock cut on the LP. I really dug the cut. I’m sure if Atlantic wanted to buy the cut from MCA then it would happen.”

What did you think of LA when you were recording the LP? Vito: “I thought LA was great. I mean, it’s raining every day here in New York. On the East Coast it’s really sickening, you wake up pissed off with everybody. Out in LA you have a great feeling because you wake up and it’s sunny; it’s definitely a relaxing and an easier atmosphere to record an LP in. We partied a lot in LA; we went to the Country Club and the Rainbow, and we also saw Ratt and Poison. I think it’s cooler than New York.”

Was the cover a record company idea? Vito: “No, the cover was our idea. It definitely is a classy affair. It doesn’t really say what type of band we are, which is what we wanted. So anyone could pick it up and buy it just to see what we are like. That way you don’t get a biased opinion just from the LP cover.”

Finally, what plans do you have to back up the LP? Vito: “Well, we’ve been on tour with Ace Frehley, so hopefully the record company will put us on another tour with a real biggie like Kiss and we will get out of the East Coast to places like the Mid-West. We’ve done some arenas before with Triumph, but it would be nice to do them in places like Detroit, Texas etc. In between all of that we will be doing our video for MTV; possibly ‘Wait’ or ‘Sweet Little Loving’.”

Mike: “Hopefully we’ll get over to Europe sometime soon. I don’t need to shove the boys down your throats. All I can say is keep buying the record and they will be over there sooner than you think.”

Interview taken from Metal Forces, Issue 25 (1987)

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