April 13, 2024
Mike Tramp recalls what prompted him to end White Lion back in the early '90s

Photo by Christopher Carroll ROCK Photography

Mike Tramp recalls what prompted him to end White Lion back in the early ’90s

Former White Lion frontman Mike Tramp was recently interviewed by Metal Mike for the 80’s Glam Metalcast podcast. Tramp was promoting his new upcoming album Songs of White Lion, which consists of his own new recordings and interpretations of White Lion tracks. Songs of White Lion will be released via Frontiers Music Srl on April 14, 2023.

Photo by Christopher Carroll ROCK Photography

On why he wanted to redo his own songs for Songs of White Lion album, Tramp indicated (as provided by the 80’s Glam Metalcast with slight edits): “I ended White Lion in 1991,  but wherever I go people slap the White Lion sticker on me. Promoters cry out for me to play White Lion songs. I’ve never had a band that ever played in that style. Mike Tramp solo is more a Tom Petty, [Bruce] Springsteen, or [John Cougar] Mellencamp kind of thing. So people say they want me to do these songs, but I’m going to do them the way I want to do them, and the way I can do them. It doesn’t sound like White Lion 1988….because Mike Tramp isn’t 26…he’s 62!”

In terms of the Big Game (1989) and Mane Attraction (1991) albums, Tramp stated: “With “Love Don’t Come Easy”, I thought we wrote the ultimate American radio song. But when we got that out, the whole scene was changing. I also never thought the beat in it really made the song happen, so that was the reason I really wanted to redo it. Mane Attraction in America is almost a non existent chapter for the band. No interviews, no real promotion. We had been touring on the Pride album for almost two years. By the time we got to 1988, the record company was crying out for a new album, but Vito [Bratta] and I needed a long ass break. They send us off to a hotel for a week and we wrote and demoed the Big Game album.

Prior to recording the Pride album, we had played those songs in the clubs for a year. So right after Christmas, we’re in the studio recording Big Game. We were also seeing the big earnings coming in from the Pride album and the tours. We were in the studio making this new album, but we were out of touch with reality. Everyone around us is also out of touch.  Everyone is just wanting this new album to get out. It was already shipping gold before we recorded it. The record company isn’t saying to take our time, they are doing the opposite. Even though there are some great moments with the songs – production and arrangement wise…the Big Game is an unfinished album. So when it came time to do Mane Attraction, Vito and I worked on the songwriting for a year.”

With respect to the exit of bassist James LoMenzo and drummer Greg D’Angelo, and the end of White Lion, Tramp recalled: “They were unhappy with the business arrangement. Without blaming Vito, he really was doing the negotiations with them. We weren’t that flexible. So after a successful European tour, they departed the band. We weren’t really that concerned about it. We got Jimmy Degrasso and Tommy Caradonna in there. For awhile in the rehearsal room, it felt like we were born again. So we go out on an American club tour. We come into New York, our hometown playing a big sold out show. Nobody from the record company shows up. To me, it was a clear message they were looking elsewhere. I took it upon myself, being really offended, and with everything else going on…..I told Vito, when we play Boston on Sept 2nd it will be our last show. He just looked at me and said ok, and we never spoke of it again for 25 years.”

You can listen to the interview with Mike Tramp via the 80’s Glam Metalcast podcast below:

Mike Tramp‘s “Little Fighter” single (from upcoming album Songs of White Lion):

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