White Lion Overview
White Lion is an American United States /Danish Denmark glam metal band that was formed in New York City in 1983 by Danish Denmark vocalist Mike Tramp and American United States guitarist Vito Bratta. Mainly active in the 1980s and early 1990s, the band achieved double platinum status with their #8 hit "Wait Wait (White Lion song) " and #3 hit "When the Children Cry". White Lion disbanded in 1991, but was reformed again by Tramp in 1999 with all new musicians.
Fighting to survive
After moving from Denmark to New York in 1983, vocalist Mike Tramp (formerly of the bands Mabel and Studs) met Staten Island guitarist Vito Bratta (Formerly of Dreamer) and decided to form a band. The two recruited drummer Nicki Capozzi and bassist Felix Robinson (formerly of Angel Angel (band) ) and named the group White Lion.
White Lion was signed by Elektra Records in 1984 and recorded their debut album Fight to Survive. Elektra was unhappy with the final recording, and after refusing to release the album, terminated their contract.
Both Capozzi and Robinson soon left the band. Nicki Capozzi was replaced by former Anthrax Anthrax (band) drummer Greg D'Angelo, and Felix Robinson was replaced by bassist Dave Spitz (brother of Anthrax guitarist Dan Spitz). Within a month of joining, however, Dave Spitz left to play bass with Black Sabbath and was replaced by James LoMenzo.
The album Fight to Survive was eventually re-recorded with new line-up and released in Japan by RCA Records in 1984. The small US independent label Grand Slam Records finally released Fight To Survive in the US on November 9, 1985 1985 in music . A few months later, Grand Slam Records went bankrupt.
In early 1986, White Lion, with a fictitious female member, had a brief part in the Tom Hanks/Shelley Long movie The Money Pit.
Early in 1987, the band was signed by Atlantic Records and on June 21, 1987 their album Pride Pride (White Lion album) was released. The first single, "Wait", was released on June 1, 1987, but did not reach the charts for nearly seven months.
The Pride tour started in July 1987 as White Lion opened for Ace Frehley's 80s band Frehley's Comet. The next year and a half was filled with constant touring, opening for such bands as Aerosmith, Ozzy Osbourne, Stryper, and KISS Kiss (band) . In January 1988 White Lion landed the opening slot for AC/DC on their Blow Up Your Video American tour.
While touring with AC/DC, the Pride album and "Wait" single finally charted, due in no small part to MTV airing the "Wait" music video in regular rotation - nearly seven months after the single's release. "Wait" hit #8 on the singles chart, while Pride hit #11 on the album charts. Pride would remain on the Top 200 Billboard album charts for a full year.
In August 1988, the album's second single "Tell Me" reached #58. Around the time this single was released, White Lion played at the Ritz Ritz (rock club) club in New York City. The show was filmed and later aired on MTV.
The Pride album's third single, an acoustic ballad titled "When the Children Cry", made it to #3 on the charts with heavy MTV airplay, making Pride one of about 20 hard rock albums to ever have multiple top 10 hits.
The success of "When the Children Cry" would eventually push sales of Pride over the two million mark. In addition, Vito Bratta was recognized for his instrumental talents by racking up Best New Guitarist awards with both Guitar World magazine and Guitar For The Practicing Musician magazine.
In the spring of 1989, the Pride tour finally ended, and they immediately began work on their next album.
In August 1989, White Lion released their third album, Big Game Big Game (album) , a musically eclectic follow-up to Pride that featured the singles "Little Fighter Little Fighter (song) " (which peaked at #52), "Cry for Freedom" (did not chart), and a cover of Golden Earring's "Radar Love" (which peaked at #59). The album quickly went gold, with a peak of #19 on the album charts.
After two years of writing and recording, the new album Mane Attraction was released. The album is usually viewed as a mixed effort, where the band is trying to do too many things at once. The album charted at #61.
Greg D'Angelo and James LoMenzo left the band soon after the album's release, citing "musical differences", but White Lion carried on with bassist Tommy T-Bone Caradonna and drummer Jimmy DeGrasso (Megadeth, Alice Cooper, Suicidal Tendencies, Y&T, Fiona). After briefly touring in support of Mane Attraction, Tramp and Bratta decided to fold the group, their last show being held in Boston at the Channel The Channel (nightclub) in September 1991.Unlike most bands of their genre, White Lion recorded occasional songs that addressed social or political issues such as apartheid ("Cry for Freedom") and the effect of divorce on children ("Broken Home"). The song "Little Fighter" was about the Rainbow Warrior Rainbow Warrior (1978) , a ship owned by the environmental group Greenpeace that was destroyed Sinking of the Rainbow Warrior by operatives of the French intelligence service. This concern for political and social issues was also hinted at in the cover art to their album Big Game, which featured a lion's head hidden in tall grass with the White House in the background.'Mike Tramp' went on to form Freak of Nature Freak of Nature (band) , releasing three albums, Freak of Nature Freak of Nature (album) , Gathering of Freaks, and Outcasts Outcasts (Freak of Nature album) . Tramp has released four studio albums and one live album as a solo artist: Capricorn, Recovering the Wasted Years, More To Life Than This, and Songs I Left Behind as studio efforts, with Rock n' Roll Alive as a live album. Today, Tramp continues his solo career.
'James LoMenzo' and 'Greg D'Angelo' joined Zakk Wylde's band, Lynyrd Skynhead, in the mid 90's which became the band Pride & Glory Pride and Glory (band) when Greg D'Angelo was replaced by Brian Tichy. Pride & Glory released one album, then James LoMenzo left the band. James went on to record and tour with ex-Van Halen frontman David Lee Roth and toured with Zakk Wylde's band Black Label Society. In February 2006, James joined the thrash band Thrash metal Megadeth on a permanent basis. Greg D'Angelo was the drummer for the band AntiProduct in 2006. Greg D'angelo Recently Joined Greg Leon Invasion featuring Greg Leon (formerly of Dokken and Quiet Riot).
'Vito Bratta' stayed briefly with Atlantic Records to help produce an album for CPR, and later tried to form a new music group that never panned out. Despite a dedicated worldwide following of guitar aficionados, Vito disappeared from public view from 1994 until his interview by Eddie Trunk live on February 16, 2007.
The new White Lion and legal issues
In 1999 Mike Tramp, with new musicians, released Remembering White Lion, which featured new versions of some of White Lion's classic songs. In October 2003, Tramp announced a White Lion reunion with the original members. This statement was quickly denied by the other former members. Later Tramp said that Vito Bratta wanted nothing to do with a reunion. With summer festivals in Europe already booked, Tramp attempted to put together a "new White Lion" featuring former members James LoMenzo and Jimmy DeGrasso, along with Warren DeMartini of Ratt. Vito Bratta filed suit claiming partial ownership of the name, and the tour was scrapped. Tramp later commented that despite his willingness, "There will never be an original White Lion reunion".
In 2005, Mike Tramp organized another group of unknown musicians and named the act Tramp's White Lion. 'TWL' (White Lion 2) played White Lion songs, touring and releasing a double-live CD entitled Tramp's White Lion: Rockin' The USA. In November and December 2006, Tramp's White Lion played several dates in Europe including Sweden, Norway, Spain, Italy, Greece, Turkey, Germany, Netherlands, Belgium and Denmark.
On February 16, 2007, Vito Bratta appeared on the Eddie Trunk radio show in New York, stating that despite what Mike Tramp said, he had never refused a White Lion reunion, stating that the only reason he was unable to participate was due to the illness of his father. He added that he would still be open to the idea and has not closed the door to returning to the music industry again. Trunk made it clear that Bratta's involvement in the show was something that he had wanted to happen since White Lion first broke up in 1991. Bratta took calls and answered questions from fans for almost 3 hours. On April 6 and 7, 2007, at the L'Amours Reunion Shows in New York, Bratta made his first public musical appearances in over 15 years.
Three weeks later Mike Tramp called the same show from Australia, speaking about Bratta and the band's new album, including the tour dates that Tramp's White Lion had recently confirmed. Tramp said that he was thankful that Bratta had finally answered fan's questions, the same questions he himself had been asked many times over the past 15 years. He also stated that he felt uncomfortable answering on Vito's behalf, and that he was upset that Vito had withdrawn himself from the music industry.
A White Lion Definitive Collection album was released in 2007.
White Lion: recent activities
Summer of 2007 Tour featuring Tramp's White Lion opening up for Poison Poison (band) and Ratt was canceled after threatened legal action by Bratta caused them to be dropped by the promoter.
The band appeared at Rocklahoma in Pryor, OK on July 13, 2007 with Poison, Ratt, Quiet Riot, Slaughter Slaughter (band) , Y&T, Gypsy Pistoleros, Dirty Penny, Greg Leon Invasion and Zendozer. After this festival they toured the US. A new studio album entitled "Return of the Pride" was released on March 14, 2008. The band did a world tour to support the album. White Lion toured India and played to 42,000 at Shillong, Meghalaya, and a 30,000 plus crowd at the Dimapur stadium in Nagaland. The band was invited to India by the head of the Tripura Royal Family Maharaja Kirit Pradyot Deb Burman.
A live DVD was released on December 5, 2008 entitled "Bang Your Head Festival 2005".
*Mike Tramp - lead vocals (1983 / 1991, 1999 / present)>
*Jamie Law - guitars (2005 / present)>
*Troy Patrick Farrell - drums (2005 / present)>
*Henning Wanner - keyboards (2005 / present)>
*Claus Langeskov - bass (2005 / present)>
*Vito Bratta - guitars (1983 / 1991)>
*James LoMenzo - bass (1984 / 1991)>
*Greg D'Angelo - drums (1984 / 1991)>
*Nicki Capozzi - drums (1983 / 1984)>
*Felix Robinson - bass (1983 / 1984)>
*Dave Spitz - bass (1984)>
*Dan Hemmer - Hammond B-3 organ (1999 / 2005)>
*Kasper Damgaard - guitar (1999 / 2005)>
*Nils Kroyer - bass (1999 / 2005)>
*Bjarne T. Holm - drums (1999 / 2005)>
*Tommy T-Bone Caradonna - bass (1991)>
*Jimmy DeGrasso - drums (1991)>
*EJ Curse - bass (2008)>
Classic line up
*Mike Tramp - lead vocals
*Vito Bratta - guitars
*James LoMenzo - bass
*Greg D'Angelo - drums
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