"Mike Tramp of White Lion talks music, then and now."

By Jason Tanamor

My favorite hair band in the 1980's was White Lion. They had fun pop rock songs with some hellacious guitar riffs and solos that set themselves apart from the rest of the '80's rock bands. And although I've outgrown the music, I occasionally pop in a White Lion CD to reminisce about my Jean jacket wearing teenage days. Now, 20 something years later, I'm able to relive the time with one of the best frontmen in that era - Mike Tramp of White Lion.

Q - You were part of the quote unquote hair band explosion in the '80s and early '90s. With music coming in trends, do you think heavy metal will ever come back as strong as it did?

A - I really hate when people call the '80s a decade of hair. What about all the great albums. More great albums came out of the 80's than the '90s or 2k. No it won't come back, the world is a different place and so is the music business.

Q - How was the transition like from essentially an unknown garage band to playing arenas to seeing the dissipation of heavy metal and going back to playing smaller venues?

A - No big deal, it's the natural way of life. One day you run like the wind. The next day you sit in a wheel chair eating baby food cause you're teeth are all gone.

Q - What do you think was the cause for the sudden change in musical atmosphere?

A - Again changes are what has made the world. And it's natural for a culling to happen, which is what happened when there was just too much '80s.

Q - Lately, there¹s been a resurgence of 80s bands making comebacks, such as Motley Crue. Do you think White Lion will ever do something like this with its original members?

A - Motley is about the only one that could do it, and no others will do it. No, there is no original White Lion, only Tramps White Lion, and that will end for good at the end of the year.

Q - I’ve been noticing a lot of bands grabbing pieces from other bands, such as Reb Beach going to Dokken and Warrant replacing Jani Lane with someone and also Vito Bratta leaving White Lion for, I think, Warren DiMartini. I’ve always thought certain bands had distinct sounds, such as Vito¹s guitar being a staple in White Lion and Reb’s in Winger¹s. What do you think about continuing a band with different members AND do you feel like it¹s the same band or a different band with the same name?

A - Reb didn't leave Winger they had broken up. Vito never left White Lion, he stopped playing the day White Lion broke up. People sometimes leave their job because they hate it or because they can't get more money at another job, and rock'n'roll is no different.

Q - On VH1, they do a series of shows that focus on when metal rules the world and also the top metal moments and least metal moments. Do you think this is a forecast to metal making a comeback?

A - No, they are just out of original ideas.

Q - I, personally, enjoyed White Lion¹s style of music and even saw you guys when you came to my hometown (Davenport, Iowa) ten or so years ago. How do you think your music was and is different than band¹s that are out now?

A - It's been 15 years since White Lion played its last show in the USA. I don't know what's different, except the natural progression in music that has occurred over the past 20 years since my songs were written.

Q - What do you think about shows like American Idol and other reality shows that promise the world without having to pay any dues or go through the same struggles that traditional musicians would go through?

A - I hate them, but this is where the entertainment world is today. If you haven't noticed, I removed myself from that world a decade ago.

Q - How has your music changed since the 80s?

A - You and the rest of the people should listen to it and find out for yourself. That's how I do when I buy new albums.


Jason Tanamor is the Editor of Zoiks! Online. He is also the author of the novels, "Hello Lesbian!" and "Anonymous."

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Anonymous said...

WOW! Is it me or does Mike Tramp come off as an...........asshole?

Eric Wade said...

My father love the white lion and they still listening their music and have a great collection of them. Even after a lot of time they still have the rocking beats.


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