White Lion

This US hard rock band was formed in Brooklyn, New York, during 1983, by Mike Tramp (Michael Trampenau, 14 January 1961, Copenhagen, Denmark; lead vocals, ex-Mabel) and Vito Bratta (b. 1 July 1961, Staten Island, New York, USA; guitar, ex-Dreamer). After a series of false starts, they signed to Elektra Records with Felix Robinson (bass, ex-Angel) and Nicki Capozzi (drums) completing the line-up. However, the label was unhappy with the recording of Fight To Survive and after refusing to release the album, terminated their contract. RCA Records picked up the release option and the album finally surfaced in Japan in 1984. By this stage, James Lomenzo (b. 13 January 1959, Brooklyn, New York City, New York, USA) and Greg D’Angelo (b. 18 December 1963, Brooklyn, New York City, New York, USA) had taken over bass and drums, respectively, on a permanent basis. The album did in fact meet with favourable reviews, some critics comparing Mike Tramp to David Lee Roth and Vito Bratta to Eddie Van Halen, others likening the songs to those of Europe, Dokken or Journey.

Signing to Atlantic Records, they released Pride in 1987 which developed their own identity, in particular Mike Tramp’s characteristically watery falsetto style. The album catapulted them from obscurity to stardom, climbing to number 11 during its year long stay on the Billboard album chart. It also spawned two US Top 10 hits with ‘Wait’ (number 8, February 1988) and the ballad ‘When The Children Cry’ (number 3, November 1988). Big Game (1989) was a disappointing follow-up. Nevertheless, it still made the US charts, peaking at number 19. Mane Attraction, released in 1991, saw the band recapture lost ground over the course of a strong melodic rock collection. Lomenzo and D’Angelo quit owing to ‘musical differences’ shortly after the album’s release and were replaced by Tommy ‘T-Bone’ Caradonna (bass, ex-Alice Cooper) and Jimmy DeGrasso (b. 16 March 1963, Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, USA; drums, ex-Y&T). The band eventually broke-up in September 1991, with Tramp going on to form Freak Of Nature. He revived the White Lion name in 1999, recruiting a new line-up to record new versions of the band’s old songs. An attempt to re-form the original line-up was unsuccessful, but in 2005 Tramp set up a new version of the band and toured as Tramp’s White Lion.

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