After moving from Denmark to New York in 1982, vocalist Mike Tramp (ex-Mabel and ex-Studs) met Brooklyn guitarist Vito Bratta (ex-Dreamer) and they decided to form a band. The two recruited drummer Nicki Capozzi and bassist Felix Robinson (formerly of Angel) and named the group ‘Lion’ before settling on ‘White Lion’. Local success caused talk of releasing an album.
White Lion was signed by Elektra records in 1983, and they recorded their debut album, Fight To Survive, shortly afterwards. However, Elektra was unhappy with the final recording, and, after refusing to release the album, the label terminated the group’s contract. This contributed to major turmoil in the group.
Both Capozzi and Robinson soon left the band. Nicki Capozzi was replaced by former Anthrax 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 picked up by RCA and released in Japan, a hotbed of international hard rock music at the time, in 1984. The small US independent label Grand Slamm records finally released Fight To Survive in the US on November 9, 1985. 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.
The following year, Atlantic Records released White Lion’s second album, Pride, which brought significant success for the band, especially the single “Wait”, which climbed to 8th place on the U.S. charts and was popular among fans of heavier metal as well. “When the Children Cry” was an even bigger hit, reaching 3rd place on the charts. That year Atlantic Records also released Fight to Survive worldwide and White Lion toured with Frehley`s Comet, Kiss, AC/DC & Stryper.
In 1989 the album Big Game came out and was a still more successful, helping to solidify White Lion’s place among the top tier of hard rock bands of that time. The band’s cover of “Radar Love”, a classic originally recorded by Golden Earring, was the hit single off of Big Game.
1991 brought Mane Attraction, which was their best album yet, according to Greg D’Angelo, containing the top tracks “Lights And Thunder” and a new version of “Broken Heart”, which had been one of their first songs off of their debut album.
In 1992, Greg D’Angelo and James Lomenzo had enough of Tramp and Bratta’s continuous fighting, so they left the band. Bassist Tommy T. Bone Caradonna and drummer Jimmy De Grasso replaced them briefly, but in autumn of the same year, White Lion disbanded.
Greg and James have played in different groups after White Lion. Vito Bratta concentrated on classic guitar playing and has not been involved with any bands since. Mike Tramp went on to form and front Freak Of Nature, a short-lived project spanning 1993-1994, with Danish friend Oliver Steffenson. In 1998 Mike released Capricorn, his first of four solo albums.
In 2005, Tramp’s White Lion - an all-new, much younger line-up fronted by Mike Tramp - toured and recorded the live album Rockin’ The USA. In 2008 they released Return Of The Pride under the original name, White Lion.
Due to legal issues between Tramp and Bratta, White Lion is currently on hiatus.
Edited by promisedeyes on 27 Jun 2014, 05:43
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