WHITE LION (1984–91; 2004–PRESENT). Mike Tramp (vocals), Vito Bratta (guitar), James LoMenzo (bass), Greg d’Angelo (drums).
New York’s White Lion came together in the late eighties, formed initially by Danish singer Mike Tramp and guitarist Vito Bratta, with drummer Greg D’Angelo and bassist James LoMenzo joining shortly thereafter. Releasing their first album on the independent Grand Slamm label in 1984, they soon inked a contract with Atlantic and released Pride in 1987. The album featured a melodic, radio-ready pop metal sound that was anchored by Bratta’s tasteful Eddie Van Halen-influenced guitar work (Bratta’s use of fretboard tapping in particular was tasteful and innovative in its own right). Pride was a hit thanks to MTV’s heavy rotation of the “Wait” video, which also highlighted Tramp’s matinee idol good looks, and later, the release of the hit ballad “When the Children Cry.” The album went double platinum and the band continued to grow its fan base on tours with Ozzy Osbourne, Aerosmith, and AC/DC.
Their follow-up, Big Game, released in 1989, failed to replicate the success of the debut, largely since it was a rushed affair, and despite the airing of two more videos on MTV, the album only sold a half a million copies. Mane Attraction in 1991 fared even worse, and the band broke up shortly thereafter as grunge and alternative proved more popular than pop metal to the contemporary audience.
In 2004, Tramp revived the name, putting together a new touring lineup and releasing a live album in 2005 and the studio effort Return of the Pride in 2008.
Discography: Fight to Survive (Grand Slamm, 1984); Pride (Atlantic, 1987); Big Game (Atlantic, 1989); Mane Attraction (Atlantic, 1991); Return of the Pride (Frontiers, 1992); The Best of White Lion (Atlantic, 1992); The Ultimate White Lion (Cleopatra, 2005); The Definitive Rock Collection (Atlantic/Rhino, 2007).