HARD ROCK 80 WEBSITE 31/08/2005 by Farida Schmoll
1. How did you first get into the music business? Who have been your main influences?
Well it’s a long time ago. I’m originally from a little suburb outside Copenhagen and it was tough to be an ambitious and hard-working musician down there. However we managed to stay together by rehearsing and believing in ourselves. Every time we made a new song the energy was there and that’s much stronger than the fact that “you’re never gonna make it”. Everybody told me that music would take me nowhere and that it was no proper way to make a living. In my late teens I went to high school. It was a well-reputed school and famous for its musical teaching. I graduated with the lowest grades but I’m the only one from my class who made it in the business – funny isn’t it..? It clearly shows that music isn’t something to be taught – It’s in your veins.
I’ve always had a lot of influences and I still have. My parents had told me that I was very interested in music and sounds from my very early childhood. My big brother, who’s five years older than me, always listened to albums of the time (mid-70’s) and that’s where I created the platform where I stand now. I was listening to the Sweet, ELO, Deep Purple, Suzi Quatro, Slade, AC/DC etc. etc. Then I found the Beatles in the late 70’s. Man was that an eye-opener..? I was totally into their stuff and got every album. My biggest wish was to see them reform and do a gig. That of course ended the day John Lennon was killed in 1980.
Like every other young kid I had a minor depression in my late teens. Or should I call it “just growing up”. That’s when I discovered Pink Floyd. They became almost religious to me and their music penetrated every cell in my body – and still does. Every note from that band is divine to me. Can you imagine how I felt when I saw them together at the live8 recently.
But basically I like everything. Bob Marley’s got the groove and make me relax, Mozart makes me light but also cry. I love 70’s disco. I kissed my first girls in the 80’s and the music of that time was great. I love Nirvana, Soundgarden. I think that Backstreet Boys have some great songs. And I also have a passion for Redwine, Olives and some soft jazz with Gino Vanelli.
But don’t take my rock’n’roll..!
Man, don’t get me started – I could go on for hours..!
2. How do you see the music business these days? What is fun about the music industry, and what just fucking sucks?
The music business is what it is. Money talks and business walks. But I guess it’s always been like that to some extend. I never listen to radio and I never watch TV so I’m not that updated when it comes to new things. When I was younger I was always complaining about how rotten the business was but nowadays I don’t care.
I think that there’s a lot of talent out there but unfortunately we are bombarded with shit like Pop-Stars, Idols etc. They take young kids and turn them into a monster on a platform build out of fragile glass, and basically ruin their lives by introducing them to a business that they’re not prepared for.
3. What are you listening to nowadays?
Well I have been listening a great deal to the upcoming TWL live album during to mix-sessions and while mastering it, but I still listen to the bands I mentioned above. And then there’s the Velvet Revolver album. I like that.
4. What was the last band you saw live?
It was actually the Canadian symphonic rockers SAGA. They were playing at the same festival as I and I went down to see them. Back in the 80’s I used to listen to them a lot and was quite inspired by their musical discipline and their skills back then. They never wrote any box office hits but I love their music. In fact they recorded their well-known live album Saga In Transit in Tivoli, Copenhagen back in 1982. However they are not that good anymore. I think that age has been sneaking up on them. It was nice to see them though.
5. Who is Mike Tramp for you?
Whoa that’s another big question here…!
Mike Tramp is my brother and I love him with all my heart. It’s funny because we are very alike but at the same time very different. That might by why we’re such a good match. I’m the kinda guy that feels that I still have much to learn in life and Mike is my big musical mentor. Mike was never a rockstar to me, but more a complex person that I got to get to know. Mike is always focused, professional and the scary thing about him is that he’s right on almost any musical issue and has a memory of an elephant. Mike has given me opportunities in life that has enlarged my horizon and made me a more complete musician and person.
6. What was your reaction the first time you heard about playing with Tramps White Lion?
I was actually offering my help to reform the band last year when Mike wanted to gather the original line-up. When the option came back and Mike called I was thrilled and sceptical at the same time. I was not that keen on leaving my son for two months but excited about going to the US. But I said yes right away.
7. Tell me about your tour in the USA? How was it? How do you look back upon this whole experience?
The US tour was a fine experience to me. I had a blast and I guess it was the first tour where I felt totally relaxed and enjoyed it fully. It is something that I will remember for the rest of my life. Just like your first kiss etc. etc.
8. How did you experience your show in Bang Your Head?
BYH showed us that it’s possible to gather a band across the world in 4 days and walk on stage without rehearsals, soundchecks and haven’t played the set for 3 months. 1-2-3-4 let’s go. At the same time it was fantastic to see Tramp in his right element. Let’s have some more of that kinda shows next year.
9. After all these years of touring, do you still get that adrenaline rush before you go out on stage?
Well nothing is like the first days at rehearsals when you start to play music or the first show you play at all. To discover the beauty of people playing together for the first time is beyond imagination. But that feeling of course passes off as time goes by – unfortunately. I’m not a nervous kinda guy but always calm before going on stage. I even wish that I could be a little more nervous or thrilled sometimes and feel the butterflies you know. But what can make me uncomfortable is to play in front of only 20 people knowing that I’m misplaced. The bigger crowd the better.
10. What are the best memories you have from touring with TWL?
Friendship, being in the USA and doing what we have been talking about for quite some time.
11. What is the best place you've ever played in?
Depends how you compare or rate the shows. The first gig I ever played was special. The first time I played for 70.000 people was special. My first TV-show was special. The first interview was special. The first autograph was special. To play Tivoli in Copenhagen in front of 40.000 people was special. My first gig outside Denmark was special. But the first time I went on stage with Tramp ever was very special. It was the first time that I felt at home. The stage sound was incredible and I played a show without any fuck-ups at all. I was high for a week after that.
12. Can you introduce Jamie Law to us and tell us a little about him? Was it difficult for him to fit the shoes of Vito Bratta? How did he experience this tour and what were his feelings?
Jamie is a very typical Aussie guy. He’s got his feet on the ground and 5 minutes after meeting him for the first time, we talked like we’ve been friends for years. Jamie and myself were the only smokers on the US tour bus so we had a lot of time together while we puffed our cigarettes. One of the things we talked about during the first week in LA was how the fans would react now that Vito, James and Greg was not in the band. Especially Jamie had his doubts until he realised that everybody loved him. It seemed that the fans didn’t give a shit. Tramp talked to many guitarplayers as he was trying to get the band together, but nobody dared. Jamie just said “yeah” and played without asking a single question or making any excuses for himself. I was really impressed when we rehearsed the first time. Man he nailed that shit down. It was a pleasure playing with him and getting to know him as a friend and bandmate.
13. So what can we expect from Tramps White Lion in 2006, is there going to be a new album or is a purely live band??
14. Is TWL the start of a new chapter in your life or just a one off thing?
Every new band is a new chapter in my life just as every day is a new chapter of my life. I talk equally to big international rockstars just because I’m the White Lion bassplayer. I never did that before. If it wasn’t a new chapter I shouldn’t commit to it in the first place.
15. Can you pick out your 3 favourite tracks from White Lion albums and tell us what makes them so special?
LITTLE FIGHTER has always meant something special to me because it’s the soundtrack of Mike Tramp and Me and our struggle against so many things. I remember the Tramp show at the Pumpehuset in Copenhagen last year. It was the last show on the most terrible tour we’ve ever experienced in our lives and EVERYTHING went down. In spite of that we managed to finish the tour without any cancelled shows at all.
We dragged in a brand new band for that show – 4 new guys, 4 hours of rehearsals and a wing and a prayer. When Tramp and I discussed the setlist earlier that day, we decided to start alone – Tramp and I. Little Fighter was the opener. Tramp started and I was to join him in the second verse. We made eye contact when I came on stage and I’ll never forget what I felt. We both had tearstained eyes and the whole situation was speaking so much louder than words. Here we were – back in Copenhagen – WE DID IT..! That night was very special to both of us and was at the same time the beginning of a new start.
WAIT also have a big impact on me because it reminds me of the first days I played and rehearsed with Tramp.
LIVING ON THE EDGE because it’s a great rock’n’roll song.
16. Can you tell us about the upcoming live cd release?
Yes it’s Lights and thunder, Hungry, Lonely nights, Love don’t come easy, Broken heart, Fight to survive, Cry for freedom, You’re all I need, Little fighter, It’s over, Living on the edge, Tell me, Wait, Lady of the valley, When the children cry and Radar love played live.
17. What can you tell about the cover artwork of it?
I did the artwork after having discussed the general ideas with Tramp. It seems that everybody was running around with a camera when we were in the States and we have a ton of footage. Tramp came up with the idea of a collage and I took it from there.
18. How about a DVD?
There are no current plans as far as I know.
19. Mike Tramp is gonna record a new solo album, are you involved in this project? Will you come with your individual ideas and then try and put it together or what?
These days we’re sitting jammin’ on some new stuff and it’s great. I will have an impact on the material as well as any other players on the album. It’s gonna be a “band thing”.
20. When can we expect this new album?
When it’s done and mixed.
21. Any artists you’d like to work with?
No I’m fine.
22. If you could go back and change one aspect of your career, what would it be?
I feel that I’ve been extremely lucky over the years. I also believe that you become a product of all the decisions you make – good as bad – and that it only adds to the big picture. It’s the old Nietzche-cliché about, what doesn’t kill us makes us stronger. I believe in that shit.