Former WHITE LION vocalist Mike Tramp recently spoke with United Rock Nations about his new album, "Stray From The Flock". The full conversation can be streamed below. A few excerpts follow (as transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET).
On "Stray From The Flock":
Mike: "This is such a different world today than it was back in 1988, when WHITE LION had been touring the world for two years on the 'Pride' album and then were given just a couple of weeks to write the 'Big Game' album, when in reality we needed probably [a] half-a-year break just to kind of get a hold of ourselves. Since my first solo album that I recorded, the album has been sort of like writing books for me. Once I start, I write chapter by chapter — in that case, song by song — and when I feel I kind of get there, I know that the album is completed. I don't write more songs than I have to. I commit to the songs, writing them and making them be the album. Then when I'm done with an album, I take a break from songwriting, and it's not until I feel that the previous album is done and I've toured long enough on it and it's time to start again. Then I open the door and allow myself to write songs, because I don't want to write songs in between albums and put them in the drawer. I like specifically to write for the next album, and also because the songs on each album represent where Mike Tramp is at that moment."
On the album's title:
Mike: "Let's say, for example, that the flock — which is basically what you call a herd of sheep or a lot of cattle together — and then one goes away by himself or herself. Let's go back to the '80s and say, 'That's a flock,' and then one goes off on his own way. That's sort of how I feel especially when the three years were over with FREAK OF NATURE and I started my solo career in '96. I felt that with each album, I got further and further away from the music world that I'd once been part of. Now, looking back at 11 solo albums, I can say for sure that there is not one artist from the time of the '80s — which I was a big part of — that has done 11 solo albums, that on each album speaks 100 percent about that person."
On working with multiple guitar players while recording the album:
Mike: "I'm the songwriter, and I also play guitar, but I'm not the main guitar player. It's really hard to give 10 songs to one guitar player who has not written the songs and have them come up with the main guitar role. A lot of the roles, I've created, but I leave a lot of free space for the main guitar player to come up with a bit of his own feel. This whole concept that I've built around called 'Band Of Brothers' is more than just the live band — it's about a lot of the musicians that I've worked with. I know that it is impossible today to form one band, because we're not teenagers anymore and everybody's got their own private life, and a lot of things can happen on the personal situation that can affect that they can't tour or they can't record, so I have a big family... I wanted different inputs on the different songs from the different guitar players, and the end result speaks for itself. It's really fresh, and it's not repetitive."
On his songwriting process:
Mike: "I have two ways of starting a song — either I sit with the acoustic guitar or I sit with the electric guitar. Usually, when the acoustic guitar is on, the foundation is a lot of [Bob] Dylan, a lot of Neil Young. These are my roots. It's not something I'm going to deny. These are my foundations of folk music, along with a lot of Danish folk musicians [and] songwriters back in the late '60s, early '70s when I got my first acoustic guitar and took a liking to that kind of music. It was just something that appealed to me. Later on in rock 'n' roll, I started getting the electric guitar, but I never really got further into it and became a great guitar player. I always just wanted to be a songwriter. On the electric guitar, I always start with AC/DC, and I don't go any further. It's just working that classic A, G, D, C over and over and over, and it never fails. There's always a riff there. That's my other foundation. Then this riff happens, and I throw a little bit of [ROLLING] STONES into it."
On his solo career:
Mike: "I don't want anybody to take my album and say, 'Oh, I don't really hear WHITE LION,' because it isn't WHITE LION. This is Mike Tramp, and as a solo artist, I want to sound one way. With each album, it is the moment in Mike Tramp's life of where he is at that time."
"Stray From The Flock" will be released on March 1 via Target Records.