WHITE LION guitarist Vito Bratta was the in-studio guest on Eddie Trunk's "Friday Night Rocks" radio show on New York's Q104.3 FM last night (Friday, February 16). In what was being billed as his first interview in over 15 years, Bratta discussed what he has been doing since the band's breakup and spoke about the possibility of reforming WHITE LION with singer Mike Tramp. A couple of excerpts from the chat follow (transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET):
On the possibility of a WHITE LION reunion:
"As far as working with Mike Tramp again and doing the WHITE LION thing, I've never said 'No' to anything. I've said 'No' for certain reasons. Things have happened in my life where I've had to say 'No' to people. 'Listen, I just can't do this right now.' And there were reasons behind it. . . My father had a five-year illness, and it was just a nightmare. And there was no one who was gonna take care of him except for me and my mom, and that's what we did to the very end. Unfortunately, you can't just walk away. Now, in the WHITE LION days, it's not just you that's young — you're in your 20s — but your parents are young, too. There's really no medical stuff going on. I remember the tour bus pulling up… 'Oh, there's a two-year tour? Fine. Make it a three-year tour.' None of this stuff [with the parents getting ill] happened. But as you get older, there's responsibilities and things…. And there's… you know, financial [responsibilities], too. When you're young… I remember when WHITE LION went out — me, Mike, Greg and James — we never spoke about… I don't think anybody ever said, 'How much are we making tonight?' No one said a word about money, because we were so used to not having any that nobody cared. But then it gets to a point in your life where you've got bills to pay, and it's not just you that's gonna suffer — there's other people that are gonna suffer. 'Oh, I'm gonna go out and do this WHITE LION reunion tour, and I'm not really gonna make much, but I'm gonna have a blast.' Well, there's bills to be paid, and you can't tell the electric guy, 'Well, I'm just out having a blast' — you've gotta pay the bills. That, and like I said, the family illness… There just always seemed to be something. I never said 'No,' but the problem is… now I'm gonna use one of these stupid analogies I always do… When you've got a girlfriend and you break up, and she's basically cheating on you in front of you, saying, 'Well, if you don't get back together with me, this is what I'm gonna keep doing. And the more she cheats, the more you're not gonna get back with her. And the problem is that I have to keep watching Mike do these TRAMP'S WHITE LION [tours, featuring an all-new band playing WHITE LION songs] and all that stuff. I've always wished the guy luck, but the more he does these things, the more it makes me not wanna be part of anything. I don't know how much I can do to stop it, I just wish I could… I wish that didn't exist, I wish that part of it didn't exist. I understand what he's doing and all that stuff, I don't like it… I wish he wouldn't do it, but I understand why he's doing it. I wish him luck, but I'm not gonna sit here and tell anybody I'm not gonna do the WHITE LION thing ever again. I did kind of lie to you a little bit, Eddie, when you had asked me one time if the rumors of a hand injury were true. I said, 'No, they're false.' I mean, they actually were true. I did injure… I snapped something in my wrist about 1997, I think it was, that just prevented me from playing all day. It wasn't a hand injury that… In other words, I didn't know if I was making up my own excuses. This is gonna be 'Dr. Phil' now on Eddie's show. But I did have a hand injury, and the thing is that I was the type that played 14 hours a day. I mean, it was ridiculous what I was doing. I used to get home at four o'clock in the morning from club shows and play another two hours. I just was always playing. Guitar players will understand — to get to a certain level, you have to maintain it. It's like an athlete. And basically I was like a marathon runner who couldn't run more than 10 feet. So how was I gonna keep it up? So these are things I'm hoping to get over."
Q: Where does that stand now? Do you feel better? Do you still play? Do you still practice?
Vito Bratta: "It's gotten better, but I haven't tried to do, like… The actual injury I had, when I was touching the steel strings, it would feel like I was touching a live wire, like I was having electrical shocks. And the doctors basically told me, 'Listen, it's 50-50. You could lose the use of your hand, or you could be cured.' And it's up to me to decide, do I wanna play through pain? In the midst of all of this, family stuff was happening and everything else. So I had excuses for myself coming left and right. 'Now I can't play because of my hand.' 'Now I can't play because my Dad is not feeling well.' 'I can't play because of this.' But to answer the question [of the possibility of a WHITE LION reunion], I'm not gonna say, 'No, it'll never happen.' I would love for it to happen today, to be honest with you. I just don't think it can happen today. But I'm not gonna shut the door. And Mike Tramp knows that. And what I keep appealing to Mike is 'Stop shutting the door in my face.' You know what I mean?!"
WHITE LION's "The Definitive Rock Collection", a two-disc compilation featuring the band's hit 1987 single "Wait", plus "When Children Cry", "Tell Me", and several rare rehearsal recordings, came out on January 23 via Rhino.
According to Wikipedia, Vito Bratta was the guitarist and main songwriter for WHITE LION from 1983 to 1992. Bratta's style earned him worldwide acclaim, as well as numerous awards, including Guitar World magazine's "Best New Guitarist" in 1988. Following the breakup of WHITE LION, Bratta produced an album for the band CPR on Atlantic Records. Despite his cult status and guitar-based following, Bratta has not been involved in the music industry in any capacity since 1994. He is currently residing in his childhood house in Staten Island where he lives a modest life trying to keep himself out of the spotlight.