In a recent interview with Rockfiend Publications Scotland, former WHITE LION singer Mike Tramp reflected on how the rise of grunge in the early 1990s forced most hard rock bands off the radio and MTV, with album and tour sales plummeting.
“Now I look at the ’80s as a vacation,” Tramp said (see video below). “It’s something that happened and something that ended. And it ended really hard. There wasn’t a grace period. It wasn’t like somebody coming back from space or a diver coming up from the bottom of the ocean or whatever, [where somebody would say] ‘We’re gonna have to do it gradually.’ No. It was a total slap in your face — almost. That’s how it felt. You might tell me it took a year or something like that, but at the end of the ’80s, it was almost… I sometimes tell a little bit of a fictional story about how I one day just walked out on Hollywood Boulevard and suddenly everything is just flannel shirts and Starbucks coffee, and the Jack Daniel’s and the leather pants and the long hair is gone — hence the second wave when grunge came in and, in real words, ‘alternative’ [took over]. Because I think that it’s fair to say that the ’80s burned the ’80s out at the end.”
Tramp continued: “When you go back to the last couple of albums that are released by new bands — I don’t know even know the names — they are a true copy of the other copies of the originals. It’s simply just what it is. And I just think that you couldn’t handle more of it. When MÖTLEY CRÜE came out with especially ‘Shout At The Devil’, you can say it was original. You can refer to it as, ‘Oh, that’s a little bit of KISS or a little bit of the NEW YORK DOLLS,’ [but] there was no band like that coming out at that time. And the same thing with VAN HALEN. And also the sound of DEF LEPPARD on ‘Hysteria’ or ‘Pyromania’, it was the first step of something. But once, and I’m gonna say ‘we,’ started copying some of that, it started taking away from the originality. It was a template. You take one [guy] with blond hair and three [guys] with black hair, you have an ’80s band. You add ‘white’ or ‘black’ to it, you find an animal and put it together and you have the name [for the band]. That’s looking back. It’s not how it felt when we were in the middle of it, and it was this bullet train, [going] 300 miles an hour. Once you got on, you had no time to think. You had to make a quick decision what you were gonna do. And it was very tough to be Kurt Cobain in 1988 and go against the grain. Why would you wanna do that when you have just tasted the success? But the fact of the matter is that we ended up, basically, killing ourselves. And I don’t think, really, it’s matter of if you could have gone away. It was just bound to happen.”
Tramp‘s new solo album, “Stray From The Flock”, was released on March 1 via Target Records.
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