The Rock Pit - Hard rock, Metal and Blues Interviews, news & reviews from Australia and around the world

The Rock Pit - Hard rock, Metal and Blues Interviews, news & reviews from Australia and around the world
The Rockpit 2013 Interviews Mike Tramp

INTERVIEW WITH MIKE TRAMP SOLO ARTIST of WHITE LION, FREAK OF NATURE 2013

MIKE TRAMP

SOLO ARTIST

IN OUR SERIES OF IN-DEPTH INTERVIEWS

MIKE TRAMP TALKS TO MARK ABOUT HIS MOST COMPLETE ALBUM TO DATE: COBBLESTONE STREET, WHAT IT'S LIKE WITHOUT A HOME BASE, HIS LOVE OF AUSTRALIA, THE MEANING OF LIFE AND WHY THERE WILL NEVER BE A WHITE LION REUNION

 

 

 

 

Mike Tramp has had a long career in music staring off in his native Denmark before coming to the attention of the world with WHITE LION, a band from the era of big hair that actually had something to say lyrically. After the band split in 1991 just as grunge loomed large (but not due to the arrival of that overvalued musical back-step) Mike formed FREAK OF NATURE – an altogether heavier proposition. If you listen to that band today you will realise what an underappreciated gem they are. After FREAK parted ways Mike went solo and for many years lived in Australia.

 

 


Mike left our shores a few years back now but still loves to come back and see us. We caught up with him when he was in town taking a break after a small run of one-man shows. He’s taking those shows to Europe in the next few months. We got an eye-opening and honest interview with a man still on that rock and roll road with all the ups and downs it contains; and a man looking forward to the release of his ‘most honest’ album so far – ‘Cobblestone Street’.

 

 

 

Mark: Hi, Mike, how are you? How is Australia treating you so far?

 


Mike: I’m good, man! Australia has always been good, it’s sad that I’m at a point where my original plan, from many years ago was to settle down here never really became what I had planned, you know. My marriage broke up and stuff and the realisation that I couldn’t really survive here as an artist, I’m not saying as a musician, I am not a musician, I am an artist, I only play for myself. It was just taking me too long to try to break Australia, because of the radio here and I had been somewhere else for 25 years. I only ended up getting four of five shows a year or something like that, on a small club level. But, that doesn’t mean it hasn’t been a big attachment to me, I have shared a lot of great times here, and my son lives here, and so every time I come here it is a feeling of coming home.

 


Mark: We used to live in Melbourne a few years ago, and we used to love catching your gigs at The Espy, The Corner Hotel.

 


Mike: There is an enormous amount of rock and roll over here.

 


Mark: I think you are right, in that it is hard for Australian artists to make an impact in their own country.

 


Mike: Of course, it’s different if you are twenty three years old! If you live at home, go out with your mates and work at JB Hi Fi, during the day, and play in your bands at the weekend! But, that’s not really my kind of life, I have three children in two different parts of the world, and I have my family in Denmark also. In a way I am paying the price for the decision I made so many years ago. When I was fifteen I left home, and ventured out in to the world to play rock and roll, in all kinds of ways, that I ended up doing. You don’t think about it then, but later, down the line it sort of catches up with you, and you think, I never really established myself in one place and right now I’m in between a lot of different things.

 


Mark: I guess though, as an artist that’s a decision that is taken out of your hands to a certain degree, it’s a drive that makes you get out there and do what you’ve done.

 


Mike: It is in one way or another, but, even when Metallica finish a tour, they go home. I can either go to Jakarta where my wife and two children live, or I can go to Denmark and visit my two brothers, or in Melbourne, visiting my son who’s at university. I have a place at my brother’s farm in Denmark, where all my life through my thirty five years in rock and roll, my guitars, my amps, all different things, my clothes, that’s the sort of stuff that should be in your home, but, it’s not ! It’s just sitting in a big room that is dedicated to me. When I have the time to think about that, it pretty much depresses me!

 


Mark: It must be like being a permanent refugee!

 


Mike: Yeah, and at the same time, I am a nomad of some kind.

 


Mark: Well, the big news for you right now, is the new album.

 


Mike: Yes, and that for me is something in my life that wasn’t planned, sometimes when something is not planned, it’s almost the most natural and the most real thing, and that is not to look at anything that I have done prior to that my entire career. What it really comes down to is that I had not planned to do anything last year, but all that changed. In a short time, I got restless, and I said to one of my best friends who has a studio, I have a lot of songs, and I need to hear them come out of the speakers. He said, Ok, let’s book a few days and come in here. I just went in there, and to do it the way you have written them, this was like the opposite of what I usually do. We set up a really good vibe with an acoustic guitar and a microphone, and by the end of the first day, four songs were in the box! We weren’t looking at them as demos, we were just looking at them, and what came out of the speakers was so real and so breathtaking, this is me!

 


Mark: Is this the distillation of Mike Tramp, over the years?

 


Mike: Exactly, the thing is so many times you try to be a lot of different things, because you are so afraid to say there doesn’t need to be any more than that.

 


Mark: I have listened to the single, “New Day”, which is great, I haven’t had chance to listen to the album yet, but is that representative of the rest of the album?

 


Mike: Well, yes it is. There are a couple of songs that have a little bit of a “band” feeling with the drums, but the songs go even deeper than that.

 


Mark: Reading some of the interviews you’ve done recently, you said some of the songs on there were 20 years old, and some were fresh, just being recorded as you went in to the studio. Do you have a drawer full of demos, and think one day, I’m going to get a chance to do this, and it’s going to be the right time?

 


Mike: Well, yes and no! I am a person that has never really matured or expanded as a guitar player, so when I sit down with a guitar, it is basically just to play, and from that comes a song and I just capture it in the most simple form of recording on my computer. Then when the time comes, when I need to do something or record something, I go through and look at some of those songs and decide if it’s something I want to carry on with. Also, as I go in to the second stage of the process, of preparing for something, new songs happen and I write a song.

 


Mark: Everyone is different. I was speaking to John Corabi, the other day, and he told me about a conversation, he had many years before with Steve Marriott, who said, if you could hold an audience with just a voice and a guitar you know that you have got a great song. Actually seeing you play, acoustically, many years ago, playing some of the old White Lion songs stripped back to your voice and just a guitar, I think he hit on an eternal truth there! At the end of the day, it doesn’t matter how much you dress up a song, it’s either good or bad! What are your thoughts?

 


Mike: This is obviously a decision for the person coming to see the show, because there would be a small percentage who want to come and hear the detail of the songs and then there are the rest of us who know the song as something you whistle, and that to you is enough of the song. That’s the school, Mike Tramp comes from, I was raised on Dylan, and Neil Young, and I never took any deeper interest in expanding my form of writing, I was the one given the guitar on the summer camps, and on the back of the bus, and stuff like that and you made your way through a couple of Elvis songs or Bob Dylan, and all the kids were singing along. It was all about the feeling you get when you sang along to a song, this stayed with me, and always became my foundation. When I go out and play songs like “Hungry”, from White Lion in the eighties, a big guitar track, this is a song I used to play back and forth on an acoustic guitar, and the way I played it live, was exactly the way it was, I had the band behind, but the song alone, is a song alone.
Mark: I know exactly what you mean, and I guess that’s a great dilemma for a musician, you either wants it like it was on the album, or how it came out of the box.

 


Mike: But, do you know what, the fans that have stuck with Mike Tramp, they are the ones that have grown with what I am. They have matured with me, and they are not necessarily looking at the depth of the music, you are not buying an album to be overwhelmed by the musician’s performance, I am much more the opposite way, what I deliver, I am touching your soul with the lyrics and the feelings of the song. That is the most important thing, for me to stand my ground. So many times in my career, I’ve wanted to do one thing, but changed it around because of pressure, and not enough confidence. So, when I decided last year, after I’d done the album, I decided to drive around Europe with my guitar, and get up on stage and do some White Lion songs, and some of the classic Tramp songs. This was the first time, I stood alone by myself, and I had to find, what is it that I am? There are a lot of people from the eighties, from my time who go out and see bands, because that is what they do, what I’m doing is what I am. You talked about John Corabi, who goes out and does some songs from Motley Crue, and that’s fine, but I feel there is a major, major difference when you see Mike Tramp and you hear me, because this is the root of the songs from the song writer and the stories and the passion of that, and it’s delivered in a different way.

 


Mark: I understand where you’re coming from, and obviously at some point in time there is going to be something that is cool or trendy to do, it seems like the right idea because that’s what people are listening to. I think unfortunately, that gets lost on some people.

 


Mike: Yeah, you have to make that decision, sometimes it depends on the show. I’m not coming in there to entertain; I am coming to create the vibe that people leave with more than one thing. Like you come out of a movie, and it might have been a true story or whatever, but something has touched your soul, something has awoken a thought or a belief in you, and a lot of my songs and the message I give from the stage is exactly that, I’m not coming in there to insight sex, drugs and rock and roll, all though I was in many ways part of that, but in many ways I was not comfortable with those surroundings, I was a little bit lost because I didn’t really feel that was the message that I wanted to give. It was just that in the eighties, nobody wanted to hear about saving whales or apartheid, they wanted a “Crazy Train” and stuff like that! So when I sat down and wrote these lyrics, they were much different to Ratt, Warrant, Cinderella and bands like that, it just took a decade and a half until that really found its place, and it survived the longevity of that.

 


Mark: Yeah, you guys really stood out from the pack, with songs like “Cry Freedom”.

 


Mike: With that song, that was a really difficult issue, because you don’t want to stir up shit and you don’t want to start being a blabbermouth, because it really doesn’t matter, but between you and me and those that know that, there was a major difference, between Poison, Ratt, and all those bands and White Lion. When you dissect the things and look in to the DNA, first of all we were the only New York band besides Twisted Sister, we came from a completely different background and we sent a completely different message, when you looked through the magazines and there’s a guy with long blonde hair and a dark haired guy playing a guitar, it all looked the same. But there was a major difference between “Cry for Freedom” and “Lady of the Valley”, and “Cherry Pie” or “Round and Round”.

 


Mark: Yes, there is, it was just the labels of the day; there were also some quite diverse bands out there as well.

 


Mike: I think that in reality if you spent a little bit more on a pair of leather shoes, twenty five years later those shoes are still fitting you well, that’s because of the craftsmanship. Those songs will survive, and like the classic rock, before the eighties, that is still the foundation for everything that I have done. That last wave of the eighties just became what is now, in the form of Steel Panther etc. etc.

 

 

Photo by Dineson

 

 

Mark: You recently came back and did a couple of dates on the east coast, in Melbourne and Sydney, how did that go down? What was the reaction like?

 


Mike: It was great; it’s been six years since I played here. Sometimes, I wonder what a Mike Tramp audience will look like from the stage! You look out and see grown men and women almost at my age, late forties, wanting to come and hear the songs they know, and they also know what Mike Tramp stands for. The show in Sydney was a sit down show, and they had dinner, so there was really a lot of space for me to talk and get deep in to the explanations of the songs. You can form an opinion of a song, or you think it’s about that, and suddenly I come out and tell a story that is so different, and they go “wow” I would never have thought of that! There’s a big interest right now, with documentaries and so on about where these songs came from.

 


Mark: Is that something you would think of doing? Filming one of your shows?

 


Mike: Well, yes, actually I did film the Sydney show, and I will probably mix it with a lot of other different stuff I will get over the year. Then when I feel I have an interesting DVD/ documentary film, to put together, I will have a lot of variety.

 


Mark: You have a lot of interesting stuff coming up; you are playing with Beth Hart, in France.

 


Mike: Now the time has come for me to be in a lot of different places, there are only so many of the fans that have followed me, and this is for a bigger audience, it’s just a matter of finding out how to get them.

 


Mark: Beth is great; I love what she did with Joe Bonamassa.

 


Mike: This is an artist that changes with every album.

 


Mark: I was aware of her, but I hadn’t really listened to her, until she did something with Joe.

 


Mike: Exactly, strange things can happen in different ways. We can only keep track of so much.

 


Mark: But that is an opportunity for you, as people will see something that traditionally, Mike Tramp wouldn’t do, it will open you up to a whole new audience.

 


Mike: When I go out on stage, there might be two people in the audience, who by accident might know who I am, the rest have no idea. So, you just get a chance to start over fresh, in its rawest form with just an acoustic guitar, going in front of an audience. You know what; this is how I was born! So, this is an introduction, and then we can grow together.

 


Mark: that must be an exciting proposition, but I imagine a bit of a step in the dark too…

 


Mark: I now have a couple of questions that people have sent in to The Rockpit for me to ask you. The first one is from Melbourne: ‘You have always spent a lot of time with your fans, when you played here in Australia, and you always came out after the show to meet them. Are there any funny or unusual moments you have had doing those over the years’?

 


Mike: Well, you always end up running in to a lot of different people and there are all kinds of different stories. Most of them are people who have seen you before, and so in a short moment you are pulled back over thirty five years of your career. You are approached in so many different ways; it’s something that I decided a long time ago, because I knew that I would never be on the top for very long. I came from the bottom, rose to the top, had a look around and went back to the bottom, which is where I am most comfortable. So, for me to go out and tour with my guitar, and driving my own car to the venue, and walking up on to the stage, I just try to spread this thing, that I am reachable in all different kinds of ways, and when I sing, that is when I separate myself from the audience. But I draw the audience in to the songs and make them feel like, you will now have the key to look in to my soul for the duration of the show, and I want you to know who I am.

 


Mark: That’s a great answer. ‘Out of all the places you’ve had a chance to travel to, over the years, what are some of the places that have really stuck with you’?

 


Mike: It’s always the ones you don’t think about! I am fortunate, in 2008, I did a big tour of South America, with the mark II version of White Lion, and at the same time, we did India and did a massive festival, and for many years I played in Indonesia. But to me it’s about going out to a small town, and feeling that you are really making an impact that night, because there really isn’t that much more there. You play a club in Belfast, and it’s like the whole rock community of Northern Ireland, is there with you at the show that night and things like that are incredibly special.

 


Mark; I imagine that would be amazing to feel the love in the room! ‘On the “Stand Your Ground” album, there was a tribute to a very great musician, we all love, “Hymn to Ronnie”. What did Ronnie James Dio mean to you, and how did that song come about’?
Mike: Well, it’s more that Ronnie meant too much, because I just had to sit down and take a look when the news came in. Living in Denmark, in around 1976, Rainbow was like a continuation of Deep Purple, but now the songs had a different sound with the singing and the lyrics, and the magic that Ronnie was putting in to it, was just something that attracted me. Many times during the White Lion years, I reached in for inspiration, even if you can’t hear it, it came from Ronnie, and later we toured with Dio, through Europe, and hanging out with him, he was just the way that he sounded. “Heaven and Hell” and “Mob Rules” are my two favourite rock albums. To me, they were the perfect combination, where everything is just perfect!

 


Mark: I have spoken to many people who have worked with him, and who have been connected to him in the past, and everyone says exactly the same, that he was a truly wonderful guy, and a very special man. The music speaks for itself.

 


Mike: Ronnie James Dio loved rock and roll, and he lived and died for rock and roll!

 


Mark: Exactly, a fantastic man!

 


Mark: One of the songs that has stayed with me over the years is “Wait”, it was on all my compilation tapes back in the day!! It sounds wonderful, acoustically too. What are your favourites that you still like to play from that era?

 


Mike: “Wait” is a timeless song, a perfect song; it’s not necessarily a fun song to play, it’s a well written song with one of the best guitar solos ever! When you come in to the deeper songs like “Lady of the Valley”, “Cry Freedom” you get more depth to sing about, but the famous songs like “Broken Heart”, “Wait” are like the “Highway to Hell”, and the “You Shook Me All Night Long”, they just have to be there, but they are not necessarily the great band playing songs, and when I take them down to the acoustic format, they stand by themselves because they are not built on major guitar riffs.

 


Mark: The first time we saw you was on the tour with Tyketto in England in 1991, and I think a few weeks later we flew out to Australia, and have been here ever since!! So, you were one of the final bands we saw back in the day, in the UK! That was at Rock City in Nottingham.

 


Mike: A classic stomping ground!

 


Mark: We will be back there in May this year.

 


Mike: I will be there from the 21st to the 29th of May. I haven’t announced the venues yet, but I should have then over the next couple of days.

 


Mark: Our last fan question is, ‘You have played with Kiss, Aerosmith and AC/DC over the years, what was your favourite tour’?

 


Mike: With Aerosmith, I became really close with the band, we did a lot of hanging out and a lot of talking, they were a very adult band then, it was their first clean tour, it was always dinner together after the show, and I got invited in to the camp, so I had a lot of great times with Steven Tyler, he was in his sort of rebirth. Touring with AC/DC was like touring with the perfect machine! I watched every show; they are one of the greatest rock bands of all time, and one of my favourites, so that was completely fantastic! They were completely untouched and unmoved by anything. The older I got, and the more I read about AC/DC, the more I started understanding why I came to Australia, and when I started picking up the pop life, and once in a while I would get the smell and the feel of it, and I started understanding so much more about why the sound came to be what it is. Even though I understand what Bon Scott sings about, once you are here, you know what he sings about! That for me was like a completion.

 


Mark: I think that’s interesting, because there is that difference, there is what AC/DC means to the rest of the world, and what they mean to Australians!

 


Mike: I know! I am a die hard, albums up to “Highway to Hell” and completely Bon Scott. We toured on the Back in Black, tour, but before that they were a different band; you could just smell it in the music!

 


Mark: It’s still all good, just a different band!

 


Mike: Exactly!

 

 

 

Photo by Dineson

 

 

Mark: I have one question that I am sure you are sick of answering, but, I feel I must ask! Over the years there have obviously been a number of points, particularly 2007, when the whole Eddie Trunk interview came out, where it looked like White Lion, might get back together again. Is that door ever really closed, do you think?

 


Mike: Well, when I speak to Vito, every three or four years, we are still friends, but the door is closed, based upon many, many things. When I left White Lion, it ended White Lion, it was because my whole feeling was that I wasn’t in to being what I was, it had its run, and the character that I had always played there was fading away, and I was changing too much to stay true to what White Lion had been. Hence, Freak of Nature comes along. So, looking back, it was never an option, my voice changed drastically when I started singing Freak of Nature, it had already changed when I was doing “Mane Attraction”, and continued through the solo albums. You are always tested as a person, in the business, and money has an influence, obviously my solo career, was only so much, and I was playing clubs, to like 75 to 200 people. Maybe in 2005, I was sitting on a train, going to France with some people, and I thought maybe if you put a new version of White Lion together, the time would be right, and we’d be back on the festivals, with big audiences, and I was completely over powered by these thoughts, and I completely forgot about the stand that I took a long time ago. I was talking to different guitar players, drummers, people that I know, as I would never think about the original band. Then that fell apart, and I ended up going to America, with Tramps’ White Lion, and we did the Bang Your Head Festival, and it feels good, and I convinced myself it was time to do a new album, which was basically written in Melbourne. But, I can honestly say along all that time, it never felt right, it felt like something I was doing for the sake of wanting to get back and play for a bigger audience, and it never felt like it was the style I wanted to play. I had done my own version, of Bruce Springsteen meets Tom Petty, that’s where I was going and that’s what my songs were written for. Whenever I did the White lion thing, I always ended the tour with so much misery, and I said to myself, why the fuck, do you keep attempting this!! You don’t want to sing these songs this way anymore; I can’t be Mike Tramp from back in1987!

 


Mark: It’s interesting, as I have spoken to quite a few big bands recently from back in the day, who hate going out there and playing, but it’s become a job for them! I find that sad, when you hear that sort of thing.

 


Mike: You and I could go through a massive list of bands like that. I don’t want to stand up there and do that, I don’t even feel I could do the show with passion! And at the same time, the money is not on the table to be worth it. We don’t really want to be together, and I don’t think the world wants a White Lion! I think we left a great legacy with the “Pride” album, and there were good songs on the other albums, and that legacy is good enough for me. We can’t get together and sound like Journey does! I have changed too much!!

 


Mark: I think you are right and that is the perfect answer! The fact is, if it happened, it would be happening for all the wrong reasons.

 


Mike: Exactly! We are not Kiss; there are a few bands that can do it. I always feel, in my White Lion years, I was still in the prime of my puberty, and as I came to the close of that I became the person in Freak of Nature, and then bit by bit, I went back to my original roots of being a singer/songwriter, sometimes with a band, sometimes without. I am a kid from the streets of Copenhagen, from a little apartment, we never had a car, and I’d better get used to this is where I live!! When you hear “Cobblestone Street”, regardless of what you compare it to, you are at the time of Mike Tramp being born!

 

 

Photo by Dineson

 

 

Mark: I can’t wait to hear it. “Freak of Nature” was an interesting band, at the time that you appeared, soon after White Lion, I was blown away by that sound! It still amazes me today that you didn’t take that further!

 


Mike: I agree! The band could’ve been at the Soundwave festival this week, if we had continued!! We all came from a little bit of an eighties background, even though we had been raised on Aerosmith and van Halen and stuff like that, it was the nineties and things had changed. We were classic rock, we were talking Thin Lizzy, Rainbow, UFO, and then we threw in the Chilli Peppers, and other bands we were listening to at that time. Freak of nature became a culture, even when you put it up against other bands that came, that were hybrids of the eighties, again Freak of nature, I guarantee you, will stand by themself. But, I was surprised, by the second album tour, I could see that the band was losing its energy, and I had been through this once before, I would rather leave the legacy with two perfect albums than be a washed up version later.

 


Mark: I still turn people on to Freak of Nature today, and people say, where can I go see these guys?!!

 


Mike: I know!! We were looking last year at doing a 20th anniversary this year, and appear at some festivals, but I really wanted the four members of the band to be ringing me and e mailing me, I wanted them to be the instigators. Because everything that I have done, over the past 35 years, in my career, I have been the general and the front runner! And, I’ve been the bank and the hotel! It would just be nice for me not to be the motivator. Nobody from the band has done anything since we broke up, I want them to say we have the mike ready, ok, let’s go!! I don’t want to sit around a table and convince everybody we can do this! Do it for the pride, do it for rock and roll!! What we put in our pockets, is a bonus.

 


Mark: Looking back at your many solo albums, the song that I cannot get out of my head, is “More to Life than This”, I think it is ten years old this year! It’s a philosophical song, and has some wonderful lyrics. How did you come to write that, and what does it mean to you?

 


Mike: It means the same thing as, if I were to answer the question, what is the most important song you have written? That’s the song! The second song is, “All of my Life” from the “Rock and Roll Circuz” album. Those are the songs where you dig so deep, in many different ways. There are so many different elements in that song, it involves the Columbine Massacre to the demise of the eighties, and different things that come up and knock on your door from time to time, and it’s a song that I will always play. There is so much in it and there is so much to do with it. When I listen to it from “More to life than This”, I am on testosterone and pushing it a little bit, but later as I started playing it live, I started treating it like Phil Lynott would, where he came a little bit later than the beat, and stretching it, and really telling the story. Re doing this song in the studio, for the new album, I knew the song so well and could really play with the words.

 


Mark: When we started this web site almost four years ago, now, I was looking for a signature question that I would ask everyone, and I had just had that particular song playing in the background, and since then the one question we have asked everyone at the end of the interview, is, what is the meaning of life?! So, that came from your song.

 


Mike: That’s not just what I set out to answer, but just to live, the meaning of life, is just to be yourself. Your true self, because only when you become that can you really make the judgement on how you feel. You cannot do that when you are dressed up like a diva, and playing in front of 50,000 people, and charging $300 for the tickets on the front row!!

 


Mark: You didn’t pay that, did you?!!

 


Mike: No, I will never pay for a ticket in my life! To me a lot of the reward, and there is no doubt, that money is definitely part of happiness for some people, and I always prefer to have the cheque book balance, but you can’t buy that happiness in that way, so by being yourself and going up there and playing the songs and singing them the way I sing them today, that is why I have now come home, and have followed it up with an album, to back it up, both lyrically and honestly. This late in my career, it has really taken me this fucking long! There was this guy from Norway, who was a complete collector of all my stuff, and we became good friends, he’s a writer and knows all about my background, and he wrote to me, and said the circle has been completed!! He understood everything, and I think that is a fantastic thing, that any fans that get that extra feeling from this album, besides liking it and listening to it, but they feel they know that much about Mike Tramp, that I think is a bonus!

 


Mark: That is exciting for you, to feel like you have completed a journey, like you say you have come full circle, and so the rest must be unchartered territory.

 


Mike: Well, yes in many ways, it’s not like I’m getting my hopes up, the thing it all happened in all the natural ways, it was not something I thought about, it just happened because I was at a place in my life where I stood didn’t know where my life was at, I had run away from my wife to get breathing space, and hoping that one day she would call and say, I’m sorry, I’m ready to listen now.

 


Mark: I guess it’s a journey of self-discovery as well.

 


Mike: It is, when you are lost, go back to where you started. The thing is, as much as I like being up on the stage, I don’t know how familiar you are with the first Rock n Roll Circuz album, I was listening to that the other day and that to me is probably my finest moment, and I listened to what I wanted to do there, and then I go in to “Stand Your Ground” which goes back to the AC/DC approach, that first album, is Mike tramp as a song writer, that’s the band I want to be on stage with, and I don’t want it to get any heavier than that, that album was everything I wanted to do!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mark: It’s a great album. One of my final questions is, is there any album over your lifetime that you have heard by another artist that you have really connected with? And you wish you’d been a fly on the wall, when it was recorded

 


Mike: Yes, but it’s not one album, it changed from different decades of growing up. When I joined my first band, I was totally infatuated with Queen, and for many years that’s all it was! I was sixteen years old and listening to some of the most talented musicians, and it was the same for the first AC/DC album, that for me, was “High Voltage” and those guitars just sounded like no other guitars. Then there was the first Van Halen album, and they all changed over time, and bit by bit, as you go through that whole big album collection, you keep coming back to previous to that, and that’s when you think it might have taken a vacation for many years, but when you are drawn back and the first thing you do when you return is scratch yourself between the two middle toes, and you keep doing that, then that must be what the fuck you are!! And when you sit down with an acoustic guitar, and play the same five fucking chords, that my music teacher taught me to, “Knocking on Heaven’s Door”, it is my bread and butter, it’s where I come from. It left an impact on me, with Bruce Springsteen and Neil Young, and a lot of Danish bands at that time and so on.

 


Mark: Do you ever get chance to go out and see a concert these days?

 


Mike: Yes, I just came from Soundwave yesterday. That’s only because I went to say, Hi, to Lars from Metallica, and some friends down there. I just fucking walked home, because I didn’t feel that I belonged there!! I go to as much stuff as I can, but in my elder years I want to see the more obscure artist, I just don’t get anything out of going to a rock concert any more. I’ve seen them all in their original form, and now I want to get those special moments by discovering something that I’ve never really seen before.

 


Mark: Yes, that’s true for me too. I also go out and photograph bands. For me one of the most enjoyable shoots I have ever done, even though I left the music behind many years ago, was Kiss, the other night! To actually shoot that band, visually, was stunning.

 


Mike: Yes, when you look through the lens, the colours, the background, it’s all there. Listen, you probably share the same album collection, as I do, and there are days when you wear your “Ace of Spades” by Motorhead!!

 


Mark: It’s been an absolute pleasure to speak to you, after all these years, take care, and hope to see you back in England, in May.

 


Mike: It was my pleasure, I’ll get a copy of the album sent to you, see what you think!

 

 

 

 

By Mark Diggins March 2013

 

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