Mike Tramp

Biography Mike Tramp

Mike Tramp

Mike Tramp
is a Danish rock & roll singer/songwriter best known as the frontman for 1970s Euro-rockers Mabel, '80s metal band White Lion, and hard rockers Freak of Nature during the '90s. He made his solo debut with 1998's Capricorn, and formed a new version of White Lion in 2004; they released the 2008 studio album Return of the Pride. 2009's Mike Tramp & The Rock 'N' Roll Circuz was originally intended as another studio outing for the band, but Tramp claimed it for himself, bringing White Lion to an end. 2011's Stand Your Ground by Mike Tramp & The Rock 'N' Roll Circuz featured the charting tribute single "Hymn to Ronnie," for Ronnie James Dio, who died the previous year. 2012's Cobblestone Street was an acoustic outing that made the Danish pop charts. After subsequent solo tours of Europe and the U.S., Tramp released Museum, a second acoustic outing in 2014, followed by global touring and appearances on ship nostalgia tours. In 2015, he released Nomad with the newly formed Band of Brothers, marking a return to electric rock & roll. In 2017, Maybe Tomorrow became his first solo record to receive a transatlantic release. Stray from the Flock followed in 2019, and Second Time Around -- a collection of re-recordings from 2009's The Rock 'N' Roll Circuz -- was released in 2020 to accompany the solo retrospective Trampthology. In 2021, Tramp entered his song "Everything Is Alright" into the Dansk Melodi Grand Prix, hoping to represent his country in the Eurovision Song Contest.

Tramp was born Michael Trampenau in Copenhagen. He and his brothers Dennis and Kim were raised by a single mother. He began singing in Vesterbro Ungdomsgård, a Copenhagen youth club, and his first recorded appearance with them was on the 1974 album Vi lever på Vesterbro. After changing his name to "Tramp" the young singer joined Danish rockers Mabel as lead singer. They released a handful of studio albums, all of which charted in both Denmark and Spain. In 1978, the band won the Danish Song Contest with the track "Boom Boom" and represented Denmark in the Eurovision Song Contest later that year. In 1979, Mabel relocated to Spain and changed their name to Studs. They released a well-received self-titled album in 1981, but the following year emigrated to New York City and changed their name again to Danish Lions. After recording some demos that didn't win them either a manager or a recording contract, the band returned to Denmark. Tramp, however, decided to remain in America.

In 1983, after scuffling for a bit, he met American guitarist and songwriter Vito Bratta and formed White Lion. After cutting some demos in 1984 at the dawn of the hair metal era, they recorded the album Fight to Survive for Elektra, but the label declined to release it -- because they thought it not "upbeat" enough. Japan's Victor label issued it in 1985. The following year, American indie Grand Slam Records bought and issued it in the States. The album made it to the Top 200. White Lion were signed by Atlantic Records in early 1987, and issued the album Pride in June. Seven months after its release, Atlantic released a video for the single "Wait" to MTV. The track charted inside of a week, while Pride eventually peaked at 11 on the album charts. 1989's Big Game made the Top 20, and was certified gold. Fortunes had changed by the time they issued 1991's Mane Attraction, as rock & roll was under the influence of the grunge era. The set only reached 61 in the U.S. and peaked at 31 in Great Britain. White Lion folded after a support tour.

Tramp formed hard rock/heavy metal band Freak of Nature at the beginning of 1992. They released two albums, 1992's Freak of Nature and 1994's Gathering of Freaks, before disbanding in 1998. That same year, the compilation Outcasts, which collected unissued tracks, outtakes, and B-sides, was released. Tramp wasted no time, and by the end of the year, he released his debut solo outing, Capricorn. Its songs were fueled by hooky, anthemic, storyteller's rock songs played by a backing band composed of ex-Freak of Nature and White Lion mates. In 1999, he released Remembering White Lion, offering newly recorded versions of the band's classic songs. Tramp moved to Australia to raise his son away from the rigors and noise of city life for a couple of years. He issued his second solo outing Recovering the Wasted Years, in 2002. The following year, he released More to Life Than This and the double-length live album Rock 'N' Roll Alive, wherein he performed live versions of songs from his solo work as well as material from his time with White Lion and Freak of Nature. He followed with Songs I Left Behind, a compilation of unissued solo tracks.

Tramp had been trying to re-form White Lion since releasing 1999's Remembering White Lion. The record was pulled from shelves after Bratta threatened legal action. At the beginning of 2003, Tramp tried one last time to re-form the original band and even announced it, but given Bratta's resistance, the effort proved futile. Instead, he employed new musicians and formed Tramp's White Lion. Remembering White Lion was re-released under the new group's name as The Last Roar. They also toured and issued the box set The Bootleg Series, and a year later, the double-live Rocking the USA. In 2007, The Definitive Rock Collection, an original White Lion comp, was released and Tramp's White Lion planned on touring behind it with Poison and Ratt. The tour promoter dropped them after Bratta once more threatened legal action over the band's name. After a series of negotiations, Tramp was finally able to use the White Lion name, and to that end, recorded the studio outing Return of the Pride; it appeared in March 2008. After a world tour, they issued the live DVD Bang Your Head Festival 2005.

After the legal wrangling of the previous few years, Tramp was exhausted. He entered a period of professional indecision, trying to decide between returning to his solo career or continuing his efforts to further the image of White Lion. He decided on the former. In October 2011, he released Stand Your Ground, credited to Mike Tramp & The Rock 'N' Roll Circuz. It charted inside the Danish Top 20. One of its singles, "Hymn to Ronnie" offered tribute to hard rock and metal vocalist Ronnie James Dio, who had recently died from stomach cancer.

In 2012, Tramp shifted musical gears with Cobblestone Street, which was performed entirely acoustic by Tramp with co-producer/engineer Soren Andersen playing additional guitars and singing backup. The new direction paid off, and the set peaked at 21 on the Danish album charts. He toured Europe, the United Kingdom, and the U.S. in 2013. Tramp scored higher with 2014's Museum. Again recorded acoustically, the set reached number three in Denmark, and he followed it with a pair of global tours.

In 2015, Tramp singed a multi-album deal with Target Records, and returned to his anthemic, electric rock & roll sound with Nomad, performed by his newly formed Band of Brothers. The lineup featured Andersen on guitars, Rock'n'Roll Circuz drummer Morten Hellborn, keyboardist Morlen Buchholz, and bassist Jesper Haugaar. It peaked at 21 on the Danish charts and ultimately became his best-selling solo work.

Tramp released his tenth album, Maybe Tomorrow in February 2017 and spent the remainder of the year as well as part of 2018 touring Europe. In March 2019, he released Stray from the Flock with Band of Brothers. It peaked at 26 on the Danish album charts. In May 2020, Tramp again looked in the rearview. He released Second Time Around, an album consisting of ten re-recordings from 2009's The Rock 'N' Roll Circuz. In December, he celebrated his 25th anniversary as a solo artist with Trampthology, collecting 16 previously issued tracks and four new ones.

In February 2021, Tramp released the single "Everything Is Alright," in hopes of representing Denmark in the Eurovision Song Contest, as his band Mabel had done 43 years earlier by winning the Danish contest with the song "Boom Boom," and getting the opportunity to represent their country at Eurovision. (Thom Jurek, AMG)

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