White Lion truly scaled the heights of the rock world during their reign. Big tours, big albums, even respect from other musicians and critics. Then they disappeared. Since they left a big gaping hole in the melodic rock community it’s been very difficult to track down the guys for interviews and they’ve gone their own way. We were truly pleased Greg D’Angelo agreed to talk to us recently. He’s never stopped playing of course, appearing with great bands like Alex Kane (Life Sex, Death) and his group Antiproduct and recently serving as the drummer for Stephen Pearcy. We talked to Greg about what he’s been up to and of course where he’s been. Read on……….
Q: For those out of the loop or needing an update….What is Greg up to in 2011? What have you been working on?
A: I recently mixed a disc for Italian Band “Armed Venus” produced by Ric Browde (POISON)– I’ve been doing tracks for the new Stephen Pearcy disc called SUCKERPUNCH as well as preparing to do some dates with him in late October – I have also been writing with my former Anthrax bandmate Greg Walls!!
Q: A lot of people are surprised to hear you’ve been in lots of bands like ANTHRAX comin up on the east coast. What do you remember about that early, seminal part of your career?
A: LOTS of great memories from those days. We spent a good deal of time with Metallica back in those days – we rehearsed in the same building and opened for them on what I believe to be their first east coast dates. Cool time!
Q: When you joined White Lion they had already released the Fight to Survive album but were still pretty unknown. Did you see something in the band or the material that made you think they had superstar potential?
A: I thought Mike Tramp had great stage presence and I liked the melodies they’d come up with. I thought ,and rightly so, that they would make some headway.
Q: You being an east coast guy must have fit the chemistry of the band pretty well in those days. Was the band getting along pretty solid during those days recording “Pride”?
A: We all came for the same area – Tramp had even adopted a New York kind of attitude in those days. We all had similar goals and were dedicated to succeeding. We had a common purpose.
Q: The band had MASSIVE success and they always say that kind of success comes at a price. At the time of “Big Game” being released you were a VERY busy band as far as touring, promoting, etc. Drumming is a pretty demanding job……Did it ever start to feel like a roller coaster ride that would never end?
A: No – in fact – at that level – even as an opener – we got into a routine and had support to be the best band we could be. I loved playing the drums and still do – probably will for the rest of my life – so whether on a stage in front of tons of people or sweating in my rehearsal room staring at my Zeppelin posters – I’m very fortunate to do what I do.
Q: You guys did sooo many amazing tours both headlining and in support….the Stryper one in particular blew me AWAY. Do any of them stand out as highlights in particular for you personally?
A: Well – sure – our first extended opening slot was for KISS – I did my best to play it cool but those guys were giants to me. The 77 show at the Garden set me on my course and ALIVE was a milestone for me. All of that coupled with the fact that they were fellow New Yorkers… It was a great experience. We also got to open for Aerosmith – still one of my favorite bands and meeting those guys was just over the top – I really can’t say any one tour was better than another – we opened for Ozzy – I got Black Sabbath Paranoid when I was 6 or 7 yrs old so – just to meet Ozzy was completely unreal – One year I wound up having Thanksgiving dinner with him – I still have an image burn in my mind of passing the potatoes and looking across the table at him. Luckily for me – I never stopped being a fan. We also opened for AC/DC – packed houses every night – they probably have the most loyal fans I’d ever met – and for obvious reason. Just an amazing experience and some of the greatest people I’d ever met. Again, I’ve been very fortunate to have been on these great tours – very lucky!
Q: How hard is it for a touring and recording band to just keep up with family, home life, the normal day to day things all of us kind of take for granted?
A: At our level, at that point – it was very difficult – maxed out schedule – The band is your life and everything else comes second. Our normal day to day was reflective of what the schedule dictated at that point – there wasn’t a lot of responsibility other than the band.
Q: How much had the industry and the band personally changed by the time you got around to releasing “Mane Attraction”?
A: I don’t think the industry changed much in the time we were active – I don’t think the grunge thing affected White lion because we split before it really hit. Being in a band is like being in a family and a lot of the dynamics are similar – so there’s good and bad and you do the best you can.
Q: What do you have to say to the fans that are still waiting for a real, full fledged reunion of White Lion? It seems sad that such a great live band as you, James, Vito and Mike aren’t out there, is there ANY chance?
A: I know Mike made an effort to reconnect with Vito a number of years ago with no success. In fact, I just saw Eddie Trunk say on his show that Vito has been out of the music business for 20 yrs. I think any reunion would start with Vito’s desire to do something in music again. It’s really a question for him.
Q: After you left the band so many things changed in the industry. What exactly did you think of the way that you left the band and how did you cope initially?
A: I left White Lion to start a band with Zakk Wylde and James so I was planning on continuing my then course. I always had interest in production and had a great run with my studios – I got to work with A list artists and producers and got an education that I would have never gotten otherwise.
Q: You’ve been very active playing with other artists and have never really stopped playing….are there any projects you’ve worked on that you’re particularly proud of that people should definitely go check out?
A: There are a lot of records I’ve had a part in – too many to mention… – I am very excited about the music I’m writing With Greg Walls right now. I can’t wait to get it out!
Q: The kind of success you guys attained as White Lion tends to follow you around. Those songs are now considered “classic rock”….Is it just awesome or is it ever a burden being associated with such a “name” band?
A: I’m very happy to have been a part of White Lion. We accomplished something that a lot of people dream of doing. I’ve met many loyal fans over the years that really love the band and it really is the greatest feeling to know that music you are a part of made someone happy.
Q: Thanks for talking with us Greg. At the end of the day what would you consider the biggest misconception about you as an artist, what do you want people to remember about you?
A: I’m not aware of any misconceptions – I hope that people enjoy the music I made and continue to make. I’m thankful to have the ability to do it!