Ice Vajal :: Music Land :: Metal World
editorial :: feedback :: newsletter ::  
   Bands :: A-Z / F / Freak Of Nature /

In Words: Freak Of Nature

- Mike Tramp - August 1993 - Claudia Ehrhardt -
- Mike Tramp - January 1995 - Claudia Ehrhardt -

Mike Tramp - Hamburg (Germany), January, 28th 1995

Gathering Of Freaks is the 2nd album of Freak Of Nature, the band from Los Angeles which spent a lot time on European stages. Mike Tramp made other experiences while he was in White Lion, there always been one tour for every album. Not like the freaks who played about 140 shows in Europe while promoting their debut. There won't be many changes they will still be "the hardest working band in rock'n'roll". The idea of Freak Of Nature Mike had first in late 1991, the line-up was Jerry Best (bs, ex-Lion), Johnny Haro (dr) and the guitarists Kenny Korade and Oliver Steffenson. Remains are the songs Possessed and '92, others just used as bonus tracks on the Japanese editions. "With Steffenson it won't really work" Mike explained. Substitute been found in the former House Of Lords guitarist Dennis Chick. The band emphasize that they are a unit and not Mike Tramps band. They are a democratic union. A bunch of very different human beings with different personal backgrounds. They came together to make something different, music which is much more direct, partly aggressive, but always with lots of emotions and feelings. The debut been recorded in 6 days with a small budget, perhaps that cause the spontanity and directness. also lyrically many things changed "in the 80's the music scene was very different, this kind of lyrics won't fit" Mike told us. "If I had the possibility I wrote lyrics without using all that clichés". The new album Gathering Of Freaks continues what the band started with the debut. The record is much more intensive, darker and full of energy. "The songs are all recorded in the 1. or 2. take, otherwise you can't catch the spontanity" explain Dennis. "We recorded the songs as a band, in a common situation as on stage. Only Mike recorded the vocals later in a small studio. He sings at the recording sessions, but the vocals don't be recorded." The band assemble on the extensive European tour. After recording the 2nd album Kenny Korade left the band. "Kenny told us that he will left before the recording sessions. We haven't had any problems. It was his decision. We wanted that he record with us the 2nd album and played the promotion show with us" Mike explains the line-up change. "Marcus Mand our new guitarist is from England. He become a part of us very fast. Now on tour we don't feel that he's the new one. Marcus and Dennis share the guitar solos, no ego problems." The band is a unit. Back in the days of the first tour the band used every chance to work on new material. "We wrote the new songs under the impression of the tour. We all haven't finished with our past when we wrote the tracks for the first album." That's how Mike explain the changes which is more a natural process than a change. The lyrics now fits the dark and depressive sound. The words cover different themes like problems inside a family through drug abuse (Need). A song which is very important for Mike Tramp. Also Raping The Cradle which is about sexual abuse of children or Candle which tells about children who don't get love in the families. Stand Back is about the ignorance between people. The Tree is the most impressive song on the album. Mike said about that song "I wrote the song from the point of view a tree have. The tree been cut down, killed and make into an instrument of death penalty. The killed tree been used to kill people. It's the reversal of everything." The new album is a unit, it reflects the band today, in the days with Kenny and also with Marcus. Live the band present themselves with lots of fun and power. Naturally they play most of the new album, caused by the short time Marcus is in the band and they want promote their new album. That explains the short set which is just 75 minutes long. In 1993 the band had cover versions of Thin Lizzy in the set, too. Anyhow you don't miss any track during the show. There are hard rocking songs and also ballads. The Tree is the center of the show. In these days Mike plays guitar, too. Dennis command "the guitar lessons he took been a good investment, he is better now." Mike plays guitar just at the additional songs Candle and Need. "It was necessary to play the songs like on the album" Mike says. In the camp of the freaks there is hope to get a record deal outside Europe soon. They want to play live everywhere. With the extensive tours they make lots of friends in Europe, but also America and Japan will get the pleasure to see the band live. The future is made for the freaks, the band and their fans who joins in the Gathering Of Freaks to have a good time.

Claudia Ehrhardt

Mike Tramp - Essen (Germany), August, 7th 1993


This time Freak Of Nature hit the German roads alone, earlier this year they headlined a small club tour and been supported by Z the band of Ahmet and Dweezil Zappa. The bands intention is to make it in Europe and everywhere else before going the American club circuit. That's why the Freak's touring Europe again and again. The 2nd cause is that only Europe and Japan had signed Freak Of Nature until now. Their Japanese label is the same that discovered White Lion earlier than anyone else! Last time the Japanese nose out the coming success of White Lion and I believe they're right again this time. Like before the guys starting with their album opener Turn The Other Way followed by the new single Rescue Me which is in MTV rotating. In every minute you feel the power of that band. This guys enjoy it to be on stage and don't mind if there are 20 or 2,000 fans (this time there had been around 250 every evening) who share the fun. The set includes all songs of the debut except the ballad Love Was Here.
The difference to the songs of White Lion is founded in the difference of descent and background of every band member. Mike explained us: "There's a big difference. In Freak Of Nature it's more democracy. In White Lion were two songwriters and two people were left out. Not everyone can write songs, but in Freak Of Nature everybody is equal and when there's a problem we sit down and talk about it, and when there decisions to make there are made by the whole band. That's the more inside difference. The musical difference is that everyone in the band writes songs. So it's not only me who is writing, I'll let them first come up with ideas and then I try to fit in."
The guitarists Kenny Korade, a native New Yorker and the half Cherokee Dennis Chick are a classical guitar duo without egos. They share the lead guitar part and both show their technical brilliance in their solos. But all that wouldn't work without the powerful and tight rhythm section. Bassist Jerry Best (former Lion) and the so far unknown Mexican drum­mer Johnny Haro give Freak Of Nature the drive. In the words of Mike "I was looking for people who want to put all their energy in this band, because this band is a dedication for the next 15 years. It's not only a weekend job, so I searched somebody who was willing to do that." The ones who saw White Lion live would be surprised by the change of Mike Tramp. 1992 hadn't been a good year for Tramp, it changed him and he has the guts to sing about in a song called '92 (I f**king hate you). This time it's worth to listen to the lyrics like Tramp said: "Freak Of Nature is a place where we can do what ever we feel like, there are no restrictions. When I wrote the words I felt so free, I had the chance to open up and write just how I feel. Instead of writing in true metal clichés about girls which you met in the backstage area or in a limousine I just wrote about how I felt." The singer also told us why they signed with Music For Nations, "We are doing it our way to the top, which is a long way. We're starting up playing in small clubs and with a small label, we can do what we want and make our career the way we like to do it. None of the big bosses says what we gonna do and none makes a hype of us." This is only possible with an independent label, not with a major company as Mike himself knew from his White Lion days. I ask Mike about their constantly touring. He answered "I took the band to Europe to build it up bit by bit. We like to play as many shows as we can all over Europe, so many different people get knowledge of us. The last place we want to play is America." Tramp and the guys also shows their admiration to Thin Lizzy's Phil Lynott. Every evening the group performing two cover versions of Thin Lizzy. They try to bring songs like Holy War, Bad Reputation or When The Sun Goes Down near to their fans who sometimes are too young to know this. Also a lot of 'em didn't know UFO's Lights Out. One thing's for sure, it's fun to be at a concert of Freak Of Nature. This Freaks will make it the old way, constantly touring, powerful music, a lot of fun and loyalty to their fans. They always have time for the freaking fans and mostly they show up after the show to be with 'em or should I better say friends!?! Catch 'em, if you can and get your own impression. Don't miss 'em when they came to town!

Claudia Ehrhardt


• E-Mail: