White Lion guitarist, founding member, and main songwriter Vito Bratta is one of the unsung heroes of the 1980s glam metal movement. He has been accused of being the clone of legendary musician Eddie Van Halen.
Vito Bratta reacts to accusation of stealing Eddie Van Halen’s style
The trouble with Bratta was that he was often accused of stealing Eddie Van Halen’s style, which is exactly what he addressed in a recent chat with Guitar World. Recalling what Eddie was like, he said:
“The thing that struck me most about Eddie Van Halen when he came out was that here was literally everything that I had been chasing wrapped up in one guy.
“He had the melody, the tone, the picking, the rapid-fire stuff, and he had the look of being a guitar player. He was the image of what I thought of when I thought about being a guitar player in a rock band. And it was all wrapped up in one person. It was unfathomable to me then, and it still is today.”
And then reflecting on these accusations, Bratta explained that they’re nothing more than “bullshit.” He said:
“Once I became established with White Lion in the ’80s, I got a lot of shit from people who said I was aping his style. That was all bullshit.”
Bratta recalled meeting Eddie in person and asking him about it:
“It got to the point where I met Eddie once, and I asked him, ‘Does it freak you out that I play like you?’ I thought that because it had been drilled into my head by magazines and stuff.
“Now, I’m not the type to use Eddie’s name for whatever – especially since he passed away – but I will say that Eddie complimented me and that he didn’t agree.
“What I will say is that when I talked to Eddie, he didn’t agree. I got to meet him once when he came into the studio during the recording of [White Lion’s 1991 album] ‘Mane Attraction.’ He came in, and he was sitting on my 5150 amp. I was blown away. Here I am, standing in the studio, watching Eddie Van Halen sitting on my amp, jamming out on guitar.”
To Vito, Eddie Van Halen was a hero. And during that occasion, Eddie had nothing but fine things to say about Vito. The White Lion guitarist admitted that he felt very emotional about it:
“Eddie said a lot of nice things to me that day and I’ll take them to my grave, but I’ll tell you this, I was touched enough to where I had to leave the room, go to the bathroom, and cry.
“That might make me sound like a dick, but after being told I sounded like him, that I was copying him, and all this shit, it meant a lot to hear that he liked what I did and that he respected it.”