When I was a kid in the 1980s, most rock guitarists of the day were heavily influenced by the late great Eddie Van Halen. Heck, many still are today. Some guitarists blindly emulated Eddie's innovative techniques. Then there was Vito Bratta.
Some critics wrote him off as simply another Eddie clone at the time of White Lion's debut album, Fight to Survive, in 1985. By 1989, however, with the release of White Lion's Big Game album, Vito had established himself as one of the genre's premier melodic, virtuoso guitarists. He infused unique style, personality and impeccable phrasing into every composition. Sure, he borrowed some technique from Eddie and even resembled him, but the similarities ended there despite the never-ending comparisons. With no disrespect to Eddie, an incredible innovator, Vito simply took virtuoso guitar playing to another level.
The above video features some excerpts of Vito's exquisite guitar playing taken from the criminally underrated Big Game album. All these years later, I still get goosebumps, smiles and sometimes even tears listening to Vito Bratta. I don't understand how this album wasn't bigger. I'm sure there is no single reason, but I have met ex-White Lion singer Mike Tramp several times, and let's just say he isn't the friendliest guy in the world, but that's for another blog post.
Thank you, Vito Bratta, wherever you are, for the beautiful musical legacy. It's been thoroughly enjoyed throughout the years and has withstood the test of time. Your fans will never forget you.
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