Vito Bratta (born July 1, 1961, Staten Island, New York, United States) is the former guitarist and main songwriter for the rock band White Lion. Bratta co-founded White Lion with lead singer Mike Tramp in 1983 and played with the band until 1992.
He was influenced by Jimmy Page, Eddie Van Halen, and other rock and blues guitar players of the 1970s and 80s. His playing has been described as melodic, original and technically accomplished. Bratta often employed two-handed tapping, sweep picking, pinch harmonics and various whammy bar techniques.
In 2003, Mike Tramp attempted to reunite with Bratta but was unsuccessful. Tramp talked about Bratta in a 2007 interview with Anarchy Music, claiming Bratta was always quiet and maintained a certain distance from the rest of the band.
On February 16, 2007, Bratta gave his first live interview in over 12 years. The following points were revealed during the Eddie Trunk interview: Bratta's father went through a 5-year illness, which required a large amount of personal time and commitment on Vito's part, both emotionally and financially. In 1997, he injured his wrist and finds it painful to move his hand up and down an electric guitar's neck; however he still manages to play classical guitars without excessive discomfort. In addition, he clarified that he has never ruled out a White Lion/Mike Tramp reunion; up until now, they have simply been impossible due to family obligations and his wrist injury.
In April 2007, Vito Bratta made his first public musical appearances in over 15 years, at both Friday and Saturday nights shows at the L'Amour Reunion Shows in New York.
Although Vito Bratta has not released any music since 1992, many musicians, both singers and guitar players, have continued to praise his songwriting skills and technical ability. Zakk Wylde has stated that Bratta is the only guitarist whose tapped playing he enjoys. He has also praised Vito Bratta's originality and pointed out that he considers the solo in "Wait" one of the best solos he has ever heard .
Bratta's partner in White Lion, Mike Tramp, also remarked that Bratta's skills as a guitar player and songwriter were unmatched:
"Vito the guitar player and Vito the songwriter and musician, he was in a calibre all by himself. It shows in his great solos, and so many people love the way he played like Eddie with the hammer-ons and all that stuff like the Van Halen solo on “Ain’t Talkin’ Bout Love.” I just love the way Vito played solos on “Wait” and “Little Fighter” and some of the others. He was like Mozart."
Tramp also mentioned that many accomplished guitar players turned him down when he attempted to put together a new version of White Lion.
"We tried to do new White Lions with Warren DeMartini and Paul Gilbert and all these others, and no one wanted to do Vito. He was unlike anyone else, he had his own way of doing thing, and plus he was a great songwriter. Had he remained in the business, Vito would have been bigger than Steve Vai and all those types of guys. With him the melody came before anything else, and that’s nothing but the highest praise."
Guitar World Magazine named Vito one of the best 20 guitarists of the 80s, commenting:
Vito Bratta was the most tasteful, lyrical and inventive guitarist of his generation, adding structure, style and an unerring pop sensibility to Van Halen’s oft-tapped fountain of inspiration."
Producer Michael Wagener called Vito Bratta his "favorite guitar player" on February 17, 2007, when he called the Eddie Trunk show.
Rubicon Cross guitarist Chris Green considers Vito Bratta one of his first influences.
Vito Bratta was probably one of my first influences, the thing about him, that people just completely overlooked, is that he used to write guitar solos, he like wrote songs within songs! So, the solo was almost like a classical movement, within the track, and there are a lot of guitar players out there, I think, who could do that as well, but I think, Vito Bratta is the absolute best. It’s absolutely tragic that the guy doesn’t play anymore, and if you chat to the guys from Tyketto, they were very close to Vito. Mike, the drummer in Tyketto, was in a cover band when he was 14 years old, with Vito, and he was chatting to me on this last tour about how they had to sit backstage, because they weren’t old enough to be in the club, that they were playing in. They would play for six hours while they were waiting to go on stage! The way he crafted guitar solos, made me think extremely seriously about how to not go off topic, with a song, but to take it to another level, and somehow manage to make it come back again to make sense of where the song’s coming in. He was a huge influence.