David Lee Roth to White Lion’s Mike Tramp in 1981, “Take me to McDonald’s,” Van Halen, Vito Bratta

During an interview with Steve Jones’s “Jonesy’s Jukebox,” White Lion vocalist Mike Tramp shared a great story about meeting Van Halen and hanging with David Lee Roth in 1981.

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David Lee Roth to Mike Tramp, β€œTake me to McDonald’s”


Mike Tramp:

We had some big hits and we sold a lot of records. But where were the people when we really needed them? Where were the accountants? Our accountant at that time forgot to file the tax return in our biggest year. And I remember three weeks after my son was born, I was actually living in a guest house over in the Valley. I owned a ’58 pickup truck with a Cadillac engine, and you had to start it with a screwdriver. Basically, just saying that’s how low I was on cash. And I go out to the mailbox and there’s a letter from the IRS, and it says, ‘You owe $950,000.’ And I think I had $2,200 in my checking account. I didn’t have a savings. And Vito (Bratta) got hit the same way. And that’s really just how it all ended up. So I had no money to pay them.

Basically, for the next 20 years, they put a lien on all income for Mike Tramp in America, my royalties. I had actually forgotten that I ever had a hit, that I ever made any money. Until one day, a new accountant, he was just taking care of some old paperwork: “You actually have a check coming in now. They have let you go.” So, 20 years to pay off $950,000.

Mike Tramp Interview w/ Jonesy’s Jukebox