Vito Bratta recorded this classic White Lion solo using Jimi Hendrix’s black Strat and Leslie West’s 100-watt Marshall
“I was almost waiting for Jimmy Page to stroll in and say, ‘Hey, do you need any of my gear, too?’”
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Vito Bratta has reminisced on the time he ended up using Jimi Hendrix’s black Fender Stratocaster to record a solo on White Lion’s 1987 album, Pride.
Looking back on some of the glam metal outfit’s most iconic solos in the latest issue of Guitar World, Bratta draws attention, in particular, to All You Need Is Rock ‘n’ Roll – and the equally iconic gear used in the song’s recording process.
“If you want to talk about a good solo from Pride, I’d point you toward All You Need Is Rock ’n’ Roll,” Bratta says. “I recorded the entire solo for that song with Jimi Hendrix’s black Stratocaster.”
The guitarist explains that he’d gotten his hands on Jimi’s axe via a keyboard player named Al Kooper, “who played with everybody, including Hendrix. Hendrix gave Al Kooper his black Strat somewhere along the way, so he had it.”
He adds, “Al was working with us in the studio on Pride and was listening to me practising the All You Need Is Rock ’n’ Roll solo. I guess he realised I didn’t have a neck pickup in my Strat, and suddenly, Al goes, ‘Hold on, Vito, let me get you something.’
“He leaves, comes back and pulls out Jimi Hendrix’s guitar. I knew what it was the second I saw it, and again, I’m just a kid, so I’m in awe of this thing. So Al goes, ‘Plug it in. Play it, Vito.’
“Long story short, I used Hendrix’s black Stratocaster to record the solo for All You Need Is Rock ’n’ Roll. When I listen back to the record, I can hear the classic Hendrix sound all over that song.”
And if one piece of historic gear wasn’t enough, Bratta goes on to share that the track also featured the prized amp of Mountain guitarist Leslie West: “I was plugged into an old Marshall, but it wasn’t the same one from [White Lion’s 1985 debut album] Fight to Survive,” he recalls.
“I used Leslie West’s 100-watt Marshall. But not just any old Leslie West Marshall; it was his favourite. This was the same amp he used to record all those classic Mountain songs.”
As exciting as the experience was though, Bratta admits that he was “too young to grasp it fully” at the time, saying, “So, I’m a kid with Jimi Hendrix’s Strat plugged into Leslie West’s Marshall. I’m proud to say I still own that amp. But it was so crazy that I was almost waiting for Jimmy Page to stroll in and say, ‘Hey, do you need any of my gear, too?’ It was just crazy.”