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The Sound Academy
February 11, 2012

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'The Band That Invented The Tribute'

Michael White

By Robert Godwin - Over the past few years, a number of bands have been touring the U.S. and Canada under the banner of "A Tribute to Led Zeppelin." But the best impersonators of them all are The White, led by vocalist Michael White. Originally from Los Angeles but now based out of Toronto, they have been performing their version of Zeppelin-mania since 1979. They were the first band ever to call themselves a 'tribute' and have performed over 4000 shows to over 3 million fans around the world. Even Jimmy Page himself commented to me in 1985 that "Michael does it best".

While on tour in 1983, Robert Plant met with Michael and told him to contact Atlantic Records. This resulted in Michael signing a $350,000 record contract with the label and the release of his self-titled debut album on Atlantic in 1987. Since then Michael has recorded two more CD's for Griffin Music. One in 1990 titled "Michael White/The White" and a 1994 release "Michael White Plays the Music of Led Zeppelin". All of these albums have received critical acclaim from the press in Europe, the U.S. and Canada, including excellent reviews in The Chicago Tribune, Billboard and Britain's Kerrang magazine."

Robert Plant wearing a White T-ShirtDuring his career that began in 1973, Michael has worked with performers such as Nikki Sixx (Motley Crue), George Lynch (Dokken & Lynch Mob), Randy Piper (W.A.S.P.), Lanny Cordola (Giuffria & House of Lords), and for a short time in 1987 the German band 'Accept'. Coincidentally, in the Motley Crue biography "The Dirt", Nikki Sixx credits Michael as having been the original singer in the legendary heavy metal band! Also, a little known fact is that in 1975 Van Halen was a warm-up band for Michael and George's band "The Boyz" as credited by Gene Simmons in his book 'Kiss & Makeup'. Michael has worked in recording studios around the world with producer/engineers such as Andy Johns (Led Zeppelin, Rolling Stones & Van Halen), Mack (Led Zeppelin, Queen & E.L.O.), and David Glover (Yes & Tom Waits), as well as the band 'Blue Murder' whose members included drummer Carmine Appice (Vanilla fudge & Rod Stewart) and John Sykes (Whitesnake & Thin Lizzy).

Jimmy Page looking at a White T-ShirtI met Michael in 1981 and two years later I credited him in my book "The Illustrated Led Zeppelin Collection" as being an ongoing source of inspiration. In the 1991 book "Led Zeppelin - A Celebration" author David Lewis credits Michael White and The White as being the first "Musical Tribute to Led Zeppelin".

Michael has been my friend for 22 years. His knowledge of Led Zeppelin's music is unsurpassed. It has been a genuine thrill for me to come full circle with Michael. From the first show he gave at my club in 1981 to listening to him chat with Jimmy Page in 1995 about the intricacies of how this amazing music was created.

Robert Plant and Michael White in Denver, 1983After 24 years of performing the music of Led Zeppelin, Michael and his band have progressed beyond those early days when they felt the need to dress the part. The White are still able to capture the spirit of Led Zeppelin with every performance. Once you put aside the preconceptions and just listen, you will hear consummate professionals at work. Or as Jimmy Page would say..."The best"...

Robert Gowdwin, Jimmy Page and Michael White

Robert Godwin
Author of "The Illustrated Collector's Guide To Led Zeppelin Volumes 1 and 2" & "Led Zeppelin - The Press Reports"

Michael White