GREAT WHITE's MARK KENDALL Praises New Singer BRETT CARLISLE, Explains Split With ANDREW FREEMAN
October 19, 2022
In a new interview with Tulsa Music Stream, GREAT WHITE guitarist Mark Kendall was asked if Brett Carlisle, who fronted the band for its performance on September 24 at the Cannery Casino Hotel in Las Vegas, Nevada, has officially been named GREAT WHITE's new vocalist. He responded (as transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET): "Well, yeah. We're talking about it. We're talking to him. We haven't made any big announcements yet. But as much as we love Andrew [Freeman, who was named GREAT WHITE's new singer in May] and respect him — and I still do respect him — he's just loyal to his band [LAST IN LINE]. And with our brand, we can't really have a singer that's in multiple bands; it just doesn't work. It's not really good for our brand. It makes it hard to schedule things when somebody else is busy doing something else. So we're more into somebody that sings great, is totally dedicated, loyal to us, loves to be in the band.
"We did a show with Brett, and it was world news," Mark continued. "And I didn't even wanna do the show. We auditioned, like, three singers, just to do one show. So it's extra work; you've gotta see if somebody can pull it off. And he sounded the best. A friend of ours turned us on to him. He's in a band called ALL OR NOTHING [out of Birmingham, Alabama]; I think they do maybe covers. I don't know a lot about it. But anyways, so I didn't even wanna do the show. They talked me into it. I heard his voice. He sang on a couple of our songs, put vocals on a tape. And I go, 'Well, he sounds closer than anybody so far. So, okay.' So we went and rehearsed in Las Vegas. And I was real nervous about doing the show; I [thought], 'This could be career ending.' And sure enough, it was completely the opposite. It was world news. There was press in Italy, the U.K., Germany, the U.S.A. A lot of the online magazines that normally are just dirt-seeking and they just want to pull dirt out of everything and just kind of bag on everybody, really, even they had good things to say. So he just nailed our songs. People loved him at the gig itself; not just the press. And he's a wonderful guy. He's 25 years old, so quite a bit younger than us. But he's very humble. He really loves the idea of being in the band, and he really throws down on stage. I was really surprised about that. And he asked a lot of questions. He's just a good guy."
Kendall also addressed Freeman's recent Facebook comment that the singer "wouldn't give a fuck if" GREAT WHITE threatened to fire him over his touring commitments with LAST IN LINE. Mark said: "That's okay. I still have respect for him because of his loyalty to his band. There's gotta be something to say about that. If he made a comment that was kind of rude, I'm sure it was just to kind of save face or something. He's a great guy, and man, he can sing too. He was a joy to be around. I was really sad that he did multiple projects.
"If we were a different situation that we were used to just having random singers every gig… It's just too much work to do that, because when somebody has to cancel a show, then we've gotta audition people," Kendall added. "And we don't wanna go out there with a different singer every time. But I thought Andrew was really gonna work out, and then, all of a sudden [LAST IN LINE] get this tour. And then I don't know what's gonna happen in the future. We were really in a tough spot. And we're really happy that things worked out with Brett, 'cause he's dynamite, man."
Asked about GREAT WHITE's approach when making changes in the singer department, Mark said: "I'd like to say that we always kind of settled. People would just get the songs close, and we'd go, 'It's probably not gonna get better than that.' Then there was… I won't go into any details because I have nothing bad to say about any of [the singers we've worked with in the past], but there were some other issues, like things that today, to me, are… We're so past any kind of ego trips or whatever; we're just happy to wake up in the morning and start a new day and say, 'Woah. Everything's great.' That's good enough for us. And try to make the best music we can. But when there's some kind of a — I don't know if it's insecurity or ego or what, when there's anything drama-related, it just turns me off personally. So I'd rather just concentrate on the music, make that the most important thing, and just have fun and enjoy ourselves. And Brett really seems like he's that type; he's very enjoyable to be around. He's just at ease. He loves singing. And he sings our songs perfect; it's quite incredible. And his range is from A to Z. This guy has a full voice in every note. So it's pretty incredible to find somebody like that; they don't grow on trees."
As for when GREAT WHITE plans to make an official announcement naming Carlisle its new singer, Mark said: "The time table is just… He has a few priority gigs that he committed to [with ALL OR NOTHING], and once that ends and we do pictures — we're scheduled to do a photo shoot in Vegas. Obviously, I'm spilling the beans now… But we just wanna have our ducks in a row and present it the right way."
Carlisle has been playing guitar and singing since the age of eight and counts bands like VAN HALEN, SKID ROW and METALLICA as his main influences.
This past May, GREAT WHITE announced that it had parted ways with singer Mitch Malloy and had replaced him with Freeman. Malloy had been in GREAT WHITE for nearly four years, having joined the group in 2018 following the departure of Terry Ilous.
In June, Freeman discussed his GREAT WHITE gig during an appearance on SiriusXM's "Trunk Nation With Eddie Trunk". Regarding how he approached singing the classic GREAT WHITE songs originally recorded by the band's founding vocalist Jack Russell, Freeman said: "When I'm playing with GREAT WHITE, that's their thing, and I'm just there to try to do the songs like Jack. If we do original material, great. We're talking about it.
"I wanna make that band tough again, like it was when Jack was in it," he explained. "Jack would do a show and then bust a bottle over your head off the side of the stage."
Andrew went on to say that he was a GREAT WHITE fan from the early 1980s. "I really loved the first album," he said. "I got the first album when I was young, alongside with MÖTLEY CRÜE's 'Too Fast For Love'."
In a recent interview with Dr. Music, Mark stated about Mitch's departure: "We were going in separate ways in the sense that he was always by himself; he didn't really talk to us much. He just kind of showed up… That's just not the way a band works, as far as we're concerned. He's a wonderful singer. I don't think he's used to him not being in full control of everything because he's been a solo artist for so many years. He's a sweet guy. I really liked him. I think a few of our songs are a little out of his range, so it's a little bit of a struggle. But nothing real heavy — no big, huge fights. Nothing ever came to fisticuffs, if you will. [Laughs] So it wasn't a case of that."
Asked if he and his bandmates had given any thought at all to the idea of reuniting with original GREAT WHITE singer Jack Russell, Mark told Dr. Music: "That's the other thing. [People say,] 'Why don't you patch things up with Jack?' What people don't understand is we never even got in fights [with Jack]. In 25 years together, we might have gotten in two arguments. The thing that took him out is the horrible demons of addiction, and it's really affected his health. I just saw a video the other day where he's not even standing — he's using wheelchairs and he's sitting in a stool. So for us to go back to that, it just feels dark. I'd rather remember him… 'Cause I'm very proud of our career — I'm very proud of the past. I'm so lucky to be a part of it. And I wanna remember it like that, where he's flying around on stage and getting the crowds pumped and singing his heart out — not a sick person. So going to that…
"My goal has always been to deliver the best show we can possibly deliver and have the fans be beyond impressed," Kendall explained. "And the way Andrew sings, I really like the way he delivers the songs, because it's what you wanna hear. So that's important to me, just to have the songs — the big songs, especially — be sung right and with full power. It just makes everything — it makes us play better, believe it or not. So that's the whole thing with me."
Ilous, frontman of '80s L.A. hard rockers XYZ, joined GREAT WHITE in 2010 after stepping in for touring vocalist Jani Lane (WARRANT).
The Ilous-led GREAT WHITE released two albums, 2012's "Elation" and 2017's "Full Circle", before Terry was dismissed from the group.
This version of GREAT WHITE is not to be confused with JACK RUSSELL'S GREAT WHITE, which features Russell alongside Robby Lochner (FIGHT) on guitar, Dan McNay on bass, Tony Montana on guitar and Dicki Fliszar on drums.
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