GREAT WHITE's MARK KENDALL Says Reuniting With JACK RUSSELL Was Never A Consideration: 'For Us To Go Back To That, It Just Feels Dark'
June 2, 2022
Earlier this week, GREAT WHITE announced that it has parted ways with singer Mitch Malloy and has replaced him with Andrew Freeman (LAST IN LINE). Malloy had been in GREAT WHITE for nearly four years, having joined the group in 2018 following the departure of Terry Ilous.
In a new interview with Dr. Music, GREAT WHITE guitarist Mark Kendall stated about the band's latest addition (as transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET): "[Andrew] sat in with us, I wanna say maybe eight months ago or so [when Mitch wasn't able to make the show]; we played with FOREIGNER up north [in Modesto, California in October of 2021]. And he blew our minds. [Editor's note: See video below.] So right then we kind of knew we wanted him. But because he was doing something, and we were really busy — [there was] not enough time to rehearse and stuff like that. And we saw this window of opportunity, [and] he was totally into it."
Kendall continued: "There's a lot of different sides to his voice too, so he's not one-dimensional, even though he delivers the LAST IN LINE thing [like] an in-your-face metal screamer. But he can sing a ballad like Satan; I mean, it's killer. So that's what I like. His voice is so well rounded. And the guy, he vibrates at a frequency that you like to be around — he's just this chill dude. There's no nonsense, no ego, no weird trips or anything, so you feel the brotherhood forming straight away. And that's what we like. We're into being a band — all of us, together — go places together, do things together and just enjoy each other. No weird trips. Because we've been through it all. If somebody's a little funny, it's, like, 'Really?' It's almost like if you see cocaine, you go, 'You still have that?' [Laughs] So any kind of weird head trips, we just don't understand it.
"So, yeah, we're just loving it," Kendall added. "We cannot wait for the fans to hear this guy sing some of our big songs. And we're real pumped about making new music, 'cause I have a lot of stuff, Michael [Lardie, guitar/keyboards] has a lot of stuff. We've done things together and just haven't quite put it together. But now we've got this guy that can do anything. Believe me, man, we wanna get something with him on it, 'cause it's gonna be ridiculous."
As for Mitch's departure, Mark said: "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.
"We canceled a gig — or we were going to have to cancel a gig for him to do a VAN HALEN show, a tribute show," Kendall explained. "He gave us warning about this. But when FOREIGNER canceled [our show with them] because of some COVID thing, we rescheduled the date and it fell right on when he was gonna do that VAN HALEN show that he warned us about. So, regardless, it was probably pretty tough for him to get out of it. But it ended up being a blessing for us because we got Andrew to fill in. When we heard him do that show… And the whole band FOREIGNER was on the side of the stage going, 'Oh my God, man. This is pretty good.' So that was nice of them to acknowledge we had a good show. So that's when the seed of the idea was, like, 'Man. God.'"
Kendall went on to say that he doesn't think Malloy is upset about being out of GREAT WHITE. "He likes his solo career," Mark said. "I saw his post [about his exit from GREAT WHITE] where he said, 'Get ready for my VAN HALEN experience. And I'm gonna be doing an acoustic show, a storytellers show,' and all this stuff. So I'm encouraging people to go check him out when he gets in your area and wishing him to do well."
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 said: "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."
GREAT WHITE's current lineup is rounded out by Audie Desbrow (drums) and Scott Snyder (bass).
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.