GREAT WHITE's MARK KENDALL Talks New Music: 'I've Been Writing Like Crazy'

January 25, 2024

In a new interview with Ernest Skinner of Canada's Border City Rock Talk, GREAT WHITE guitarist Mark Kendall confirmed that is still working on new music with Brett Carlisle, who was officially named the band's new vocalist in October 2022. Brett joined the group as the replacement for Andrew Freeman (LAST IN LINE),who sang for GREAT WHITE for only five months.

"I've been writing like crazy and going into the studio, making demos," Mark said (as transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET). "I've been going down to Tracy G's [Grijalva], a former guitar player that was in DIO, [and he] was in a band called WORLD WAR III with Vinny Appice and Jimmy Bain. He has a studio that's more conducive than what I have here. He does a lot of records there and stuff, and it's just a home studio, but it's more ready to go. I just show up and I make songs just to present to the band. 'Cause when we all get together, everybody throws in their ideas and we work on things together as a band. So I've been doing that, but my bass player just went through back surgery — Scott [Snyder] just had back surgery. He's doing much better. So, as soon as he is up and running, we're gonna get together and get a record together."

Regarding how GREAT WHITE plans to release its new music, Kendall said: "We're not sure how we're gonna do it yet. We haven't really had a lot of meetings about that. Are we gonna put out a 12-song thing or are we just gonna put out maybe five songs at a time? The world has changed so much, we're not really sure. We wanna speak to some people and see what the best way to do it."

Mark went on to say that GREAT WHITE will "probably" put out a few singles ahead of a full-length album release. "Just not give [the fans] too much information at once, and just throw out videos of what we feel are the best songs," he explained.

"Since all the mediums are kind of taken away with the record stores, the radio and MTVs and all that, and people mostly download songs, it sounds sensible to just put out one or two songs at a time," he added. "It makes the most sense."

Carlisle made his live debut with GREAT WHITE on September 24, 2022 at the Cannery Casino Hotel in Las Vegas, Nevada.

According to Brett, he felt welcomed by his new bandmates and the GREAT WHITE fans from the get-go.

"After meeting [the GREAT WHITE guys], they're all super-cool dudes," he told Kevin McKay of the 99 Rock WKSM FM radio station. "In Vegas, we had a rehearsal the day before, and I already knew half the songs well enough to be able to do it. So I wanted to do the best that I could on 'em. But after we hung out, everybody was cool and stuff. I mean, it's a big crowd. I love big crowds; they're fun."

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.

In May 2022, 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.

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 original GREAT WHITE singer Jack Russell.

In an April 2023 interview with Larry Mac of the 96.1 KLPX radio station, Kendall said that he is not as concerned about record sales or commercial success as he is about making sure the new GREAT WHITE songs are strong enough to stand alongside the band's classic material.

"Even in our heyday, I've never really thought dollars and cents; I just wanna know if people like the music or not," he explained. "To where I would be so desperate, I would go to friends of mine who are pretty hard on me — tough critics or whatever — just to get feedback. 'Cause that space in time after you're done recording to when it comes out is pretty brutal. So I always run to friends: 'Tell me you love me. Listen to this.' So I'm kind of the same way now. I just wanna get the music to the people and get feedback: 'How is this? Would this hold up in the '80s? Is it better?' Because I still feel really creative. And we can always get better.

"I'm really feeling pretty good about these songs that we're coming up with," Kendall revealed. "So I'm more anxious for people to hear it than I am selling a million records or whatever. And I think it makes us viable that we still are creative; we still wanna make new music. We're not quite an oldies band yet, even though they kind of label us classic rock or whatever. But that's not so bad. So, yeah, that's it. We wanna keep [creating] and not just go out and be the oldies band that plays the hits every year or whatever. We wanna come up with some tunes and get it to the folks and let 'em know that we're still making music for you. And no matter what's happened with the industry or whatever, we're still the same band and we still make music. This is what we do."

In January 2023, Kendall told the "Mark 2.0" podcast that he was surprised by the overwhelmingly positive response to Carlisle's addition to GREAT WHITE. "It was world news," he said. "I'm seeing stuff on the Internet from Italy, Germany, the U.K. And even some of the more online dirt-seeking-type entities that normally are just huntin' for the headline to say, 'He said his singer sucks'. That's the article. That's the way it starts. These guys actually said good things and posted some of the [fan-filmed videos]. They're cellphone cameras, so the quality probably isn't… But you can hear it. You need to sing great."

In October 2022, Carlisle was asked in an interview with about his approach to singing GREAT WHITE's classic songs. He said: "I just want to do the songs justice, because that's what people expect to hear. They want to go to the shows and hear the songs the way they remember them, the way they know them. It's not about me and how many high notes I can hit or anything like that. I just want to do the give the people, and the band, what they want."

Brett went on to say that he is honored to be singing for a band whose songs — including "Save Your Love", "Rock Me" and "Lady Red Light" — he had previously covered with his other band ALL OR NOTHING.

"I just want to learn from them," Carlisle said of his new bandmates "It's just really cool to be included in what I've grown up listening to, like looking at the CDs and everything. And then now people are coming up after the shows asking me to sign like original GREAT WHITE cassettes and stuff. And I'm sitting here feeling like I'm not worthy. Because I didn't record that. But I'm like, I just sang with them, so, sure, if you want me to."

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