JACK RUSSELL On GREAT WHITE Guitarist MARK KENDALL: 'I Will Always Have Love For Him'
November 29, 2018
Jack Russell says that he misses GREAT WHITE's founding guitarist Mark Kendall. The former GREAT WHITE singer, who has spent the last few years performing with a new lineup as JACK RUSSELL'S GREAT WHITE, told IndiePower.com in a recent interview (see video below): "We're doing an album called 'Once Bitten - Acoustical Bites', and what it is is the 'Once Bitten'  album recorded acoustically. So while we're recording this thing, I'm sitting there doing these songs and I'm going, 'God, man. Me and Mark, and the other guys, we are the ones that accomplished all this, and it really brought me back and it kind of humbled me a lot. I was, like, this isn't just about me — this is about a group of guys, mostly Mark and myself and Michael Lardie [rhythm guitar, keyboards], who put together a really great record, and then subsequently some great stuff later too. And I have to give him credit. If it wasn't for that particular dynamic of Mark and myself, this band never would have been anything. It was Mark and I from the beginning. And I wish him well. I miss the guy. I will always have love for him, no matter what."
Russell, who was fired from GREAT WHITE in December 2011 (after being on hiatus from the group since 2009),added that he hopes Kendall also has fond memories of their shared past. "I don't know what he feels like — it doesn't keep me up at night — but I'm at a point right now where I've made peace with the situation," he said. "I acknowledge that it was my fault — 'cause I was fucked up. I would have fired me; I woudn't wanna play with me either. So I get it."
This past July, GREAT WHITE announced that it was parting ways with vocalist Terry Ilous and was replacing him with Mitch Malloy.
Asked by KBACK Radio if GREAT WHITE thought about giving Russell a call once it became clear that Terry would no longer be in the group, Kendall said: "Not really. I know everybody would like all the original members to be together in all the bands, and sometimes, it's just not doable. I don't know… Addiction plays a role. I work with addicts and alcoholics on a daily basis, and it's tough. Jack's able to go out there and sing and everything, and we're happy for him. But we've kind of just moved on, and we wanna enjoy ourselves in the twilight of our career, if you will, and just have fun and just rock our hearts out. And we do it healthy, happy, loving, giving, caring…"
Kendall's comments were echoed by those made by GREAT WHITE drummer Audie Desbrow, who told ListenIowa that he and his bandmates never considered reuniting with Russell once a decision was made to part ways with Terry. "We've already moved on from that," he said. "We've gone through a lot of stuff with that over the years, and the fact that he sued us in federal court for the name, and we spent a lot of time and money, you just don't return from that. People tell me that they've seen his latest shows, and it's just hard to look at because his health isn't as good as it could be. We've got a really grueling schedule, and it's hard enough for me, and I'm semi-healthy. [Laughs] I couldn't imagine someone in his condition doing what we're doing. We did shows with him toward the end, and he was in and out of a wheelchair and crutches, had to be carried up stairs, was falling asleep onstage. It just got old. It's a business, and we have families to support and mortgages to pay. You can't go to work messed up 24/7 and still be able to work there."
Russell sued his onetime bandmates in 2012 over their continued use of the GREAT WHITE name after Jack had taken a leave of absence from the band for medical reasons. A short time later, Russell was countersued by Kendall, Lardie and Desbrow, claiming the vocalist's self-destructive behavior was damaging the GREAT WHITE name (they also alleged he was charging promoters less for his own touring version of GREAT WHITE). The parties settled in July 2013 without going to trial, with Russell now performing as JACK RUSSELL'S GREAT WHITE while the others are continuing as GREAT WHITE.