Former GREAT WHITE and current JACK RUSSELL'S GREAT WHITE frontman Jack Russell has told Meltdown of Detroit's WRIF radio station in a new interview that he underwent a major surgery about two weeks ago. "I just had my left hip replaced, which I've been needing for years," he said. "And it's just great. I'm a whole new man. I feel like I'm 20 years old. I wish I would have done it 10 years ago, when they told me I should have. I just kept putting it off and putting it off. 'What if it doesn't work? What if it makes it worse? What if? What if? What if?' And I finally said the pain was just too outrageous. I said, 'All right. You're gonna get rid of the pain?' And they go, 'Yeah, cool. We were telling you that.' I go, 'Okay. Do it.' And I came out, and I was, like, 'Wow!' My back doesn't hurt, my leg doesn't hurt. It's incredible. I was up walking the first day. I mean, I'm not walking perfect — it's gonna take a little bit — but it's not like I don't have time on my hands right now.
"I feel great," he continued. "I feel fantastic. There's no pain whatsoever. They found a piece of bone about as big as half a baseball floating around in my leg, in my thigh — just inside of my thigh muscle, just floating around. It was from when I shattered my femur, like growing a bone spur, and then broke it off. So it was just kind of like cruising around through the muscles. That's where a lot of the pain was coming from. I'm, like, 'What the hell? Really?' I mean, the body can do some pretty weird things, man — especially mine."
Russell also confirmed that he celebrated the fifth anniversary of his getting sober in September.
"It's going great," he said. "I should have had a lot more time [sober], but I [fell off the wagon] again. I had eight years at one point, I had another two and a half years at one point. But the point is right now, the good thing is I'm sober. Hell, I even quit smoking cigarettes. And that was a coup — that was a major coup. That in and of itself is a real big deal. It was the hardest thing I've ever done. Any drug, anything, there's nothing been harder than doing that. 'Cause you can always go, 'Oh, I'll just stop tomorrow.' That was my big thing. 'Yeah, just tomorrow. I'll just have a couple today and then I'll quit tomorrow.' And then when I found out I had COPD [chronic obstructive pulmonary disease], I was, like, 'Oh. Okay, well, I think it's time to quit now.'"
Jack, who has been living on a 45-foot boat in Redondo Beach, California for nearly a decade, also revealed that he and his wife will be moving to Colorado in a few days.
"I've gotta spend some time with my wife's son," he explained. "She's been out here for 11 years with me, dealing with my stuff. And it's only fair. He's a great kid, and he needs to spend some time with his mom, and me. I need somebody to hang out with that's my own age… And I can always come back. That's the thing. Who knows what's gonna happen? We can always come back. It all depends on what he's gonna do. He may wanna go to college out here. He's 15 right now, so he's got ways to go. And, like I said, he's somebody I can hang out with that's my own age. So it's a great thing. We have a blast together. He's a great kid."
Russell exited GREAT WHITE in December 2011 after he was unable to tour with the group due a series of injuries, including a perforated bowel and a shattered pelvis. Jack largely blamed these injuries on his alcohol and painkiller addictions as well as the prednisone drug he was prescribed.
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 guitarist Mark Kendall, rhythm guitarist/keyboardist Michael Lardie and drummer Audie 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.
More than two years ago, GREAT WHITE announced the addition of new singer Mitch Malloy to the group's ranks. He replaced Terry Ilous, who was fired from the band in July 2018.