MARK KENDALL Says New GREAT WHITE Singer ANDREW FREEMAN Is Able To Hit All The High Notes In Band's Classic Songs
August 7, 2022
This past May, GREAT WHITE announced that it had parted ways with singer Mitch Malloy and had 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. Asked in a new interview with "Barstools & Bandtalk" if Freeman's addition to GREAT WHITE had been in the works for a long time, guitarist Mark Kendall said (as transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET): "Not necessarily. Not by design. It seems like everything that happens to us, some freak thing happens. What happened was we played with FOREIGNER up north in California [last October], and our singer at the time [Malloy] had to cancel the gig to go do a VAN HALEN tribute show. [Laughs] So we got Andrew to fill in for that gig. We didn't rehearse or anything; in a hotel room, we went over the songs and he kind of learned them at home. And he blew our minds. He just sang the songs so perfect in that short amount of time that we wanted to know if he was available, 'cause we really liked his vibe. I could read him pretty good right away that he wasn't into any kind of weird head trips or ego or anything like that; he was just straight-forward. He engaged the crowd really good and it seemed totally natural. For a guy going out and singing with GREAT WHITE for the first time ever, and we don't even rehearse, and he's getting the crowd up on their feet. And also not just doing that, but just not scripted just rapping to the crowd. So it wasn't just that arena rap; it was kind of just natural, and I really liked that too. I liked the way he was onstage. So when he told he was available, we went and rehearsed for a couple of days in Vegas, and he blew our minds again. He goes, 'Do you guys still do 'Stick It'?' And I go, 'How would you…?' 'Cause he's younger than us, a little bit. I go, 'How do you know 'Stick It'?' And he's, like, 'Oh, when I was 13, me and my buddy, we used to get these songs on 'Metalshop', and that one was always in the loop.' I go, 'Okay. Let's do 'Stick It'.' So we launched in, did 'Stick It'. He sings it perfect. So it was kind of cool to see all the different sides to his voice. I mean, obviously, LAST IN LINE is straight-ahead kind of metal delivery, but he has some different sides to his voice that I really like. So for us to be able to play 'Stick It' and him hit all the notes, and actually not ditch any notes in our other songs either… And a lot of 'em are kind of geared in a higher range; it's difficult to sing these songs — some of 'em. But he handles it all, and he's really prepared, real professional in that sense too."
Kendall went on to say that interpersonal relationships within GREAT WHITE are smoother now than they have been in a while.
"The vibe within the band, there's no… Everybody's, like — I don't know — just at ease and just enjoying ourselves," he said. "These days, if somebody has some big ego or there's… I told this one journalist, I'm, like, it'd be like you go to a party and you see cocaine, you see blow on the table, and you're going, 'They still have that stuff?' That's how I feel if somebody has a big ego. I go, 'They still do that?' At our age, we're gonna have a big ego or have some kind of head trip or something? I just don't get it. I just like to go out and play hard and play our hearts out and leave all the weird stuff away."
This past June, Freeman discussed his GREAT WHITE gig during an appearance on SiriusXM's "Trunk Nation With Eddie Trunk". Regarding how he approaches 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."
Freeman, who has already played a dozen or so shows so far with GREAT WHITE since he joined the group, continued: "The hits — the 'Once Bitten'  and '...Twice Shy'  and that stuff — they're fun songs to play, but I think if the wrong person is presenting them, they come off like — I don't want anybody to get mad at me — they come off like a lesser, more glammy type of band. And I've never seen GREAT WHITE as that, as a glammy-type band. Everybody had the big hair; even Ozzy [Osbourne] had the big hair and the glitter and all that stuff… I never really saw them as that. I always see them as… when everybody was in the leather pants and the leather jackets and the cuts over the leather jackets with their band name on the back and stuff — that's how I see 'em. I see Jack… Even now when I see him on the road, 'cause I've done gigs with him — he doesn't know me from Adam — but he still seems like that guy [who's] gonna hit you with his cane. [Laughs]"
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."
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.