Great White Frontman Talks About New Album
Band Photo: Great White (?)
Blasting-Zone.com recently conducted an in-depth interview with GREAT WHITE frontman Jack Russell. Several excerpts follow:
Blasting-Zone.com: Do you feel "Back To The Rhythm" is GREAT WHITE collectively returning to their roots?
Jack: "Absolutely. I really think so, hence us using the song 'Back To The Rhythm' as the title track, ya know? It's like after twenty five years, we've finally come full circle. We didn't want it to be unproduced, but we also didn't want it to be overproduced, either. We wanted the record to sound to sound as good as it possible could without sounding overly-polished. I like the spontaneity and the live sound that it has to it, ya know? There's certain stuff that if you overdo it, you lose it. How many brushstrokes do you put on a painting? When do you finally put the last brushstroke on? You never really finish a painting, you just kinda abandon it, ya know? It's the same thing with a mix or a song. You can always add more, but you gotta get to that point where you're like, 'Okay, this is enough…' where you don't need to add any more."
Blasting-Zone.com: Taking everything into consideration, do you honestly feel this is the definitive GREAT WHITE line-up?
Jack: "I think this is the version of the band that most people know. The original line-up, if you wanna go back to 1982, was myself, (guitarist) Mark (Kendall), (drummer) Gary Holland and (bassist) Lorne Black. But nobody knows that band, ya know? Very few people even know that band existed and most people discovered us through our 'Once Bitten…' album, ya know? Sean McNabb, our bass player, has been playing with us longer than (bassist) Tony (Montana) was in the band. He's been through more of the ups and downs and feels more like a member to me. To me, this is the band that defined GREAT WHITE's sound."
Blasting-Zone.com: What was the main catalyst behind the original line-up reuniting?
Jack: "It was comin' up on twenty five years and I was thinking, 'You know, how do I wanna spend this? Do I wanna spend this with me, Mark and a couple of guys that nobody knows or…do I wanna do this with my old dear friends?' ya know? So I got on the phone and started making some calls. We had some issues so we said our apologies and that was it, ya know? It's funny how little stupid things can get blown out of proportion over the years and a simple conversation that's literally forty five seconds will clear everything up and put everything back on a straight course. I just feel real fortunate and blessed to have my dear friends with me again, ya know?"
Blasting-Zone.com: In hindsight, how would you describe the time the group spent signed to Capitol Records?
Jack: "Capitol, unfortunately, for us was not a rock label, ya know? I think we would have done better on a different label, honestly, but life is life… We had gone through so many changes in presidents there that by the time we left the company, we didn't know who anyone was. Every other year or so there was a new president and they'd be like, 'Well, I don't wanna deal with these guys. I wanna sign my own bands. I don't want anyone's hand-me-downs…' So we kinda got lost in the shuffle. And it was unfortunate because a lot of the better stuff was coming out later. 'Psycho City' was a very underrated record, ya know? It was good album...there was some good stuff on it and it could done well, but the president at the time wanted to work on Bonnie Raitt because that was his fantasy girlfriend, ya know? We got our gold records in the mail. That's how hands-off they were with us at that point, ya know? Of course he had pictures taken with us for the double platinum awards for '….Twice Shy', a record he had nothing to do with, but when it came to the gold records for 'Hooked', he was nowhere to be found. It is what it is, ya know?"
Blasting-Zone.com: To what do you attribute the group's survival when so many of your contemporaries have fallen by the wayside?
Jack: "I don't know. We have a very loyal fan base for whatever reason, thank goodness. I don't wanna say we're a better band than those bands…but we've never really given up. I've always said to myself, 'When this is finally over, it's gonna be over because I say it's over…' I'm not going to let circumstance or life dictate the death of GREAT WHITE, ya know? It's gonna be on our own terms… The fact that I still wanna do this and it's still fun is a big reason why we're still here, ya know? The fact that we were able to get all the original guys back together again makes it something different. This is the line-up people wanna see. They wanna see Michael Lardie, they wanna see Audie Desbrow, they wanna see Mark Kendall, ya know? They don't wanna see Jack Russell, Mark Kendall and a couple of guys they've never heard of, ya know? I think that's a big thing as well. I just feel very fortunate that after twenty five years, people still give a damn."
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