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Great White

Great White
Great White live on 11 July 2008 at the Moondance Jam.
Background information
Also known as Highway, Livewire, Wires, Dante Fox, Jack Russell's Great White, Great White featuring Jack Russell & Mark Kendall, Great White featuring Jack Russell, Great White featuring Terry Ilous
Origin Los Angeles, California, United States
Genres Hard rock, blues rock, heavy metal, glam metal
Years active 1977–present
Labels Capitol, Frontiers
Website .com.jacksgreatwhitewww .com.greatwhiterockswww
Members Great White
Mark Kendall
Audie Desbrow
Michael Lardie
Scott Snyder
Terry Ilous
Jack Russell's Great White
Jack Russell
Tony Montana
Matthew Johnson
Derrick Pontier
Robby Lochner
Past members See: Former members

Great White is an American hard rock band, formed in Los Angeles in 1977. The band gained popularity during the 1980s and early 1990s. The band released several albums in the late 1980s and gained airplay on MTV with music videos for songs like "Once Bitten, Twice Shy". The band reached their peak popularity with the album ...Twice Shy in 1989.

The band continued to release new material into the 1990s, although none of their material charted in the United States. In 2003, the band made headlines when The Station nightclub fire led to the deaths of 100 people in West Warwick, Rhode Island, including the band's guitarist Ty Longley, who had been a member of Jack Russell's solo band.[1] In 2011 the band split, with Jack Russell forming "Great White Featuring Jack Russell" and lead singer Terry Ilous (of XYZ) fronting Great White. As of August 2007, Great White sold over 8 million records worldwide.[2]


  • History 1
    • The 1980s 1.1
    • The 1990s 1.2
    • Break-up (2000–2001) 1.3
    • Jack Russell's Great White (2002–2005) 1.4
      • Station nightclub fire 1.4.1
    • Reformation as Great White (2006–2010) 1.5
    • Great White and Jack Russell's Great White (2011–present) 1.6
  • Members 2
  • Discography 3
  • References 4
  • External links 5


The 1980s

Vocalist Rob Halford. Later they found out that Russell was released from prison after only serving 18 months of his sentence and Russell talked Kendall into an audition and he got in the band by a 2 to 1 band vote. They played their first gig with Russell at The Troubadour in Hollywood, California.

After recording several demos, the band chose as manager Alan Niven, who had worked for the independent distributor Greenworld in Torrance, California and had dealt with Mötley Crüe's debut self-release. Niven suggested the name change from Dante Fox after seeing Kendall stick his head out of a car window while driving by the Troubador and some kid in the crowd said "there goes Great White". Kendall got the nickname due to his naturally white-blonde hair, white Fender Telecaster guitar, white jumpsuit, and white Capezio shoes. In 1982, the members by this time as Costa and Richards had left were, Mark Kendall, Jack Russell, drummer Gary Holland, and bassist Lorne Black. They were soon in the studio and they recorded and released a 5-song EP, Out of the Night, on the independent label Aegean formed by Niven. Niven then convinced the Los Angeles radio station KMET to begin adding songs from the EP to its playlist in heavy rotation. KLOS-FM soon did the same. The band suddenly went from drawing 100 people to a local club to drawing thousands in L.A. concert halls such as Perkins Palace in Pasadena, The Palace in Hollywood and the Country Club in Reseda. As an unsigned act, Great White headlined at Six Flags Magic Mountain in Valencia playing to 6,250 people. Near the end of 1983, EMI America signed the band and subsequently released Great White's eponymous debut album in early 1984. The band immediately toured the UK supporting Whitesnake's Slide It In tour and the entire US and Canada opening for Judas Priest's Defenders of the Faith tour. Shot in the Dark, their follow-up independent release, marked the arrival of drummer Audie Desbrow after the firing of Holland on December 27, 1984.[3] By the time Capitol Records signed the band and reissued Shot in the Dark, keyboardist-guitarist Michael Lardie, who had played on that album as a session musician, had come aboard as a full member. After the release of Shot in the Dark, Great White hit the road with Dokken for 5 shows and was on the verge of even bigger success.

Great White as a quartet in 1986. From left: Lorne Black, Mark Kendall, Jack Russell, Audie Desbrow.

The band hit the mainstream in 1987 when they released Once Bitten, which featured the hits "Rock Me" and "Save Your Love".[1] Once Bitten... was certified platinum in April 1988.

A song from Once Bitten... Great White's first platinum selling album.

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The band followed up with ...Twice Shy in 1989. By this point, Great White had parted ways with Lorne Black and replaced him with bassist Tony Montana (a.k.a. Tony Cardenas).[4] The album included their biggest hit, "Once Bitten, Twice Shy", a cover of a UK hit single by Ian Hunter. They received a Grammy Award nomination for Best Hard Rock Performance. The album was certified platinum in July 1989 and then double platinum in September of that same year. The model Bobbie Brown (also known for being in Warrant's "Cherry Pie" video) appeared in the video for "Once Bitten, Twice Shy". They finished off the 80s touring in support of ...Twice Shy as headliners and with some best known bands, such as Bon Jovi.

In 1990, the band featured in the heavy metal video series Hard 'N' Heavy containing music, concert footage and interviews. The video included Slash and Duff from Guns N' Roses appearing with the band at a Children of the Night Benefit concert in L.A., the performance helping to raise money for housing abused homeless children.[5][6] Both bands shared the same manager, Alan Niven at the time.

The 1990s

The band continued into the next decade performing the song "House of Broken Love" at the American Music Awards in January 1990. In March, Great White embarked on their first tour of Japan. They returned to the United States for the Memorial Day weekend festival dubbed The World Series of Rock, which featured Whitesnake, Skid Row, Bad English, and Hericane Alice. Great White recorded two more albums for Capitol Records, Hooked, which was certified gold, and Psycho City. In support of Hooked, Great White did a tour as opener for the German metal band Scorpions and traveled to Europe and Japan. During this tour Mark Kendall was hospitalized for a hiatal hernia for 3 weeks and then returned. Guitarist Al Pitrelli was asked to fill in for Mark during his absence. Psycho City was followed by a US tour with Kiss.

Capitol issued the compilation The Best of Great White: 1986–1992 in 1993, when Great White had already departed the label to begin work on their next studio release, Sail Away. Before the release of the album, Great White spent seven months on the road headlining clubs. According to Lardie, it was "the longest stint we ever did without a break." Great White kept up the pace once Sail Away was released on Zoo Records in 1994, touring the US several times over the following year and a half. Their next release, Let It Rock, was released in 1996 through yet another label, Imago Records.

In 1999, the band released Can't Get There from Here and embarked on a tour with Ratt, Poison, and L.A. Guns. The album featured the single "Rollin' Stoned", which managed to chart at No. 8 on the Billboard Mainstream Rock Tracks chart.

Break-up (2000–2001)

In a memo dated 20 January 2000 Mark Kendall announced he was leaving Great White. Shortly thereafter both Audie Desbrow and Sean McNabb left Great White. Kendall was replaced by guitarist Matthew Johnson. Desbrow, clearly very unhappy with the financial state of the band and Russell's addiction problems posted a tirade on his website lambasting Jack Russell while claiming to have been "fired" from Great White.[7] Meanwhile, it was rumored that Sean McNabb was fired for going to management and asking to see the accounting books, but the truth was, he was policing Russell's drug use and Jack wasn't into it.[8] The band announced plans to begin work on a new album in late 2000.[9] Early in the process, some of the new songs were played for John Kalodner at Columbia Records. It was mutually agreed that the band needed a break and wanted to do outside projects. Kendall went on to make 2 solo albums and Russell also made a solo record. They subsequently left Columbia Records, work on the new album was discontinued.[10] On 5 November 2001 Jack Russell announced the end of Great White,[11] stating that he was moving on, and that Great White would play one final farewell show on 31 December 2001 at the Galaxy Theatre in Santa Ana, CA.[12] Both Kendall and McNabb rejoined the band for the farewell show, recorded for a live CD titled Thank You...Goodnight! released by Knight Records. The live album includes two new tracks, "Back to the Rhythm" and "Play On" from their discontinued studio sessions, both of which would ultimately wind up on their reunion album Back to the Rhythm in 2007.

Jack Russell's Great White (2002–2005)

In late 2002, in part due to his failure to attract good audiences while on the road with his solo band, Jack Russell contacted Kendall, who himself was struggling to gain an audience on his own.[13] Kendall agreed to play some dates with Russell's band, allowing Russell to use the name Great White once again.[14] Billed as "Jack Russell's Great White," the tour was to consist primarily of classic songs from the Great White catalog with some of Russell's solo work mixed in. Eventually, more dates were added and the tour extended through the early months of 2003.[15]

Station nightclub fire

The band returned to the national spotlight on 20 February 2003. At the beginning of a Jack Russell's Great White performance at The Station night club in Rhode Island, pyrotechnics used by the band's crew created a spray of sparks that ignited the foam soundproofing material in the ceiling around the stage. One hundred people, including guitarist Ty Longley, died in the fire that followed. In 2008, the band agreed to pay $1 million to survivors and victims' relatives of the fire while admitting to no wrongdoing.[16] This amount also covers former tour manager Daniel Biechele along with the band members, record label, and management as it existed at the time of the fire.[16] The settlement was the maximum allowed under the band's insurance plan. On the two-year anniversary of the fire, Jack Russell and Mark Kendall from Great White, along with Great White's attorney, Ed McPherson, appeared on Larry King Live with three of the victims of the fire and the father of Ty Longley, to discuss some of the healing that had taken place over the previous two years and some of the permanent scars that remained.[16] Victims had previously received $3.8 million raised by United Way of America.[17]

Though the media referred to the band as "Great White" following the tragedy in Rhode Island, the band was officially performing under the moniker of "Jack Russell's Great White" at the time of the incident.[18] In fact, prior to the fire, the band's official website posted a message stating that Great White had not re-formed.[19] It's unclear when the band began officially going by "Great White" again.

Great White played their first full show following the Rhode Island tragedy on 22 July, starting a benefit tour for the survivors and victims of the fire.[20] The band toured until 2005 to raise funds for the Station Family Fund, which had been set up to help the victims of the tragedy. In late 2005, citing "medical reasons", the band canceled the second half of their summer tour.[21] The "medical reasons" turned out to be Jack Russell's addictions to alcohol and cocaine. This was the end of this version of Great White, as Jack Russell entered rehabilitation and did not perform again until 2007.[22] Russell used the year of 2006 to get sober and get a facelift that was detailed on ExtraTV.[23] Russell later referred to this incarnation of Great White as "Fake White", saying "It still sounded like Great White, but not – almost like we were doing a cover of ourselves."[22]

Reformation as Great White (2006–2010)

Talk of a reunion of Great White began in a 2004 interview, where Jack Russell told Metal Express Radio: "I spoke with Michael [Lardie], we threw that around a bit, and thought that sounds like a cool idea, it'd be fun. I'm pretty positive it's gonna happen... probably next year (...) We talked to some other people, and [former drummer] Audie [Desbrow] would not be a person I would want to play with ever again in my life. There were some bridges burned there that I just can’t forgive, and I’m a very forgiving person. I just can’t let that one go. I have to stand up for myself..."[24] Russell's stance towards Desbrow seemed to have changed course by 2006 when he told Mitch Lafon: "I talked to Michael Lardie the other day and he is into doing it. I just want to get hold of Tony Montana and Audie Desbrow. I think that would be very special for our 25th anniversary tour to have the same guys... we haven't played together in a very long time."[25] Later in 2006, guitarist Mark Kendall officially announced that Great White had re-formed its classic lineup.[26] The re-formed lineup of Russell, Kendall, Lardie, McNabb and Desbrow played their first date together in more than 5 years on 27 January 2007 at the Keyclub in Hollywood performing in the Benefit Concert for the Seals 2007. The band continued to tour throughout the rest of the year.[27]

During a tour in the UK, vocalist Jack Russell commented, "I think I'm enjoying it more now than the last time we were over, I think the older you get, at least for me anyway, you appreciate more and more. This is the twilight of our career at best, and any time we get after this is icing on the cake, it's a gift. It's been 25 or 26 years now since the band became Great White, and I've been playing with my guitarist since '78 when I was 17 years old, I'm 47 now, so that's 30 years."[28]

In 2008, bassist Sean McNabb left Great White to concentrate on a career in theater and acting. McNabb was promptly replaced with Scott Snyder (Ramos, Accomplice).[29] McNabb is now a member of Dokken.

Great White released their latest album, Rising, on 13 March 2009 in Europe via Frontiers Records and on 21 April in the US.

Great White and Jack Russell's Great White (2011–present)

In 2010, Jani Lane of Warrant filled in for Jack Russell, while Russell recuperated from surgery after suffering a perforated bowel. Terry Ilous (XYZ) replaced Jack Russell at the Coach House during the summer of 2010 and Paul Shortino (Rough Cutt, Quiet Riot, King Kobra) filled in for Russell when Great White performed at Stockholm Rock Out Festival in September.

In December 2011, Jack Russell, having recovered from his health issues, formed a new incarnation of Great White with a brand-new lineup under the name of "Jack Russell's Great White."[30] The other band members have voiced their strong objection to this move and said that "Jack Russell does not have the right to start his own Great White or use the name without our names in the lineup. We will litigate any promoter that books ‘Jack Russell's Great White’ or uses any logo featuring the name Great White."[31] In September 2013, the parties finally reached an agreement in Federal Court that legally Jack Russell will turn all his rights to the "Great White" name over to Kendall, Lardie and Desbrow. They in turn leased a way for Russell to make a living using the name "Jack Russell's Great White" with his own band; while the other original members along with new lead singer Terry Ilous [XYZ], will continue to use the official name "Great White".

On 18 March 2012 Great White announced their first new album with singer Terry Ilous, Elation, to be released in May that year, as well as a live album ( Great White: 30 years - Live On the Sunset Strip), and concert DVD of the band's 30th-anniversary show at the Key Club in Hollywood on 22 March.[32]

In July 2013 Bassist Dario Seixas left "Jack Russell's Great White" and was replaced by former bassist Tony Montana.[4]

Lorne Black, the former bassist of Great White, died on September 27, 2013.[33]



Great White

Jack Russel's Great White



  1. ^ a b Jeffries, David. "Great White Biography".  
  2. ^ "Interview of GREAT WHITE (Mark Kendall) for the "Back To The Rhythm" release". Retrieved 2013-10-08. 
  3. ^ As per Jack Russell, former vocalist of Great White.
  4. ^ a b "Jack Russell Is 'Excited' To Be Playing With Bassist Tony Montana Again". 2013-07-18. Retrieved 2013-10-08. 
  5. ^ "Slash Video Appearances". Slash's Official Fan Site. October 2005. Retrieved 4 April 2011. SLASH, Duff McKagan and Great White appear in footage from the Children of the Night Benefit in Los Angeles. 
  6. ^ "great white w/ slash n duff - jam @ children of the night".  
  7. ^ Desbrow, Audie (20 September 2000). "Great White Drummer Gets Fired and Goes Off on the Band".  
  8. ^ "20 Questions with Ex-Great White Drummer Audie Desbrow".  
  9. ^ Great White Official Statement, 20 September 2000
  10. ^ McNeice, AJ (2002). "Interview with Jack Russell". Retrieved 4 April 2011. 
  11. ^ "This Day in Rock History for November 5". Gods Of Retrieved 4 April 2011. 
  12. ^ Jack Russell's statement upon leaving Great White
  13. ^ "Great White 9/3/2003 Interview at". 11 October 2008. Archived from the original on 2008-10-11. Retrieved 18 October 2011. 
  14. ^ "Jack Russell To Bring Great White Back To Life On Upcoming Tour".  
  15. ^ "Former Great White Duo Announce Additional Dates".  
  16. ^ a b c Tucker, Eric (2 September 2008). "Great White offers $1M to settle fatal fire suit". Associated Press. Archived from the original on 5 September 2008. Retrieved 3 September 2008. The band does not admit any wrongdoing as part of the settlement, which requires the approval of the more than 300 people suing, among other conditions. [...] Biechele is covered under the settlement, as are lead singer Jack Russell and other members of the band at the time of the fire. The settlement also covers the record label, manager and management company of the band at the time of the fire. [...] Great White's insurer is covering the settlement. The insurer has previously said that $1 million was the maximum amount of the band's insurance policy. 
  17. ^ Goodnough, Abby (17 February 2008). "5 Years After a Nightclub Fire, Survivors Struggle to Remake Their Lives".  
  18. ^ "No Pyrotechnic Mention In Great White's Rider".  
  19. ^ More News on “Jack Russell’s Great White”
  20. ^ "Great White Play First Full Show Since Rhode Island Tragedy".  
  21. ^ "Great White Cancel Tour".  
  22. ^ a b Steffens, Charlie (3 February 2007). "Chasing His Demons: An interview with Jack Russell of Great White".  
  23. ^ "Great White Frontman Gets Great New Look".  
  24. ^ "Jack Russell (Great White) interview". Metal Express Radio. April 2004. Retrieved 4 April 2011. 
  25. ^ Lafon, Mitch (14 May 2006). """Great White Frontman Jack Russell - "It’s Our 25th Anniversary Next Year And I’m Trying To Pull The Original Guys Back Together Again.  
  26. ^ "Great White 3 Years After the Club Fire". Sleaze Roxx. 29 September 2006. Retrieved 4 April 2011. 
  27. ^ Great White News and Interviews
  28. ^ Elliott, Mike (12 February 2008). "Komodo Rock Talks With Jack Russell Of Great White". Retrieved 4 April 2011. 
  29. ^ Sharpe-Young, Garry (2009). "Great White".  
  30. ^ "Singer JACK RUSSELL Launches New Version Of GREAT WHITE". 12 December 2011. Archived from the original on 8 January 2012. Retrieved 9 January 2012. 
  31. ^ "OFFICIAL STATEMENT REGARDING JACK RUSSELL ANNOUNCEMENT". 12 December 2011. Retrieved 20 February 2012. 
  32. ^ "GREAT WHITE To Release New Studio Album In May". Retrieved 20 March 2012. 
  33. ^ "Original GREAT WHITE Bassist LORNE BLACK Dies - Blabbermouth". 2013-09-28. Retrieved 2014-04-20. 

External links

  • Great White Official Website
  • Jack Russell's Great White Official Website
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