Interviewed by Robert Cavuoto (Journalist/Writer/Contributor) Myglobalmind Webzine
Great White featuring Jack Russell with his band of pirates are hitting the road to embark on a two month tour. The first show of the Pirates Life Tour starts at the World Famous Whisky A Go-Go in Hollywood, CA and continues across the U.S. and Canada.
The multi-Platinum original singer of Great White brings it to the stage as only he can, belting out all the original beloved songs that made the band take a place in rock history.
In this crazy and complicated world of rock ‘n roll, we had LA Guns, now we have two Queenryches and two Great Whites or at least until the courts determine who will be owning the name. I was able to catch up with signer Jack Russell to talk this court battle for the name, his tour, and what lies on the horizon for him and his merry band of pirates!
Myglobalmind: I see that you are doing a two month tour with your band of pirates, who’s in the band and how are they sounding?
Jack Russell: The band sounds like Great White – like it’s supposed to sound! It’s going to be a great tour and were looking forward to it. The guitar players are Matthew Johnson who played in Great White when Mark Kendall quit and Robby Lochner who was in Fight with Rob Halford. The drummer is Derrick Pontier who played in Great White when Audie Desbrow was fired. He’s played with us for five years. The bassist is Dario Seixas from Brazil who played with Stephen Pearcy and Firehouse. We’re calling the band Great White featuring Jack Russell. Until we go to court and figure out who owns the name.
Myglobalmind: I read that Mark Kendall was planning to sue you if used Great White in the title of your band?
Jack Russell: No it the other way around. I’m suing them for using the same and then of course they counter sued. I’ve been using the name longer than anybody, it’s documented. I don’t want to review the whole thing all over again because I talked about it so many times in the press. Suffice to say it goes to court soon. We’ll have an answer one way or another. Hopefully it will go my way.
Myglobalmind: What can we except to hear live at your shows? Are you focusing on a particular album or era?
Jack Russell: We play songs from all the over the place, not one particular LP. Multiple eras.
Myglobalmind: What songs do you enjoy playing live the most?
Jack Russell: I love songs from Let it Rock. I dig singing the up tempo rockers.
Myglobalmind: Great White dominates Sirus’s Hair Metal station, what do you think of that moniker that is so often given to bands like yours?
Jack Russell: [Laughing] Like I’ve always said, “categorization is a short cut to thinking”. It doesn’t matter want they want to call me as long as they play me.
Myglobalmind: I always thought Great White was more of soulful blues based hard rock band who happen to have long hair.
Jack Russell: I totally agree, I think it’s just a generational thing. They say “ok bands from this era are Hair Metal”. It’s instead of saying “80’ Rock Bands” they say, “Hair Metal Bands”. It must be easier to say or something.
Myglobalmind: Who are some of your favorite touring partners through the years?
Jack Russell: Whitesnake of course, that was a great tour with great guys. Tesla was great and we had a lot of fun. Judas Priest was great too.
Myglobalmind: Any fond memories while out on the Whitesnake tour?
Jack Russell: That was such a fun tour playing in front of 20, 000 people a night. Every show was sold out. My favorite memories when were on our way from the dressing room to the stage, the lights would start to go down and you could hear the roar of the crowd. It made the hair on your arms stand up.
Myglobalmind: I know that you were ill, how have you been?
Jack Russell: I feel great except for some aches & pains hear & there. My voice has gotten a lot stronger since we started. I’ve been off for a year and a half so it took a while for it to get back in full fight shape to speak. Its 100% now.
Myglobalmind: What did you do to get your voice back in shape?
Jack Russell: Just did a lot of my warm ups and scales to keep my voice in shape. Plus doing a lot of shows.
Myglobalmind: Are there any plans on the horizon for a new Great White CD?
Jack Russell: I’m planning on it as soon as the name thing gets figured out.
Myglobalmind: Do you have song written and ready to go?
Jack Russell: We have songs ready. Some songs are record minus the vocal tracks. We have been writing and getting stock piled. So we have plenty of songs to pick from.
Myglobalmind: Where is Great White’s sweet spot when it comes to writing new material?
Jack Russell: I think it’s middle of the road. I’m hoping it comes close to 1998 Great White. My favorite time was 1998-1999 with my favorite album Can’t Get there from Here. That with a mixture of the 80’s stuff. Whatever era it sounds like it will always sound like Great White – cause I’m singing and did a lot of the writing.
Myglobalmind: When writing songs do you primarily handle it or is it a collaboration between you and the other band members?
Jack Russell: Usually Matt Johnson and Robbie come to the plate with ideas. I’ll hum them ideas. They figure out the chords and then we start working on the song
Myglobalmind: You have been touring for 30 plus years, how do you make something that’s old hat be new and fresh?
Jack Russell: It’s the audience that keeps it fresh. If it wasn’t for the fact that crowds out there were having a great time and enjoying ourselves it wouldn’t be worth it. It’s so much fun to watch them. It enables us to still live out our dreams and make a living, making music. That’s all I ever want to do.
Myglobalmind: What do you like to do in your down time between cities?
Jack Russell: I like read book, and keep my voice quiet. Nothing too exciting. You have to remember that I have done this for 30+ years I’ve seen everything and done everything and now I just hang out and watch TV or read a book.