Great White Guitarist Explains Jack Russell Departure

Classic Rock Revisited recently spoke with Great White guitarist Mark Kendall for an in-depth interview about their new 30th anniversary release, their new frontman and other topics. Kendall also explained the band's parting with original singer Jack Russell. Here is that portion of the interview:

CRR: I don't want to slag Jack, because I love him in Great White. But we know what happened and all of the issues. Great White was not having fun at the end with Jack. Did you ever think it would be fun again?

Mark: Just to be brutally honest, it was not fun because there was so much drama attached to everything. I get it because I work with addicts every day. My sobriety has quality to it because I am giving back. I work with MusiCares and I help people who are struggling.

I get addiction. When you are watching someone self-destruct and you're trying to have fun at the same time, then the fun is really hard to get to. We were dealing with someone who was fighting demons. He was having a hard time getting it, if you will. It was hard on everyone. Even the fans were going, "What are you doing having this guy out here in this condition?" as if we were forcing him to come out. He was insisting on coming out. I remember playing a gig in Canada and he actually was falling asleep onstage. I went behind him where the crowd couldn't see me and literally slapped him on his back to wake him up. We were only five songs into the set and he was falling asleep. It was tough. You get so used to the drama that it is normal. When you start out you go to your hotel, you do interviews and you go play the show. When you have to insert urgent care and shots of Demerol and falling down and all of that, then it hinders everything. It makes it hard on everyone.

When that all went away and we got this healthy dude in Terry, who is into martial arts and doesn't smoke cigarettes and we are all sober as the day we are born, then we just started making music and enjoying our families, and our fans, and our gigs again. We don't leave anywhere that we play without having everything signed and all of the pictures are taken. We are having fun again and it is a blast. Everything is so easy; I had forgotten how easy it can be. It is really not so tough. When you have someone struggling then it really can make it tough.

It was not like Jack and I got into a drop down drag out fight and that we were done with each other. It was not like we could not take each other anymore. It was just the case of addiction winning. I work with addicts all the time and I try to help them. I tried to help Jack. I took him to my pastor and I had him baptized, but he was high at the time. It was a little bit of a dog and pony show, but I get it. If you're not ready to get sober then you're not going to do it. You can't get clean for other people; you have to quit for yourself. To have success in recovery then you need to do it for yourself. The problems will take care of itself in time. You can't do it because your kids want it, or to save your marriage. You give yourself the best chance to be successful if you do it for yourself. The interview with Mark covered a lot more topics, check it out here.

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