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GREAT WHITE

Current Members

Past Members

Biography

Blues based Hard Rock outfit GREAT WHITE was formed in Huntington Beach, California during 1982 from the ashes of Los Angeles club band DANTE FOX, the group that spawned one-time OZZY OSBOURNE bassist Don Costa. DANTE FOX had numbered singer JACK RUSSELL, guitarist Mark Kendall, bassist Don Costa and drummer Tony Richards, later to enroll into W.A.S.P. Fighting their way through the plethora of hair bands all trying to make their mark, GREAT WHITE cleverly stuck to their roots tradition of seventies based classic Hard Rock, a commitment which would pay significant dividends in the form of major radio hits and platinum albums.

The band's debut album of 1983, complete with backing vocals from DON DOKKEN, who produced the record with Michael Wagener, actually features the same songs on both sides. Drummer Gary Holland had been recruited by coincidence from CIRCUS CIRCUS, the proto-version of W.A.S.P. In a novel marketing move, the album also saw fit to print a copy of vocalist Jack Russell's parole card to illustrate just how street wise the band were. Although reviews were complimentary the album failed to sell in sufficient quantities and GREAT WHITE were made near destitute. EMI soon lost interest and dropped the band and by the end of 1984 GREAT WHITE had also parted company with drummer GARY HOLLAND, who joined ROMEO alongside ex-STEELER bassist Greg Chaisson, and added new man Audie Desbrow. Holland joined BRITTON for their 1988 album. In later years he went solo for the 'Loud As I Am' record and featured on BAD LUCK & TROUBLE's 'Sidewinder' album and as part of BLUE CHEER.

Meanwhile GREAT WHITE signed to Telegraph Records in America to put out the self financed 'Shot In The Dark' album. Interest was regenerated once more and GREAT WHITE were signed quite bizarrely by Capitol Records, a subsidiary of EMI, who duly re-issued 'Shot In The Dark'. The album broke the billboard top 100.

The 'Once Bitten' album saw two completely different releases in America and Europe. Side one of the European version was made up of tracks from the band's previous album 'Shot In The Dark', unreleased in Europe, and as such has a completely different track order from it's American counterpart. 'Face The Day' is a cover of the Australian outfit THE ANGELS track whilst 'Gimme Some Lovin'' was originally by THE SPENCER DAVIS GROUP.

Following recording of 'Once Bitten' bassist Lorne Black was ousted during the Summer of 1987 in favour of Tony Montana. GREAT WHITE subsequently toured America to promote it's release as support to NIGHTRANGER and TWISTED SISTER before ending the year at the Marquee Club in London.

The band delved into the blues further for what was to be their best selling double platinum album 'Twice Shy'. Now of headliner status GREAT WHITE set out on their first major tour only to have it curtailed abruptly when Russell was attacked by a drunk with a bottle in Canada. With their vocalist hospitalised the band were forced to cancel dates. Russell also had to undergo further surgery for a deviated septum. Montana also ducked out of a few shows to attend to a family bereavement, being briefly replaced by former BLACK SABBATH man Dave Spitz. Upon Russell's recovery GREAT WHITE put in an MTV 'Unplugged' session.

A break ensued in which Russell and Montana indulged in their passion for motor racing until recording for 'Hooked' began. 1991's 'Hooked', which included cover versions of SMALL FACES 'Afterglow' and THE ANGELS 'Can't Shake It' gave the band another strong seller. Although Dave Spitz put down bass on the 'Psycho City' album former DIO bassist Teddy Cook was enlisted into the ranks during 1992. He would later join RONDINELLI, VIRGIN STEELE and THE SIGN.

The 1996 album 'Let It Rock' saw a fine return to form based around the lynchpins of Russell, Kendall, Lardie and Desbrow. Additional bass is supplied by Dave Spitz once again. 1999 had the band back in the frontline touring in a package including RATT and POISON promoting a fresh album for a major label. Included in the ranks was former QUIET RIOT and ROUGH CUTT bassist Sean McNabb.

A 2000 release 'Latest And Greatest', far from being just another compilation, featured GREAT WHITE classics completely re-recorded. Meantime both Russell and Kendal appeared on a version of 'Sin City' included on the AC/DC tribute album 'Back In Black'.

In mid 2000 both McNabb and Desbrow were fired. Following fifteen years service a bitter Desbrow claimed that he had only received three pay cheques whilst a member of the band! McNabb meantime would join the revamped LYNCH MOB.

Meantime, Russell announced he was voluntarily checking himself into rehab. In the lull Lardie took time out to loan himself out to POISON guitarist C.C. DeVille's project band SAMANTHA 7. The SAMANTHA 7 connection was bolstered when GREAT WHITE's touring line-up for late 2000 was announced and included SAMANTHA 7 men bassist Krys Baratto (also a brief member of GUNS N' ROSES) and drummer Francis Ruiz along with guitarist Ty Longley.

GREAT WHITE's 80's status would more than amply recognised with a whole glut of compilation albums towards the close of the millennium including 'Gallery' on the French Axe Killer label, 'Rock Champions' on EMI Europe, 'Latest And Greatest' on Portrait and 'Greatest Hits' on Capitol. Kendall announced a new band in 2000 titled TRAIN STATION with singer Todd Griffin, bassist Gary Warnick, keyboard player Dicki Simms and drummer Pride Hutchinson.

By August of 2001 a GREAT WHITE line up of Russell and Lardie together drummer Derrick Pontier with returning members guitarist Mark Kendall and bassist Sean McNabb. This unit, announced as "temporary", was pulled together for shows August and September American dates.

GREAT WHITE's future looked in grave doubt when, on 5th of November 2001, JACK RUSSELL announced his departure for a solo career. Indeed, the band subsequently delivered it's resignation, bowing out with the covers set 'The Final Cuts' released by French label Axe Killer The album, released a month later with one less track and under the new title of 'Recover' for the American market by Cleopatra. The album found GREAT WHITE in familiar territory for their swansong effort delivering renditions of Blues Rock standards by the likes of FREE, STATUS QUO, AC/DC and DR. FEELGOOD amongst others. Due to a long and tangled history with a number of labels, the covers album would be re-issued no less than four times over the course of three years, each time with alternate tiltes and alternate cover art. It was also re-issued in 2003 as 'House of Burning Love', in 2003 as 'Revisiting Familair Waters' and again in 2004 as 'Love Removal Machine'

JACK RUSSELL bounced back with the 'For You' album, co-produced by ex-MEAT LOAF guitarist Bob Kulick and Billy Sherwood, issued by Knight Records. Russell's high calibre session band for this outing comprised of KING CRIMSON bassist Tony Levin, keyboard player Michael Sherwood, and FRANK ZAPPA and STING drummer Vinnie Colaiuta.

Guitarist Ty Longley would team up with ex-MEGADETH drummer NICK MENZA for a new band venture in 2002. The final official GREAT WHITE album was delivered in October, the live recording 'Thank You And Goodnight' having been recorded at the band's announced "last ever live show" on December 31st, 2001 in Santa Anna, California.

Touring North America in November and December the JACK RUSSELL hit the road billed as JACK RUSSELL'S GREAT WHITE heading up a band comprising guitarists Mark Kendall and Ty Longley, bassist David Filice, keyboard player Yuko Tamura and drummer Eric Powers. Response to these shows was such that the band, re-billed as GREAT WHITE FEATURING JACK RUSSELL & MARK KENDALL, projected further dates into February. UK dates in March 2003 had the band planned as supporting the resurrected WHITESNAKE and Irish guitar maestro GARY MOORE on the 'Monsters Of Rock' package tour.

A horrifying incident struck the band at their February gig at the The Station venue in West Warwick, Rhode Island. A fire caused by pyrotechnics engulfed the building during the band's first song. Tragically more than 90 members of the audience were killed in the blaze, which swept through the wooden building within a matter of minutes, with guitarist Ty Longley among the fatalities.

The band was back in action on the live front on April 17th at the Hard Rock Cafe in Beverly Hills, California, performing a benefit concert to raise funds for Ty Longley's baby. Knight Records also announced that a benefit compilation album entitled 'Ty Longley - Regular Guy' was in the works. GREAT WHITE, partnered with L.A. GUNS and XYZ, revealed plans for a fund raising tour. Although scheduled, these shows would be cancelled due to apparent "insurance issues". However, within days of the tour being pulled GREAT WHITE announced yet another string of 41 Summer shows to be dubbed the 'Help Us - Help Our Own' trek. For the first batch of gigs newcomer Jordan Martin, just 18 years old, was installed on guitar before Michael Lardie rejoined in September. Local promoters were asked to donate $1 per ticket sale toward the fund raising efforts.

In March of 2004 an Italian label, Horizon Records, controversially issued a compilation entitled 'Burning House Of Love'. After protests from the band, the CD was withdrawn from sale. Quite incredibly the US label Cleopatra Records also revealed a projected compilation entitled 'Double Dose' was to be clad in sleeve artwork depicting a burning shark. The band immediately put out a statement branding the release as "disgusting and vile". On a more positive note, Russell revealed talks were underway to refound the original GREAT WHITE line-up. The Summer of 2004 found Michael Lardie uniting with NIGHT RANGER for US tour work.

GREAT WHITE's Californian gigs in the Autumn, still raising money for the The Station Family Fund, witnessed a line-up of Russell, Kendall, second guitarist Tyler Nelson, bassist Scott Pounds and drummer Derrick Pontier. The first new GREAT WHITE recording came with the release of the February 2005 'VH1 Classic Metal Mania: Stripped' compilation album through Sidewinder Music, the band re-recording an acoustic version of the power ballad 'Save Your Love'. Michael Lardie also found time to act as producer for JIZZY PEARL's 2005 solo album 'Vegas Must Die'.

The band put in a major run of US Summer shows spanning May through September but cancelled gigs from late August, citing "medical reasons". Jack Russell revealed plans for both a new GREAT WHITE album and a solo opus during April 2006.

On May 10th former GREAT WHITE tour manager Dan Biechele was sentenced to four years in prison for his role in The Station nightclub fire.

Russell featured on the VAN HALEN song 'Unchained' included on the tribute album '80s Metal Tribute To Van Halen' released by Deadline Records in September 2006. In October Russell vocalised on a cover version of the JOURNEY classic 'Any Way You want It' featured on the Cleopatra Records homage collection '80s Metal Tribute To Journey'.

GREAT WHITE celebrated its 25th anniversary in 2007 with a reunion album and tour. Vocalist Jack Russell and guitarist Mark Kendall were reunited with Michael Lardie on keyboards and guitar, Sean McNabb on bass and Audio Desbrow on drums. The first show was scheduled for January 27th at the Key Club in Hollywood, California as part of a 'Save The Harp Seals' fundraiser. GREAT WHITE, having signed with the Italian label Frontiers Records, was in the recording studio in March laying down tracks for a new album dubbed 'Back To The Rhythm'.

That July the band appeared at a once in a lifetime gathering of 80s Rock acts dubbed 'Rocklahoma', a three-day outdoor festival held in Pryor, Oklahoma, sharing the billing with RATT, VINCE NEIL, WARRANT, SLAUGHTER, QUIET RIOT, WINGER, DOKKEN, JACKYL, FASTER PUSSYCAT, ENUFF Z'NUFF, STEELHEART, 36 INCHES, Y&T, FIREHOUSE, BULLETBOYS, BANG TANGO and POISON.

Bassist Sean McNabb bowed out in May 2008, being replaced by Scott Snyder of RAMOS and ACCOMPLICE. GREAT WHITE bowed back into the European market with the March 2009 album 'Rising'. Shrapnel Records issued the album in the USA on 21st April.

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