GREAT WHITE guitarist Mark Kendall says that he hopes that Jack Russell is doing well, more than seven years after the singer was fired from the band they formed together.
Russell exited GREAT WHITE in December 2011 after he was unable to tour with the group due a series of injuries, including a perforated bowel and a shattered pelvis. Jack largely blamed these injuries on his alcohol and painkiller addictions as well as the prednisone drug he was prescribed.
Speaking about his onetime friend during a recent interview with Tom Leu of Sound Matters Radio, Kendall said: “We had a good run together. He did get in a dark place. He’s always struggled. I work with a lot of addicts that somehow have a more difficult time sustaining sobriety, and that’s kind of been his struggle. He can go for a little while [without drinking], but not too long.
“I can’t really figure it out,” he continued. “I have thoughts about all kinds of different people — why — and I try to analyze it, and I really don’t know the answer apart from addiction’s very powerful. Some people can kind of outrun it one day at a time, and some just… they run into this moment where maybe they’re bored, or something triggers the relapses. And that’s been his struggle. I really hope he’s doing good.”
According to Kendall, he harbors no ill will toward Russell, despite the fact that the two haven’t spoken in nearly a decade.
“I honestly don’t believe we argued more than maybe a couple of times in all those years,” he said. “We never got in any fights. We were brothers.”
This past January, Russell said that he has been sober three years — ever since he drank himself into a five-day coma in September 2015.
Kendall told The Tribune-Democrat that he works with several addiction support organizations, including one online source with 94 members from the music industry, “some on the brink of death,” he said.
Russell sued his onetime bandmates in 2012 over their continued use of the GREAT WHITE name after Jack had taken a leave of absence from the band for medical reasons. A short time later, Russell was countersued by Kendall, rhythm guitarist/keyboardist Michael Lardie and drummer Audie Desbrow, claiming the vocalist’s self-destructive behavior was damaging the GREAT WHITE name (they also alleged he was charging promoters less for his own touring version of GREAT WHITE). The parties settled in July 2013 without going to trial, with Russell now performing as JACK RUSSELL’S GREAT WHITE while the others are continuing as GREAT WHITE.
Last year, GREAT WHITE announced the addition of new singer Mitch Malloy to the group’s ranks. He replaced Terry Ilous, who was fired from the band in July.
The Ilous-led GREAT WHITE released two albums, 2012’s “Elation” and 2017’s “Full Circle”, before Terry was shown the door.