Eric Hall of The Fuze Magazine recently conducted an interview with guitarist/keyboardist Michael Lardie of GREAT WHITE. You can listen to the full interview below. A few excerpts follow (transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET).
On what runs through his mind before he goes on stage:
Michael: "It's just an energy and just looking around at your bandmates, just going, 'We get to do it…again!' That kind of adrenaline that's not ever nervousness, it's just the excitement of going out there and hitting that first note and first connection with the audience. It's certainly greater than any other substance I ever tried in my past. Playing in front of people always won out. That's why I was lucky enough to never really get into substance abuse myself. Playing live was the best drug there was."
On how the band's music has evolved since their 1984 self-titled debut:
Michael: "I think, obviously, the biggest change was from the first record between that time and the release of [1987's] 'Once Bitten…' I think on the first record, the band was leaning toward more of a combination between JUDAS PRIEST and VAN HALEN and had that kind of vibe to it. The band was still developing, we were working on finding our niche as far as our sound. By the time we got to 'Once Bitten…', we figured out Mark [Kendall] is one of the best blues rock players out there, underrated for sure. Implementing his talent and his imagination from the guitar standpoint, going into that realm of the blues rock thing, I think helped us find our identity. I think our identity has pretty much stayed the same since that point. It was easy for us, once we found our niche, I think that was our identity and as long as we stayed true to that through all these years, I can't speculate entirely, but I hope that's why the fans have stayed with us because we have stayed true to who we are."
On the effect of downloading and streaming on their album sales:
Michael: "It's interesting how it has changed. When the brick-and-mortar record stores went away, that obviously changed a lot of our fanbase and their traffic because even now, we're a band that most of our fanbase that will buy through on the record, likes the physical product more than they like the downloads. So, we always seem to sell a lot of pieces, actual physical pieces. Downloading is only twenty, twenty-five percent of sales for a new record. It really hasn't changed in the last ten years. As far as video streaming, it's cool that people can get access to seeing the videos and hearing the music. It's nice that all the digital places that monitor all of those plays, all the songs are registered, so we are getting some income from that, which is not something that was happening ten years ago. That has changed. With the advent of social media, too, it's changed. When I was a kid growing up, the only real connection I had with an artist was reading a Circus or Hit Parader magazine interview. Looking at pictures and imagining what their life was like. Now, it's much easier for fans to connect with artists and see what their day is and years are really like."
On the band's new "Full Circle" studio album:
Michael: "As far as writing for the record, Mark and I had worked on riffs throughout the year of 2015 and a little bit in 2016. Then we found out there was a window to do the record in January. We had to marshal all of our forces and put together some material and make them into completed songs. That went really quick because we've done it so many times that there is a language and communication between all of us that works so easily and we just move so quickly. One of the things I love about the record is that it's very diverse in terms of its approach to things. That, I think, hopefully the fans agree that it's been our signpost, that we don't do three songs four times and there's our record. We like to mix it up with dynamics and different instruments. It's just fun to make a record after all these years."
"Full Circle" was released on June 2. The effort sees the band re-teaming with its original producer, Michael Wagener. It's an honorable nod to their first EP, "Out Of The Night" (Aegean Records, 1983) and debut self-titled full-length record (EMI, 1984). Wagener, is, of course, the legendary producer behind ALICE COOPER, MEGADETH, METALLICA, OZZY OSBOURNE and a slew of other rock gods.
Photo credit: Neil Zlozower