Former GREAT WHITE singer Jack Russell has urged everyone to get vaccinated against COVID-19, saying "it's no big deal."
Russell — who 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 — offered his opinion on the hot-button topic in a new interview with Michael's Record Collection.
Asked if he has been able to return to the road with his current band, JACK RUSSELL'S GREAT WHITE, in the months since the U.S. began easing restrictions on large concerts and sports events, Jack said: "Yeah, we have, actually. We're getting ready to go out this weekend again. We've done a handful of shows — we've done about 15 shows so far — and we're on our way to be working most weekends. That's what I want. So it's getting there. They're starting to come in. I think the more people realize the band is actually out and doing shows, the more people are coming to the table. So it's a good thing. More bands are playing.
"I'm just concerned about — and I know I'm gonna ruffle some feathers right now — but there are so many people that are anti-vaxxers, and what's gonna happen is when the cold and flu season comes around again this fall, we're gonna have another episode of COVID, and it's gonna put everybody right back to square one," he continued. "The restaurants are gonna close, the venues are gonna close, 'cause [people are gonna be] getting sick again.
"Get your vaccines, man. C'mon, people. It's no big deal. It's a no-brainer. You're not gonna die. It's not gonna kill you. They're not putting radio tracking devices in you. Just get your vaccines, man. And let's get back to normal here."
Russell went on to criticize people who question the CDC recommendation that vaccinated people remain masked in indoor public spaces to help stop viral transmission.
"People don't understand that," he said. "And they say, 'Okay, well, you have to wear a mask if you're out in public if you're not vaccinated.' Now, c'mon — anti-vaxxers haven't worn masks from the get-go. Why are they gonna put masks on now?
"Just get your vaccinations," he reiterated. "It's not a big deal. I got mine as soon as I could… It took me a while to find a place [to get vaccinated]. I had to drive four hours each way — twice. But I did it. It was, like, hey, this is how important it was to me."
When Russell split with GREAT WHITE a decade ago, he largely blamed his injuries on his alcohol and painkiller addictions as well as the prednisone drug he was prescribed.
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 guitarist Mark 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.
More than three years ago, 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 2018.
Russell, who celebrated the fifth anniversary of his getting sober in September 2020, had been living on a 45-foot boat in Redondo Beach, California for nearly a decade before recently moving to Colorado with his wife.