GREAT WHITE Frontman: Music Is The Reason We Got Back Together Again

Jeb Wright of Classic Rock Revisited recently conducted an interview with GREAT WHITE frontman Jack Russell. A couple of excerpts from the chat follow:

Classic Rock Revisited: Why did you choose "Back to the Rhythm" as the title track [of the new album]?

Jack: There were several reasons, actually. I wanted to get back to the basics. I also wanted to make the album about doing this for the right reasons. I wanted to get back to making music for the reasons we first made music. It was not about the accolades, the money or the women. We started because we loved to make music and that is the reason we got back together again. The likelihood of us selling a million records is pretty remote. We just love to make music and we love to play it on stage. I am keeping things down to the basics and I am having a great time.

Classic Rock Revisited: Was there a time before the tragic events of 2003 that the success, money and women did affect the band adversely?

Jack: Yeah, absolutely — the partying, for sure. Back in 2001 we were just a mess. I was partying on the road, which is something I never did. I was getting loaded every night. Mark was sober and he was just trying to hang on. I went through a terrible divorce and I decided that I was going to go out and party because I didn't want to feel that way anymore. Mark split after that and that is when Ty came into the picture. Later on we had problems with management. Everyone went their separate ways. We are back now and it is really awesome. We have new management that we actually like now so it feels like a band again — more so than it ever did.

Classic Rock Revisited: You're an intelligent guy. This GREAT WHITE album does not have millions of dollars of promo behind it. Word it tougher to get out. Is there any frustration that it is difficult to get your music to the masses?

Jack: Of course there is. It pisses you off. Making a record is like having a baby. You turn it over to your A&R guy and tell them, "Please don't let our baby grow up with the bad kids at the bottom of the charts." You want people to listen to your music. It is like painting a painting and having it get stuck in the storeroom where no one can see it. Making music is all about letting people hear it. You are asking people if they like your soul.

Classic Rock Revisited: Are you mentally prepared to know that every interview that you do for the rest of your life people are going to bring up that one night?

Jack: I figured that out a long time ago. It is not a good thing but what are you going to do? It is part of our legacy. Hopefully, more people will remember us for our music than for that but what am I going to do about it? I can't rewind and make it go away.

Classic Rock Revisited: You have the healing process to go through yet you are always going to have it being brought up.

Jack: Time heals all wounds. I had my last relationship that didn't work out and I thought it was going to kill me. When she left me, I thought I would never be the same but time went on and now I could give two shits if she fell off a cliff. She wouldn't fall; she would be pushed [laughing].

On a serious note, I can't change the past. Hopefully, something good will come out of it that will prevent it from ever happening again. Hopefully, there will be more stringent fire codes that will actually be enforced. We will see. Hopefully, bands are not using pyro when they play in clubs. It was horrible for everyone involved and it will never fade away. The scars on the soul never fade. I am not going to say emotional pain is equal too or worse than physical pain but it is horrific. I lost a lot of friends that night that I had watched grow up for twenty years. It has not been easy for anybody. I pray for them every single night. I hope the families can have some closure and move on. I remember my friends in my prayers and the joy that they gave us. I don't ever want to forget about that night but I don't want to relive it every day of my life either.

Classic Rock Revisited: Are you finally past all the legal stuff?

Jack: It is not done yet. It should be finished in the next couple of years.

Read the entire interview at


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