In a new interview with "Rocking With Jam Man", Jack Russell reflected on his split with GREAT WHITE nearly a decade ago. "It was very emotional," the singer said (see video below). "It still hurts a lot. Maybe it's like a divorce, 'cause you get to be brothers when you're playing in a band together, especially for many, many years. And then when that ends, it can be very traumatic on your spirit. That's what it was like when I split up with my old guys. That was really, really difficult. But what are you gonna do? You've gotta kind of go with the flow and just move on."
Asked if he thinks a band that replaces its longtime singer is essentially "just a cover band," Russell said: "Well [laughs], that's dangerous waters right there, my friend. Let me see how to answer that. You know, I hate to say it, but I do agree with you. I think the singer is the one part of the band that is unique. I mean, pretty much any guitar player that's good can play any other good guitar player's [parts] well enough to make it sound — it's indistinguishable. You go, 'Is that the original guitar player?' 'No, it's somebody else.' 'Oh, I couldn't tell.' But, obviously, each singer is gonna have his own sound that's uniquely of himself. My voice sounds different than anybody else's voice, so anything that I've done with GREAT WHITE sounds like GREAT WHITE. You take that element away, and it's a different band. So, the answer to you question — for the most part, putting it that way, yeah, I agree with you."
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.
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 two 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.
Nearly a year ago, Kendall said that he holds no ill will toward Russell, telling 80's Glam Metalcast: "The situation was never, like, 'I hate you,' or some big fight or anything like that. It all had to do with substance abuse and him not taking care of himself and [him being] unable to perform. So we just told him to go get well, and then, after a year, he came at us with a lawsuit. He wanted the name and just to hire people to play with him. So we were forced to defend ourselves. But there's definitely no ill will. And besides that, I never take anybody's addictions personal. I work with a lot of people with addiction problems daily, and that's one thing — I never take it personal, because I know it's a difficult thing to get away from."
He added: "It's a sad situation… It's really unfortunate. We went as long as we could until literally… He had walkers and colostomy bags… It was just a horrible situation. We're all healthy and sober, and it's very difficult when you're in that situation. And we still have the energy to play music. It started out just getting somebody to fill in. We even had Jani Lane [WARRANT] in the band for, like, 10 shows. And then [Jack] just couldn't return. And now he's out there. He's kind of struggling, but I guess he's able to play, and God bless him."
Russell, who celebrated the fifth anniversary of his getting sober in September, had been living on a 45-foot boat in Redondo Beach, California for nearly a decade before recently moving to Colorado with his wife.