ListenIowa recently conducted an interview with former GREAT WHITE and current JACK RUSSELL'S GREAT WHITE singer Jack Russell. An excerpt from the chat follows below.
ListenIowa: You played in Des Moines with the original GREAT WHITE a few years ago and had to support yourself on stage with a cane, and you also were seated on a stool for much of the show. What was going on in your life at that time? You sounded good, but looked miserable.
Jack: "In 2009, I had back surgery. It was my birthday. The band had convinced me that if I took my pain medication, I'd be fine. I felt horrible, I couldn't move. But you don't want to let your friends down, because they don't know how to do anything else. It's not like Mark's [Kendall, GREAT WHITE guitarist] going to become a diamond appraiser or a professor of physics at a local college. So I stayed on the road, ended up being on pain pills and tripped over some cords onstage and shattered my left femur. I finished the show from the stool. They rushed me to the hospital to put me back together again, but I lost two and a half inches of my femur, and I had to learn how to walk again. After that, it was a series of ridiculous things. I was on a plane at thirty-six thousand feet and my colon burst, and they were not about to stop the plane to let me off. So I flew from the East coast to the West coast screaming in pain. When I got there, my wife picked me up, took me to the nearby hospital, and I went right into surgery. They cut me open, took my intestines out, laid them onto a tray next to me, washed them out, then washed out my body cavity. They repaired the hole, but I had a colostomy bag while the other part of my colon was healing."
ListenIowa: What were the other members of GREAT WHITE thinking about all of this? Concern?
Jack: "The thing is, nobody contacted me from the other camp."
ListenIowa: Why didn't Mark contact you? You guys have history. You two started GREAT WHITE.
Jack: "He was tired of me being messed up. He had gotten sober, and I think it made him aware that he could fall, too. And when you're sober, the last thing you want to do is be around someone who is wasted. I get that. What I don't get was the level of hatred. I was supposed to sing at Jani Lane's [former WARRANT vocalist who passed away in 2011] memorial, and a friend of both of ours went to the dressing room and apparently Michael Lardie said something to the effect of [referring to Russell], 'Why doesn't that guy just die already?' No one has said anything worse than that."
ListenIowa: That took place a few years ago, so where do things stand as of today with you and your former bandmates?
Jack: "I have no ill feelings toward them. People ask what I think of the old band, and I just say, 'Not much, and not often.' I don't really have time to spend thinking about them. I've got my band and their families, and they're looking at me to make the right decisions and take care of myself."
Read the entire interview at ListenIowa.
JACK RUSSELL'S GREAT WHITE's debut album, "He Saw it Comin'", was released on January 27 via Frontiers Music Srl. The disc features Russell alongside former GREAT WHITE bassist-turned-guitarist Tony Montana (as a guitar player and keyboardist), Dan McNay (MONTROSE) on bass, Robby Lochner (FIGHT) on guitar and Dicki Fliszar (BRUCE DICKINSON) on drums.
JACK RUSSELL'S GREAT WHITE is not to be confused with the current touring and recording version of GREAT WHITE, which features Mark Kendall (guitar), Scott Snyder (bass), Audie Desbrow (drums), Michael Lardie (guitar, keyboards) and Terry Ilous (lead vocals).