GREAT WHITE guitarist Mark Kendall says that he "can't envision" a scenario where he will play with the band's original lead singer, Jack Russell, ever again.
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.
In a new chat with The Rock Experience With Mike Brunn, Kendall stated about Russell (as transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET): "We were really good friends, and it was really the addiction that took him out of the game. He could no longer perform, I don't think, close to even his standards, much less ours.
"I've dealt with so many different level of addicts," he continued. "Like, one guy can get a DUI and not ever drink again; he's so upset by his DUI. Then you've got a guy that loses his house, job, wife, family, money — he [has] nothing. He [lives] in his car, he's on Skid Row, and he still doesn't stop. So there's two different levels of addicts. I wouldn't put Jack all the way to the end, but he definitely had his struggles, he had his demons.
"I've never taken anybody's addiction personally," Mark added. "It's just a very tough road. I don't have any answers. I know that it took me a while to get comfortable in my own skin sober, because it was always a vehicle for me to escape fear and not feel uncomfortable in a certain situation; a couple of beers and I'm fine. So it was a vehicle for confidence almost. To just stop that, it's very difficult — you feel naked and you don't know what to do with yourself, and it's very difficult. So I had to work through all my fears and do a lot of work on my character defects. It was a lot more than just removing alcohol. It was a lot of self-work, working with other people and trying to get comfortable in my own skin. And I don't know that Jack has reached that or what he's up to.
"Just because we're not working together don't mean I don't have love for the guy. I want him to do good," he clarified.
Asked if he would be open to working with Russell again if the singer got himself cleaned up, Mark said: "I just can't envision that presenting itself. I'm not sure he's ready, from what I've seen [online of his] performances and stuff. It sounds like his voice is kind of there. But I don't know, man. There's a lot of damage. I'd rather just remember us together, with him flying around on the stage and just blowing minds. That's the picture I want. It's almost like when you lose a family member — you don't wanna think about that; you wanna think about all the great times and the wonderful times you had [together]. You celebrate their life, in other words. I'd rather celebrate Jack in our heyday — keep that picture."
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 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.
Nearly 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.
This past January, Russell told "Rocking With Jam Man" that his split with GREAT WHITE "was very emotional. It still hurts a lot," he said. "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."