Great White Biography
Great White is an American blues-based rock band known primarily for their hit "Once Bitten, Twice Shy", a cover version of a song written by Mott the Hoople's Ian Hunter. Their songs were derivative of Led Zeppelin, AC/DC, and Mott the Hoople. While one infamous nightclub show eclipses their previous achievements, the hard rock/heavy metal band Great White would much rather you remember their Grammy nomination for Best Hard Rock Performance, the over six million records they sold, and their double platinum album ...Twice Shy. Formed in the early '80s by vocalist Jack Russell and guitarist Mark Kendall, Great White were regulars of the L.A. club scene, playing their Led Zeppelin- and AC/DC-influenced metal to a quickly growing fan base. Local radio play and more gigging helped sell 20,000 copies of their independent releases, the Out of the Night EP and the full-length Shot in the Dark, both released in 1983. The EMI label took notice, signed the band, and released its self-titled, major-label debut a year later. Shot in the Dark would be reissued by the label in 1987, the same year as the new album Once Bitten... appeared with the hit single "Rock Me." The album went platinum, but 1989's ...Twice Shy took things even further thanks in no small part to the massive success of the single "Once Bitten Twice Shy," a cover of a Mott the Hoople song written by Mott member Ian Hunter. Long tours with Ratt and a co-headlined tour with Tesla kept the band out of the studio until 1991 when the polished Hooked appeared with two different album covers, one a provocative side shot of a mermaid hanging off an anchor in mid-air and one less scandalous with the mermaid still submerged. Hooked went gold while their 1992 follow-up, Psycho City, sold less, leading to EMI saying goodbye to the band with the 1993 compilation The Best of Great White. Sail Away from 1994 found the band on Zoo, while 1996's Let It Rock was released by Imago. A live set of cover tunes featuring the work of their favorite band appeared as Great Zeppelin: A Tribute to Led Zeppelin, released by Cleopatra in 1999. That same year, Can't Get There from Here on the Portrait label gave fans their first taste of Russell's new writing partnership with longtime friend and former Night Ranger member Jack Blades. Another set of covers formed the 2002 Cleopatra album Recover, but this time the choices were surprising, with the Cult's "Love Removal Machine" and X's "Burning House of Love" getting the Great White treatment. Forgotten by the mainstream, they were brought back into the limelight when pyrotechnics used by the band sparked a fire in a Rhode Island nightclub on February 20, 2003, killing 100 people, including the band's guitarist, Ty Longley. The 2004 reissue of Recover drew some media attention, since the Horizon label had given it a new and now morbid title, Burning House of Love. Trials concerning the fire continued on into 2006 as questions concerning who authorized the pyrotechnics were being investigated. In 2008 the band agreed to pay $1 million to survivors and victims' relatives of the fire while admitting to no wrongdoing. This amount also covers former tour manager Daniel Biechele along with the band members, record label, and management as it existed at the time of the fire. The settlement was the maximum allowed under the band's insurance plan. Though the media referred to the band as "Great White" following the tragedy in Rhode Island, the band was officially performing under the moniker of "Jack Russell's Great White" at the time of the incident . In fact, prior to the fire, the band's official website posted a message stating that Great White had not reformed . It's unclear when the band began officially going by "Great White" again, but it is possible that the intense media coverage surrounding Great White caused the band to simply return to their original name in order to avoid confusion during the tours that followed. Great White played their first full show following the Rhode Island tragedy on July 22, kicking off a benefit tour for the survivors and victims of the fire. The band would tour until 2005 to raise funds for the Station Family Fund, which had been set up to help the victims of the tragedy. In late 2005, citing "medical reasons", the band would cancel the second half of their summer tour. The "medical reasons" would prove to be Jack Russell's addictions to alcohol and cocaine. He would later detail a particular low point of being caught by his ex-wife smoking crack in a laundry room. This would prove to be the end of this version of Great White, as Jack Russell would enter rehabilitation and not perform again until 2007. Russell would use the year of 2006 to get sober and get a facelift that would be detailed on ExtraTV. Russell would later refer to this incarnation of Great White as "Fake White", saying "It still sounded like Great White, but not—almost like we were doing a cover of ourselves." Back to the Rhythm 2006-Present Talk of a reunited Great White began in a 2004 interview where Jack Russell told Metal Express "I spoke with Michael [Lardie], we threw that around a bit, and thought that sounds like a cool idea, it'd be fun. I'm pretty positive it's gonna happen … probably next year... We talked to some other people, and [former drummer] Audie [Desbrow] would not be a person I would want to play with ever again in my life. There were some bridges burned there that I just can’t forgive, and I’m a very forgiving person. I just can’t let that one go. I have to stand up for myself...". Russell's stance towards Desbrow seemed to have changed course by 2006 when he told Mitch Lafon "I talked to Michael Lardie the other day and he is into doing it. I just want to get hold of Tony Montana and Audie Desbrow. I think that would be very special for our 25th anniversary tour to have the same guys...we haven't played together in a very long time." Later in 2006 guitarist Mark Kendall officially announced that Great White has re-formed its classic lineup. The reformed lineup of Russell, Kendall, Michael Lardie, Sean McNabb and Audie Desbow played their first date together in over 5 years on January 27, 2007 at the Keyclub in Hollywood, CA performing at the Harpseals.org Benefit Concert for the Seals 2007, and the band continued to tour throughout the rest of the year. On the bands recent tour in the UK, vocalist Jack Russell commented that "I think I'm enjoying it more now than the last time we were over, I think the older you get, at least for me anyway, you appreciate more and more. This is the twilight of our career at best, and any time we get after this is icing on the cake, it's a gift. It's been 25 or 26 years now since the band became Great White, and I've been playing with my guitarist since '78 when I was 17 years old, I'm 47 now, so that's 30 years."