With a new release, long time rocker, Jack Russell and his version of Great White are ready to take the world this year with numerous performances
Normally I have to call the artist for the interview but for this interview, Jack was calling me and decided to prank me a little in the beginning.
Jack Russell: Hey is this Michael?
Shockwave Magazine: Yes, it is. Is this Jack? How are you?
I’m really good. Actually, the name is Bill. I’m calling about your air conditioning (laughing in the background.)
Well. It’s still broken. You were supposed to be here Saturday.
(Still laughing) Well, I had some car trouble but I’ll be there this Saturday, okay? Anyway, so how are you doin’ man?
I’m good. I’m talking to you from Baltimore.
Oh, cool man. I love that area. We always have great shows when we are out there.
Let’s start right out of the gate. You have a new album. I’ve heard it and it’s awesome. Why did it take so long to come out?
Well, the main reason was that I wasn’t happy with the players I had. I mean I had a band but I didn’t feel like that this is THE band. I knew I had a great guitarist who I wanted to keep in Robby Lochner and the rest of them, well, they had some issues that I didn’t agree with. The other guitar player, who Tony(Montana) took the place of, was a dear friend of mine who did my first solo album with me, one night I couldn’t find him before the show and I turn around and there he was at the bar and I watched him pound down three margaritas in like five minutes and we still had to play that night and I was like ‘What a douche’. He knows I’m an alcoholic and he knows I don’t want the guys drinking before any show because I need everyone to give 100% on stage. So I ended up firing him and it cost me a good friendship, but the rules are for everybody, you know. So then Tony starting playing guitar, which I didn’t realize he could and he’s great. We then got another drummer because my old drummer just had anger issues all the time. We then got rid of the bass player. He was shotty at best. He thought he knew the music business and I just didn’t need to keep arguing with someone all the time about it. So when I finally got this band that’s together now, I said to myself this is the band I want to record an album with. I am more than happy with them and we went into the studio and this is the product that came out. I’m very happy with the outcome of it.
Oh, it’s excellent Jack. I really do love the sound of this album.
Well thank you, and I really mean that. An opinion of someone like you who probably listens to a lot of music is very well respected, especially by me, because it’s what you do. You listen to a ton of music all the time and if you say to me it’s good, that means something to me a little more than John Q. Public. I really believe this album will get some attention.
Now some of the songs on here reminded me of the old stuff. The first one, Sign of the Times, anyone who has heard any Great White song, can immediately recognize your voice and you just sound incredible.
I try to take care of my voice as best I can and work on my voice all the time. Don Dokken years ago, turned me on to a teacher long ago on how to warm up and I do it every time I sing.
Who came up with the artwork for the album?
Ah. That’s a cool story too. I actually came up with the idea. I drew it out on a piece of paper and I sent it over to this cat. His name is Deartist. I never asked him if it was a phony name or whatever, but that’s what he calls himself. So, I sent him the basic sketch of what’s on the album now, and he came back with what you see. He did a brilliant job and it looks exactly what I had in my head on what it looked like. It’s a great cover for an album. I’m also glad we are putting it out on vinyl so you can see the detail of it more.
Now the last song on the album, Godspeed, is that the whole band just making those sounds?
Yup. Isn’t that incredible? Robby and I wrote that song just as an acoustic song and then we got in the studio and looked at each other and he goes I want you just to sing it as an a cappella song and I said ‘What on a rock record’ and he just said try it. So, I did it and recorded it and he comes back to me a month later and says I finished that song. When he puts it on for me to hear, I just start laughing my ass off, and not because it was funny, but because it was so good. I mean the more you hear it, the more you hear more intricate little harmonies and I just loved it and we kept it on the record. It’s funny you mentioned it too because everyone I talk to comments on that song.
It’s totally different. You just don’t hear anything like that on a rock album.
I know, I know.
Now you will be playing M3 again this year which is in my neck of the woods. Do you like playing that festival?
Are you kidding me? I love that place. It’s a hoot. What was really cool was one of the polls they did, we got 68% of the votes of bands they wanted to see there, so definitely I’m excited to play there again. I’m just really happy people are loving the band as much as they do.
What else do you have tour wise coming up?
There will be a ton more coming up as the winter months go by. We have some festivals planned already like M3, but we are ready to tour the whole year long.
Are there any restrictions to your live set that you can and cannot play?
No. None at all. Once it’s been recorded and released, it’s public domain. Anybody can play it, anybody can record it. The only difference is if we record it, we have to give publishing to whoever recorded it. But we will be playing all the hits that everyone loves to hear.
A lot of bands are now doing cruises as part of their touring. Are you a fan of it? Have you done it?
No I haven’t and I probably never will. The idea of being stuck on a boat with all these people who are drunk, I just can’t do it. I’m a little claustrophobic about it too. Now I say that now, but if the money is right and I can get through it, then maybe we’ll see.
Is Europe in the plan also?
I hope so. Even with the old band, it’s been since 1996 or something since we’ve been over there. The crowds there are so big also. They go crazy for us over there. Japan as well. We are still big over there.
Jack Russell’s Great White will be touring all year long like he said and if you haven’t ever seen them play live, they are one of the few ‘must see live’ bands out there as they are excellent live. If they come around, make plans to see them. You will not regret it.