Great White, a band with over 8,000,000 in record sales, started its career in 1981 as Dante Fox, playing its first gig at The Troubadour in Hollywood, California.
In 1982, its founding members Jack Russell, Mark Kendall, drummer Gary Holland, and bassist Lorne Black, recorded and released a 5-song EP, Out of the Night, with producer Don Dokken on the independent label, Aegean, formed by manager Alan Niven. Niven convinced Los Angeles radio station KMET to begin adding songs from the EP to its playlist in heavy rotation. KLOS-FM soon did the same. Great White suddenly went from drawing 100 people at local clubs to drawing thousands. Near the end of 1983, EMI America signed Great White and subsequently released its eponymous debut album in early 1984. The band then immediately toured the UK, supporting Whitesnake’s Slide It In tour, and the entire US and Canada, opening for Judas Priest’s Defenders of the Faith tour. The band’s follow up release was Shot in the Dark, which was reissued by Capitol Records. After the release of Shot in the Dark, Great White hit the road with Dokken and was on the verge of even bigger success. Russell, Kendall, and their manager, Niven, decided to make some personnel changes, adding Michael Lardie and Audie Desbrow for the recording of the next album for Capitol Records.
Great White hit the mainstream in 1987 with its release Once Bitten…, which featured the hits “Rock Me” and “Save Your Love,” (a song which neither the producer nor the record label wanted on the album as they felt it was too soft). Russell, however, informed them that he would quit if the song was not included. Once Bitten… was certified platinum in April, 1987. During this time, another L.A. local, Tony Montana, was recruited to play bass -- and the classic lineup of Great White was assembled.
Great White followed up with …Twice Shy in 1989. This album included the band’s biggest hit, “Once Bitten, Twice Shy”, a cover of a UK hit single by Ian Hunter. Following this success, Great White received a Grammy Award nomination for Best Hard Rock Performance.
“Once Bitten, Twice Shy” was certified platinum in July 1989 and double platinum in September of that same year. The band finished off the 80s touring in support of …Twice Shy as a headliner, and also supporting some of the best known bands of the era, such as Bon Jovi and Whitesnake.
Great White continued into the next decade performing the song “House of Broken Love” at the American Music Awards in January 1990. In March of 1990, the band embarked on its first tour of Japan. The band returned to the United States for the Memorial Day weekend festival dubbed The World Series of Rock, which featured Whitesnake, Skid Row, Bad English, and Hurricane Alice.
Great White then recorded two more albums for Capitol Records, Hooked, which was certified gold, and Psycho City. In support of Hooked, Great White embarked on a headlining tour. Great White also opened for the Scorpions and traveled to Europe and Japan. Psycho City was followed by a US tour with Kiss.
Capitol Records issued the compilation The Best of Great White: 1986–1992 in 1993, after Great White departed the label to begin work on their next studio release, Sail Away. Before the release of the album, Great White spent seven months on the road headlining clubs. Great White kept up the pace when it released Sail Away on Zoo Records in 1994. The band toured the US several times over the following year and a half. Its next album, Let It Rock, was released by Imago Records in 1996.
In 1996, Jack Russell produced and recorded his first solo album, Shelter Me. Joining him was guitarist, keyboardist, and producer Michael Lardie, as well as guitarist Matthew Johnson, bassist Tim Bogert, and drummer Myron Grombacher.
In 1999, Great White then released Can’t Get There From Here and embarked on a tour with Ratt, Poison, and L.A. Guns. Can’t Get There From Here featured the single “Rollin’ Stoned”, which charted at No. 8 on the Billboard Mainstream Rock Tracks chart.
In 2000, Great White was slated to record another album for Sony’s label Portrait. Jack told Sony’s John Kolodner, however, that he would be pursuing his solo career instead. On November 5, 2001 Jack Russell announced the end of Great White, stating that Great White would play one final farewell show on December 31, 2001 at the Galaxy Theatre in Santa Ana, CA. The show was recorded for a live CD entitled Thank You…Goodnight!, which was released by Knight Records. The live album includes two tracks, “Back to the Rhythm” and “Play On” from discontinued studio sessions, both of which would ultimately wind up on the Great White reunion album Back to the Rhythm in 2007.
In 2002, Jack Russell released his second solo album, For You. Joining him on this album was guitarist Bob Kulick, bassist Tony Levin, drummer Vinnie Colaiuta, keyboardist Michael Sherwood, and producer and musical prodigy Billy Sherwood.
In late 2002, Jack Russell contacted Mark Kendall, who agreed to play some dates with Russell’s solo band. Russell began to use the name Great White once again. Billed as “Jack Russell’s Great White,” the tour was to consist primarily of classic songs from the Great White catalog with some of Russell’s solo work mixed in. Eventually, more dates were added and the tour extended through the early months of 2003. The band returned to the national spotlight on February 20, 2003. At the beginning of a Great White performance at The Station night club in Rhode Island, pyrotechnics used by the band’s crew created a spray of sparks that ignited the foam soundproofing material in the ceiling around the stage. One hundred and one people including the band’s guitarist Ty Longley, died in the fire that followed, and over 250 other people were injured. In 2008, Jack Russell’s insurance company, while admitting to no wrongdoing, paid $1 million to survivors and victims’ relatives of the fire. The settlement was the maximum allowed under the insurance plan. Victims also previously received $3.8 million raised by the United Way of America.
Great White played its first full show following the Rhode Island tragedy on July 22, 2004 after starting a benefit tour for the survivors and victims of the fire. The band toured until 2005 to raise funds totaling over $100,000 for the Station Family Fund set up to help the victims of the tragedy. The band continued to tour throughout the rest of the year, and recorded Back to the Rhythm.
Great White released its latest album, Rising, on March 13, 2009 in Europe via Frontiers Records, and on April 21, 2009 in the US.
In 2011 Jack Russell and Mark Kendal split and Mr. Russell formed “Jack Russell’s Great White.” The standing members of Great White reached an agreement that Jack Russell would continue with his own version of the band.
Jack added Robby Lochner, a gifted, Arizona guitarist who recently toured with Judas Priest’s Rob Halford. Jack was indeed intent on creating an ideal collection of players to faithfully recreate the Great White sound, and to record new music for the fans of Great White’s legacy. In this effort, Jack recruited one of Great White’s most recognizable members from the classic lineup of the band, Tony Montana, who joined the Pirate’s Life Tour for the Summer of 2013. Tony Montana’s contributions to Great White’s writing and visual presentation were integral to the success of Great White during its platinum period and, now, Jack Russell has a link to the band’s most successful era, and its most seminal music.
Now, in 2013, JACK RUSSELL'S GREAT WHITE is back on the road, featuring the voice that fans all over the world have come to love and to associate with the greatest hits from Great White. Jack Russell’s Great White is coming to a city near you!!