GREAT WHITE‘s Audie Desbrow has seemingly thrown shade at the band’s original singer Jack Russell.
The 66-year-old drummer addressed GREAT WHITE‘s former vocalist while responding to a fan comment on his personal Facebook page.
After Desbrow shared a public GREAT WHITE post on Monday (October 9) promoting the band’s February 2, 2024 concert at Fantasy Springs Resort Casino in Indio, California, the fan in question wrote: “It will never be the same without Jack Russell. GREAT WHITE without Jack is like the movie Forrest Gump. Like a box of Choclates ya just never know what your going to get!!!”
Within a couple of hours, Audie responded directly to the fan’s comment, writing: “you got that right, our singer won’t be waisted (sic) on drugs, falling off the stage. or need to be put on stage by a couple of people then put on a stool. Our singer will be able to hit all the notes to every song we play that night or any other song we do anytime any day, totally sober and totally reliable. It’s a business.”
This past May, Audie spoke about the likelihood of a reunion with Jack during an interview with Waste Some Time With Jason Green. At the time, he said: “It just couldn’t physically be possible, I think… And there’s just so much damage, verbal damage, e-mails to us from him that nobody will ever know what they were. And they’re pretty bad. It’s kind of beyond the ruin. I don’t know how to describe it.
“But, yeah, I can’t see that happening, unfortunately, I guess, for a lot of diehard fans,” he added. “I’m sure there might be some fans who’d love to see us with Jack one time or whatever. But I just couldn’t (see it happening).”
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 guitarist Mark Kendall, rhythm guitarist/keyboardist Michael Lardie and 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.
Last November, Russell told All Access Live! With Kevin Rankin about the possibility of him reuniting with his former bandmates: “As far as the fans are concerned, for the most part they’ve been really cool about it. It is what it is. Of course most of them would rather see us back together. There are a few people that, for whatever reason, like a new guy better, which I don’t understand. That’d be like me saying I like somebody better than Steven Tyler in AEROSMITH. Or, ‘Get rid of that Robert Plant schmuck (in LED ZEPPELIN). Let me hear somebody else.’ I don’t know. To each his own. Some things just defy explanation or logic. But for the most part, I think, people would like things, to see them back to where they were, which will never happen. Those days are gone, and anybody out there that’s hoping and wishing and praying, it’s not gonna happen; I’ll tell you right now. Both camps agree (on that).”
Russell went on to say that he chooses to stay away from speaking disparagingly about his former bandmates. “I don’t jump on the drama train,” he said. “Unfortunately, there are still people that do, in my other band, that still choose to pass along negativity. And I’m not gonna say anything bad about anybody. It’s, like, why? We were all huge friends for years. We accomplished one of the hugest things you can ever accomplish together — something that’s almost impossible we pulled off. We were on five major labels, so we did it five times. Usually you lose one and you’re blackballed. And we were on five different major labels. So there’s something to say for that. I never was gonna let up until I was done.”
In June 2022, shortly after GREAT WHITE announced that it had parted ways with singer Mitch Malloy, Kendall dismissed the idea of reuniting with Russell, telling Dr. Music in an interview: “(People say,) ‘Why don’t you patch things up with Jack?’ What people don’t understand is we never even got in fights (with Jack). In 25 years together, we might have gotten in two arguments. The thing that took him out is the horrible demons of addiction, and it’s really affected his health. I just saw a video the other day where he’s not even standing — he’s using wheelchairs and he’s sitting in a stool. So for us to go back to that, it just feels dark. I’d rather remember him… ‘Cause I’m very proud of our career — I’m very proud of the past. I’m so lucky to be a part of it. And I wanna remember it like that, where he’s flying around on stage and getting the crowds pumped and singing his heart out — not a sick person. So going to that…”
Malloy had been in GREAT WHITE for nearly four years, having joined the group in 2018 following the departure of Terry Ilous.
Ilous, frontman of ’80s L.A. hard rockers XYZ, joined GREAT WHITE in 2010 after stepping in for touring vocalist Jani Lane (WARRANT).
The Ilous-led GREAT WHITE released two albums, 2012’s “Elation” and 2017’s “Full Circle”, before Terry was dismissed from the group.
In 2018, Desbrow told ListenIowa that there was never any discussion about possibly bringing Jack back after Terry‘s exit from GREAT WHITE. “Not at all,” he said. “We’ve already moved on from that. We’ve gone through a lot of stuff with that over the years, and the fact that he sued us in federal court for the name, and we spent a lot of time and money, you just don’t return from that. People tell me that they’ve seen his latest shows, and it’s just hard to look at because his health isn’t as good as it could be. We’ve got a really grueling schedule, and it’s hard enough for me, and I’m semi-healthy. (Laughs) I couldn’t imagine someone in his condition doing what we’re doing. We did shows with him toward the end, and he was in and out of a wheelchair and crutches, had to be carried up stairs, was falling asleep onstage. It just got old. It’s a business, and we have families to support and mortgages to pay. You can’t go to work messed up 24/7 and still be able to work there.”
In October 2022, GREAT WHITE officially named Brett Carlisle as its new lead singer. Carlisle joined the band as the replacement for Andrew Freeman, who sang for GREAT WHITE for only five months.
Carlisle made his live debut with GREAT WHITE on September 24, 2022 at the Cannery Casino Hotel in Las Vegas, Nevada.