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Interview with Great White | Mark Kendall: «For our music to be part of your lives is like the greatest feeling in the world»

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Hello Mark, how are things with the band these days?

Mark Kendall: We are playing shows in the US, I think we have 8 shows in Europe and the UK also. We are writing new songs and we hope to have a new album out early next year. So, yeah we are staying busy having fun.

 

So, you will be playing in Europe?

Mark Kendall: We are working on it right now. I am not sure if there will be any shows in Greece, but I know we are working to have shows around a festival we are doing in UK in March so we are hoping to get there

 

Tell us about Mitch, has he adapted to the new environment?

Mark KendallYeah, we recorded an album in 2017 with Michael Wagner producing in Nashville and there were a couple songs where we wanted a gain shout from many people. So, Michael knows lots of people from lots of bands so about 20 people came down to do the shout part guys like Pat Travers, Halestorm and Mitch Malloy was in that group and that's the first time I ever saw him and I don't know if we spoke that time, maybe we said hi, and the next time I saw him was on the Masters of Rock cruise, and he came on stage one night and sang Once Bitten Twice Shy and then one morning I was on my phone and I saw a story about Mitch being in Van Halen and that was interesting because when I was a teenager Van Halen was a local band and I've never heard of Mitch playing with them. So I watched the documentary, it was 15 minute long and I guess he was in the band for a couple months and it did not work out but they loved Mitch and I heard him doing Panama I thought it sounded good and then I found out he had a great solo career and I listened to his records. So I talked to Michael Lardy (keyboards) and he knew him and we said let's send him some music with no vocals and he put vocals on a few of our songs in his studio and we really liked it. So, he came and rehearsed with us for 3 days and we really liked him so that was more than a year ago and it's going great, the fans love him and he puts on a great show every night.

 

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That's what I wanted to ask next, how are fans reacting to Mitch.

Mark Kendall: They love Mitch, it's funny because the other day we were in the van and this girl came running and I was in the front seat and, you know, i'm in the band for 30 years and I'm ready to sign autographs and take pictures, and she goes where's the singer I want a picture with him. You can see their faces, they are smiling and he is a natural frontman, he engages the crowd and he is great.

 

You told us before that you are writing new songs. Would you like to share some more info about it?

Mark Kendall: Well, we have ideas and I finished one song. Mitch lives in Florida and I live in LA so it's not easy to get together every day. So I sent him a song that I recorded quickly in my studio, and usually what I do, I sent my ideas on what to do vocally, and then they can do it their way, but i've never just handed someone music and let them sing without saying anything and this time I did that and Mitch came back with a great song, nice words, beautiful chorus. It was like breaking the ice, because we've never worked before. He is a songwriter so it's natural to him. The other stuff we have is still in the ideas stage. What we do usually, is we come together and have ideas and put the songs together. That one song that Mitch finished is really great and it was a relief to see that he is capable of that.

 

 

After all these years and the difficulties the band is still here. What are your thoughts?

Mark Kendall: Yeah, I'm really super proud of our history. For some reason, with bass players something has been going wrong all the time, I really don't know why. We are grateful for all our songs and we keep going forward. What keeps us around is that we are super excited to make new music and that's part of what gives energy and keeps us motivated, to be creative. And with a new singer we are excited about the future.

 

How do you imagine the band from now on?

Mark Kendall: We all feel really health, ive been taking pilates and it's great exercise, it gives you a lot of energy. I see us going forward for the next few years. We have a tour with REO Speedwagon and they are 10 years older than us and they are going strong. So that gives us hope, but we are taking care of ourselves, we are sober nobody takes drugs so we are in good shape.

 

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You had some bad memories from this stuff in the past. How much does it affect a band?

Mark Kendall: When I'm not with the band, I work with alcoholics. Im very familiar with it, some people can get sober, some are struggling, addiction is a big problem so I offer some advice to people, encouragement and try to be supportive. I tell them how I did it, and hopefully and they can find it. Jack Russell (ex singer) had a problem, we were always friends, I don't think we ever had an argument but he had demons, he had addiction issues that he had to deal with. He did his own thing, I hope he is doing good and we moved on and we are doing our thing.

 

If you could go back in time would you change anything?

Mark Kendall: Well, every time I think of something, it's like if I changed it then I wouldn't have learned from it. One thing I;ve might have done, is just to quit drinking in 91, I tried to do it for a couple years and I tried to drink like a normal person. So id like to try and get sober instead. I went like that for a few years but I only got sober in 2008, but I wish I could do it earlier as a younger man. You know, I was a beer drinker, it sounds funny, and that it's soft, so I needed a lot of beers. It's not whiskey, but I still got pain like everybody. It just makes things difficult. I am glad I am sober now, I learned the hard way. Nothing really bad happened, but I could have been more creative more focused. I would drink just to be normal, I did not want to be drunk.

 

It's nice to hear these things from you, many people have a problem with addiction and they need help and words from people like you who had the same problem.

Mark Kendall: I went on facebook a few years ago and I made a post saying 'if anybody is struggling with addiction I',m available to be your sober friend and help you. I've talked to about 120 people since then, personally. Sent them prayers and meditation . One guy became from patient to counselor in a few years. It's nice to see people go through. Even their appearance get's better.

 

Is there a special moment in your career that you would like to talk about?

Mark Kendall: I would say, one of the craziest moments ever, would be when one time we were playing in Illinois, and someone fell on the stage from high up. It was a girl who was high on drugs and was hanging from the lights above the stage, we never saw her, and she came flying on the stage from like 40ft high. That was quite crazy. One of the most exciting moments was when we played in our home town in an arena called Forum. It was a teenage dream for us, and it became true.We had our parents there, our friends with their kids. It was special, and we got platinum records on stage from our record company. My mother and father were there and they were very supportive always and to be able to share that night with them was very special.

 

 

I appreciate the fact that you never changed your musical style. But, were you ever tempted to?

Mark Kendall: I think the reason we never changed our style, is that we stayed true to ourselves. My influences are part of the way I play the way I do and we never strayed from that. We are just kind of old school. If something becomes popular, we are not gonna start sounding like that. First we wouldn't be true to ourselves, and the fans wouldn't be happy too. If all of the sudden we became a death metal band people would be like what the heck is that? I think if you are being honest with your music, the fans appreciate that.

 

And after all these years, there are so many people following the band

Mark Kendall: Yeah, we are really grateful that we see different generations of fans, even 20year olds that are enjoyng the music. We were in Sweden playng a festival with Accept and many European bands. And I was having a cigarette outside of the hotel and there were like 30 kids in their 20s, and they were dressed exactly as I was dressed in 1986. It gives me a great feeling that the discover our music and like it. My son is 28, he brought 3 of his friends at a show and they are telling him 'your dad shreds' and it's something when your own kid like your music and think you are cool. I did not like the music my parents were liking. I was into the Rolling Stones and Beatles and they were listening to something way different

 

You did learn a lot of things from them

Mark Kendall: Oh yeah, my dad was a jazz trumpet player, my mother was a singer and I was around music from a very young age. There was some of the music I could sing along to like the Girl from Ipanema .

 

 

Do you like any new bands?

Mark Kendall: One of the bands we played with and I really liked because they are old school, and they are called Greta Van Fleet. They ve been compared to Led Zeppelin. They remind me of my band, we started in a garage, we weren't any good and we kept playing and started to get better. I am a fan of the human element in music, when people make music without the aid of pitch correcting or auto tune, just plug in to their amps and grab a microphone and the drummer plays and they make music.

 

Would you like to say something to your greek fans?

Mark Kendall: I thank all the fans out there for being so loyal, and growing up with us, and sharing our stories.We are fans ourselves, and we grew up loving different music and he have special songs that take us to different points in time. For our music to be part of your lives is like the greatest feeling in the world and we want to thank you for being the best fans in the world.

 

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Chris Mouskos, Elena Manta

 

Black Velvet Radio

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