GREAT WHITE Guitarist: ‘We Really Want To Have A Good Time When We Play’

Leslie Michele Derrough of recently conducted an interview with GREAT WHITE guitarist Mark Kendall. A couple of excerpts from the chat follow below. You’ve been around a long time and you’ve got a lot of great fans who have been with you through the good times and the bad. So what do you have planned next? Any new material coming out?

Mark: Yeah, you know I’m always writing. In fact, what I’ve been doing recently, kind of in my off time, is producing bands and I don’t charge them anything. I just say, give me studio time (laughs). So they give me free studio time and I write songs and I can put them on tape for future use and it’s a better format to present songs to the band when they sound really good instead of just standing there with your guitar going, “Hey, check this out” (laughs). I go, “Listen to this, this is a song I came up with,” and it’s just a better representation of an idea or whatever. So, yeah, we’re always writing. Even in soundcheck, I’ll play a riff and somebody in the band will come over and go, “Oh, I like that, let’s work on that”. So we’re always trying to keep it exciting because we’ve never learned to become like an oldies band that is just going to go out and play “Once Bitten Twice Shy”, you know. We always want to keep it fresh for us and that’s what keeps it exciting for us. We always like to eliminate the risk of going through the motions, you know what I mean?! We really want to have a good time when we play. Do you remember the first concert that you went to? And what did that feel like?

Mark: The first concert I ever went to, I think I was sixteen years old and I went and saw Edgar Winter, Jo Jo Gunne and a band called SPOOKY TOOTH, and it was at Long Beach Arena. And I went with a friend of mine and we were just like, “Oh my God, look at this”. It was amazing and I couldn’t believe it. I could never imagine myself at that time being in that spot, you know what I mean. Little did I know that I would be standing up there in ten years (laughs) on the same stage. Really? You played at the same arena?

Mark: Yeah, with JUDAS PRIEST. We played there in 1984. I was twenty-five years old, so it would have been nine years after I had been at my first concert. Tell me about the first time you were on a big stage in a big arena with thousands of people watching you. How did that feel? Were you overwhelmed or did it feel like home?

Mark: Well, I was in a band and we played all cover songs and it was a pretty big crowd for us at the time. I was probably only like seventeen years old and I think it was like three thousand people. I was really nervous and it was an all-girls school (laughs). I don’t know how we got that gig but anyways we went out and played in front of about three thousand people, if I remember. I was pretty nervous, you know. But we played pretty good. You, Michael and Audie are original members of GREAT WHITE, correct?

Mark: Michael Lardie, Audie Desbrow and I. Well, I’ve been in the band even before them cause we started it in like the late Seventies. They came along after the first record so they’ve been in the band since about 1985. So you can consider them original members because they’ve been in the band so long. The bass player that was the original bass player, he kind of left in 1987 and that was kind of an alcohol thing. His name was Lorne Black and he played on the very first album and actually recorded on the album with “Rock Me” on it. Then a guy named Tony Montana came in and played bass and he was in the band until 1992, I believe. And he went off and played guitar so we got another bass player, Sean McNabb, and he was in the band for eight or nine years. Then he went off to be an actor and then played part time like in DOKKEN and wherever else he does. So the bass player we have now that has been in the band for three years is named Scott Snyder. So the bass players have kind of been the revolving door (laughs). Not by design, it’s just things happen and the bass players take off (laughs). Are you going to do another solo album?

Mark: Good question. You know with as busy as the band is right now, I can’t see it happening anytime real soon but I would love to do that. If we have any off time at all I’ll go straight in and start making one. But the way our schedule is now, we’ve been playing every week and stuff. I just can’t see on my three days off going in and making some solo album or something. I need like blocks of time to do it. I just can’t get myself to do that like that. I need to spend time with my family. If I could spend time with my family and do my solo album, that would work better than not spend time with my family, do GREAT WHITE shows and do my solo album (laughs) that’s just too much. But yeah, definitely, hopefully I can do that in the not so distant future. So what’s up for the rest of the year?

Mark: We have shows booked up till probably middle November. Then we’ll probably take a break after that. I’m not really sure if we’re going to go in and do a GREAT WHITE record or maybe I can do my solo album then or whatever, I’m not real sure. We haven’t really talked about it. We’ll just see where we’re at and then figure things out.

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