According to Blabbermouth.net, Great White members Mark Kendall (lead guitar), Scott Snyder (bass), Audie Desbrow (drums), Michael Lardie (guitar, keyboards) and Terry Ilous (lead vocals) have responded to founding singer Jack Russell's announcement that he is planning to hit the road in early 2012 with a brand new version of Great White.
Russell revealed over the weekend that he was joining forces with Matthew Johnson (former guitarist for Great White), Derrick Pontier, (former drummer for Great White), Dario Seixas (former bassist for Firehouse and the Stephen Pearcy band) and Robby Lochner (former guitarist for Rob Halford's band and Cherie Currie) in a new incarnation of the classic '80s rock act, with plans to tour under the name Great White Featuring Jack Russell in order to "try [to] avoid any confusion" with any other group calling itself Great White.
Russell spent time earlier this year recovering from major surgery after suffering a perforated bowel (a medical emergency in which a hole in the bowel opens to allow its contents to empty into the rest of the abdominal cavity). Singer Terry Ilous of XYZ stepped in to replace Russell on lead vocals.
Kendall, Snyder, Desbrow, Lardie and Ilous have released the following statement in response to Russell's announcement:
"First and foremost, our main concern is our fans."
"We have spent 30 years trying to be the best we can be and bring our fans the top quality of music they have become accustomed to and deserve."
"It saddens us today to have to respond to Jack Russell's announcement."
"Jack Russell announced on Facebook on Saturday, December 10, 2011 that he was returning to Great White with a new lineup. This was a complete shock to the entire Great White family."
"This couldn't be further from the truth."
"As we all know, Jack Russell has been fighting drug and alcohol abuse for many years. He has had numerous stints in and out of treatment facilities and hospitals."
"In 2010 Jack's physical condition deteriorated to the point that he routinely fell on and off stage, forgot lyrics and we had to cancel shows due to his inability to perform."
"In the past two years, Jack has had five major surgeries and has almost died three times. His drug abuse was so bad that his body began to shut down and ultimately resulted in colostomy surgery from a perforated bowel (he nearly died during this procedure). The colostomy surgery saved his life, but vanquished him with a colostomy bag for a year."
"We stood by Jack; we supported his sobriety and eagerly awaited his return."
"Jack was first slated to return to Great White this past summer. Unfortunately, his frail body and his drug abuse prohibited this event. In the following months, Jack had three more surgeries that delayed his return. Finally, he chose February 2012 as his target return date."
"We had five clear conditions for Jack's return:
1. Jack had to be drug free. Off all opiates, methadone, Valium or Xanax. 2. Jack had to be off prednisone (a steroid that ate away at Jack's internal organs that caused the perforated bowl). 3. Jack had to be sober and off crack cocaine and all alcohol. 4. Jack had to agree to weekly drug tests. 5. Jack must attend weekly meetings for AA and NA."
"Last week Jack notified management he would not make it back by February 2012. Jack referred to his doctor's opinion that he would not be ready. He had just started physical rehabilitation again and his legs and back needed more rehab to handle the rigors of touring. Jack thought he would be ready by May to start the summer touring season. However, he wasn't sure if he could be off the methadone by then or ever. Management reiterated that he had to be completely drug-free for his return. He owed it to the fans. He owed it to us. He owed it to himself."
"Out of nowhere, we all received an email on Saturday, December 10, 2011 stating that he was coming back now and that he was starting his own (a different lineup) Great White. As you can imagine, this was shocking, to say the least. We were saddened and hurt from this shocking announcement."
"We only want to do right by our fans."
"We aim to give the best possible show and have every fan leave the show feeling they got their money's worth."
"This band is sober and music is our passion. With Jack Russell not being drug-free and unable to physically perform on stage, it will only let down our fans."
"Time and again, Jack Russell has let down his band and fans. His addictions have ruined his life the past eight years."
"We will not sit by and enable our brother to abuse alcohol and drugs to kill himself. We have lost too many loved ones to this madness. After the passing of our dear friend, the talented Jani Lane, it has become more evident that this has to stop. It must end."
"Since Jack's departure in August 2010, Great White has performed almost 100 concerts. We've had no shortened sets, cancelations or song choice limitations due to vocal issues."
"In this struggling economy, fans need and deserve more - not less. We owe it to our fans and the promoters to not to allow Jack Russell and some garage band to hurt Great White's classic rock legacy and bright future."
"Jack Russell does not have the right to start his own Great White or use the name without our names in the lineup."
"We will litigate any promoter that books 'Jack Russell's Great White' or uses any logo featuring the name Great White."
"We give you our word, we will continue through 2012 and beyond to provide you with the top-quality musical performances you have been accustomed and deserve."
"We hope and pray that Jack gets healthy, happy and sober. His health and well being is the only thing that matters."