Ethan Sacks of the New York Daily News reports:

A wildly differing account of the deadly 2003 Rhode Island nightclub fire has flared up long-simmering tensions among the former members of Great White.

Original guitarist Mark Kendall, performing at the time of the fire that left 100 dead, told TMZ Tuesday that the band that played that night wasn’t the “official” lineup of Great White, but singer Jack Russell’s solo act.

“I sat in with his band because his solo tour wasn’t doing very well,” Kendall told a TMZ videographer.

“Then that tragedy happened and CNN just ran out and said it was Great White like it was the original band.”

As proof he pointed to Jack Russell Touring as the defendant in the lawsuits that resulted in the aftermath.

But several sources, including Russell himself, debunked that claim to the Daily News.

They all said Great White was the official name of the band that hit the stage of The Station in Warwick, R.I., on Feb. 20, 2003.

“I just wanted to throw up when I heard he said that,” says Russell. “I’m not saying it’s anyone’s fault. But to not acknowledge that he was there, and trying to distance himself from the event … why even bring it up now?”

An insider close to the band also told the News that Kendall toured with Russell as Great White for two years after The Station tragedy to raise money for the families of the victim.

“Ridiculous,” the source said. “It was a Great White tour. Nobody else was touring as Great White. Jack was the lead singer, and was the only one who had not quit the group at one time or another.”

Russell, who formed the band with his childhood friend Kendall when they were teens, believes the recent salvo stems from the discord over the use of the Great White name.

The singer tours as Jack Russell’s Great White and Kendall plays with the band’s first drummer, Audie Desbrow, in Great White.

All of the hard rockers have also had been haunted by the horrific blaze that killed 100 people and injuring 200 others when pyrotechnics engulfed the foam lining the club’s walls and ceiling.

…A rep for Kendall’s Great White declined to elaborate on the guitarist’s comments further.

“It’s sad,” says Russell. “I started the band with him when I was 17 years old…”

Read more at the New York Daily News.


10 Responses

  1. Great White’s brand of bluesy hard rock was never my cup of tea, but they had some good songs and I enjoyed the video for “Once Bitten” That said, the group ended for me that night in RI. The shabby club, the idiot incendiaries, and the horrendous loss of life just registered “turn-off” from that point forward.

    Slow news or not, these artists, Russell particularly, were dealt a dark hand, and they never recovered. I have to agree with Dana and others that the accusations by this guitarist are absolutely uncalled for.

  2. There’s bad blood between Russell and Kendall but the fire should not be brought up as part of their feud. I believe Kendall owns the rights to the name so him playing there that night makes it a “Great White” show. I don’t get why he would fill in for the band he’s at odds with.

  3. Kendall’s a dirtbag loser not just for this latest slime move but for the way he and the other members of (not so)’Great’ White filed their trademark for the band name underhandedly without Jack Russell. The guy was recovering from some major health problems and to do that behind his back was beyond low. He was always in the band and carried them just fine without Kendall. I saw them in 2000 and they rocked my ‘nads off. No disrespect to Terry Ilous, good singer but I’m not at all impressed with that version of the band. I’d much rather see Russell with his band, he is the voice and to me that is Great White.

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