Great White surfaces at Alive at Five tonight

The history of the LA hard-rockers is complicated
Great White kicks off Alive at Five tonight in Albany.
Great White kicks off Alive at Five tonight in Albany.

Albany’s free concert series Alive at Five opens tonight with 1970s-and-since LA hard-rockers Great White, but this is complicated.

Formed in 1977 while Led Zeppelin still rocked the world and inspired every hard-rock band, Great White peaked with the Grammy-nominated “ … Twice Shy” album (1989).

However, the “official” Great White playing Alive at Five tonight is different from “Jack Russell’s Great White.” Led by the band’s former singer Jack Russell, that band was involved in a tragic 2003 Rhode Island nightclub fire that killed 100 including guitarist Ty Longley.

The original Great White broke up in 2001, freeing Russell to form a new band in 2002. When guitarist Mark Kendall joined Russell, this entitled Russell to append the Great White name to his band.

Disputes over rights to the Great White name accompanied substance abuse and other health problems, as players came and went.

Guitarist Mark Kendall, for example, has played in both versions; and Russell was aboard when Great White reformed in 2006, leaving a second time in 2011.

Meanwhile, the “official Great White” — Terry Ilous, vocals; Scott Snyder, bass; Michael Lardie and Mark Kendall, guitars; and Audie Desbrow, drums — has continued recording and touring. They made “Full Circle” last year in Nashville with producer Michael Wagener, who produced their early albums and projects with metal-pop stars Megadeth, Metallica, Alice Cooper and Ozzy Osbourne. Great White’s album sales passed 100 million in 2007.

“Having 13 studio albums to choose from, we usually pick a little from each and make a nice set everyone seems to enjoy,” said Kendall.

“We are still touring on our recent effort ‘Full Circle,’ so there are no immediate plans to record,” he added. “We usually will just play a couple of new songs. We’ve never been a fan of bombarding people with new music. A couple (of new songs) feels about right.”

Of their hiatus, Kendall said, “Not having a break since 1982, we all decided to take a hiatus from the band, enjoyed our families.” He added, “In 2006 we started to feel it was time to get back together, make a record and tour, so that’s what we did.”

Joe Mansman and the Midnight Revival Band opens tonight for the “official” Great White at Alive at Five.

Alive at Five shows are 5 to 8 p.m. at Jennings Landing in the Corning Preserve across I-787 from downtown Albany. Rain site is the Corning Preserve boat launch, Colonie and Water streets. Series restrictions forbid alcohol, tobacco, backpacks, coolers and other containers, and non-ADA-certified service animals. 518-434-2032

Categories: Entertainment

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