INTERVIEW WITH GREAT WHITE
Mark Kendall and Mitch Malloy
By Sally Steele
See the Interview here!
Vegas Rocks TVF: “Hey it’s Sally Steele VegasRocksTV.com. We’re backstage at Great White with the legendary Mark Kendall and the amazing Mitch Malloy.”
MM: “Also legendary (laughs)”
VRTV: “Depends who you ask. Same thing with me. OK. I’ve been really excited to come down and talk. You’ve had some changes in the band, Mark, and I really excited about it. How did this come about with you meeting up with Mitch and joining the band?”
MK: “The first time I saw Mitch was when we recorded our album with Michael Wagner last year in Nashville. We had a part in the song, in two songs where we wanted a shout vocal, so we had like twenty people come down. He was one of those. I’m not sure we spoke on that occasion. We might of said ‘hi’.”
MM: “We just said ‘hello’. He knew who I was which I was shocked by,”
MK: “And then the second time was on the Monsters of Rock Cruise. I believe Terry (Illous) had him up on stage. I think Michael (Lardie) sent me a picture. I saw Mitch next to me onstage. That looks interesting (laughs). I kinda like the way that looked. Then one morning I was on my cell phone and by accident I saw this Van Halen story about Mitch being in Van Halen for a few weeks or whatever. Which I’d never heard. So, I was real interested to look at that. I saw the video. The little documentary about it. That got me interested into listening to his voice. So I went back and heard a few of his songs from his solo career. Sounds like he has pipes. Then I called Michael Lardie and he goes “oh yeah, I’ve been looking into him for a while.’ I’m like ‘what?’ And nobody tells me this stuff. Then I heard my agent, Sullivan, was pitching him to Michael but nobody tells me. So this was all not by design. As far as oh we’re looking for a singer, put out ads, have a guy come down and audition. It was all like it happened, but it was kinda freaky the way it all went down. Then we got ahold of Mitch. He put his vocals on some songs. Some old ones. Some new ones. Man, that sounds pretty amazing. Let’s see if he’ll come out. He came out and kinda sang the first day, the second day or whatever. By the second day it sounded pretty good. So, we were getting all excited. We, like, clicked right away. Kinda a little beyond the pink cloud. Oh new guy in the band. We got this new energy. It was like we really were cool. We were takin pictures when we normally wouldn’t. Stuff like that.”
VRTV: “Who wouldn’t want to take pictures with him”.
MK: “Yeah, yeah, you might get a girl to come around the band for once. But the shows are goin great for once. He’s getting real close to the songs. The old ones. It’s all goin amazing.”
VRTV: “It was meant to be. So you saw this handsome man and Terry was history.”
MK: “I know I’m kinda like out of the loop but it’s a lot of the fault of how busy we’ve been over the years. So, I miss out on a lot of stuff but he’s great. Like you said I didn’t know much about his solo career or whatever. I just could just list some of them and this song is great, this song is great. He’s got pipes. He’s singing all over the place.”
WRTV: “What happened to Terry?”
MK: “Nothing drastic. You know we were growin apart a little bit. But it wasn’t like there was this massive fight and we said, ‘I hate you’, ‘go away’ whatever. It was one of these things like a marriage grows apart. Nobody was feelin it any more. Plus I was really happy for him anyway. Kinda goin back to his home which to me is xyz. I know it went on for along time. He did a great job. We really like the job Mitch is doing. We think he’s a great fit for the band. When we just stand next to each other it looks cool. He makes us look good.”
VRTV: “He could make anyone look good. This cute, cute thing here. Were going to talk to you a little bit. I wanted to ask you a few questions. Just briefly. Tell us about the Van Halen saga. What happened there? You were in the band, what, for a minute? What is that all about?”
MM: “Yeah, I think the “Mitch Malloy Van Halen’s Lost Boy” on YouTube which is viral now, over a million views, tells the story better than I can. You know they did a great job producing that. It’s quite captivating. Really really well done. So I would advise anyone who hasn’t seen that. That’s the thing that Mark saw that kinda turned him on to me. They should go check that out. It’s called “Mitch Malloy Van Halen’s Lost Boy”. So what happened with Van Halen, it was, how it happened, is that what your asking? Like why did it happen? They were apparently fighting with Sammy and they wanted a change. Steve Hoffman, was working for Ray Daniels, was their new manager. And Steve used to be my day to day guy. He wasn’t my manager, but he worked with me. He worked for my ex manager. So, he was on tour with me. We were tight. We were like brothers. So he got the gig with Ray Daniels, Ray Daniels got the gig with Van Halen and they were like it’s not working with Sammy who could we get. Steve Hoffman was like Mitch Malloy. And he showed me to Ray Daniels and Ray Daniels was like ‘yeah let’s go”. So, Eddie was on the phone with me saying ‘you want to jam with us?’ Eddie Van Halen! I’m like ‘yeah’. Yeah, I think I’ll do that. I think that would work.”
VRTV: “So did you actually join the band?”
MM: “I was actually told, like it says in the documentary, on the third day I was in the band. He actually said the sentence, ‘congratulations you’re in the band.’ Before that he said your this, you’re that, compliment compliment, compliment, ‘We love you. You’re in the band’ and actually kissed me on both cheeks. And hug me. So, “
VRTV: “I would say you’re in.”
MM: “Yeah at least in that moment it was officially I was the lead singer of Van Halen.”
VRTV: “And then what happened?
MM: “Then I went back. They had told me they were gonna go on MTV and they didn’t say anything about going on MTV with David Lee Roth though (laughs). So, but he told me they were going on MTV cause MTV wanted them to present to support the new Van Halen. We’d really like you do this and (winks eye) well help out the new Van Halen kinda thing. Help us out we’ll help you out. So, that was the deal. And then when Roth walked out. I mean I was at home in Nashville. I’d flown back to Nashville. So, I was like (makes big eye expression) ‘uh oh’. This isn’t going to work.
VRTV: “You got replaced by the original guy. That really sucks”
MM: “Yeeeah.well but the weird thing was that I wasn’t replaced by, that’s the misconception. David wasn’t back in the band during that presentation. That’s why things were so problematic because Ed and Al freaked out backstage. They got into a fight backstage because Dave was making it like ‘I’m back in the band’. It was just a like a commercial spoof to get people to buy the best of thing. Dave was never back in the band.”
VRTV: “not at that time”
MM: “Yeah so I was like ‘uh oh everyone thinks Dave is back in the band this is not going to work’. This is like suicide for any singer that steps in. Like the whole world thinks, the whole world saw that. So I talked to them and said ‘I don’t think this is going to work. I think that was kinda put the nail in the coffin for any new singer who comes in.’ “
MK: “That’s when they got Gary Cherone, I think”
VRTV: “ Have you heard from Eddie since or after that?”
MM: “Yeah were friends throughout that. Actually the day they let Gary go or Gary quit or whatever happened, during that time Ed was calling me every day. Everyday, yeah.
MK: “He gave him a song.”
MM: “Yeah he said, ‘write this song. Here’s the music. It’s the right time.’ Which is a song with me with Van Halen.’
MK: “We open with it now.” (everyone laughs)
MM: “He plays it better than Ed man.”
MK: “Circles around him.”
VRTV: “So how’s it like playing with these guys?”
MM: “It’s amazing. I never, I never in my wildest, well same as Van Halen or any of the bands that have come at me, I’ve never in my wildest dreams imagine myself with them. So, when I got the call for this, I was like ‘wow I really hear it. I don’t know if I hear that.’ I’m a producer. So that’s my job to hear things. And so it really wasn’t until I sang on ‘Rock Me’ that I got it. And I thought I don’t sound anything like Jack. But my voice fits on this music. Like in a different way. You know if it worked for me as a producer, taking the artist singer hat off, after I sang it. Listening as a producer. That actually works. I didn’t think it would. But it does”
VRTV: “I heard you at sound check and everybody is excited you’re in the band. I want to talk a little bit about Great White’s history now. What do you think your biggest accomplishment that your most proud of with Great White?”
MK: “Well..with Great White the biggest accomplishment..probably….maybe going on our first tour. I don’t know if that is an accomplishment. We got trophies. We got this and that. Maybe getting nominated for a Grammy. I don’t know.”
VRTV: “An award at the Vegas Rocks award”
MK: “Personal is getting sober. That is the best thing I’ve ever done. As far as the band wise an accomplishments…we’ve had so many. Things that are good that happened. Getting platinum records on stage at The Forum. You got moments like that in front of your family. Guys you were in seventh grade with in the front row going ‘Go Kendall dude’. (laughs) Things like that. There were a few of those. It’s definitely a bunch of them. It’s hard just to pick one or something.”
VRTV: “You got your awards at the Vegas Rocks Magazine Music Awards in 2014.”
MK: “That’s right. I gave a speech and everything. Michael Anthony was right in front. Cause I had history with him. Playing a wedding. We played a wedding. Pretty funny. I went to his house. I didn’t bring a guitar because he’s in Van Halen and he probably got a hundred acoustic. He didn’t have a guitar. I couldn’t believe it. He had all these basses. He had a hundred basses. Like go in his music room all these ba…’you got an acoustic or something?’ “You don’t know I play bass. I’m a bass player.’ ‘You’re the first bass player on earth that doesn’t have a guitar’. “
MM: “As far as accomplishment, if I can just say, I think his greatest accomplishment is just being here. Really, honestly. He’s still doing this at a level that is world class. I get to hear him every night. I am so proud of these guys and proud to be in this band. How good they are. It’s freakish. I’m workin on the concert video that we did. Mixing the stuff in the studio. So, I’m listening to them at finite level. I’m used to the greatest musicians in Nashville. That’s who I mix normally. These guys are fantastic band. It’s like a fantastic rock band. And so his greatest accomplishment is every gig he does. He never has a bad..”
MK: “Still standing.”
MM: “Yeah you never have a bad show dude. You are so good people need to know that.”
VRTV: “Is there any …I have to ask like with Jack Russell. Have you ever spoken? Do you think you’ll ever patch things up?”
MK: “We’ve never gotten into a fight. I don’t think I’ve ever gotten into a fight with Jack. Maybe one argument in thirty years. So, there’s really not a whole lot to patch up. He moved into a real dark world. Wasn’t treatin himself to good. Started to break down. We waited for him to come back. Instead of coming back we got sued so.. I mean I have nothin against Jack I’m not ashamed of any of our years together. But as far as us patching up, I hear that over and over. But we never fought before.
VRTV: “Just the lawyers.”
MK: “It’s all lawyered out. You know fighting and that kind of thing. I shook his hand. We kinda did that kinda thing. After we made our settlement. He’s out. He’s able to play I guess so more power to him and we’re happy. And, you know, so there you go.
VRTV: “Have you ever met Jack. As he said anything to you after you joined the band?”
MM: “You know I haven’t since I joined the band, but I’d only met Jack once. I played M3 two years ago. The M3 Festival. I went one just before him. So I saw him back stage and he shook my hand. And looked at me and said ‘It’s great to meet you. I know who you are.’ Really nice to me. So that was my only interaction with him. So I have nothing against Jack. I mean I have no history with Jack obviously.”
VRTV: “What do you want everyone to know the most about Great White? Your fans and people who aren’t that familiar with you? What do you want them to know?”
MK: “For one thing we are true to ourselves as far as the music we make. We’ve never, you know, changed our ways. Or done anything different. Kinda afraid, I am, to do it different. Do it a different way. Or try to be something that’s popular or whatever. So we really keep it old school as far as we get in a room. We jam. Someone might have an idea. ‘Let’s work on that. I like it.’ We’ve never emailed each other our parts. I know people make records like that but I don’t know what it would sound like if it wasn’t us playing together. Cause that makes a sound that I don’t know if it could sound like we did all of our things not together. Cause stuff happens when we play. That’s one thing I’d like them to know is we make the best music we can. The best songs make it on the record. We never do like this type of record. We never sit in a meeting and go what type a record you guys wanta make. We just literally write songs and we go ‘I like that song. I like that .’ And the best ten or twelve make it on the record. So the fans can know at least that, that we stay true to our music and don’t confide in anything because it’s popular like we never tried to ‘let’s be heavier’ because so and so is heavy and their great or doin good. We just play. I write exactly the same way. I’m afraid to try a new way. Because it works so good you know what I mean.”
VRTV: “That the magic right there. It’s the Mark and Mitch show here on Vegas Rocks TV. I love it and I’m gonna be in the front row tonight, ‘Go Mark Kendall ‘just like your seventh-grade classmates. Thank you so much, so nice to see you again Mitch. We’re real proud of you. And proud of you Mark for keepin rock ‘n roll alive. Such a great job. Sally Steele Vegas Rocks TV and see ya next time.”
– Sally Steele
Transcribed By Alzi Clanton