Mark Kendall is the lead guitarist and a founding member of the hard rock band Great White. 30 years after founding the band in Los Angeles, Mark and company have sold over 10 million records worldwide and continue to record and tour. Elation is the band’s twelfth studio album and the first to feature vocalist Terry Ilous.
Great White might have been lumped into the Hair Metal category back in the ’80s, but Mark Kendall’s incredible guitar playing and his love for the blues gave the band its distinct sound, which has enabled the band’s music to truly stand the test of time and keep a loyal fan base hungry for more, even after 30 years.
The new album undeniably has the Great White signatures. “Feeling So Much Better” has a harder side to it, while “Shotgun Willies” sounds like classic GW. “Hard to Say Goodbye” boasts incredibly great songwriting that showcases the vocal abilities of new singer Terry Ilous. He’s no Jack Russell, and that’s ok, because what’s most important is that the core of Great White is still together and stronger than ever.
I had the chance to chat with Mark Kendall, and he was kind enough to share some remarkably interesting stories from the his fruitful career so far.
Great White started in LA back in 1982. Can you tell me what the vibe was on the Sunset Strip at that time?
The scene was really electric. It was really healthy in the early ’80s, apart from ’81 when New Wave started coming through a bit. There was really something happening in Hollywood. I was going up there a lot because there was always someone playing: Motley Crue, Ratt, Dokken. Back a little bit before that is when Van Halen got their record deal, and that’s when we all said, wow, this is possible.
I followed them a bit because I saw them when I was a teenager in a backyard somewhere. I was inspired not only because they were the best band around at the time, but also by their work ethic. They played more than anyone. I could relate because Great White also followed that trend for a while when we played a ton of shows for free just to get our name out.