Q&A: Great White vocalist promises to give 100 percent

Courtesy photo Jack Russell’s Great White will play at the Curry County Events Center Saturday as part of the 26th annual Clovis Music Festival.

Courtesy photo
Jack Russell’s Great White will play at the Curry County Events Center Saturday as part of the 26th annual Clovis Music Festival.

Much like another Clovis Music Festival headliner, Jack Russell has the Beatles to thank for his career in music.

Though his band, Great White, has seen several different lineups throughout the years, Russell is the band’s original vocalist and promises to give his fans 100 percent at every performance.

The late ’80s and early ’90s band, best known for the song “Once Bitten, Twice Shy,” is part of the closeout performance Saturday at the Curry County Events Center.

Have your travels brought you through Clovis previously?

Not that I’m aware of. It’s always cool when you go somewhere you haven’t been before.

What kind of touring have you been doing this year?

Festivals, fairs, clubs, you name it. We’ve been to so many great shows. We did a show the other night, an acoustic show, really small, low key. It was really fun because it was really intimate. There’s the bigger shows, it’s all the same thing. You give 100 percent no matter where you’re at.

How does touring now compare with the tours you went on at the beginning of your career?

It’s a whole different animal nowadays. Back in those days you toured to support your record. Nowadays, since no one buys records, you tour to make money. It’s more about not spending so much money on production so you can make as much money as you can while touring. It’s the only way for bands to make money these days.

How did you get your start in music?

You know, I was going to be an archaeologist when I was 6 years old. I wanted to go dig up dinosaur bones. On my sixth birthday my parents bought me the Beatles’ “Help” album. I heard the song “Help” and it was as if the skies opened up. It was that huge. I was like, ‘Oh my god, I’m going to be a rock star.’ From that day forward, I knew. I was given a talent, and if I kept using it, someday I would pull through.

What can someone attending your show expect?

One-hundred percent, high-velocity folk music played with as much gusto as possible, just great songs. We’re one of those bands where people say ‘I didn’t know you did that song.’ Just high-energy songs, a celebration of life, that’s what rock ‘n’ roll is all about.

What artists or bands have influenced your music?

There’s been so many. We were just at Sun Cities Studio in Memphis where Elvis started. We were doing a little tour there, I grabbed a mic and I sang on the mic Elvis actually used. Everything I think that you hear and like somehow finds its way into your music to a certain degree. Led Zeppelin, Aerosmith, Beach Boys, the Beatles, Alice Cooper.

What artists and music are you into these days?

I have a cassette player, I still live in the dark ages. I still listen to the Beatles. Right now in my CD player is “The White Album.”

— Compiled by CNJ staff writer Emily Crowe and edited for length and clarity


Fast facts

What: Night Ranger and Jack Russell’s Great White

Where: Curry County Events Center

When: 7 p.m. Sept. 7

Tickets: $40 reserved seating, $35 general admission

Information: 763-3435 or clovismusicfestival.net