Great White’s Jack Russell Tells Hair Haters To “Laugh All You Want”


June 2, 2008

Amanda Chamberlain wrote the following article for IN Utah This Week.

Great White vocalist Jack Russell is touring million-dollar homes. It seems the music business has treated him well, as he wants to pour a good load of cash into real estate.

“When they knocked ’em down from a million-five to a million, my wife and I thought real estate would make a good investment,” he tells IN during a house-hunting run.

Though he’s trying to turn a profit on the buyer’s market, Russell isn’t all about easy money. The “Once Bitten, Twice Shy” snarler has turned down a $100,000 celebrity boxing gig…all because of some dignity thing. But as he proceeds with his well-meaning rant, we realize, well — he sorta has a point.

“Those shows always use sub-prime people who were kinda famous for five minutes and I don’t want to get lumped in with that,” he says. “Is the money really worth your dignity?”

Yes, Bret Michaels, he’s talking about you. Not only does Russell liken VH1’s “Rock of Love” to “a car accident that you can’t stop watching,” but Michaels’ name comes up again when we ask the 47-year-old about Great White’s hair metal stigma.

“We might be labeled as hair metal, but Great White has always been just a blues, rock ‘n’ roll band,” he explains, his voice heating up with conviction. “We were never the magazine cover darlings. It wasn’t like, ‘I’m Bret Michaels, I’m so good looking.’ It was like, ‘You know what? I’m tired of this weave stuff.'”

And history proves him right. After comparing circa 1982 band photos with those of, say, Motley Crue, the hair metal label doesn’t really fit. Sure, there were bandanas, ripped jeans — maybe some curled bangs — but they were no Mary Kay addicts. Russell did suggest that the five members of Great White tried to avoid trends; they just couldn’t avoid the stereotype.

But Russell tells hair-haters to “laugh all you want,” because Great White has become an archetype of success. It kept up with the most powerful hit-makers of the ’80s; it survived the “musical no-man’s land” of the ’90s and released a solid comeback album, “Back To The Rhythm,” last June. The band, again with its original lineup, has been touring ever since and will even record an eleventh studio album this November.

Maybe it’s the beginning of the end, but Russell doesn’t see it that way. He has no intentions of retiring while his band is still relevant now 26 years later.

“Good music will always stand test of time,” he says.

As for you, Bret Michaels, maybe you should spend more time making quality albums like Russell and less time licking whipped cream off bikini-clad reality stars. Get some dignity, geez.

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