After reaching the pinnacles of success with such iconic hits as “Save your Love”, “Rock Me”, and “Once Bitten, Twice Shy” Great White has cemented their place in rock history. As with many bands, time and real life took their toll and the members went their separate ways. As luck would have it,instead of being bad news for fans it became good news. While Great White has continued with a new vocalist, Jack has forged ahead with his own vision: Jack Russell’s Great White. Thus we are treated to two perspectives of the legendary group. That’s a good thing.
Russell’s recent album “He saw it Comin'” features tight, focused songs with plenty of swagger. Jack is joined by band mates Robby Lochner, Dan McNay, Dicki Fliszar, and Tony Cardenas. This group of musicians fit right in with Jack’s distinctive and at times, plaintive voice. I asked Jack to share with us some insight on his songwriting process, and what follows is an informative look at the legendary singer’s point of view.
1. Which do you think is the greater benefit: The convenience of Pro-Tools and digital recording, or the warmth of analog tape and a band being in a room together?
Warmth of analog tape. I look at it like analog is a cushy chair and digital is like a hard chair.
2. How has your approach to lyric writing changed over the years? Songs like “He saw it comin’” seem very autobiographical.
As I get older for whatever reason I want to be more transparent.
3. Do you come up with riffs and musical arrangements in addition to lyrics? If so, how do you communicate those ideas to the band members?
If I come up with a riff I hum it to my guitarist Robby. Since you can’t hum a chord you need someone who knows me musically as well personally and knows what I want to hear. At this point in our relationship with Robby he quickly gets where I want to go and of course has a wealth of ideas to collaborate with.
4. How does your songwriting process with Robby differ from the process you had with Mark?
It’s easier as to the fact that more often than not he knows intuitively where the song we are working on needs to go. He tracks,produces and mixes as well so has the bigger picture/vision in mind as we create.
We already have a batch of new material for the next release. We look to track after the SiriusXM Hair Nation Tour.
5. Do you think there is merit in just releasing singles over the internet, allowing frequent tours as opposed to working up an entire album?
Sure there is merit to that and in fact we are considering releasing this amazing blues song we’ve written as a single pre cursor to the next release.
6. Do you tend to stockpile lyrics and then apply them later, or do you come up with fresh ideas when you hear new music?
I do have a stock pike of lyrics but really I let the song tell me what it is about and write from there. I have never let any band members help on lyrics in the past but with Robby there is a different chemistry. I trust his judgment and respect his ideas.
7. Who were your musical heroes as a teenager?
Robert Plant, Steven Tyler, Alice Cooper
8. Are there songs you wrote in the early days that are harder to identify with now?
Yes a number of them. As with most artists you hopefully grow and mature over time.
9. Do you ever find inspiration from visual sources, like a pretty view or even a movie with a specific atmosphere?
Yes everything I hear, touch, taste feel, see inevitably finds Its way into my music. I’m embarrassed by some of the things I’ve done in my life but I’m not embarrassed of who I am and everything I’ve done both good and bad have made me into the person I am today. And I’m happy with that person.
10. You keep breaking new ground as an artist, are there any specific directions you want to go in for your next batch of music?
Up! Lol !
I want to explore the edgy or heavier side of what Robby and I can write. You must understand that it’s taken me years to find a writing partner that I am this comfortable and have this much trust in. I am now able to explore things I couldn’t before, and I am taking advantage of that.