I was born in California. It's around Loma Linde, California. It's near San Bernadino and I started playing guitar when I was nine years old. The best thing to do is just refer to my bio on that because I have my whole story there.
Who were some of your influences?
My early influences when I was growing up were...the first band I remember hearing and getting excited about were The Rolling Stones and actually what made me even get into music was because of this band that used to rehearse across the street when I was a little kid. I used to watch them through the side window of the garage and that got me recognizing music and I started listening to The Stones. My first three albums that my dad got for me were The Doors, Cream, and Jimi Hendrix. Then I started discovering The Animals and I just remember hearing The Stones back then on the radio and those are the reasons I started playing. Later on I discovered many other guitar players, when I got into my early teenage years, like Billy Gibbons, Johnny Winter, Ritchie Blackmore, Roy Buchannon. Those are the guys that I learned from.
What bands were you in before Great White?
Before Great White? Well when I was about 17 years old I lived in Huntington Beach and a friend of mine who played bass got me a job in a factory but it was about 60 miles inland so I moved out. I couldn't find any singers anywhere when I lived in Huntington Beach. I was playing around at parties but there was...we literally played with no singer because there weren't any. At least I couldn't find any. Once I moved inland, there were bands all over the place so before I knew it I was playing in clubs doing the five sets a night thing and I was in a band called Zzyzx. The drummer came up with the name from a road sign on the way to Vegas and it was a pretty good band. Not so good a singer. Back then I think I was about 18 years when I had that band going and I was in it for about maybe three years and the singer was 28 which I thought was ancient back then. Again my bio tells my story on that. So that's that.
How did Great White get started?
Well getting back to my old band, what happened was I wasn't happy with the singer so I had heard about this kid. A friend of mine had told me he heard this kid that just sang incredible and he was playing around local in another band. So I went and saw him play and then I couldn't get to him. He took off so quick so I told this friend of mine...I go "can you get his number for me so I can call him and maybe I can get him to audition". His name was Jack Russell. I called him but he kept telling me had the flu for like forever. "I got the flu, I got the flu". So I pretty much gave up and then all of a sudden he called me back and said "okay. I'll come check it out". He auditioned for the band but he really didn't like...he goes "if you get rid of that fat guy and that guy with the mustache I'll join" and I go "well that only leaves me". He goes "that's what I mean. Me and you. We'll make our own band". I go "okay that sounds good to me". So that was pretty much the seed of Great White and we had about three or four different names until we finally got what we felt was the final lineup and we got signed in 1983. At that time the band was called Dante Fox. Which I don't know if we were thrilled with that name anyway but when we met our manager and we went down to I think it was Enigma Records, he said he had seen us play five times but we didn't even know he was there. Then the last time he saw us at The Whiskey, he approached us. So he told us to come down to the record company and what he told us was he liked the songs, he liked the band, but he hated the name. He goes "what do you guys think about Great White"? and we're looking at each other going "what is this, a solo band"? because that was my nickname. That's what Jack called me. Every time I did a solo he goes "Mark Kendall the Great White" because I was so fair complected. At first we hated it but we felt like "oh these must be the compromises you have to make with the big boys" so we go "whatever". Once we came up with the shark image we felt that "okay now that's a cool name because this is something kids can latch onto". Great White shark and the shark image and so that's how that all came about.
Each Great White album is so different from the next. Did you guys try to create a different vibe on each one?
No we really didn't plan out what kind of record we were going to make. Jack and I would just sit and write songs. When it came time to do an album that was due, and when we had enough material, we'd record it and it was released. I think the only record that was ever thought about in advance was an album called Sail Away. Our manager...we had this band meeting and he was saying how he wanted us to go for more of a...I guess an Eagles kind of trip. That's really the only record that had preconceived notions on what was gonna happen but normally we would just write songs and it just came out different naturally. We never really liked to do that. Like sit down and go "oh let's do this kind of record or that kind of record". It just automatically would be slightly different from the last one. Just when you keep writing.
Sail Away was definitely a little unusual.
Yeah it is but I think when you continue to write songs, unless you're the type of person that keeps repeating himself over and over, you tend to expand and try new things and I think it comes out maybe sounding..."wow they came out with this certain kind of record". Well little to people know that we didn't really plan it that way. We wrote 15 songs and picked the best 11 or 12 and that's just the way...we got lucky or something. I don't know but in the early going, like our first record, we didn't have a keyboard player. It was a really early stage of the writing so that record was a lot heavier than what we did later down the road. Once we got keyboards I think it gave us new areas to explore musically and it just made a different sound. Then you start experimenting around with instruments. You know, a slide guitar, and you try new things. You try to not so much change what you're about but just so you don't get bored, you try new things and what happens is, you get a different vibe from each record from when you do that.
Did you feel that you got to contribute enough when it came to writing songs or did you want more of an opportunity in that direction?
Well the format that used to work the best was, I would get together with Jack and we would write. Then later on our manager started getting involved. At the beginning it was just lyrical changes. He'd go "well I like everything but can you change this line to this"? and that's how it was from the beginning. Pretty much through the peak of the band's career. Then the keyboard player got more and more involved in the writing. Towards the end, well the very end before I left, I was almost pushed out of the writing completely for some reason. For me, I think that my influences always went...the band...the rock edge of the sound. I was more the rock part because my influences were so blues based and Jack's influences were Zeppelin and that type of music. The keyboard player was more the mellow side of the band. So if I'm pushed out of the writing completely, it tends to lean more on the mellower side. Toward the end, well for one thing, when Jack Blades got involved I was real excited about that because a lot of bands work with outside writers and I wasn't against that at all. In fact I was really excited because...but I didn't want an outside writer just to write a song for us. I wanted him to help fix our stuff and maybe lend something. So Jack told me that...he goes "well we're going to be going up there this week" and I go "great. Make sure because I have all kinds of music and I wanna see what he says about it. Or what he would do. It's going to be really interesting". I called the next day and he'd already gone up there and then comes back with five songs with Michael Lardie and says "hey Kendall, insert the solos". The whole reason for me being in a band is if I can contribute and when it started going down that road I felt like I was a sideman in a way. I started the band and I'm not going to be a sideman for anyone and I just feel like the old saying: "If it's not broken, don't fix it". Why are we going to change the format of something that worked so well before? I think they kinda forgot that. It's not for my ego or anything like that. It's just I enjoy being involved like anyone would when you're on a team or in a band. You wanna have your input as well and only was the last record like that. Why I only co-wrote three songs and it was a good record but the feedback I got was "where's the rock? Where's the heaviness"? I would stick up for the band and say "what do you mean? There's some stuff on there" but I knew deep down what was really wrong. I just wasn't involved enough and like I said you lose that part of the band. A band is four or five individuals, however many people in the band. When they all put their input into it, you get that sound. When you take one of the main writers out of the quota, you get a slightly different sound. So that's what happened. But like I said, in the early going and the band's peak, we all did it together and that's when it was the most fun for me.
So basically you left the band because you just felt like you were being pushed aside.
It was a lot of things. That would be a small percentage I guess. That was some of it. The other thing was I just really wasn't happy anymore. That was actually a pretty big part of it. I started to feel like I was in an oldies band in a way because they would never change the set. We'd go out playing the same set year after year after year after year and we'd only play two songs off the current album we were touring with and everything else was the same stuff. It's very hard to not go through the motions when you keep repeating yourself over and over and over. The only excitement was when I did my solo every night because there was some spontaneity when I'd do that. Other than that I started to feel like I was in Iron Butterfly or something. Just going out there playing In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida every night which I don't mind that. I don't mind playing the few hits or the few songs that the audience is coming to see. You have to do that. As far as the rest of the set, you don't have to keep doing the same set year after year and that's what I really got tired of. I had a lot of music that I had written and Jack and I told each other a long, long time ago that if it ever became not fun then we should move on. In that way I just felt like I'm not happy. I've been in this band for a long, long time and I just felt like it was a good time for me to move on and I felt like I was in the dark on almost every issue with the band. Huge decisions would be made without even calling me. After the move would be made they went "hey guess what? We just did this or we did that" and they weren't small things. They would be very big things and thanks for telling me. Just things like that. I like to be involved with the planning. It was just time and I still love the band. I love all the guys. We've been in touch and they're still out doing it. They're still out playing and I guess they've had a couple of guitar players. The newest one is doing real well. He called me for some help and I told him he can come over any time and I'll show him...hahaha...Jack is just...I would hate to be that guy because Jack's just torturing him to play every note perfect. I would hate to be in that position. You figure you join a band that's established. That has 13 albums, right? Well that's fine but if I was that guy I'd wanna be playing on the newest record. They wouldn't be as hard because you'd have part of yourself involved with the band and your playing. When you have to go out and play, nothing but well for him, almost playing covers and the singer just wants you to play every note perfect, that's got to be a tough position to be in. I offered the guy help. We didn't get to hook up yet but I told him anytime. No problem.
It seemed like at one point the band just fell apart. Audie was gone and Sean was gone. What was up with that?
Well yeah, I think once I left the band...there's a lot of things. I mean I have a few side things and I'm not hurting financially but some of the guys in the band...that's the way they live. They expect to get paid. That's how they live. That's how they pay their bills and this, that, and the other thing. I guess they were going on these tours and they weren't making any money or they weren't getting paid for some reason and they couldn't take it anymore so I guess that's why they left the band. I mean I can't really speak for the others. I just think that's part of the reason? They're still fine. They got a drummer and bass player. I think as long as Jack's out there I think it'll be okay. As far as making it continue, I mean I'm sure a few of the super hardcore Great White people will go "where's that one guy". To me it's more of a...the audience...it's the fans that bought the records originally that are what, late 30's, that are going down for an evening to relive a memory. I think as long as they get to hear "Once Bitten Twice Shy", "Rock Me", or whatever, they're gonna be happy. I'm not sure how that's gonna work.
I've been a fan since the beginning and it just gets odder and odder.
I think Jack's kinda in a tough spot because as great and as talented as he is, his voice, it's signature Great White. I mean when you hear that voice you just know it's Great White. For him to move on and do something else musically, the voice is so Great White, you're just gonna say that's Great White. Unless he does something that's a little bit more removed or something super heavy, because of his great voice...you know how his voice is. When you hear it you just know it's Great White immediately.
Oh yeah you know that's Jack.
You know it's Jack. As great as it is, no matter what he does musically, it's going to sound Great White. To where it's easier for me to move on because when you hear me with another singer and a completely new band, it doesn't sound like you don't really hear any Great White there. But they're doing great. They're out touring and doing the whole nine. Touring in Europe and playing here and playing there so they're good.
Someone wanted me to ask that when Michael Lardie made his debut with Great White, why was he required to play offstage?
When Michael Lardie was asked to join us at some shows it was because when we were in the studio doing an album called Shot In The Dark, he worked at the studio. He was a second engineer and he was also a keyboard player and he played in a band. There were a couple of songs we wanted to try some keyboards, but it was mostly kinda almost like noises. Not really so much playing. It was more like a low end droning and just some keyboard sounds like that. So what happened was he played on I think it was two songs and then we were doing a show with Motorhead I believe in L. A. and we asked him if he would come play behind the curtain. He said he played rhythm guitar too and he could play when I played solos. He said he would cover the rhythm. So we did a few rehearsals with him and the reason why we had him play behind a curtain was we were...back then you gotta realize the band was a lot...it was almost a different kind of band. We were really heavy. It was such an early stage for the band that...it was an early part of the writing and it was just heavier. We didn't have the keyboards. It was almost like a Judas Priest or something. We were kids. We aren't going to have no keyboards in this band. It was like we just hated keyboards for some reason that bad. That was just our mentality and so we'll have him play behind the curtain. So that's why he played behind the curtain but after a while it felt like he was part of the band in a way so he just slowly inched his way out. Pretty soon there's no curtain. You could see him and then pretty soon girls were asking for him backstage. That's how that happened. It was a good addition because when I would go into a solo you wouldn't miss the rhythm. It wouldn't just be the bass clunking and the drums. It would still sound full with him playing rhythm guitar as well. When he first started out he really wasn't a band member. We wanted to be able to reproduce what we did on the record live so that's how that worked.
What was your favorite Great White album and why?
That's a tough question but I really like our very first album a lot and the reason being everything was new and exciting. It was all us. No one else was really involved in the writing. It was before anybody said "hey why don't you try this or try that"? It was just a really fun time for me. When everything's so new and "oh you got this tour with Whitesnake in Europe" and "you got this tour with Judas Priest". You're pretty green because you never done it before so it was just such a fun time. When I think back to that album and working with Michael Wagner, it was a very exciting time for the band. I'm not sure if I would say it's my favorite album but it kinda is. It was almost like a turning point for the band on Once Bitten so it's a tough call. It would probably be Once Bitten in '87. I guess that would be actually...the favorite time for me was the first album. I think as far as all of our influences and getting more honed in on what we're all about, I think that the Once Bitten album describes the individuals in the band the best. If I had to pick, I would probably pick that record over the first one. If I had to pick the most fun time, I would pick the first album because we were having a lot of fun back then.
I've always loved the fact that each Great White album was different from the previous. There was the album you could party to. The album you could listen to when you were depressed. The album you could mellow out to. Were there any musical differences that caused problems in the band?
Not really. In fact that's what made it Great White is all the different influences in the soup. The only problem for me is when I was kind of pushed away. That only happened like I said on the last record so...nah, there's never really been a problem. We're all individuals and that's what makes it a band. You put all that together and it worked well. The only problems for me were when I wasn't involved enough toward the end. A little bit of the live feel and the edge to the band was lost a little bit for me. Other than that we always worked well together and we always got along well.
Do you feel that leaving Great White was a good career move?
I have to say yes because I feel that it's the best move I ever made. It felt so right. The music is better now. I have an unbelievable band. The singer is like Steve Merriott from Humble Pie. He's such an excellent songwriter to work with along with a great performer. He actually wrote a few songs for Jack's solo album and he's written a couple of songs for Great White. On our last album he wrote "Psychadelic Hurricane". Jack put his name on the song because it was part of the deal that he'd worked out with Todd but he never wrote any of the songs that Todd gave him for his solo album or the songs he wrote for Great White. He wrote "Man In The Sky" on Let It Rock which is the album before that and didn't get full credit but it's the deal that he made. I feel free now. I'm happy all the time probably because I know what's going on with my band all the time and my family's happy. It's a really good time for me. I hooked up with a guy who used to work at Capitol Records and we actually financed our...well now it's really kinda becoming like a demo record but I put 40 grand into it and went in and recorded an album with these guys and it just turned out so good. I accidentally ran into this guy from Capitol named Jeff Blaylock and he worked all the Great White records. It was just a complete fluke that I met him and I played him my record. My wife's a cheerleading coach and it's an uppity end of the neighborhood and his wife goes "I heard your husband plays in Great White or used to. My husband used to work at Capitol Records and he knows Mark really well" and I go "honey get them our CD" so she gives them the CD. Anyways to make a long story short he called me just freaking out. He's going "my God. This is amazing stuff". I guess he worked at Capitol for eight years and then he moved over to Giant Records and worked for five years. So immediately he says "you have management"? and I said "no, not really". He goes "well I'd like to talk to you about that". Now he manages the band. He's got all his old contacts and everybody is responding over the moon. I guess the best players I could possibly find...I knew who the singer was going to be but as far as the other guys, I put a nationwide ad out for bass players and drummers. The response was just like...I couldn't believe the elite musicians that were calling were, I mean were drummers from Michael Bolton. I'm going "okay. Well this is working well". It was a nightmare actually. I had so many packages from so many different people, I really wasn't into auditioning 50 people. I auditioned a few and I was happy pretty quick. I got the keyboard player from Eric Clapton who did about 10 albums with Clapton and he really lends a kind of a cool sound to the band. He's got all the real Hammond B3 stuff going on. It's really exciting because I'm involved and the results are coming out really good. As far as a career move goes, I think Great White had a wonderful run if you will and a nice long career but it was just really, really time for me to do something else. I didn't want that my entire statement for my whole life. I wanna say a couple of other things. That's what I'm doing and when you're not happy, you work at a...I don't care what you're doing. You're working at a company for 17 years and employees changing and you've been there forever and you just can't go down to that place one more time. You move on. You do something else and it's exciting and you love your job. That's kinda where I'm at right now. It's like I've moved on and everything feels new and when something comes out, it's almost like a big rewind to when I first started with Great White. It's like when we were writing our first songs. It's like wait til this stuff comes out. This is gonna be cool. It's exciting. Yes I do feel I made a good career move because I'm not going to be anywhere I'm not happy. That's my bottom line.
It seems that the fans have accepted the fact that you split from Great White. Are you playing the kind of music style that you want to play?
Yes I am. Everything in my head now goes straight to the tape without any compromises. The music's really strong. I would put this band up against anyone out there and I guarantee you it can hold up. It's very pleasant to the ears is what we're doing. It's like I was in Great White, Jack's influenced by Zeppelin, Michael Lardie's into Billy Joel and mellower people, I'm into Johnny Winter. You put all that together, you get Great White. With my new band, the influences are different so you're gonna get a different sound. I was the straight ahead blues rock side of Great White. If I put that with completely individuals, it sounds different. It's still rock. It's still in your face. We still have ballads. When we do ballads it doesn't sound like "Save Your Love" but because of the way the singer is, it has a little bit more edge to it. It's a different kind of voice. It's not a pretty, beautiful, sappy kind of...I don't know how to explain it. You'd have to hear it. The fans have been wonderful. I never wanted this to be a negative thing and so it wasn't. The fans have accepted it. They're interested in what Great White is doing now and interested in what I'm doing now. Everything's turned out fine. This wasn't an ugly divorce. It was something I needed to do for me. Jack accepted it, the band accepted it, and the fans have accepted it. I didn't leave the band to make a band that was not going to be as good. I wasn't going to quit the band and just lay there. I definitely got it together quickly and I'm doing that now.
What kind of gear do you use while on tour?
I really stripped it down a lot. Over the past years I've stripped it down and started using Stratocastors and I use combo amps. Smaller amps. The more time that goes by it just seems the more musical I want to get. I want the strings to speak without a lot of effects in the middle of it. It just makes it so you can hear the individuality in different people's playing styles. In the early days I had millions of Marshalls and all the tons of effects. It seems to me that, especially when you're in the studio...for me this is...if you don't use the 4 by 12 cabinets and you use combo amps, and you get a sound that you like to where you hear it and you go "I really like that sound", it seems to go on tape very similar to that when you're using the Fender twin reverbs or just smaller combo amps. With 4 by 12's, there are so much different echoes flying around the room, it's hard to duplicate what you hear. Don't ask me why because I don't know. It's a little bit more musical now. When you're a teenager you think that all your heroes are in the studio and they have all these tons of stacks of Marshalls and then you hear this funny story I was reading. On Led Zeppelin II Jimmy Page used a Fender Champ amp which is, if any of your musical listeners have ever seen one, they have one speaker and they are the tiniest little amps you've ever seen in your life. You envision what you see live. You think the guy's in the studio with all these stacks of gear but when you read stuff like that you go "well maybe I am going in the right direction". The amplifier that he used on Led Zeppelin II you could probably put in your back pocket. That's how small it is. When you have all the reverbs and all the tons of effects, it's hard to make out someone's...their individuality. Little certain things that I do that maybe other people don't do, you won't hear if it's masked with a lot of reverb and echo. That's really the way I do it. I've used smaller amps the past few years and I like the sound I get. It's consistent so that's what I do.
Someone wanted to know how your solo material is coming along.
Solo material? I don't have any solo material. All the new music I've written has been with my new singer Todd Griffin. It's a new band. It really doesn't have anything to do with a solo career. I really just want the music to sell the band and not what any of the individuals' have done in their past, whatever their past accomplishments were. My keyboard player was in Eric Clapton for 10 years and toured with him and we don't even mention that in our bio. We're shopping the music only and the band's called Train Station. A few of the A&R guys who have loved our music, they might make us change it. They might make us change the name. The idea that we had...what we were thinking with the name, the original thought was we were gonna take this train all over the world and have everybody jump on board. Then we're thinking when the train stops, it's like this station. Then we're thinking...my mom always said life is like a train, she told me one time. You start off by getting on and then at the end of the ride you get off. These are the thoughts we had behind the name. A few of the A&R people and record company people, three different ones, have said something about the name. They go "man we love this band" and it just reminds me of the early Great White thing. It's like we've got a completely different name. I remember Jack and I telling the guy "well we'll lose all our following". He's going "what? Those 73 people? I'm talking about taking this band, making it national and international. Not your little friends that come around and see you guys play clubs". Oh, oh the big picture. Oh okay". The name is fine with me but now I've heard that there's a band called Train that's a new band that came out. Even though we've had this for a while now, I don't want to confuse anybody by that so the name probably will be changed in the near future. We'll go with that for now.
I understand that you're playing with Todd Griffin of Graveyard Train fame. How did you guys get hooked up?
Actually I knew Todd...well he was in a band that opened for Great White back in '94 called Graveyard Train like you said. I watched a few of their sets and man the singer's awesome. One night we were in Seattle and Jack's voice blew out three songs into our set and he literally could not sing anymore or something went wrong. We go "let's get Todd to come up here and we'll just wing it". So that's what we did. He came up and he's diving off the stage. We did a bunch of different things and after that went down, I said to him "man we should do something together one day". He agreed. He goes "yeah, one day down the road maybe we'll hook something up". Now it's become a reality and it feels really good. He's a really soulful character and a really, really talented guy. It's amazing. Even though he did have a deal on Geffen, just kinda was in a bad spot really because a lot of the other bands that they had at the time were getting all the attention and they kind of just got put on the backburner. It got me to thinking how lucky I've been just to have the opportunities that I've had. I have a lot of friends that play guitar that are so, so good, that have not even had one percent of the success that I've had. It's not because I'm so much better. It's because I've just been in the right situations. There's a lot of luck involved, I'm telling you. Todd hasn't really been the receipient of the luck factor that comes along with the talent. Being in the right time at the right time. Hopefully that's gonna turn around. I think people should hear this guy. He's really, really good. That's why we're so excited. We want to get this stuff out so people can hear it. We've already had radio stations here, this one in San Bernadino called KCAL, a friend of mine let a program director hear a few of the songs that we've recorded and the guy wants to put it in heavy rotation. Our manager said no because the record's not out. When you put stuff on the radio and it's not available, it doesn't make very much sense because what are you going to do? You're gonna put a single out, have it go through the roof, and nobody can get it? Then when the album comes out, everybody's burned out. That made sense. That's how I hooked up with Todd. I knew him from years ago opening for Great White and then he came out a couple of years after that when we went on tour with just him and an acoustic. He would just go on stage and play acoustic guitar and sing. That was pretty amazing. I remember we played this big biker rally, Sturgis, and he's got 20,000 people going nuts. He's just playing his acoustic. He knows how to get a crowd going. It's pretty cool.
When is your CD coming out?
Actually right now what's happening is we have a few labels interested. That's kind of what's going on right now. We're getting offers on the table. Our management's handling it. I'm just trying to be the patient guy pacing around my house. Standing around the phone a lot because obviously we want it to be a deal where there's some tour support and where we can go out and play all the time. We want the records to be in the stores. There's a lot of things to factor in. Some smaller labels really can't offer that so he's just saying to be patient right now and he's got it going on with a lot of people. We're doing some showcases. I would hope by a little after this summer that it's out and we're out on the road. That's my goal right now.
Who does most of the writing for Train Station?
The band, it's in such early stages, it's just the singer and I writing. Down the road we're definitely not opposed to having some of the other guys in the band put in their bits and pieces. The reason it turned out that way is we wrote a lot of the stuff before we had a band. That's just the way it worked out. So the first album will probably be mostly all Todd and I. Like I said, down the road I'm not opposed because I want it to be a band. It's not a solo career. It's not "I'm the big cheese and you're just the hired gun". I want everybody to feel like they're an equal part. To get that feeling you want to let them show you their riffs. If they're good we'll use them. That type of deal. Right now it's just the singer and I do all the writing.
Are you guys going to be touring around the States soon?
Yeah. That's like I said is our goal. We want to have something out and do it right. Send the single to all the radio stations. Have the independent promoters and all the stuff you need to get it on the radio. So when we go through the cities there's a song. That's the whole thing. You put the single on the radio and then you put the record out a couple of weeks after that. Then you go tour behind it and that's what we want to do. Hopefully we'll be able to get a video as well.
Have you guys played any shows yet?
Yes we've played a few shows. We went up north and we played about four shows up north, Sacramento area, and I just wanted to do things out of town just to get the band tight and onstage and playing in front of people before we played in L. A. Now we're gonna play a few shows in L. A. coming up. We're gonna play at the Whiskey. We've got another one at a place called The Crossroads like a half indoor half outdoor kind of place. Other than that we have a couple producers that have put in bids. One's Tom Worman who's done...his discography's pretty mint. He did all the earlier Cheap Trick, Dokken, just tons and tons of records. Michael Wagner's another one that he heard the material and goes "come to Nashville. We do record now. This stuff is great". He's another guy I wouldn't mind working with.
Can you tell us who's all in the band? You mentioned the keyboardist from Eric Clapton.
The drummer's name is Robert Itule. He's from Philadelphia. He actually played with Todd before. The bass player, his name is Frank Scimeka. Todd Griffin of course. Mickey Sims on keyboards. That's it.
What made you decide to put an instructional video out for guitarists?
Every night after our shows, in the after meet and greets, there'd be tons of guitar players that asked me "how do you do this and how do you do that? Whose your influences". I just decided after years of touring that I'd give something back to the fans who were musicians and believe me there's a lot of aspiring musicians that would come to our shows. I figured what could be better than an instructional video. I really made it as informative as I could, stripping it all the way down to putting your strings on. How to stretch them. Showing a lot of ways, different ways to play chords. Because there's different ways you play chords if you're really cranking loud through your amp. You have to take a couple of notes out of the chords. A lot of people don't know that. It was just something fun for me to do. I've gotten a really good response from it. It takes a lot of time to do them. I haven't done another one yet. Maybe when I get some more time I'll do another one.
What are some of the bands you're listening to?
Lately I haven't been listening to very much music. I've been so busy writing music, I haven't had the chance. I had some spare time and I went in the studio and produced a band called Slud. I did their album and they're someplace in between Alice In Chains and Korn. It was kind of fun though. I heard a lot of their stuff. As far as new material, I really haven't listened to much music lately. I don't really know what's up too much. I heard that new Aerosmith song and every once in a while I'll swing by the VH-1 and see somebody acting crazy. I have heard that Californication, that Chili Peppers record. I listened to a few cuts off that and I really like it. They got some really good stuff.
What plans do you have for the future?
Well just to keep this thing going. Just keep the band together. Get it off the ground. Get it going in the right direction. Just have as much fun as I can possibly make, making the best music I could possibly make. Just enjoy my children, enjoy myself. Leave all the stress and all the crap behind me. That's about it. Just enjoy myself. Make the best music I can. Have fun, do great shows, and hopefully people will like it.
Any other comments?
Mike Macaluso who from day one of me leaving Great White has done everything in his power to keep me going. From financial investments to management decisions. Mike is now the full time manager of Train Station and we are incredibly lucky to have him aboard. I have been blessed to have him as a friend and manager. Great White was something from the past for me. I had a really great career with them. Had some wonderful moments. Now I've moved on and it's killer. All the fans of the present and past, I thank you all for all the love and support you've given me. I feel that over the years I've always given people the time of day and I appreciate each and every one of the fans out there. It's amazing the response from people when I left the band. I really thought it was going to be a lot more negative and I got so much support from everyone. I think a lot of that has to do from taking the extra time out by the bus or talking to the last guy even if it meant the bus had to wait there for an extra hour. I made a lot of friends over the years and I've always tried to appreciate the fans and give as much back to them as I can for supporting the band and buying our music over the years. I just want to let everybody know that I appreciate all that.