Great White return to Northern Quest with new lead singer in tow

April 5, 2019

The last time Great White played in the Inland Northwest, in January of 2018, they were at the Coeur d’Alene Casino Resort Hotel with Skid Row.

The time before that, they headlined Northern Quest Resort and Casino.

Playing casinos, the band members – drummer Audie Desbrow, guitarists Mark Kendall and Michael Lardie, singer Mitch Malloy and bassist Scott Snyder – often look out into the crowd and see older fans who likely saw Great White in the ’80s and ’90s.

It’s when playing festivals, Lardie said, that they really notice just how much of a multi-generational band Great White has become.

“We’re seeing 20-somethings coming with their folks and even bringing their kids,” he said. “When an 8-year-old kid’s on his grandpa’s shoulders singing the lyrics to ‘Rock Me,’ you’ve got to go ‘Wow.’

“That’s one of the greatest compliments you can receive, that your music is of a quality that it gets passed down from generation to generation.”

Though this show will be for an audience of fans 21 and older, Lardie said Great White is looking forward to returning to Northern Quest on Thursday.

This concert is quite special, as it will be the first time Inland Northwest audiences get to see Malloy, who replaced former Great White lead singer Terry Ilous in July, on stage.

The band met Malloy when they asked him, plus musicians like Lzzy Hale of Halestorm and Skid Row’s Rachel Bolan, to provide gang vocals on 2017’s “Full Circle.”

At the time, Lardie said, the band filed the meeting away as “Cool guy. He’s got a really good voice.”

It wasn’t until the 2018 Monsters of Rock Cruise, on which both Great White and Malloy performed, that the wheels started turning.

The band was looking for a new lead singer, and Malloy joined the band in singing “Once Bitten, Twice Shy” during Great White’s final performance on the cruise.

It was, as Lardie puts it, “one of those things that really make you go ‘Hmm.’ ”

So Lardie sent Malloy a few instrumental tracks of Great White classics and new material. Lardie said Malloy wasn’t sure if his voice would work with Great White’s music, but he gave it a shot and immediately heard it too.

Unbeknownst to Lardie, Kendall was also thinking about asking Malloy to audition.

“It’s kind of kismet in a way that we were both thinking about going for the same guy but not actually consulting each other,” Lardie said. “It just worked out great.”

To date, Malloy has performed about 40 shows with the band, and Lardie said he’s been a great fit.

Great White has its sights on entering the studio in the near future to record new material, though Lardie said the band isn’t putting massive pressure on itself.

Rather than record a handful of so-so tracks, Lardie said the band is being patient and waiting to see which tunes rise to the top.

“We’re working on it without the pressure of some sort of deadline, and when we feel like we got it, then we’ll go in,” he said.

The band recorded video and audio of its performance at the Kentucky State Fair last year and hopes to release a DVD of the performance, which featured Malloy on vocals, sometime later this year.

Being in the studio is natural for Lardie, who became a member of Great White after working as an engineer when the band was recording its debut album.

He and Kendall began jamming together in between recording sessions, and Lardie eventually sang on “Great White.” That lead to writing sessions with the band, and he became a member of Great White in 1985.

After more than 30 years with the band, Lardie is still touched that audiences continue to pack Great White shows and make the band’s music – songs like “Rock Me,” “Save Your Love,” “Once Bitten, Twice Shy,” “House of Broken Love” and “Call It Rock & Roll” – part of their lives.

“For us, everyday we’re a little bit even more appreciative than we were 30 years ago of the fact that we can still do what we do,” he said. “People still want to come out and see us. You get up everyday and go ‘I’m 60 and I’m still doing this and it’s still fun.’ It’s amazing.”