Great White Apologizes for Concert Without Masks or Distancing Amid COVID-19, While Former Singer Jack Russell Clarifies He Wasn’t Involved


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Rock Cellar Magazine
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Over the weekend, the band Great White found itself the subject of much controversy for playing a concert in North Dakota, in a scene that didn’t appear to have any safety measures in place during the COVID-19 pandemic — that is, no face masks in the crowd or social distancing rules in place.

Public outcry about the concert, which was part of the First on First: Dickinson Summer Nights series of performances, prompted an apology from the band:

“We understand that there are some people who are upset that we performed this show, during this trying time. We assure you that we worked with the Promoter. North Dakota’s government recommends masks be worn, however, we are not in a position to enforce the laws.

“We have had the luxury of hindsight and we would like to apologize to those who disagree with our decision to fulfill our contractual agreement.

“The Promoter and staff were nothing but professional and assured us of the safety precautions.

“Our intent was simply to perform our gig, outside, in a welcoming, small town.

“We value the health and safety of each and every one of our fans, as well as our American and global community.

“We are far from perfect.”

Jack Russell, meanwhile, the former vocalist and co-founder of Great White, issued a statement of his own — as he was not part of this North Dakota concert. Russell maintains his own version of the band, Jack Russell’s Great White, and made sure to emphasize that he was not involved in this controversial gig:

In the last 24 hours, singer Jack Russell, former front man and founding member for the band Great White, has been under scrutiny for a live performance North Dakota. The headline read: “GREAT WHITE Plays Concert In North Dakota With No Restrictions In Place, No Social Distancing, No Masks.”

The former front-man clarifies, in a video statement for the public, that this is not his band performing. Russell has not toured in over 5 months due to the Covid, with no plan to perform until everyone is safe.

Russell has not performed under the moniker of GREAT WHITE or with this former band members, who owns the name GREAT WHITE, in 11 years. The band GREAT WHITE consists of Mark Kendall · Audie Desbrow · Michael Lardie with Scott Snyder and Mitch Malloy.

Russell also states: “The way it works out, if I just wear [my mask], I’m not that safe. If you put yours on too, I’m 70 percent safe as opposed to being zero-point-something [safe]. It’s amazing the amount that it changes. It’s, like, if you don’t want to help yourself, help everybody else. ‘Well, it’s my right. It’s my human right.’ Well, look, dude, you’ve got to pay to smog your car, you’ve got to have a seat belt, you have a driver’s license, you have to have a license to be born, and you have to have a marriage license. So you have to wear a mask for a while so you don’t die. What’s the problem?”

With this situation, the non-Jack Russell version of Great White becomes the latest musical act to create controversy for playing concerts without proper safety measures during the pandemic. Country stars Chase Rice and Chris Janson came under fire for similar gigs last month, while Vanilla Ice cancelled a planned 4th of July weekend show in Texas due to intense public outcry.


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