Big Drama For Great White

Jack Russell announced on Saturday that he was ready to return to Great White following his August 2010 hiatus from the group. Oh, and the singer says the band has a new lineup. Russell’s old bandmates didn’t take the news so well.

A statement on Great White’s website explains that Russell emailed the group on Dec. 10 about his plans in addition to posting the news on his Facebook page.

“This was a complete shock to the entire Great White Family,” Great White wrote, adding that the members “were saddened and hurt.”

In Russell’s announcement, which was posted on, the singer says he’s “feeling better than ever, despite any rumors you may hear to the contrary.”

The new band, which plans to tour under the name Great White Featuring Jack Russell, will include former Great White guitarist Matthew Johnson; former Great White drummer Derrick Pontier; former Firehouse/Stephen Pearcy band bassist Dario Seixas; and Robby Lochner, former guitarist for Rob Halford’s band and Cherie Currie.

Russell noted that the band has chosen that name to try and avoid any confusion with Great White, which the singer points out he created.

“I have missed all of you terribly and look forward to seeing you all on the road,” Russell said. “You have no idea how much your love and devotion has meant to me during what has been one of the hardest periods of my life.”

Great White Featuring Jack Russell’s first gig is planned for the pre-NAMM Jam Jan. 14.

If it’s up to Great White, that show will never take place.

“Jack Russell does not have the right to start his own Great White or use the name without our names in the lineup,” Great White wrote in its statement posted Tuesday. “We will litigate any promoter that books ‘Jack Russell’s Great White’ or uses any logo featuring the name Great White.”

The band’s lengthy statement detailed Russell’s drug and alcohol abuse including naming the drugs he’s been addicted to, his recent colostomy surgery, and the gigs that were canceled “due to his inability to perform.”

Great White noted that they gave Russell an ultimatum – in order to return to the band he had to be sober, agree to weekly drug tests, and attend weekly meetings for Alcoholics Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous.

After reportedly choosing February 2012 as his target to return to the band, Great White says Russell contact management last week saying he wasn’t ready because “he had just started physical rehabilitation again and his legs and back needed more rehab to handle the rigors of touring.” He reportedly added that he “wasn’t sure if he could be off the Methadone by then or ever.”

The band’s management told Russell he had to be completely drug free to rejoin the band. The next thing Great White knew the singer had announced his return with a new lineup.

“Since Jack’s departure in August 2010, Great White has performed almost 100 concerts,” the band wrote. “We’ve had no shortened sets, cancellations or song choice limitations due to vocal issues. In this struggling economy, fans need and deserve more – not less. … We give you our word, we will continue through 2012 and beyond to provide you with the top quality musical performances you have been accustomed and deserve.”