This is a story of struggle, perseverance and triumph.  Back in 2007 I ended my review of ‘Back To The Rhythm’ with “…this could be the comeback album of the year”…and it almost was.  Great White is one of those bands that are essentially survivors…weathering every conceivable storm out there!

Then in 2011, the band surged again!  Original frontman, Jack Russell was on the road to recovery, but not ‘on the road’ unfortunately, when during the group’s 2010 tour he was rushed to hospital, suffering a perforated bowel…and nearly died.  Having emergency surgery and ordered by doctors to rest for at least a year…Jack has been recouping, while, with his blessing, the group has carried on.   Stepping in initially, Warrant front man Jani Lane completed the performance duties of that year…in 2012 ex-‘XYZ’ lead vocalist; Terry Llous took on the vocal spot.  An apt replacement, and  seeming to be a permanent one, Terry is a dynamic and energetic singer that interprets the Rock/Blues of ‘Great White’ swimmingly!

With the addition of Terry, the group is on a high.  Successful live appearances and the recording of a successful studio album in “Elation” has cemented the group’s reputation of one being a survivor.  On the back of the forth coming release of their 30th Anniversary album: “30 Years-Live From The Sunset Strip”, Great White has embarked upon a new version of “Elation”, completely re-mixed.  The new album will be available through digital download, and more info can be found at: www.frontiers.it

More celebrations are planned for 2013, including more shows and a brand new studio effort!  I caught up with a very busy Terry Ilous and we talked about his joining the band:

Bruce E.J. Atkinson 

Bruce Atkinson: Let’s begin in May of this year (2012), when “Great White” released their brand new studio album; Elation”. The record was met with positive reviews, and further cemented the Rock/Blues direction you guys are going in…Was this an opportunity to “symbolically speaking”, put your signature on the group?

Terry Llous:  Thank you so much for the very interesting questions. When I was asked to join the band I never saw it as an opportunity to add my signature. I was looking to pick up where Great White had left off back in the late 80’s early 90's when they had more of a Rock/Bluesy sound. I never wanted to change the classic format of Great White, they were doing great before they asked me to join their band. It would have been pretentious for me to try to reinvent the sound they are known for. When writing ELATION, we all knew we wanted to go back to that Rock/Bluesy sound.
My voice and writing style fit right in.

BA: As “Elation” was being released, you were also hitting the road, with some musical friends…Let’s talk about your Spring / Summer tour: was it what you expected?

TL: Yes indeed it was! Fun, lots of fun but also lots of hard work. It has been very challenging. It’s never easy to replace a singer. People get used to a certain sound and style. They are not always ready for a change. I understood that completely. That is why when I sing the classic Great White hits, I make sure to respect the core structure of the melody. I have never tried to clone the previous singer, but rather respected the style but also added my own twist. It’s not the first time that I have been asked to replace a very well known singer. That’s probably one of the reasons that I was not selected to be in Foreigner or Journey. I love those singers and respect their work but by the same token I will never be someone's clone. I have been an established singer with a distinctive Rock/Bluesy sound for too long now. It was indeed a test as many were curious, some even skeptical. I can understand that but I did, and will continue to do my very best to continue to please all my fans.

BA: 2012 marks the thirtieth anniversary of ‘Great White’ and you are celebrating with the new live set: “Live From Sunset Strip”, now is this also a return to your roots?

TL: Of course, the bands started on the Sunset Strip many moons ago. To have the opportunity to record a live CD on the Sunset Strip was truly a great thing. It’s ironic because I am also a "Child of the Sunset Strip" as my old band, XYZ, was the last official Rock Band at the Whisky a GoGo! Yes indeed my friend, only The Doors, Motley Crüe, and XYZ were labeled, “Official Whisky A GoGo Bands.” So you can say that this live CD is a return to our roots.

BA: Great White has become a ‘timeless’ band, and Terry, being the ‘new kid’ in a manner of speaking, has there been any daunting moments for you?

TL: I won’t lie to you. Of course there have been daunting moments. What made me feel better was to watch a video of Ronnie James Dio explaining how he felt when joining Black Sabbath and how difficult it was sometimes. Ronnie! Wow! So I figured if Ronnie went through that then I can brace myself and hang tough because he replaced Ozzy, talk about iconic singer here!!! Same experience happened to Coverdale and Brian Johnson. They, too, replaced amazing well loved singers!

Terry brings that bluesy feel to Great White, and “Elation” is the ‘proof in the pudding’.  Opening up a brand new spectrum for the group…and hopefully expanding their reach well beyond 2013!  The live album?   It is set to be released this month in North America.

Under The Lights

Upcoming Club/Concert Highlights:

97th Street Pub:    The Zamboni  Brothers:   Feb. 15th & 16th   Wheelhouse:  Feb. 22nd & 23rd   Rockaholics:  March 1st & 2nd   Radio Lifeline:  March 8th & 9th  Floyd Vedan Band:  March 15th & 16th

The Blue Gator:   Jimmy LeGuilloux Band:  Feb. 15th & 16th   Andrew Jr. Boy Jones:    Feb. 22nd & 23rd  Poppa Dawg:  Feb. 27th   Zamboni Brothers:  Feb. 28th   Pappa Dawg:  March 1st & 2nd

The Habitat:   The Wild with Devon Coyote:   Feb. 15th    

The Minstrel Café:   Fighting Orange:  Feb. 16th   Poppa Dawg Blues Band:  Feb. 22nd & 23rd

The Pheasant & Quail Pub:   Cod Gone Wild:  Feb. 22nd   …And don’t forget the “Talented Kelowna” events at the Pub in January and February!

Notable Concerts:    

South Okanagan Events Centre:   Heart:    March 9th 2013

 Kelowna Community Theatre:   Natalie MacMaster:   April 7th    Randy Bachman:   April 20th     

Prospera Place:  Sting:    May 30th   

Vernon:  Funtastic---Honeymoon Suite:  June 28th  Sweet:  June 29th  Julian Austin  Aaron Pritchett:    June 30th   

Dancin’ Barefoot Music Festival- Peachland :  Nick Gilder & Sweeney Todd: July 20th                 

Peach Festival  Penticton:  Honeymoon Suite:   August 8th                 

Notes & News:   In celebration of a stellar year for one “Whitesnake”…David Coverdale and Company are releasing a deluxe Live CD/DVD package:  “Made In Japan” due out this Spring, is a document of the group’s successful  ‘Forevermore World Tour’ of 2012.  The release is set to be a 2-CD/2-DVD super package!      

…if you have a musical story or news and would like me to write something… drop me a line at:  [email protected]  and let’s celebrate Kelowna’s rich and varied music community together!!.....

More Under the Lights articles

About the Author

We call him the Professor of Rock: With a career in music, television and media arts spanning 30 years, Atkinson knows music. He's traveled as a professional musician and he loves Rock 'N Roll. He is a music journalist who writes internationally for Frontier Records' Melodic Rock magazine and he owns FBA International a multifaceted management, consulting, promotional entity.

The views expressed are strictly those of the author and not necessarily those of Castanet. Castanet does not warrant the contents.

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