By Ossie Bladine • Editor • 

Fans remain faithful to '80s rockers Great White

It’s not impossible that Great White will strike another chart topper before they’re done. It’s just really, really unlikely. 

That’s not a knock against the Los Angeles product that scored several hard rock hits in the 1980s. The fact is, if you are a classic rock band (yes, ’80s glam rockers are now considered “classic”) and your name doesn’t begin with Allman or end with Stones, it’s difficult to reach the masses with any new material. 

And that’s just fine with Great White, says guitarist and keyboardist Michael Lardie.

“If we get fortunate enough to where something pops and brings the band back to a point of vogue again, of course we’ll be over the moon,” Lardie said. But continuing to create is as much for the band members’ sake as it is for fans. “Doing new records keeps us out of the realm of frustrated people feeling like a revue. It’s partly for us to keep moving forward and being better songwriters.”

Those who attend Great White’s performance Saturday at the Yamhill County Fair and Rodeo will hear selections from the band’s latest release, “Elation.” The album includes some tracks worthy of a spot on your playlist, including the ZZ Top-esque, hard driving “Feelin’ So Much Better” and rock ballad “Promise Land.”

It’s the first album without original vocalist Jack Russell, who broke from the group to create his own band. Terry Ilous (of XYZ) belts out the lyrics on stage these days. Of course, the recipe remains the same.

“The meat and potatoes of what we are is straight-ahead, blues-driven rock,” Lardie said. “We always try to lay a couple (new) songs on people, but not an overabundance.

“The hits are always playing the staple in our show. We know where we come from.”

Those hits include “Rock Me,” “Save Your Love” and “Once Bitten, Twice Shy.” 

Lardie (who produces many of Great White’s recordings, along with those of bands like Black Flag and Dokken) said the band is thrilled its fanbase continues to show up in droves — along with new a generation of fans, too.

“I think the fans are the same that grew up with us. They’re still liking it,” he said. “One cool difference is that they’re bringing their kids. You start thinking, ‘How does an 8-year-old know these lyrics?’ To me, that’s a big compliment.”

It shows that their brand of rock will always have an audience, Lardie said.

“You speculate how well concerts will be attended, and I’m always pleasantly surprised.”

Great White will take the stage at 9 p.m. Saturday night. The concert is free with admission to the fair: $10 for adults, $5 for children 5 to 12. 

Ossie Bladine can be reached at

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