Hair Today, Gone Tomorrow
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“Hair metal” fans rejoice! The very first SiriusXM Hair Nation Tour takes place this fall with an October 21 show at The Clyde Theatre. The tour offers fans of the genre a chance to see three bands that have been keeping the music alive for decades. Headlined by Jack Russell’s Great White, the tour also includes gold record selling Bulletboys along with Chicago rock veterans Enuff Z’Nuff.
Great White’s music is less about the excess of the era and more about good, old fashioned blues-based rock n’ roll, said Robby Lochner, Great White guitarist, in a recent phone interview.
Great White became popular “during that era, so about any band that broke out during that time is probably going to be lumped into that hair metal scene, no matter how different or bluesy your music was.” The band often plays shows with Firehouse, Dokken, Warrant, and the like.
“Unless it’s Tears For Fears, it’s probably going to make sense,” Lochner said. “I don’t think they’d be considered a hair band.”
For those who aren’t in the know, Great White split into two separate bands in 2010, when the original Great White fired lead singer Jack Russell. The original band continued on as Great White and Russell formed his own band, Jack Russell’s Great White, playing the old favorites while working on new music when time allowed.
Having released He Saw It Comin’ last year, JRGW is still riding the momentum of that critically acclaimed album, but, if you’re going to the show, you don’t have to worry about long periods of the band playing songs you don’t know. They focus on the hits.
“We will probably play one new song (during the set),” Lochner said, “but we mainly focus on the songs everyone knows. We would do more new songs, but the thing is, we don’t even have any more copies of the album left. They sold everything we had and since we’re not with the label anymore, we can’t get any. They were going to allow us to keep printing them but there were some sort of hurt feelings that happened and that was the end of that. We’ll just move forward. Unfortunately, we really love the record and want to keep promoting it, but what can we do?”
With an act like JRGW, who are largely looked upon as a nostalgia act and mostly play fly dates on the weekends in front of Gen X-ers looking fondly on their teen years, it might seem like the band members would get tired of playing those same old songs night after night. But Lochner says that isn’t the case.
“When we go up on stage, we have a choice of approaching it with just going through the motions or giving it our all. Now if you ask me if I would be tired of listening to those songs, yeah, I wouldn’t put on the songs to listen to them, but to go and play them and perform them, we just have a great time doing it. It’s what it’s about; going out and having fun and making sure that translates to people that come to see us.”
“We play pretty much year round, but mostly on the weekends,” Lochner continued. “It’s not like touring was years ago. There are some times when we’ll have weekends off, but then we’ll go for long stretches without any weekends off. But it’s still fun for us. We have a drive to do it. There’s still a hunger. And it’s cool to see that everybody in the band is still hungry to go out, play and perform, and just do it. Not a lot of bands have that. A lot of them just go through the motions and are out there because they have to be, but we’re out there because we just love doing what we do.”
The show on October 20 at The Clyde Theatre is part of the very first SiriusXM Hair Nation Tour, celebrating the music made popular during the ’80s. Jack Russell’s Great White headlines the night playing some of the songs that made Great White a multi-platinum selling act.
Supporting act Bulletboys are sure to please with “Smooth Up In Ya” and “For The Love Of Money.” Enuff Z’Nuff open the night showing off their unique Beatles-influenced music with hits like “New Thing” and “Fly High Michelle.” It’ll be a flashback to an era when guitars were the kings of the radio and MTV actually played videos.
The immediate future for Jack Russell’s Great White is fairly certain, as the band is already planning their next move.
“We’ve got songs written for the next album,” Lochner said. “The plan is for it to be a little edgier (than He Saw It Comin’). I really like the last record a lot, but we kind of wrote what just came out, you know, it just kind of happened. Not that we’re not doing that now, but it’s more intentional to be heavier, so some of the songs that we’ve written that aren’t as rock-y we kind of say, ‘OK, that would be good for a future record, but let’s just not worry about that one for this record.’”
Beyond the next record, though, there is some uncertainty that lingers.
“In Jack’s case, it will depend on how he is physically doing,” Lochner said. “Is he capable of still doing it? Can he still sing? If there ever comes a time when Jack can’t sing any more, I think it’s just going to be over for him because that’s the one thing he has, he’s still able to sing. I mean, just everything, because he’s mentioned that too, that if he can’t sing, then what’s the point? Like, what’s the point in even living, because that’s the one thing that he really gets a lot of joy out of, you know, being on stage.
“And you really see it. I’ve seen him where he’s just in a bad mood before he goes on stage and it’s like ‘whatever,’ but when he gets on stage it’s completely a return to form. He’s having a great time and just loving it. It’s what he is born to do.”