Mark Kendall (guitarist)
||This biographical article needs additional citations for verification. (January 2012)|
April 29, 1957 |
Loma Linda, California, USA
|Genres||Hard rock, heavy metal, glam metal|
|Instruments||Guitar, backing vocals|
|Associated acts||Great White|
Mark Kendall (born April 29, 1957) is a lead guitarist born in Loma Linda, California. He is best known for being the founding member and lead guitar player of the blues-based hard rock band Dante Fox, which later became Great White.
Mark Kendall grew up in Huntington Beach, California. He came from a musically talented family, with his mother belting out smoky tunes as a jazz singer, his father playing jazz trumpet, and his grandfather, a classically trained pianist from the age of thirteen. As such, Mark developed a good ear for melody early on, and has never lost sight of where his ability came from and the musical gifts he netted through his DNA.
He received his first guitar at the age of nine after watching a local band rehearse in a neighbor's garage. His father gave him a Kay acoustic for his birthday and he began to develop a talent to learn songs by ear. The following Christmas his father bought him an electric guitar and amplifier. In addition, his dad also bought him three albums: The Jimi Hendrix Experience's Are You Experienced, Cream’s Disraeli Gears, and The Doors’ Strange Days. These records would prove to be highly influential on his musical life.
In the 4th grade he had already performed at the school talent show with a friend, showcasing four songs: "Wipe Out", "Pipeline", "Gloria" and "Secret Agent Man". Since then, he never put his guitar down even into his teenage years. From the age of eight to eighteen, he played baseball as a strong pitcher who was set to become a professional player. By the time he was eighteen, his arm started hurting after three innings every time he pitched a game and ended up deciding that making music would be his life and priority.
Kendall heard about a singer named Jack Russell late in 1978 and asked him to audition for his band ZZYZX who played original and cover material. It was then and there they decided to make their own band. The first version of the band was called Highway. Then they changed it to Livewire and finally they played one last show under the name Wires. Then in 1979 Jack Russell was arrested for shooting a live in maid in a botched robbery attempt and was sentenced to 8 years in prison. The band all separated leaving Kendall to start again from scratch. He recruited a bass player from San Diego named Don Costa and after auditioning 3 drummers that he didn't like, he decided to call Tony Richards, who he had jammed with before. They auditioned several singers including John Bush from Armoured Saint. They settled on a female singer named Lisa Baker. The name they decided on was Dante Fox. When George Lynch ask Lisa to join his band Exciter a few months later Kendall asked a singer named Butch Say to join, who had a Rob Halford type style. They would go on to play around the Los Angeles and Orange County scene for the next year or so. Kendall received several letters written by Jack from Jack's parents. The letters mainly consisted of Russell saying to please give him an audition and he will blow away any singer they have. When Kendall found out Russell got released early he talked the band into auditioning him. With a 2 to 1 vote it was decided to replace Butch Say with Russell who would become the bands 3rd singer. Russell's first show was at the Troubador in Hollywood after serving only 18 months of his sentence, at a California Youth Authority Facility. While Dante Fox was performing at The Whiskey in Hollywood one night in 1982, Alan Niven, a record executive was in the audience and came backstage to give the band his card. The following day Mark accompanied his singer Jack Russell went to the label and met with Niven. Before they knew it they were recording their first EP. Since then Great White has been recording and touring for the 30 years with sales approaching 10 million. The band is still touring and making music, releasing their latest album Elation in May 2012 on Frontiers Records.
Mark has been quoted by saying, “Music is a pure blessing and I wouldn't change anything about my life”. He said, “Even with all the mistakes I have made, they are nothing more than learning experiences and just part of life”..
During the 1990s when rock music seemed to go into another direction, Mark's band, Great White (named after him because of his nearly white hair) became one of the most popular rock bands in the U.S. Undoubtedly, Mark Kendall was one of the best guitarists, especially on the, "Once Bitten" and "Twice Shy" albums. The bluesy tones and the high melodic riffs, along with the great vocals from Jack Russell, Bassist Lorne Black, and Drummer Audie Desbrow, Great White was one of the very best groups of its time.
Kendall is married to Bridget Kendall and has four children - Jonathan (28), Ashley (21), Taylor (20) and Shane (17). In his free time he is a producer, a pool player, an poker player and enthusiast and film buff.