Mark Kendall Interview: Great White Guitarist Talks Sobriety – “I Was A Walking Time Bomb”
Great White guitarist Mark Kendall was recently interviewed by Sober Nation about his struggles with alcohol. “I had a lot of fear when I got sober that my creative spark with disappear. The alcohol was the vehicle for me to be able to get my guitar and come up with the big riffs. I used it for everything,” explained Kendall.
Great White gained popularity in the ’80s after releasing several hits like “Rock Me,” “Save Your Love,” “Once Bitten, Twice Shy” and “House of Broken Love.” With approximately 10 million albums sold, Great White, minus original vocalist Jack Russell, continues to release albums and perform. But one thing differs from the early days. “A lot of people at shows come up to me and talk to me about their sobriety. I really like that,” Kendall said.
Intertwined within the accolades and success that the band acquired, Kendall found himself in the grips of addiction, and the rest of the band members soon caught on. Kendall explained, “I think a trigger for substance abuse is being on the road and everyone telling you you’re so great and you kind of just don’t want to take it as serious. It can drive you crazy, and it can cause some people to numb themselves.” In 1991 Mark found himself doing just that. Overshadowed with what was to come, he notes, “I could feel the tension all around and felt like my band was going to intervene on me. From morning until night I was drinking.”
Eventually, Mark found himself sobering up in a facility in Arizona. “I went to a program but didn’t really fully commit. Had one foot in the door and one foot out type vibe,” he noted. “I just wasn’t buying it. I’d call it ‘white knuckle’ sobriety. I half-assed it so bad but I was able to stay sober. I’d go two years and then a year, but I was a walking time bomb.” In later years, Kendall recognized that he removed the alcohol but was still exhibiting the same behaviors from his addiction, “I was still lying for no reason,” he adds, “eventually I was right back in that pain that I began with, and ended up drinking again.”
In 2008, Kendall decided that he needed to get honest, and it was that moment which dictated his future. “For some reason it was just like this honesty came over me. I was on the road and I called my wife and told her that I drank. I said I was going to start listening to these guys with long term sobriety and do everything the right way. I’ve been sober ever since.”
Today, Mark has no problem sharing his past struggles, and often takes to social media to help others. He explained, “When I finally got sober and had two years I started reaching out to people on social media. I thought, I wonder what would happen if I reached out and offered my sober friendship or support. We’ve got a huge following, so I said if anyone is out there struggling with addiction and alcoholism I’m available to be your sober friend. The results were amazing.”
Read the entire interview at this location.