Russell left in 2012 to deal with his addiction issues, saying he was taking "medical leave from the group." In a new interview with The metal interview, Kendall reported that Russell was never fired, and when Russell formed his own group using the name Great White, they allowed him to continue in the hopes that it would help him with his health battle.
“He was not fired,” Kendall said. “In the almost 30 years that we have worked together, I think we might have had two arguments. … What happened is that his demons defeated him. We were on tour. He was falling, breaking bones. He was very sick of his addiction.
He said the singer's body was "just falling apart." “He had a walker,” Kendall explained. “We had to push him around airports in a wheelchair. He had to sit at the shows. And it got so bad and he was so sick he just couldn't go on.… We just said: "Go heal. We'll call in a singer. And get well. And he just couldn't come back."
You can listen to the interview below.
The split resulted in a trial on the band's name, which Kendall said he "hated" even though his party won. “But we wanted him to have a way to make a living,” he noted, “because the people he worked with accepted him for who he was. So we were okay with that. So we let him be called the Great White of Jack Russell or whatever.
He noted that two groups using a similar name left fans "confused" and that many of them had asked if it was possible for Russell to return. “I don't know if you've ever been around someone very high up and not,” he said. “It's like you're in two different worlds. … It's a bit like having a liability. I mean, if you were working at a job, and there are people out there that rely on you, and you have a guy who just doesn't have it together, it just makes it all fall apart.
Kendall said he spent some time in hospitals and rehabilitation centers with Russell, "being as supportive as possible. ... It's a shame the whole situation must have happened because he was not treating himself well. But I never took this personally, someone's addictions. They don't do this to hurt me. Jack didn't do what he did to hurt me. He just had a hard time, [because] addiction is so powerful. … We have all the love for him, and I always wish him the best of everything. I never have bad will towards him or his addiction - nothing.
In a recent interview, Russell said he was comfortable with the distance between his Great White and the original group. He said Love is pop: “All the legal stuff is done. I have the right to use Jack Russell's Great White as long as I am alive. It's okay with me. I like the idea of being set apart. I don't want to be considered the lead singer of this band at this point in my life.