For many melodic rock fans, guitarist Josh Ramos is a man who’ll need no introduction. In the 90s, he was a member of The Storm, a fine AOR band that featured ex-Journey men Gregg Rolie and Ross Valory. He later achieved success as driving force behind Frontiers Records signings Two Fires, an act much-loved by genre fans the world over. At other times, he’s been a member of Hardline, a melodic rock outfit who’ve battled on against changing fashions and changing line ups, but could often be relied upon for a decent end product. Yup, Josh has always kept himself busy, and while his approach to things might make him seem like a “man for hire” rather than a genuine star in his own right, he’s often made some smart career choices.
In the latter part of the twentieth century, Great White made a big impression with their brand of hard rock. Adding a bluesy edge or a slightly glammy sensibility to plenty of crunch, the LA band really showed their teeth on their big selling ‘Twice Shy’ and ‘Hooked’ albums in the early 90s and even their lesser known later works had plenty to recommend them.
Russell’s 2002 solo release ‘For You’ found the vocalist branching out and experimenting with a couple of softer styles in places, but was an equally strong demonstration of his talents. Beyond that, Great White worked hard but often failed to reach the same heights and their career was somewhat marred by in-fighting and legal battles over the band name. Great White (fronted by ex-XYZ man Terry Ilous) released the surprisingly good ‘Elation’ in 2012, while Jack Russell’s Great White continued to ply their trade on the live circuit, eventually – and some would say belatedly – releasing ‘He Saw It Coming’ in 2017.
With their brand of blues inflected hard rock, In the late 80s and early 90s, Great White gained strongly favourable press on a regular basis. On the back of albums like ‘Twice Shy’ and ‘Hooked’ (1989 and 1991 respectively) providing a more sophisticated slant on the big hair sounds that were popular at the time, supported by a tough live show, their fan base was more than solid. Over the years, however, the Great White legacy has been a little sullied. An extremely unfortunate falling out between band members and a long drawn out legal battle over the band name meant that internal politics somewhat interfered with their music. Furthermore, the market has been flooded with various budget compilation packages and a fair amount of recycling material with re-recorded and inferior versions of GW classics.