Interview with Great White's: Michael Lardie
Author(s): Karla Kay Harris
Editor: Mark Lewis
Published: September 15, 2014
Great White has been writing, recording and touring for more than three decades. They are not stranger's to controversy or to the changes throughout the music industry over the years.
ROA recently had the opportunity to speak with Great White's Michael Lardie, and asked him to weigh in on his observations of the changes and the current state of the music industry.
Q.) You joined Great White in 1986 as a session and touring rhythm guitarist/keyboardist/backing vocalist eventually become a permanent band member, as well as the band's producer and engineer. But before that you spent most of the early to late eighties learning the craft of analog recording and had a solid career recording other artists long before joining Great White. Recently Gene Simmons, made worldwide headlines with his comments that "Rock Is Dead" ... as someone who has been involved with many aspects of the music industry both as an artist, producer and engineer for the past 3 decades, Michael, would you weigh in on your observations of the changes in the music industry over the years?
ML- Obviously, the advent of Digital Recording. The price of the technology is so affordable, that almost anyone can have a home project studio. Unfortunately, without the training, there are many projects that people are doing that suffer from the level of quality the music could be attaining. The biggest change for Great White is the way and reason for touring. We still make new recordings and release them, but the benefit of that in todays marketplace is, it helps to tell a story of the vitality of our band. In turn, promoters are interested in continuing to book shows with us! The old way was, we did albums, then went on tour to promote them, so its a bit of a 180 degree turnabout. We are blessed to be able to still make a living off of PLAYING ROCK! So, I'm not in agreement with Mr. Simmons.
Q.) Do you think Rock Is Dead?
ML- Our fans and our shows would indicate otherwise. The thing I remember about coming up in the music biz, is that those that were successful before, put energy into finding new artists to bring to the public and keep the lineage of rock alive. Perhaps those that have so much, should be doing that very thing and help to continue the tradition of the angst, danger and intensity of ROCK!
Q.) Can the faltering industry be salvaged?
ML- Business models change with the times, and music…like life is circular, I do believe that people will always want to hear music that makes them feel alive! Rocks very essence is about that. The younger generation coming up now, surprises me in a fantastic way they have the means and the resources to find the classic artist (Zepp, Stones, Beatles, etc) and they truly understand the music. I am very hopeful, from conversation with these people, that rock is certainly not dead to them.
Q.) What do you feel is the solution in today's digital and free download music industry?
ML- I like what Neil Young has done with the PONO player,it is a music player, that can play hi definition versions of music, the way that artists intended their fans to hear it. It's not a compressed version that we now hear on every MP3 player, as far as free downloads, music to me is an intellectual property that I have the joy of creating, that is how I make my living and thusly should be compensated for the work. I was talking to a 14 year old the other night who proudly said, NO MUSIC on my ipod is a free download, so I do believe the new generation brings hope.
Q.) Speaking of Free Download's, U2 recently made a deal with Apple and downloaded their new single on EVERY IPhone in the world! (Mindblowing isn't it?) What do you think of this concept Michael? Is this a good new marketing tactic or is this further sending a message to fans and to the music industry, that FREE MUSIC is to be expected?
ML- It would be interesting to discover the points of the deal with Apple, I'm quite certain that U2 was compensated for this offering, so I ask, is it really free?
ROA: Excellent point Michael! Thankyou for sharing such a hopeful perspective on today's music industry. We look forward to seeing you and Great White out on Tour in 2014 and beyond.
For Great White Tour Schedule visit the Band's Official Website: