Terry Ilous Of Great White – An Interview With This Legendary Band’s Lead Singer And Songwriter

Great White - Group Promo Pic - 2013 - #5!

Left to right: Michael Lardie (keys & guitar), Audie Desbrow (drums), Mark Kendall (guitar), Terry Ilous (lead vocals) and Scott Snyder (bass).


“I genuinely love my fans.” – Terry Ilous

Terry Ilous is no longer the new singer of the legendary Great White. Terry Ilous is the singer of Great White. Make no mistake about it, the electricity is swirling in the air within the Great White camp and Terry Ilous is a credible reason why. One listen to Great White’s 12th studio album Elation and their newly released live gem 30 Years – Live From The Sunset Strip and the energy and good-times vibes are contagious, all with a little boost from Terry Ilous.

With previous work with an envious list of who’s who within the Rock, Metal and Pop recording industries, plus previous live lead vocal duties under his belt for Great White, along with being an original member and vocalist for XYZ, Terry Ilous couldn’t have been a better choice for this new era of Great White. Terry Ilous answered the Rockin’ call. Big time.

With an intensely busy schedule, Terry Ilous was very considerate to answer a few questions for me. This music and fan driven artist reflects on his invitation to join Great White, making money, playing live, his greatest moments as a musician and yes… the fans. Here’s what Terry Ilous had to say:

Stone: Terry, how did it all unfold as your becoming the lead vocalist for Great White?

Terry: I was asked to join the band in 2010 to replace Jack (Russell) who was sick. I received a phone call from Mark on Wednesday asking if could perform with the band the next day. I said, ” Yes, of course!” The fans were very supportive. It wasn’t easy, to be honest, as those were big shoes to fill. Jack has recorded some amazing songs. I respect his talent.

The band was very helpful.  I developed a strong friendship with them and it helped me tremendously. We performed over 80 shows. When Jack decided not come back in December 2011, I was asked to permanently join the band. Please remember I was initially asked to temporarily join the band, to fill-in during Jack’s absence.

It’s never easy to replace a lead singer. It doesn’t matter how good the singer is! Fans are used to a sound they love. Introducing someone new is very challenging. That’s why when I sing the classic Great White hits, I respect the core structure of the melody.

Stone: Of course, money is essential to live. However, what is more important, selling multi-millions of albums or playing the music that you love in concert for your fans?

Terry: I think both are important. An artist has to have both a business mind and a creative mind.  How can I perform for my fans if I have to work two jobs to support my family? And, if I only have a business mind, how can I be creative and genuine for my fans? The music I would create would be calculated and not heart-felt. The fans can feel that. I spend a lot of time with them, I answer my own Facebook questions, not always timely as I receive over 200 emails per day, plus I manage my own Twitter account. I genuinely love my fans.

GREAT WHITE - Elation promo cover

Stone: Media and fan response to “Elation” and your hit single “Hard To Say Goodbye” has been phenomenal. What were your expectations with the release of “Elation”? I look upon it all as a tremendous fresh and new start for Great White.

Terry: I didn’t know what to expect to be honest with you. All I could do as a singer/songwriter is to be honest with myself. The band sat down, started writing and writing non-stop, comparing ideas. Michael would come up with something then Mark and then myself, not necessarily in that order and we would jam on them and if one idea would please all of us, we would work on it. Audie and Scotty would also be at the studio to comment and help us as well.

At times, it was very exhilarating and at times scary, as we only had 2 weeks to write the songs. We went into the studio with 2 songs. We had to be finished writing, recording, mixing, and mastering within 28 days!  It was a lot of pressure! I believe in sincerity and honesty, I know, I’m old-fashioned. So I gave it my very best. Yes, I was nervous, I knew some would welcome me and some would not. I know that replacing a singer is never easy. The fans are used to a sound and it’s sometimes difficult for some to accept a new singer but it’s been done many times before. Dio replaced Ozzy and Coverdale replaced Gillan. Talk about iconic singers being replaced!

We did what a real band does and that’s write music because we love music! They love their fans! Before anything else they are just a bunch of guys getting together to share their same passion for music, not money. Previously, you had asked me about money and the fans. In this case it’s all for the love of music!

Listen to and watch “Hard To Say Goodbye” below!

Stone: Terry, could you pinpoint the greatest moment you’ve experienced as a musician, regardless of how small or large the moment was?

Terry: Coming to America with $500 dollars in my pocket! Getting the deal with XYZ, opening a sold out show for Ted Nugent in Detroit, performing on stage with an acoustic guitar and hearing eighteen thousand fans sing the song a cappella with me, and of course joining the Great White! That’s for sure!

Great White - Group and Logo - promo header -        #1________________________________________________

For more info on GREAT WHITE, click on the links below!


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8 Responses to “Terry Ilous Of Great White – An Interview With This Legendary Band’s Lead Singer And Songwriter”

  1. Jeff Paris Says:

    Lovely interview with my dear friend Terry Ilous. He is a gift. Great job!

  2. Terry is a great we meet on myspace about 4 or 5 years ago and I happened to have a mp3 of Rock-n-Roll Girl a song he did with XYZ. He said that he would like me to send him a copy because he had lost his or something so I did and we have been music buddy ever since . Now that he is with Great White I’m looking forward to sharing more good music on Facebook. Yep he really does answer his facebook buddies. You go Terry sing your ass off

  3. I have loved Great White forever, I have known Terry Ilous for a while and they mesh so well together & Terry truely loves his fans, he is the kindest, sweetest, heartfelt singer….SexyHott as well!

  4. Saw Great White live a few years back at the Coach House in San Juan Capistrano in Southern California and it was announced Jack Russell wasn’t doing well and wasn’t going to be there but this guy from XYZ, Terry Ilous, was taking the reigns. Back then Terry was a temp fill-in but he kicked major ass and I was thoroughly impressed. I believe that was THE first if not one of the first shows with Terry. I know Jani Lane filled in a few times after Terry did but then Terry became permanent after Jani sadly passed. I’d love to see the guys again with their blues hard rock n metal.

    • Hey Metal Buddy! Very cool stuff, that you saw perhaps the first live Great White show with Terry Ilous! That is easily a terrific moment in Rock history, IMO! Save that concert stub! 🙂

      I cannot wait for another Great White studio album!! This legendary band is on a roll!! 🙂 \m/

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