Exclusive: Great White's Mark Kendall on sports, the Los Angeles Dodgers & more
Grammy-nominated rock band Great White has sold over 10 million albums worldwide with 6 Top 100 Billboard hits and 9 Top 200 Billboard albums to its credit. In the last 4 years, Great White has played close to 400 shows beyond releasing its 13th studio album, Full Circle.
Founding Great White guitarist Mark Kendall is known to be a massive sports fan, beyond finding success as a competitive poker player, and I had the pleasure of talking to him on behalf of Sportskeeda.
Word has it that you're a big Dodgers fan. Has that been the case your whole life?
Mark Kendall: I played baseball from age 8 to 18, my dad wanted me to go pro. Unfortunately, I threw my arm out at 18 years old and didn’t hit enough home runs to have any chance to get signed.
There were 2 players on my own team that did everything better than me! The Dodgers are my home team and I’ve been more than just a huge fan since I was 10 years old!
How do you think the Dodgers are doing this season?
Mark Kendall: I’m really liking their offensive consistency this year. I love the energy [Alex] Verdugo has brought to the team with his personality, contact hitting and amazing defensive skills.
Overall, it’s the best team I’ve seen in years! [Cody] Bellinger is a straight-up gangster at the plate. The pitching took a bit of time but has really come around. I’m thrilled with just about everything the Dodgers are doing right now.
Do you have any favorite players on the current Dodgers team?
Mark Kendall: Bellinger, Verdugo, [Justin] Turner, Kike [Hernandez], [David] Freese, and [Clayton] Kershaw.
When did you last attend a Dodgers game?
Mark Kendall: World Series last year in game 5. We won that game with [Walker] Buehler pitching.
Are there any teams you're as passionate about as you are the Dodgers?
Mark Kendall: Not so much, but I’ve always liked the [St. Louis] Cardinals and pull for them if we dog it. My good friend is a massive fan! His entire house is full of Cardinal memorabilia and he goes to spring training etc. He lives in St. Louis and is a pool instructor at Lindenwood College.
I've also read that you are a pro-level poker player and a great billiards player. Seeing that guitar is another one of your impressive skills, is there anything you've tried to conquer but haven't been able to do?
Mark Kendall: I’ve played in some big poker events. My highest finish in a pro event was 26th in a field of 4,022 players in Las Vegas. I haven’t played at all the last 2 years.
I’m below pro caliber speed but play pool decent. My best friend just broke Willie Mosconi’s high run! Mosconi ran 526 Balls in Springfield, Ohio in 1954 and the record held for 65 years. My friend John Schmidt just broke his high run in Monterey, California running an unprecedented 626 balls! That’s a record that will never be touched.
As far as something I’d like to do but haven’t is run 100 balls in pool. My high runs are 70 and 72. I’m hoping to do it this year!
Sports aside, what is coming up for Great White in the coming months?
Mark Kendall: Playing shows and writing new music. We’re hoping to get new music out before the year's end.
What about yourself? Any solo gigs or side projects?
Mark Kendall: Nothing at the moment. I’ve written with a couple people, helping them out, but Great White has my full attention at the moment, so no solo ventures for now.
What do you wish more people knew about Mark Kendall?
Mark Kendall: That I'm a pretty humble and grateful person. I don’t spend any time telling people how great I am and I'm not lost in myself. When I wake up in the morning I say a prayer and hope I can help someone sick today.
I help alcoholics/addicts find recovery by offering encouragement, support and my sober friendship. I’ve helped 118 people get sober in the last 8 years. It’s a rewarding feeling to see sick people get well! That is what is important to me today.
Finally, Mark, any last words for the kids?
Mark Kendall: Stay off your phones and laptops, go out and meet people and learn social skills. There’s nothing more important in your life than human connection! Be kind to others and stay out of trouble.