Russell was born in Montebello, California. He grew up with influences such as Robert Plant and Steven Tyler, and became a vocalist for many bands in high school and later on. He met Mark Kendall in a concert and began plans to form a band called Dante Fox. Russell and Kendall decided to change the name of the band to Great White because their favorite pastime is shark fishing. Russell has been in the band from 1981 to the present day, except for taking three years off from 1996 to 1999 to record and release a soloalbum, entitled Shelter Me. He also released a second soloalbum album entitled For You in 2002. According to Great White's website, Russell's ancestry is English, Irish and Native American.
As of 2009, Jack has been on hiatus from Great White, due to a fall in his bathroom. Jack cracked two vertebrae and herniated a disc in the fall. Jack had multiple back surgeries and was using a plethora of pain medication. Along with alcoholism and pain killers the death of good friend, Warrant singer Jani Lane, propelled him to get help and become sober. Now fully recovered, he formed his own faction of Great White with a brand-new lineup in December 2011. To avoid confusion, he named the band "Jack Russell's Great White."
In 2012 Russell guest starred on VH1 Classics "That Metal Show", where he revealed his side of the Great White story, and how he was feeling well and ready for more.
As of September 2012, Russell continues to tour with Jack Russell's Great White.