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  1. #1
    Atomic Punk
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    12.11.17 @ 04:37 PM
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    Default Great White regroups as legal woes mount


    LOS ANGELES, California (AP) -- For more than three years, anger, grief, lawsuits and haunting memories have swirled around the band Great White since its pyrotechnic display ignited the Rhode Island nightclub fire that left 100 dead and injured many more.

    The fire "was a full-blown American tragedy," lead guitarist Mark Kendall told The Associated Press in a recent rare interview. "I was sad to be a witness to it. It was just a nightmare."

    The February 2003 conflagration, sparked by stage explosives that ignited foam meant to soundproof The Station nightclub's stage, also killed the hard-rock group's guitarist Ty Longley.

    Amid escalating legal troubles, Great White has now reunited after a year off the road and is preparing to record an album and go back on tour.

    Looking forward is much easier than looking back for Great White.

    "These people (in the club) were like friends to us, not just rock fans," Kendall said. "There's a fellowship with the surviving victims. ... We all get together, we hug, we cry. For the majority of the people, they all want to hear the band play."

    Others want the band to pay.

    Nearly 300 people who were injured or whose loved ones died in the blaze named Kendall and lead singer/co-founder Jack Russell in a federal lawsuit seeking compensation for their losses. Multiple calls to the band's attorney, Ed McPherson, were not immediately returned.

    Former tour manager Dan Biechele, who lit the pyrotechnics that night, has been sentenced to serve four years in prison. Under a plea deal a judge is expected to approve Friday, club owner Michael Derderian would receive four years in prison and his brother, club co-owner Jeffrey Derderian, a suspended sentence.

    15 new songs
    Kendall said the Southern California group -- once Grammy-nominated for the '80s hit "Once Bitten, Twice Shy" -- has re-formed with its original members. Kendall and Russell have written 15 new songs for an as-yet untitled album to be recorded in Los Angeles and Salt Lake City by year's end.

    It's the group's first full album of new songs since 1999, and everyone is "pumped," Kendall said. The band will begin touring in January. Will there be a stop in Rhode Island? Kendall isn't sure, but he does know that some money from the tour will go to a fund to benefit survivors' families and victims. There will be no pyrotechnics, he said.

    Steadfast fans are ready for the band's re-emergence and have expressed their support on the Great White MySpace Web site.

    "What happened in Rhode Island was very sad but I go by the music and I still love to listen to their music!" fan Pam Meadows, 36, wrote in an e-mail when asked by The Associated Press about her loyalty to the band after the fire.

    "My hands are joined in the circle around Great White," wrote Cheryl Blevins, 45, of Idaho, when contacted by The Associated Press.

    Just after the fire, bassist Dave Filice and drummer Eric Powers left the group. Kendall -- 49 with a shaved head and white goatee -- stopped performing, turned to Christianity, went through intensive therapy and surrounded himself with his wife Bridget, three sons and one stepdaughter.

    The draw of Great White's music proved too strong for Kendall and Russell. Several months after the blaze, they returned to touring, contributing proceeds to The Station Family Fund.

    Six months ago, the guitarist and his family packed their things into storage and left their home in Palm Desert to help take care of his ailing mother-in-law in Ogden, Utah. Kendall has been busy producing local artists, including hip-hop group Bomb City. In 2005, Kendall released a spiritually minded solo CD.

    Face lift controversy
    Russell, the band's lyricist and a recovering alcoholic, underwent a facelift earlier this year, documented by the TV show "Extra." News of the facelift -- which Russell told "Extra" he wanted in order to get rid of his "jowls" and "double eyelids" from years of hard living -- angered relatives of those who died in the fire and its survivors who felt he didn't show enough remorse.

    "I don't think he wants to talk about the fire," Kendall said of Russell. "It's hard on everybody. At some point, you feel you want to stop talking about it."

    When pressed, however, Kendall did talk about the Derderians, owners of The Station.

    He said that although it's hard to blame one person for the fire, "I think it's kind of wrong for someone to allow pyrotechnics when there's flammable substances (nearby). I think they realize that was kind of dumb."

    Like Kendall, Heidi Longley has gone through therapy to deal with the effects of the fire. When her boyfriend, guitarist Ty Longley, died in the fire she was four months pregnant with their son.

    "I never used to say that Ty was dead, until last summer," she said by phone from her home outside Chicago.

    Heidi Longley says she is now a "domestic diva," taking care of 3-year-old AceyTy Christopher Longley II with help from Social Security and worker's compensation from Great White. She has not been in touch lately with Kendall and Russell.

    Longley often shows her son videos and photos to preserve his dad's memory. The two look alike, she said.

    "We call him Daddy Angel," Longley said. "Acey says, 'Rock on, Daddy Angel,' and he dances around."
    "Watch what people are cynical about, and one can often discover what they lack.” -- Gen. George S. Patton

  2. #2
    Atomic Punk chefcraig's Avatar
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    Default

    Man, this is rough. It is a natural tendancy of folk to want to assign blame for tradgedy. Look at New Orleans, 9/11 for recent examples.

    Yet going back further, one will remember the disaster at Riverfront Stadium in 1979, when 11 Who fans were trampled to death. The blame was not aimed at the Who, rather at the concept of "festival" seating, and the mad crush of fans literally fighting for a good seat. And these folk were not "kids", several were adults and one was a mother.

    I don't see the logic in simply blaming Great White. These guys are just musicians, and largely assign their collective fate to managers and promoters. By and large musicians could never be considered a "brain-trust" to begin with, as mostly their lives are adolescent fantasies come to life, with little real adult responsibility inherant. This coddling supposedly insures the "integrity" of the artist, and reigns supreme in all forms of entertainment, including sport. These folk are brought up to believe that they are indeed special and different, and in some rare cases they are worthy of the praise.

    More often than not, they are simpletons. It is up to their "handlers" to check things out and ensure a safe working environment. At times these same handlers are duplicitous in their dealings with the artists, and exploit them into bankrupcy, both moral and financial.

    It is these handlers that should be held to task, including not only band management, yet promoters and hall owners also. The owners of this club knowing used inferior materials against code to save money. Granted, the crappy material should have been noticed by at least a building or fire inspector, yet who knows if the additions were done with even a permit being registered (thus ensuring proper inspections)?

    That the club owners recieved such casual verdicts is indeed dispicable, yet for the families to blame the group (a band their loved ones obviously made the decision to go see and support) defies logic. I'm certain the fans that perished would not approve of their band being held accountable for this disaster.

    ...craig
    "The reasonable man adapts himself to the world; the unreasonable one persists in trying to adapt the world to himself. Therefore, all progress depends on the unreasonable man."
    George Bernard Shaw

  3. #3
    Eruption
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    07.13.12 @ 05:20 AM
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    I didn't think Kendall was even there that that night. How did he get sued?

  4. #4
    Atomic Punk LLFHS's Avatar
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    Donor

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by TheArchitect
    I didn't think Kendall was even there that that night. How did he get sued?

    Any lawyer will tell you....go after the guy with the wallet. If he wasn't involved - make him involved.
    LowLifeFlatHeadScum

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    Your Hacked Nude Photo Here!

  5. #5
    Atomic Punk smithjc's Avatar
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    08.04.17 @ 11:33 PM
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    I'm glad they're finally picking up the pieces and bringing some sort of closure to all of this. I'm with Chef about the fans who perished in this horrible tragedy.



    I'm looking forward to new music from Great White tho.
    RIP - Classic Van Halen

    "A lot of people take Van Halen more seriously than we do." The Diamond One



  6. #6
    Romeo Delight Eric's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by chefcraig
    Man, this is rough. It is a natural tendancy of folk to want to assign blame for tradgedy. Look at New Orleans, 9/11 for recent examples.


    ...craig

    You're whole post was well said!

  7. #7
    Good Enough
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    Default New Great White music....

    No disrespect to the accident victims, friends, family, etc., but who really wants any more Great White music??? Do they think there going to be relevant all of a sudden, after all but vanishing from the music scene and playing 300-seat clubs?

    Their biggest hits were covers anyway....
    http://www.myspace.com/pennydreadfulnj

    “…and that’s when I learned that waterskiing and Quaaludes do not mix.”

    - Dewey Cox

  8. #8
    Atomic Punk
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    Default

    Great White's 1st music video...



    and another relic...


    Well I'm a wasted rock ranger
    I live the life of danger
    On the road to find a higher high
    I don't need no one's affection
    All I need is my injection
    The music of wild rock will get me by *

    I've been doin' gigs since I was ten
    I really can't remember when
    I ever had a dollar to my name
    My ears are blown, my eyes are red
    I got big holes inside my head
    Snorting too much crystal and cocaine

    I have bennies with the breakfast toast
    Qualudes with the evening roast
    Assorted snorts of powder in between
    I don't think a day's gone by
    That I wasn't drunk or high
    It's the only way I keep my sanity

    From Kegger's Den to Hooterville
    My flaming tricks have topped the bill
    A thousand empty bottles earn my name
    Endless trains of one night stands
    Sharing gigs with half-assed bands
    And all the local groupies lay the same

    Well I could have had a payin' job
    Workin' for some fucked-up slob
    Wife and family, true security
    But I left that shit behind
    For that heavy metal grind
    'Cause rock'n roll is in my blood to stay
    (among other things)

    Hey! You're a wasted rock ranger
    You'll live life of danger
    Sing this song and follow it till the end
    When you reach number one
    You can overdose for fun
    And go and visit Jimi and his friends

    Hey! You're a wasted rock ranger
    You'll live a life of danger
    Sing this song and follow it till the end
    When we reach number one
    Hey! We'll all overdose for fun
    And we'll hang out with Jimi and his friends
    Yee haw!
    "Watch what people are cynical about, and one can often discover what they lack.” -- Gen. George S. Patton

 

 

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