Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Getting back to the rhythm

This guest post was done by Steve over at heavy metal addiction .

On Thursday February 20, 2003, a concert was scheduled at The Station Nightclub in West Warwick, RI. The band headlining.....Great White. As the band opened the set, pyrotechnics went off and ignited the soundproofing foam around the stage. Within seconds, the club was ablaze. The aftermath: 100 lives lost and more than 200 injuries.

I was a regular at The Station. When concerts came to town, I was usually there. I saw some great bands: Saxon, U.D.O., Quiet Riot, W.A.S.P. and always had a good time. When the Great White show was announced, my wife and I decided to go. We had been fans of the band since the days of 'Save Your Love' and 'Rock Me' so this was going to be a really great show. With a week's notice, we lined up a babysitter, I took the night off from work and we planned a pre-show dinner. The one thing we didn't do was buy tickets. You could always grab tickets the day of the show for The Station but that Thursday morning we decided to cancel our plans and just stay home.

Hindsight being 20/20, it was probably the best decision we ever made.

I used to listen to Great White a lot, they were one of my favorite bands. Their style of bluesy Hard Rock struck a chord and I went out and bought ONCE BITTEN (1987) after I heard 'Rock Me' on local radio. As the years went on, I became a big fan and picked up all their albums. Over the years, many memories became attached to the songs. After the fire, it was hard to listen to the band's music. Now there was a stigma attached to it. Hearing a Great White song didn't remind me of the good times I'd had, it only reminded me of the fire and the lives lost. Lives lost of people I didn't know but had a kinship with through the music. It also made me think of the "what ifs": What if we had gone to the show?, What if we had been in that fire?, etc. It took three years before I could listen to Great White again.

This past Tuesday (July 17), Great White released their comeback album BACK TO THE RHYTHM and I was at the store first thing in the morning so I could pick up a copy. For some reason I had a serious urge to buy this album. I wanted to hear what the band could create after so much had happened, to hear the possible train-wreck that the album could be. What I bought was a solid Hard Rock album. I put it on in the car and immeadiately got into it. So I'm driving, and listening, and enjoying. I had that good feeling that you can only get from a good song. It was then I understood that it wasn't the music that caused the fire, it wasn't the songs that killed and injured people like me. The music didn't cause anything, mistakes made by many people did. I had gone a few years without listening to Great White and hearing this new record made me realize that it was time to get back to the rhythm. Music is a celebration of life and it is meant to be enjoyed.


Blogger aXe mAn said...

Very well written post. It is really sad what happened that night, but music always helps me get through hard times as well.

6:27 AM  
Blogger Mike said...

I agree with Axe. Great post. I feel Great White is a talented band, but will now forever be tied to the club fire.

8:36 AM  
Blogger Hard Rock Hideout said...

I was wondering if that was around your area where the Great White club fire happened.

I am glad that you weren't caught up in that. I think a few people still hold a negative stigma against the band as a result of the fire.

I am surprised that they didn't donate some proceeds of the new album towards the fire victims families or something.

I hope it doesn't hurt their sales as a result of it.

9:35 AM  
Blogger TJ said...

I listened to WASP, Saxon & Great White during my teenage days ... great to hear that they're still alive after all these years.

11:09 PM  
Blogger bob_vinyl said...

When that fire happened, one thing I wondered was why would anyone even be at that show? I'm still not sure. I do believe that the band has to take a good bit of the blame though, because it was their inability to understand that they weren't playing arenas anymore and their unwillingness to accept that their best days were long ago that led them to do something as completely stupid as lighting off fireworks in a tiny nightclub.

I do have to say that you make a good point about it not being about the music though. Whatever Great White's delusions of grandeur may have been, it doesn't change the fact that you like their music and shouldn't affect your ability to continue to like it. Rock music, like anything else, is full of boneheads and buttheads, but that doesn't mean that those very same people didn't make great music (or in this case music that a lot of people liked).

7:48 AM  
Anonymous rene said...

Very good letter Steve. You realy opend your heart writing this and thats great. METAL FOREVER BROTHER.

12:03 PM  
Blogger Metal Mark said...

It was a horrible event, but they have to move on. I however never been a big fan of theirs. They were just always kind of alright lukewarm blues rock to me.

6:25 PM  
Anonymous rene. said...

Sorry METAL MARK but SHOT IN THE DARK and their debut ep+lp have nothing to do with BLUES ROCK. Check them out and you will see.

12:47 PM  
Anonymous Pete said...

I've always liked Great White, and was very sad when the tragedy happened. It's too bad that they will always have a stigma attatched to them because of what happened. It's good to know, however, that they are still making music, and I plan to check out this CD.

5:57 PM  
Blogger Tom said...

Just read your post on Great White . . . while did not have the close encounter with The Station you did, I had difficulty listening to GW at all after the fire. Slowely got back into their music, then I bought the new CD - which is just fantastic. I feel horrible for the people who lost their lives and their families who will suffer for all their lives. But I feel sorry for the band too . . . in a different way. They will always be haunted by this . . pleased however they can still make a great album and hopefully make a living doing what they do best. -Tom, Chicago

12:05 AM  

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