Today is the four year anniversary of the Station Nightclub fire. The tragic fire claimed the lives of 100 people and injured more than 200.
The fire started just seconds after Great White took the stage the night of February 20, 2003. Like most 1980s bands, Great White used pyrotechnics and fog as part of their act.
Among the casualties of the night was Great White guitarist Ty Longley. Even with their personal loss, Great White has been continually criticized for not doing enough to raise money for victims and their surviving family members.
Sunday, family members of the victims gathered at the former site of The Station. They laid wreaths and other mementos in honor of their lost loved ones.
At just after 10 this morning, the band's official website, www.mistabone.com, made no reference to the tragedy. I don't know how I feel about this. I'm a big believer in picking up the pieces and moving on. After all, the world still turns. Still, I feel if you have the ability to raise money through celebrity, you should do your part to help. I think the surviving members of Great White should have done more in the immediate weeks following the tragedy. I think they should have called upon their other musician friends and held one big benefit concert. (To be fair, they did continue their 2003 tour dedicating each show to the victims of the nightclub fire. Some of the proceeds went to the families).
The tragedy brings back questions of fairness in the legal system. In 2006, three men (the club owners and Great White's tour manager) were charged, and two reached plea agreements. Two are serving time behind bars for their involvement in the blaze.
So, were the members of Great White negligent? Surely, they knew there would be pyro in their show, just like every night before. (After the tragedy, the band vowed to never again use pyro or other dangerous effects in their stage shows). I don't know the answer to the question, nor is it my place to judge. I suppose condemning Great White would be a little like forever judging The Who for the 1979 concert stampede that killed 11 innocent fans.
For what it's worth, Great White is in the studio working on a new album.