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Great White

Great White Photo

Band Photo: Great White (?)

Formed: 1981
From: Los Angeles, CA, United States
Last Known Status: Regrouped

Latest Great White News

Below is our complete Great White news coverage, including columns and articles pertaining to the band. Some articles listed may be indirectly related, such as side projects of the band members, etc.

Note: We began associating news directly with bands in late 2003. Therefore, earlier band news may not be listed on this page.

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Ex-Great White Tour Manager Can Work From Prison

The Associated Press has issued the following report:

Former GREAT WHITE tour manager who was sentenced to prison for igniting a deadly nightclub fire should be allowed to work for a nonprofit agency while serving his time, a judge ruled Tuesday.

Daniel Biechele pleaded guilty to 100 counts of involuntary manslaughter in the 2003 fire at The Station nightclub in West Warwick and was sentenced earlier this month to four years in a minimum security prison.

His lawyers said Tuesday that he had been offered a job in the finance department of The Arc of Northern Rhode Island, a nonprofit agency that provides services to people with disabilities.

Biechele had no prior criminal record, and Superior Court Judge Francis J. Darigan Jr. ruled Tuesday that he should be eligible for a work-release program.

Prisoners in the work-release system generally work during the day and return to a minimum-security prison at night. Biechele's position would still require approval from the state Department of Corrections.

Read the full article at TheState.com.

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Prosecutors Object To Biechele's Work Release

The Associated Press has issued the following report:

Prosecutors are objecting to Daniel Biechele's application for a work-release program.

Biechele, the former tour manager for the band GREAT WHITE, was sentenced earlier this month to serve four years in prison for lighting the pyrotechnics that sparked The Station nightclub fire in 2003.

One-hundred people died in the blaze. His lawyer said that Biechele had found work as a bookkeeper and asked a judge to allow him to participate in a work-release program while he's serving his sentence at the Adult Correctional Institutions.

But in a motion filed today, prosecutors say the decision about work release should be left to the Department of Corrections.

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Ex-Great White Tour Manager Gets Four Years Prison

TurnTo10 has issued the following report:

A judge sentenced former GREAT WHITE tour manager Dan Biechele to four years in prison Wednesday (May 10) for lighting the pyrotechnics display that sparked The Station nightclub fire, which killed 100 people.

A tearful Biechele apologized to the families who lost loved ones before the sentence was handed down.

"I will never forgive myself for what happened that night," Biechele said.

A prosecutor asked a judge to sentence the former GREAT WHITE tour manager to 10 years in prison Wednesday

"The devastation wrought by the conduct of the defendant is unparalleled in our state's history," prosecutor Randall White said, occasionally choking up as he described what he called the incalculable impact on those who survived and relatives of those who died.

"The suffering is endless, and the extent and depth of the pain is bottomless," White added.

The courtroom was dotted with relatives of those who died and survived, many of them wearing buttons with photos of their loved ones. More than a dozen counselors were on hand to assist family members, and Superior Court Judge Francis Darigan Jr. opened the hearing by asking them to maintain decorum.

Read the full article at turnto10.com.

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Great White Tour Manager Faces Families

The Associated Press reports: Watching her severely burned daughter go through 35 operations over two months before doctors took the young woman off life support was "a journey of hell," Ann Gruttadauria told a Providence, R.I., court today (May 8) as a sentencing hearing began for a man she holds responsible.

Her 33-year-old daughter had gone to the Station nightclub in West Warwick, R.I., for a Great White concert on Feb. 20, 2003. The band had just started its first set when tour manager Daniel Biechele set off a pyrotechnics display that sparked the state's deadliest fire. Pamela Gruttadauria was its 100th victim.

About 30 people planned to read statements in court today and tomorrow, and a representative from the attorney general's office planned to read prepared remarks from others.

Biechele, 29, pleaded guilty in February to 100 counts of involuntary manslaughter and faces up to 10 years in prison. Before the judge sentences him, though, Biechele is hearing from the victims' relatives. Biechele now lives in Florida and works at a flooring company while taking accounting classes at night, his lawyers said in a recent court filing. He has written personal letters of apology to the victims' families. The attorney general's office is seeking the maximum sentence under Biechele's plea deal, saying he acted callously and recklessly. Biechele's lawyers are asking for community service rather than jail time, saying he never intended to harm anyone and could not have known about the foam on the club's walls.

Criminal charges are still pending against the club's owners, brothers Jeffrey and Michael Derderian. Both have pleaded not guilty.

Read the full article at Billboard.com.

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3-Day Sentencing Hearing For Nightclub Fire Case

The Associated Press has issued the following report:

In the three years since The Station nightclub disaster, the relatives of the 100 people killed have clustered together for memorials at the roadside fire site and mourned alone in cemeteries.

But they have never had a chance to share their pain in open court in front of the man whose pyrotechnics sparked the blaze.

That opportunity will come this week as Daniel Biechele is sentenced in an unusual three-day hearing, starting Monday, that is expected to showcase emotionally wrenching testimonials from the victims' families. The dead included eight people who lived and worked in Connecticut.

Biechele, 29, was tour manager for the rock band GREAT WHITE when he set off a flashy display during a Feb. 20, 2003 concert, igniting a fire that swiftly enveloped a crowded nightclub and devastated the tiny state.

Biechele will be sentenced under a plea deal Wednesday to serve up to 10 years in prison, and prosecutors are recommending the maximum possible term. His lawyers are asking for community service instead of jail time.

Biechele was to have been the first of three men charged in the fire to stand trial. Instead, he became the first to accept responsibility by pleading guilty in February to 100 counts of involuntary manslaughter.

Jeffrey and Michael Derderian, who owned the West Warwick club, each face 200 counts of involuntary manslaughter and are accused of installing the flammable soundproofing foam that fueled the flames.

Read the full article at Boston.com.

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Former Great White Tour Manager Apologizes

The Associated Press has issued the following report:

The former rock band tour manager who ignited pyrotechnics that started a deadly nightclub fire in 2003 has written personalized letters of apology to relatives of all 100 people who were killed.

The handwritten letters from Daniel Biechele, who pleaded guilty to 100 counts of involuntary manslaughter, have been given to a judge and will be delivered to the family members sometime after his sentencing next month.

"Mr. Biechele feels genuine sorrow at what happened in this case, and he's been wanting to say something to the victims for a long time," Biechele's lawyer, Tom Briody, said Monday.

Biechele, former tour manager for the rock band GREAT WHITE, set off the pyrotechnics that triggered the Feb. 20, 2003, fire at The Station nightclub in West Warwick. Sparks from the pyrotechnics ignited flammable sound-absorption foam on the club's walls and ceiling.

In return for Biechele's plea, prosecutors agreed to a maximum term of 10 years in prison. He could have faced up to 30 years on each count. Sentencing is set for May 8.

Briody said it was Biechele's decision to write the letters. He would not say if he would ask a judge to weigh them as a factor for a lighter sentence.

Diane Mattera, whose 29-year-old daughter, Tammy, died in the fire, said the apology letter won't ease her grief.

"He is a direct link to the cause of the accident that took 100 lives and maimed over 200 other people. How is a letter going to change that?" Mattera said. "I know he did not set out that evening to do any kind of damage whatsoever, but what good is a letter of apology?"

A spokesman for the attorney general's office did not immediately return a call seeking comment Monday.

Charges are still pending against the owners of the nightclub who each face 200 counts of involuntary manslaughter.

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Nightclub Fire Victims' Families React To Plea

The Associated Press has issued the following report:

Family members of those killed in a deadly nightclub fire nearly three years ago reacted with anger and dismay Tuesday to news that the man who started the blaze had cut a deal to spend no more than a decade in jail.

Daniel Biechele, 29, was tour manager of the heavy metal band GREAT WHITE when he lit a pyrotechnics display inside The Station nightclub in West Warwick on Feb. 20, 2003, sparking a fire that consumed the building and killed 100 people, including eight who lived or worked in Connecticut.

Under the terms of the deal, he will plead guilty to half the 200 involuntary manslaughter counts he faced. Each count carried a maximum 30 years in prison.

"It's a mere slap on the wrist. My son is dead and so are 99 others," said Eileen DiBonaventura, whose 18-year-old son, Albert, died in the fire.

DiBonaventura sat silently in the rear of the courtroom and tightly clasped her hands as Superior Court Judge Francis Darigan announced a plea agreement that he said "meets the ends of justice" and spares the victims' families from what he said would be a lengthy and costly trial.

She met for about 45 minutes with prosecutors immediately after the hearing, and emerged to tell reporters she was disgusted by the deal.

Some of the victims' families said they would have preferred a lengthy trial so they could hear all the evidence in the case.

John Richmond said he believes a trial is the best chance to get answers about what happened to his daughter, Kelly Vieira, 40, who was killed in the blaze.

"There's so many questions to be answered, and answers to be given. If this thing went to trial and it went six months, I'd be there every day listening," Richmond said. "I know it's an expensive process, but you're talking about the lives of 100 people."
Richmond said he wants to know whether a bouncer obstructed an exit, and wants to view the entire videotape taken by a TV camera that shows the flames spreading.

He said he still doesn't understand how fire inspectors failed to notice the flammable soundproofing foam that coated the club's walls and fed the flames.

Richmond said he still plans to attend the trials of club owners Jeffrey and Michael Derderian, who are also each charged with 200 counts of involuntary manslaughter. They are accused of installing flammable foam in violation of the state fire code.

Rosanna Fontaine, whose 22-year-old son Mark was killed in the fire, said she had been expecting a deal.

"It's hard today," she said. "I don't think we hold out much hope that anyone really is going to be held accountable."

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State, Fire Marshal Dismissed From Civil Suit

The Associated Press is reporting that a federal judge has dismissed the state of Rhode Island and the state Fire Marshal from a civil complaint stemming from The Station nightclub fire.

U.S. District Judge Ronald Lagueux says Fire Marshal Irving Owens and the state are both protected from liability.

Survivors of the February 20, 2003 fire and relatives of the victims have sued dozens of people in federal court.

Club owners Jeffrey and Michael Derderian and former GREAT WHITE tour manager Daniel Biechele have been charged criminally.

The plaintiffs accused Owens of not inspecting the club properly and say he failed to discover the flammable foam that's blamed for spreading the blaze.

Lagueux also ruled that West Warwick Fire Inspector Denis Laroque and the town itself will remain as defendants.

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Kick Axe Interview

An interview with Kick Axe bassist, Victor Langen, has been made available at Metal Rules. The interview contains stories about getting pulled off the road by police, touring with Quiet Riot, writing songs for W.A.S.P, and how Rob Halford hand-picked Kick Axe to open the "Defenders of the Faith" tour over Great White. The interview can be read at the following, http://www.metal-rules.com/zine/index.php?option=content&task=view&id=346&Itemid=54

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Great White Loses Suit Against Former Manager

Great White vocalist Jack Russell has failed in a $10 million law suit he brought against the band's former manger Charrie Foglio. Russell claimed that public statements from Foglio, alleging he'd 'stolen' money from a fund set up to help the families of those who died in the fire at The Station Club during February 2003, undermined his reputation. However, a judge ruled that these comments were permissble, because they constituted a genuine concern.

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Station Fire Judge To Hear Arguments On Jurors

The Associated Press has issued the following report:

The judge in the nightclub fire criminal case said he will hear arguments about whether defense lawyers can resume questionning grand jurors, after the state said it was improper.

Lawyers for nightclub owners Jeffrey and Michael Derderian have said most of the jurors who indicted their clients missed at least some testimony, and at least one never received a tape or transcript of the testimony that was missed.

The lawyers want to interview the jurors about the absences — a possible step to asking that the indictments be thrown out.

On Monday, the state filed a motion asking the defendants to detail why they should be allowed to talk to the grand jurors who indicted the Derderians and Dan Biechele, the former tour manager for the band GREAT WHITE.

Each man faces 200 counts of involuntary manslaughter for the Feb. 20, 2003, fire, which killed 100 people, including eight who lived or worked in Connecticut. All have pleaded innocent. More...

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Great White Kick Off Tour

Great White will return to the road Friday (May 6) in Rockford, Illinois, and will remain on tour through September 10, when they'll play in Fort Worth, Texas. All proceeds will benefit the Station Family Fund, which provides assistance to victims of the Rhode Island fire at the Station, which killed 100 people.

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Report: Two Years After Great White Fire...

Chris Harris of MTV News is reporting that two years and change after a fatal inferno at the Station nightclub in West Warwick, Rhode Island, took the lives of 100 GREAT WHITE fans as well as the band's guitarist Ty Longley, the U.S. Commerce Department's National Institute of Standards and Technology has issued a dozen building and fire-safety code recommendations as a result of the agency's investigation into the blaze.

The NIST, which has also been examining the 2001 collapse of the World Trade Center towers, called on organizations nationwide that develop fire-safety regulations and building codes to embrace these recommendations, released on Thursday (March 3). Among the recommendations are placing tighter restrictions on the use of flammable materials in nightclubs (such as wall coverings), improving access to building exits, augmenting the number of on-site fire extinguishers required in nightclubs, and mandating that both new and pre-existing venues install up-to-date sprinkler systems to better suppress fires. More...

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Nightclub Owners Face A New Accusation

Rhode Island state prosecutors have charged the owners of The Station nightclub with installing a second flammable substance at the club which went up in flames two years ago during a Great White concert, killing 100 people and injuring 200 others. In court briefs submitted on Friday (February 18), prosecutors contend Jeffrey and Michael Derderian put in a material called Celotex SoundStop in the West Warwick club, despite the fact there were visible warnings on the product about its flammability, according to The Providence Journal.

Read the full article at The Boston Globe.

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Great White Frontman Refuses To Respond To Suit

Great White vocalist Jack Russell is refusing to respond to the allegations made in civil law suits brought by right families of those who died in a fire at a club on Rhode Island in 2003, started by the band's pyrotechnics. He reportedly fears that he might still face criminal charges.

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A Message From Great White

As we approach the anniversary date of February 20, 2003, words will not now, nor will they ever, begin to express the sorrow we are all feeling. Although it has been a year, we are all only at the beginning of the healing process. We will always fondly remember our friends that we lost, as will as our band member and brother Ty Longley. To everyone that was affected, by this terrible tragedy, we send our love, prayers and encouragement.

Jack Russell & Great White

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Great White Club Fire Sparked Debate, Few Changes

Michael Mello of the Associated Press reports that when GREAT WHITE's pyrotechnics set a Rhode Island nightclub ablaze, killing 100 people and injuring scores of others, fire marshals across the nation scurried to review their safety inspections.

At least 15 states debated tougher laws, mostly dealing with pyrotechnics, and a national fire safety association approved more stringent safety recommendations.

But one year after the tragedy at The Station nightclub in West Warwick, only Rhode Island has enacted sweeping new fire safety measures dealing with everything from fire sprinklers to upgrading older buildings.

National fire safety experts say it could take years for many other states to follow suit.

"It's not my sense that (the Rhode Island) fire is poised to make profound change," said David Lucht, director of the Center for Firesafety Studies at Worcester Polytechnic Institute in Massachusetts.

Read the full article at Daily News Tribune.

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Headline News

Owners and Tour Manager Indicted In Deadly Fire

After a nine-month investigation, a Rhode Island grand jury Tuesday indicted the two owners of the Station nightclub and the manager of the band whose pyrotechnic display during a Feb. 20 performance here started a devastating fire that killed 100 people and injured hundreds more.

Jeffrey and Michael Derderian, brothers who had operated the club since 2000, and Dan Biechele, the tour manager for the band Great White, were each charged with 200 counts of involuntary manslaughter -- two counts for each person killed.

The indictments represent the first criminal charges stemming from one of the nation's worst nightclub fires. The Derderians' charges were in connection with their alleged installation of flammable material on the walls for use as sound insulation. Fire investigators have said the material allowed the blaze to spread quickly, engulfing the club in minutes. Biechele's charges resulted from his use of pyrotechnics without a license.

Rhode Island law allows defendants to be charged with two separate types of involuntary manslaughter, each of which is a felony and carries a maximum penalty of 30 years in prison.

The band manager has said he set off the pyrotechnics with the club owners' permission, but the Derderians have said they never knew Great White planned the display as part of its concert.

Read the full article at WashingtonPost.com.

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