(Metal Mark at the Heavy Metal Time Machine invited me to be a guest blogger while he was on vacation. This is what I wrote and posted on July 25th. I’m re-posting it here because I recently hurt my right arm at work and I can’t type. I also can’t do much as I’m right-handed. For those who didn’t read it yet…..enjoy. For those who have…..I should have a new fresh post by week’s end…..that’s how long it’s taking me to type with one finger on my left hand! — Steve)
Getting Back To The Rhythm
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.