Club Fire Tragedy
Great White Having Trouble Kicking Off Benefit Tour
PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) _ Proceeds from Great White's planned tour are expected to go to a fund benefiting survivors of the West Warwick nightclub fire, but the band's financial troubles have kept the tour from getting off the ground.
Ed McPherson, an attorney for the band, said he's certain Great White will tour this summer, possibly this month. But details are still being arranged since the band doesn't have money.
He said before tour dates are released, arrangements such as transportation between cities, insurance and other tour costs need to be made.
Great White is still paying off debts from its last tour, which ended after the Feb. 20 fire at The Station nightclub, he said. The band members also are named in civil suits stemming from the blaze.
``None of these guys has any money,'' McPherson said. He did not say how much it costs to fund a concert tour.
Investigators say the West Warwick fire started when sparks from Great White's pyrotechnics display set fire to foam surrounding the nightclub's stage. The flames spread quickly and engulfed the club within minutes.
The fire killed 100 people and injured nearly 200 others. A criminal investigation is pending.
The Station Family Fund was set up in Rhode Island as a nonprofit organization to assist survivors of the fire and family members of victims.
Victoria Potvin, a fire survivor and president of the fund, said she reached a deal over the weekend with a band tour manager to have tour proceeds funneled directly into the fund.
The money will be used to help survivors and victims' families pay rent, hospital bills, funeral costs, grocery bills and other immediate expenses, Potvin said, adding that so far the fund has
raised about $5,000 and distributed just over $4,000 to families.
McPherson confirmed the band plans to give tour proceeds to the fund.
``That fund is perfect,'' said McPherson. ``They are set up by the victims, for the victims and promised to get the money to the victims as quickly as possible. That's what we wanted.''
McPherson said the band hopes to tour 55 cities. Rhode Island is not on the list.
Jack Russell and guitarist Mark Kendall are the only original band members expected to tour. Guitarist Ty Longley, who had been with Great White for about three years, was killed in the fire.