Jon Blistein of Rolling Stone reports:

Great White frontman Jack Russell is filming a documentary about the infamous fire that killed 100 people during a 2003 performance at a club in Rhode Island, The Associated Press reports.

“It’s a story of my life intertwined with the story of the fire,” Russell said of the film during an interview on Portland radio station 105.9 the Brew. “It’s really hard, you know, but it’s going to give me a chance to apologize and say how I feel about it. I never had the chance to say, ‘I’m sorry.'”

The fire at the Station club in West Warwick, Rhode Island broke out when the band’s pyrotechnics display ignited flammable soundproofing foam installed in the venue. Over 200 people were injured, with Great White guitarist Ty Longley being among the 100 fatalities.

While Russell was not charged, he and Great White did settle a $1 million lawsuit with victims of the fire, which was part of an overall $176 million settlement fund. Those who were indicted included Great White’s tour manager, Daniel Michael Biechele — who was operating the pyrotechnics without a permit — and Jeffrey and Michael Derderian, the brothers who owned the Station. All three struck plea deals, with Biechele and Michael Derderian serving prison time.

“It was like the 9/11 of rock and roll,” Russell told the Brew. “I have this survivor’s guilt, like, why did I get to live when so many other people didn’t? I feel guilty for people coming to see me play and losing their lives. It’s really hard to deal with it. It’s not like I had anything personally to do … It was just a horrible accident.”

Russell said he was anxious to tell his side of the story through the documentary partly because in the immediate aftermath, his lawyers advised him not to apologize, as it would imply guilt. While Russell hoped making the film would help bring him some closure, some friends and family of the Station fire victims were angered by his remarks.

Read more at Rolling Stone.

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  • MetalMania on

    It won’t go over well. He should just leave it at that, say he’s sorry that it happened and it was a terrible tragedy that everyone should learn from so that it doesn’t happen again (although it already has). I live in the area and it’s still a sore subject. RI is a small state and you can’t do that “six degrees” game or whatever its called and not find someone who wasn’t affected by it or knows someone directly affected by it. If that show had been on a Friday or Saturday night I probably would have been there, and I remember the next day not knowing if people I knew were there or had survived. Lots of survivors still need treatments for their burns, and will probably continue to do so for the rest of their lives. There used to be fund raisers and benefit shows held for them, but like most tragedies it seems to have faded from public awareness. If Jack Russell insists on doing his documentary, he should donate any profits to a fund for the survivors. I don’t think it would really raise any money though. Even with the best intentions I don’t think this will be well accepted from him. Things got crazy with the litigation, Budweiser I think even got sued in some kind of “guilt by association” with The Station for sponsoring events or something. Like they had any hand in what happened – but they did have deeper pockets. I have good memories of that place, but it’s hard to talk about around here.

  • Gary B on

    Yeah,let’s try to profit off of a horrific tragedy . C’mon Jack,you’re better than this.

  • Tyger of Pan Tang on

    I guess this is another reason these fragmented bands like Queensryche and Ratt fight so bitterly over the band name and trademark: this tragedy will forever be known as “the Great White fire” even though Great White had nothing to do with it. The media reporting it could have cared less that it was “the Jack Russell’s Great White fire”.

  • bryan kaempf on

    I saw them in Chicago,like a week before the fire at a bar.they didn’t use was packed.we would have never gotten out of there.i thank you know who,all the time,when this subject comes up.i still love great white deepest regrets to out to the victims families.

  • Mr. Rock And Roll on

    Leave it alone, Jack, just leave it alone…

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