Great White Redux


"Look, there's no burning buildings or naked women, or guns going off or anything like that….It's just a lot of energy."

Would that that were still true. That's Jack Russell, the lead singer of Great White, circa 1988, in a heavy metal magazine that I used to work for.

Great White was onstage at The Station in West Warwick, Rhode Island, and the band's pyrotechnics touched off last night's disastrous fire that killed at least 39 people.

NEXT: Post-Saddam Iraq

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  1. Hey Mr. Gillespie, I used to read a lot of heavy metal magazines circa 1988–which one did you work for? My favorite was Rip, but I had a subscription to Metal Edge my aunt bought me.

  2. just think. The Offspring will be this relevant one day.

    sympathy to the families and friends for the tragic loss of life.

    um, Nick — heavy metal?????? 🙂


  3. Sad news, indeed. From a personal perspective, however, and in light of Monday’s tragic deaths at the Chicago nightclub, I’m beginning to think that my borderline agoraphobia is, more & more, a very *healthy* thing.

  4. My condolences to the families of the people who died. I know this particular fire was caused by the band’s pyrotechnics, but between this show and the Chicago stampede tragedy just a few days before, it makes me realize this could happen at any show, regardless of the band or DJ playing, at any time.

    I wonder if our nation’s moral guardians are going to use the Great White tragedy as an example of the evil, destructive killing powers of heavy metal, just like subliminal messages.

  5. Nick, did you also write for Creem magazine?
    I’ll never forget that foolishly grinning pop bottle icon!
    I am very disheartened hearing about these nightclub catastrophes. I hope local lawmakers don’t decide that these tragedies are perfect excuses to pass more laws regarding ADULT entertainment establishments; and no, I’m not talking about strip clubs.

  6. Jillsy,

    Clearly, yer aunt ruled.

    I wrote briefly about my days as a journalistic clown in the rock and roll circus in the May 2002 ish of Reason (the note is online at In terms of heavy metal, I mostly wrote for the late, lamented Metallix, which warned its readers “It’ll Rock You to Shreds!”–as fair a product warning label as ever devised.

    As it happens, though, a year or so before that, around ’86 or ’87, I worked for Sterling’s Magazines, the company that published Metal Edge. My tour of duty there was largely served on the semi-pornographically titled Teen Machine and TV & Movie Mirror–the New Yorker and Atlantic of teen and movie mags respectively–though I hazily recall doing some occasional small bits for ME, too.

    Boy Howdy, anyone?

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