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Awesome 80′s Weekend: Great White Soundcheck

Great White Concert Benefiting Ty Longley
Photo by Robert Mora/Getty Images

Great White has seen more pain than most Rock Bands. The unfortunate Rhode Island Nightclub Fire in 2003 that killed 100 people including guitarist Ty Longley and injured another 200, has left an indelible scar on the band and lead singer Jack Russell. Great White paid out $1 Million to victim’s families, and their former manager and the club’s owner are still serving jail time for the incident. But the band has truly risen from the ashes of that tragic night and play a show at Club Infinity on June 4. Lead singer Jack Russell is now sober having checked himself into rehab for alcohol and cocaine addiction. Strangely, he has Michael Jackson to thank for it. The overdose death of the King of Pop made him realize that he had to make some changes in his life.  Today, his voice back in shape, most of the original lineup is back together under new management and Great White is rockin’ just as hard as ever.

With Russell’s flowing blond hair and swagger and the bands bluesy riffs, it was hard not to compare the band to Led Zeppelin in the 80’s. But as time passed, they simply got labeled as just another hair band. But there is no doubt that Great White strives to be more than that.

Russell is still haunted by the fire, which was ignited when his former manager set off some pyrotechnics, but he’s learned to cope with it in the band’s music. Their last album, “Rising”, was dedicated to victims of the tragedy.

“I’ve had to kind of let go of some of the grief, but some days it comes back and smacks you in the face like a wet fish,” Russell told the Deseret News. “I appreciate my life so much more now. It’s not how much you have, its how many friends you have around you.”

If you want to be one of Great Whites many friends, enter to win a personal sound check with the band in our Freeloader club. You’ll get a private performance, meet the band and who knows, maybe they’ll even let you tune their guitars.

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