Great White Frontman to Apologize for Deadly 2003 Nightclub Fire in New Documentary (Audio)

Jack Russell calls accident that killed over 100 fans “the 9/11 of rock n’ roll”

WEST HOLLYWOOD, CA – APRIL 29: Members of the band Great White perform at a concert benefiting former band member Ty Longley at the Key Club on April 29, 2003 in West Hollywood, California. Longley passed away in a tragic bar fire accident in Rhode Island in February. (Photo by Robert Mora/Getty Images)

Great White front man Jack Russell is ready to apologize for the 2003 Rhode Island nightclub fire that killed 100 people, and he plans to do so in a new documentary.

“I’ve wanted to get out and talk about this, from my perspective, but when all the legal stuff was going down my lawyer said, ‘Don’t ever say you’re sorry, because that’s going to imply guilt,” Russell said of the tragedy in an interview with the Portland, Oregon, radio station 105.9 The Brew last week.

Russell said that the documentary was his chance to apologize for the fire, which he went on to call “the 9/11 of rock ‘n’ roll.”

In 2003, the band’s pyrotechnics sparked a fire at a concert in West Warwick, Rhode Island. One hundred people were killed, including guitarist Ty Longley, and more than 200 people were injured. The band’s tour manager, who set off the display without a permit, and the club owners served time in jail.

“I’m just horrified,” he said. “I feel a guilt. 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 gonna be a great — maybe not total closure,” Russell said of the documentary, “but it’ll give me some peace. Even if a little.”

Listen to the interview.