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Fat Freddy

"Killer Show: The Station Nightclub Fire" book

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Rhode Island prosecuting attorney John Barylick recently released this book about the infamous Station Nightclub fire that claimed 100 lives. I picked it up from my local library this week and finished it in just a couple of days, has anybody else checked it out?




It's a very interesting (though of course also very tragic and depressing) read.


The Derderian brothers (owners of the Station) are obviously not portrayed in a very flattering light... it would appear that they were ripping off bands, cutting corners and engaging in questionable business practices long before Great White ever set foot in the club, but they're not the only ones to shoulder blame. Of course there's Dan Biechele, Great White's road manager, aka the doofus who set off the pyro in that firetrap in the first place, but the local fire marshal also dropped the ball repeatedly over a number of years by playing fast-and-loose with the "maximum safe occupancy" number for the club, repeatedly ignoring a lack of fire extinguishers in the building, and somehow never noticing that the club's interior walls were covered in highly flammable foam insulation.


In addition, the club's staff were utterly clueless about how to handle an emergency. One bouncer actually forbade patrons from exiting the burning building through a door right next to the stage, claiming that it was "for band members only," turning them away and forcing them to exit through the front door - which contributed to the stampede and pileup of bodies bottlenecked at the front entrance which claimed many lives.


Jack Russell doesn't get off scot free either. It was his name on the contracts, it was basically his show, and he should've - and probably could've - stepped up at some point before the band ever got to The Station and said "Hey, do we really want to be shooting off fireworks in these little shoebox clubs?" but he's portrayed as a clueless dork who is pretty much disconnected from the daily workings of his own band; in other words, aside from his time on stage, he didn't worry about other details cuz he had people on his payroll to worry about them for him. Towards the end of the book, it mentions that Jack Russell was on CNN shortly after the disaster showing off his new $50,000 face lift and talking about "healing through the power of music," while victims of the fire were still waiting for some sort of compensation for their pain and suffering.


The book does get bogged down in endless legal-ese towards the tail end as it details the massive combination of law suits that followed the fire but aside from that, I was rarely bored. In fact, the whole thing made me angry more than anything else.


There really weren't any 'good guys' in this saga - just a whole bunch of people whose bad decision making combined in a "perfect storm" that killed 100 people.


I highly recommend this one, especially since the 10th anniversary of the disaster is approaching (Feb. 2013).

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I didn't know that this book had been released... I did know it was in the works for awhile. I'm not sure that I will pick it up though. I know a girl who was a survivor of this terrible fire. Though she doesn't like to talk about that night at all she once told me a bit about it and how frightening it was thinking she was going to die. She also told me about the weeks following the fire and how even then she couldn't believe that it was real and not all a dream. I talk with her every month or two... To this day she has never went to another show.


Hard to believe this was 10 years ago... I remember living in Vegas and knowing that a friend was planning to go to this show. I had talked to her a couple weeks prior and she had mentioned that she was going to the Great White show. It took me weeks to get the courage to call her to see if she would answer... or if the phone was disconnected... or if someone other than she would answer.

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Wrote a review of this book on my HubPage blog if anyone wants to check it out...


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