Great White Manager to Plead Guilty

Band's road manager may serve up to ten years for 2003 club fire

February 1, 2006 12:00 AM ET

Heavy metal act Great White's former tour manager Dan Biechele, 29, will plead guilty to 100 counts of involuntary manslaughter in the 2003 Rhode Island nightclub fire that killed 100 people and injured 200. In exchange for the plea, he will not serve more than ten years in prison.

The fire at the Station club started just moments into Great White's February 20th show in West Warwick, Rhode Island. Biechele, who triggered the pyrotechnics that ignited the foam lining the venue's ceiling and walls, had claimed that the venue's owners, Jeffrey and Michael Derderian, had given him permission to set off the display -- a claim they have denied.

Six months after the tragedy, the federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration fined the band and the Derderian brothers nearly $100,000. Biechele and the Derderians were indicted on charges of involuntary manslaughter that December, to which each initially pleaded innocent. Great White has yet to be charged with any wrongdoing.

Formed in 1982, Great White found success in 1989 with their hit single "Once Bitten, Twice Shy," a cover of an Ian Hunter tune. The band went on to score two Top Twenty albums, including that year's ...Twice Shy, which hit Number Nine, and 1991's Hooked. In 2000, founding guitarist Mark Kendall left the band and was replaced by Ty Longley. Frontman Jack Russell officially broke up the group the following year. In 2003, however, Great White reunited and hit the road for a U.S. tour.

Longley was among those killed in the fire.

Biechele will formally enter his plea in court next Tuesday.

To read the new issue of Rolling Stone online, plus the entire RS archive: Click Here

Music Main Next
Around the Web
Powered By ZergNet
Daily Newsletter

Get the latest RS news in your inbox.

Sign up to receive the Rolling Stone newsletter and special offers from RS and its
marketing partners.


We may use your e-mail address to send you the newsletter and offers that may interest you, on behalf of Rolling Stone and its partners. For more information please read our Privacy Policy.

Song Stories


Mariah Carey | 1995

Serendipity stuck when Mariah Carey rediscovered the glitchy Tom Tom Club hook, a sample of which is the heart of this upbeat slice of dance pop. "I had the melody idea for 'Fantasy' and I was listening to the radio and heard 'Genius of Love,' and I hadn't heard it in a long time," Carey said. "It reminded me of growing up and listening to the radio and that feeling the song gave me seemed to go with the melody and basic idea I had for 'Fantasy.' I initially told [co-writer] Dave Hall about the idea, and we did it. We called up the Tom Tom Club and they were really into it."

More Song Stories entries »