Two months after a fire at their Rhode Island show claimed nearly 100 lives, Great White will regroup to play a benefit for the unborn child of late member Ty Longley. The thirty-one-year-old guitarist was killed in February 20th fire, which was caused by stage pyrotechnics.
The benefit, one of several worldwide, will take place April 29th at the Key Club in West Hollywood, California. The members of Great White -- Jack Russell, Mark Kendall, Eric Powers and Dave Filice -- will perform one as yet undetermined song.
"They're all going through a tough time, obviously," says Paul Woolnough, the president of the band's management company. "This will probably be the hardest song any of them have ever performed."
Proceeds from the show will go to the Ty Longley Memorial Fund, set up by Longley's parents to provide financial support to the child being carried by Longley's girlfriend, Heidi, as well as other victims' families and arts scholarships. Also on the bill are Eighties band XYZ and 5 Cent Shine, the group Longley was a member of prior to joining Great White. Woolnough says that more national acts will be added to the bill soon.
Great White members are also expected to be present, but not necessarily perform, at an April 17th benefit at the Hard Rock Cafe in Beverly Hills, California, which will benefit the Baby Longley Fund, specifically for Longley's unborn child. That show will feature Happenin' Harry and the Haptones, and Yuko Tamura, keyboardist in the Jack Russell Band.
An April 19th U.K. concert benefiting the Longley and Rhode Island Relief Funds is slated to feature a mix of original and heavy metal cover bands. Among the groups expected to play are Tygers of Pan Tang, Unleash, Blackfire, Tycho, In Extremis, Super08, Oliver Dawson Saxon, Dirty DC (an AC/DC tribute band), Stone Free (a Jimi Hendrix tribute), Ironically Maiden, Queen Rocks and Fake No More.
Black Knight records is preparing a May release for an album that will benefit the Ty Longley Memorial Fund called Ty Longley: Regular Guy. Woolnough said the album will contain two live Great White songs, an acoustic performance from frontman Jack Russell, songs by 5 Cent Shine, and "Vacation," the first song Longley recorded for Regular Guy, which was to be his solo debut.
Contributions can be sent to:
Ty Longley Memorial Fund
c/o City National Bank
400 N. Roxbury Drive
Beverly Hills, CA 90210
The Baby Longley Fund
c/o First Midwest Bank
2300 Illinois Route 59
Plainfield, IL 60544