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Great White Subpoenaed

Grand jury to convene to investigate fatal fire

February 25, 2003 12:00 AM ET

The members of Great White were subpoenaed today and will appear before a grand jury investigating the February 20th fire at a West Warwick, Rhode Island, club that claimed ninety-seven lives.

A grand jury will convene tomorrow and the band is expected to testify next week as part of an investigation into who's at fault for the fire, which is believed to have started when the band's pyrotechnics display ignited the club's sound insulation panels. Since the fire, all sides have denied complicity in the tragedy. The band claims that it had verbal permission from the club to use pyrotechnics, which management for the club denies. The club did not have a permit for such a display, and was not equipped with sprinklers because it was a one-story building.

Both the band and the club have had outside sources contradict their claims. A former employee of the venue, the Station, told the press that the venue had indeed allowed pyro displays previously. And the owner of the Stone Pony, in Asbury Park, New Jersey, said that Great White had also used pyro in his venue without permission.

So far, ninety-three of the ninety-seven dead have been identified, including Great White guitarist Ty Longley. Nearly 200 people were believed to be injured, with sixty hospitalized, forty of which are listed as critical.

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Song Stories

“Whoomp! (There It Is)”

Tag Team | 1993

Cecil Glenn — a.k.a., "D.C." — was a cook at Magic City, a nude dance club in Atlanta, when he first heard women shout "Whoomp — there it is!" Inspired by the party chant, he and partner Steve "Roll'n" Gibson wrote a song around it. Undaunted by label rejections, they borrowed $2,500 from Glenn's parents and pressed 800 singles, which quickly sold out in the Atlanta area. A record deal came soon after. Glenn said the song was meant for positive partying. "If you're going to say 'Whoomp there it is,' and you're doing something negative, we'd rather it not have come out of your mouth."

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