A Rock and Roll Disaster
by Timm Carney
is a mediocre hair band no one would remember if they hadn’t killed 100
people. The Station was an old roadhouse in West Warwick, Rhode Island, a
poor mill city about 15 minutes outside of Providence.
Great White set off pyrotechnics igniting the Station ending the lives of
one hundred people. This one performance by a completely forgettable band
influenced Providence’s music scene forever. The repercussions were
instantaneous. Every venue was to be thoroughly inspected and those not
passing were to be immediately shut down.
rarely are described as nice. They’re dumps, usually in a bad part of
town. Depending on the show, a venue can draw a huge crowd packing the
place. A packed club is the sign of a hot band. Most rock clubs are
small and the patrons are used to being crammed together. No one knows
where the exits are. People know where to find the stage and the
toilets. They know where the bar is. The only ways out most people know
is the way they came in.
White’s fans/victims saw the pyrotechnic flash and the flames and
applauded. By the time they realized what was happening, it was too
late. The lights went out and full scale panic ensued. All 300 people in
the 200 person capacity club ran to the main entrance to escape. In the
dark and acrid smoke, it seemed the only way out.
burned to the ground in a matter of minutes. A local news crew happened
to be in the club that night capturing much of the fire and mayhem on
tape. One of rock and rolls disasters was broadcast almost live on a
happen to any one of us. How many times have you been to see a band in a
way too packed club? Where’s the exit? What would you do?
has subsequently enacted the strictest fire codes in America. The smaller
underground clubs took the hardest hit. Some places had no other option
but to shut down. Sprinkler systems and illuminated exit signs aren’t
cheap but they are required. Seeing a band in Providence is defiantly a
much safer experience now; but at what cost. One hundred people had to
die to make think. We all need to use some common sense. When you’re in
a club you need to know how to get out and if you’re in a band don’t shoot
off fireworks in a fucking club.