GREAT WHITE singer Mitch Malloy says that he "never apologized" for playing a concert in Dickinson, North Dakota amid the coronavirus pandemic.
Video footage of GREAT WHITE's July 9 outdoor performance — which was part of the town's "First On First: Dickinson Summer Nights" series — showed there were no safety restrictions at the event, with attendees standing shoulder to shoulder and not a single person wearing a mask.
On Sunday (July 26), Malloy took to his Facebook page to share a photo of three women apparently standing in a crowd of people while sporting face coverings, and he included the following message: "Front row Great White show @first_on_first in my home town of Dickinson ND. Fake news said no masks no social distancing. I keep saying otherwise and this pic proves my point. I never apologized. And never will. It was an awesome gig at my good buddies festival for my hometown crowd."
Although North Dakota health officials recommend social distancing and wearing masks when possible, there is no legal requirement to do so in the state.
Steven Peterson, a GREAT WHITE fan who attended the Dickinson concert, told CNN: "They definitely were crowding the stage up there. I think up front, you know how it is, a couple of beers and they're ready to rock.
"I would say the percentage of people wearing masks, I would say maybe 5%. There were some people wearing masks, but not many," he said.
Three days after the Dickinson concert, GREAT WHITE released a statement to BLABBERMOUTH.NET via the band's publicist in which it said: "We assure you that we worked with the Promoter. North Dakota's government recommends masks be worn, however, we are not in a position to enforce the laws. We have had the luxury of hindsight and we would like to apologize to those who disagree with our decision to fulfill our contractual agreement. The Promoter and staff were nothing but professional and assured us of the safety precautions. Our intent was simply to perform our gig, outside, in a welcoming, small town. We value the health and safety of each and every one of our fans, as well as our American and global community. We are far from perfect."
While numerous events have been imposing restrictions, such as wearing masks and social distancing, "First On First" has no such rules in place.
"We do not have restrictions, believe it or not, we don't have any," April Getz, an event coordinator for Odd Fellows, which organizes, runs and comes up with the funding for the events, told The Dickinson Press. "It's one of those things where if people feel comfortable coming down and mixing and mingling, that's their personal choice. We're leaving it up to everybody that chooses to attend."
Singer Jack Russell and guitarist Mark Kendall founded GREAT WHITE in 1982. Both musicians were present at the 2003 show in Rhode Island where a fire caused by a pyrotechnic display claimed 100 lives. At the time of the incident, the group that was on the road was called JACK RUSSELL'S GREAT WHITE. Kendall said he was asked to join Russell and his solo band on the tour to help boost attendance. Kendall later explained that the name GREAT WHITE was displayed on the marquee outside The Station nightclub because the owner of the venue wanted to "sell more tickets."
The GREAT WHITE lineup that performed in North Dakota consisted of Malloy, Kendall, keyboardist/guitarist Michael Lardie, drummer Audie Desbrow and bassist Scott Snyder.
Malloy joined GREAT WHITE in July 2018 as the replacement for Terry Ilous, who was with the band for eight years.
Photo credit: Neil Zlozower
Front row Great White show @first_on_first in my home town of Dickinson ND. Fake news said no masks no social...