GREAT WHITE's tour manager told Rhode Island investigators he has paperwork outlining the band's general use of pyrotechnics, but he said all the documents specific to the show that led to a deadly nightclub fire were destroyed in the blaze, according to the Associated Press.
Dan Biechele told investigators the paperwork from the booking of GREAT WHITE's Feb. 20 concert at the West Warwick, R.I., club the Station burned. However, Biechele said he did have generic forms stating the band's terms and conditions, including the use of pyrotechnics. Investigators say sparks from the pyrotechnics started the blaze that killed 98 people and injured nearly 190. A grand jury is investigating.
Biechele has maintained that he received permission from the club's owners, brothers Jeffrey and Michael Derderian, to set up pyrotechnics for the concert. The Derderians say they never were asked about pyrotechnics and never gave permission. Biechele's Rhode Island attorney, Tom Briody, did not return telephone calls seeking comment.
Ed McPherson, a California-based attorney for the band, said GREAT WHITE had never used the special effects before this latest tour. "They decided that they were going to spruce it up a little bit. So they said, 'Why don't we try this?'" McPherson said. Biechele, he said, made sure that he carefully explained all about the pyrotechnics to every club prior to the performance and received explicit permission to use it.
About a week before the nightclub fire, he got permission from club owner Michael Derderian, McPherson said. "I believe it was by phone, which is consistent with what he did with other shows." Officials at clubs in New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Florida, and Maine where GREAT WHITE recently played have said the band used pyrotechnics but failed to notify the management.