Two Years After GREAT WHITE Nightclub Fire: Victim's Family Hosts Benefit

Ryan Halliday of the Burlington Union has issued the following report:

Derek Gray's room remains as he left it two years ago. His first electric guitar sits in the corner. Every inch of wall space is covered with posters of his favorite 1980s rock bands; RATT, POISON, L.A. GUNS, and more. KISS action figures gaze down upon his still made bed.

"He sure loved his crazy music," said Derek's father, Al Gray of Dracut. "Every night when he came home from work the whole neighborhood could hear his car coming, he played his music so loud."

An aspiring singer/songwriter, Derek Gray and his friends journeyed to far-flung music halls and dive bars throughout the Northeast to see their favorite rock bands perform the songs that made them famous decades earlier. The mainstream popularity of these groups may have waned, but not for thousands of diehard heavy metal fans like Derek, who memorized every lyric and mimicked every chord.

Derek's love of heavy metal led him and his friends, Eugene "Gino" Avilez and Scott Dunbar, and roughly 400 other hard rock enthusiasts to The Station nightclub in West Warwick R.I. the night of Feb. 20, 2003 to see the 1980s hair band GREAT WHITE perform.

Gray, 22, a 1999 graduate of Burlington High School, was set to get married in the fall to his girlfriend, who at the time was three-months pregnant with his first child, a baby girl she would name Janie Lane, after the lead singer of Derek's favorite band, WARRANT. Read more.


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