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Great White Still Healing From Death

September 5, 2003

MIDDLETOWN, Ohio (AP) _ The lead singer of Great White, the band whose pyrotechnics show ignited a deadly fire at a Rhode Island nightclub, said losing the band’s guitarist has been difficult.

Ty Longley, who grew up in the Youngstown area, died in the Feb. 20 fire that killed 100 people.

Lead singer Jack Russell said Thursday would have been Longley’s 32nd birthday. ``It’s very difficult. I was with his family the other day, and we were all in tears,″ said Russell, who’s preparing for a concert Saturday at C.C.’s Showcase club.

Since July, Great White has been raising money at concerts for victims of the fire and their families. So far, the band has donated $27,000.

Fame and performing have taken on a new meaning, Russell said.

``I’ve got platinum albums and Grammy nominations on the wall that are just collecting dust now. This has humbled me in a lot of ways.″

Russell considered quitting, until he received several e-mails from fans encouraging him to keep going.

``This is the most important thing I will ever do,″ he said of the fund-raising effort. ``The reason for me to be on this planet might be for this cause.″

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