GREAT WHITE albums have been selling at a better-than-normal pace since the band's deadly club fire in Rhode Island last week. The Boston Herald reports that sales on GREAT WHITE CDs have doubled, from about 20 a month before the blaze to about 40 now at the 25 stores that make up the Newbury Comics chain in the Northeast.
Mike Dreese, Newbury's CEO, said, "Clearly, that's as a result of the publicity. Clearly, there is some morbid curiosity out there." He added that he didn't expect the sales bump to last: "It really is a tired, old band. It's just not commercially viable for record stores these days."
Mike Zwolinski, manager of Newbury Comics' Warwick, R.I., store, said a few people have bought GREAT WHITE recordings since the fire, which Zwolinski also attributes to morbid curiosity. But, he said, GREAT WHITE has few fans at the moment.
"I can't say that they're the most popular people around here," Zwolinski said. "They're not high on our list. We've lost some regular customers."
Zwolinski said he recognized some of the concert-goers whose images were caught on videotape as his customers, including some that perished in the fire.
"We know the people that were most likely at the show by their musical tastes and the way they dress," Zwolinski said. "Every time they walk through the door, we're like, 'Oh, thank God.' "
In related news, TRUST COMPANY singer Kevin Palmer recently revealed that the group were hanging with GREAT WHITE just a few days before the band and their crowd were engulfed in flames. TRUST COMPANY were scheduled to play New York City's Irving Plaza on February 17, but it the show was cancelled due to the blizzard that hit New York City.
"The show got cancelled and we were stuck at the hotel, and GREAT WHITE was at the same hotel we were at, and we were hanging out with them," Palmer said. "Monday they were up on the bus, we were hanging out with them, talking, just talking about music. Because when I was a kid I listened to GREAT WHITE along with a lot of the other metal bands. It was just the craziest thing, and the other night we were at Wal-Mart, we come out, turn on the news, and it was like, 'GREAT WHITE's club goes up in flames.' And we were like tripping out because we were just hanging out with them three days earlier. It was the craziest thing."
When asked if they hung out with guitarist Ty Longley, who was killed in the blaze, Palmer added, "Ty is one guy we didn't meet. Mark Kendall the guitar player was up on the bus, and Jack Russell, the singer, we were hanging out with him. But we saw that guy walking around the hotel. I saw him and they were like, 'Hey this is our new guitar player,' and I was like, 'Hey what's up?' I didn't really hang out with him but definitely saw him and then it's just like, 'Whoa.'"