Ron Schreiner

March 3, 2003

We're all familiar with the tragedy that took place at the Great White show in Rhode Island. We decided to shoot some questions to a roadie who had worked with Great White before and was happy to answer questions.

Is it common place to use pyro in small clubs?

I think that all depends upon the band. Someone doing say a KISS tribute band would be much more likely to use pyrotechnics than your average cover band would be. As for what clubs to use pyro in, that depends on many things such as licensing, venue size, the type of pyro to be used, etc.

How long does it take to set it up and is it even possible to "sneak" that stuff in?

How long it takes to set up is dependant upon how much there is of it to setup, the types of pyro to be used, etc. In the case of Great White, I'm certain that the particular type of pyro they used, called a Gerb, wouldn't take a huge amount of time.

At what point in the stage setup do you set the pyro up?

Last. Right after all the backline gear, stage props, and whatever else is already in place.

How does the pyro that Great White used work?

I am not a pyrotech and there are better people out there than I to anwser this question in detail. has links to some pages and sites that describe the Gerb and it's use. One of the best people in the business to discuss pyrotechnics with, is Pyro Pete.

What kind of training and licenses does someone need to set up pyro?

This too would be a good question for Pyro Pete in regards to the training. As for licensing, it varies from state to state for requirements and transport of pyrotechnics. There is no standard law(s) that govern all 50 states the same way. Generally speaking, the person lighting the pyro needs to be licensed in that state the pyro is to be used in, the venue needs to have a license, and the city the venue is in must issue a permit that states that such and such person on such and such date can do such and such at this venue, and all the other legalese mumbo jumbo.

Does a fire marshal have to know in advance that pyro is being used?

Legally, yes. The Station did NOT have a license or permit for pyrotechnics and other bands have used pyro in there as well....some like a KISS tribute act, "Kisstory" had knee high flames that you could see on the video tape of their show. Great White didn't even use flames, they were basically sparklers. There was more fire in the audience's cigarettes than there was in those Gerbs.

Why do you feel that some clubs are "claiming" that Great White used pyro without permission in their clubs and why do they only claim it after the Rhode Island situation?

I think the clubs fear the higher insurance rates, want to somehow cover their own rears, and who knows what other reasonisngs they may have.

Do you feel that this finger pointing situation will result in having more issues put down in writing such as pyro to protect the bands from things like this?

Absolutely. This should have been the way it's supposed to be.

I'd like to add a question from me to your readers...Why do people blame the band and Dan for firing off the pyro when the club had so many other violations and problems to begin with?

To me, it seems everyone is blaming the band, but forgetting about the venue's using cheap packaging foam for soundproofing behidn the stage - only to save money, the fact the club didn't have any liscensing, two fire extingushers, no exit signs, or emergency flood lighting, and a ton more issues. Peace :)