'Once Bitten, Twice Shy': Jack Russell surprises a Dickinson fan on her birthday; will play Army's tonightSixty may be a milestone birthday, but for Dickinson resident Joyce Barta-Robison, it was an extraordinary event because she spent it with one of her favorite rock bands — Jack Russell’s Great White.
By: Katherine Grandstrand, The Dickinson Press
Sixty may be a milestone birthday, but for Dickinson resident Joyce Barta-Robison, it was an extraordinary event because she spent it with one of her favorite rock bands — Jack Russell’s Great White.
“You go out and you play in front of a crowd every single night. It’s not like you have a lot of things that are different,” Russell told The Press from Los Angeles shortly before leaving for Dickinson, “unless something remarkable like this comes along. This will be something I won’t forget because it’s something special, and something out of the ordinary.”
Most famous for the song “Once Bitten, Twice Shy,” Great White was one of many iconic hair bands of the 1980s. Lead singer Russell left the band in 2010 due to illness and formed his own version upon recovery. Both bands still tour.
When Great White was scheduled to appear at an area casino this spring, Barta-Robison, a concert junkie, was excited to see one of her favorite bands, daughter Candace Smith said.
“She went to Prairie Nights (Casino) because she heard Great White was playing because she loves Jack. She saw that the singer was not Jack and she threw her two beers at him,” she said “And my mom is not vicious by any means. … She was truly upset because it’s not Jack.”
With such a big birthday coming up, Smith and her brothers were searching for a way to make it special for the soon-to-be sexagenarian, who was adamant against a big party.
“At one point, she heard we were planning a surprise birthday party,” Smith said of her mother. “And she’s like ‘I don’t want a party. I don’t want a party unless Jack Russell’s there, Cher’s there, Bon Jovi, Vince Neil.’ And I was like, ‘OK, whatever Mom.’”
Barta-Robison received quite the surprise when one member of her requested guest list was at her party.
The band has been scheduled to play in Fargo on Saturday, and when Smith and her brothers saw this, they made a few phone calls to booking agents and, in an agreement with Army’s West Sports Bar, were able to bring Jack Russell’s Great White to Dickinson.
“We knew it was kind of a shot in the dark, but now that they were going to be in Fargo, we just thought, ‘Why wouldn’t they want to do another show?’” she said. “This just was totally meant to be.”
The band flew into Dickinson on Thursday evening with just enough time to freshen up and join Barta-Robison, friends and family for a birthday dinner. Today, Smith will serve as their chauffer and will drive them to Fargo on Saturday.
The concert begins at 8 p.m. today at Army’s on 12th Street West with opening acts Sweat Hog and The Gentleman Callers. Jack Russell’s Great White should begin at 10 p.m. or 10:30 p.m., Army’s Assistant Manager Doug Pasicznyk said.
Army’s expects a full house, he said.
After playing large arenas, the smaller venues can bring back good memories, Russell said.
“When you get back to that small club environment, you really start to appreciate where you came from,” he said. “The best moments of my career have been before we got signed, before we got famous. When we were just playing little clubs and eating mayonnaise sandwiches and we didn’t know where our next meal was coming from.”