Long before Ty Longley ended up playing lead guitar for the 1980s heavy metal band Great White, he was known as a fair Little League player and excellent wrestler at Brookfield High School outside Youngstown, Ohio. "I knew a girl who grew up in the same neighborhood with him. She was kind of slow, and all the other kids would make fun of her. But not Ty. He treated her with respect," his uncle, Bill Longley, said yesterday after authorities identified Ty Longley as one of the victims in the nightclub fire.
According to his uncle, Ty, 31, ended up following his father, John P. Longley, in two pursuits -- running and playing the guitar. Unlike his father, who settled for pickup bands, Ty graduated to a succession of R&B and metal bands before joining Great White in 2000.
Yet, said his uncle, "He never got caught up in that rock 'n' roll environment, as far as drugs and alcohol and smoking. He was a vegetarian, and he ran 6 miles a day. He was laid back, very shy, humble."
On the most recent journal entry on his website, Longley extolled his family and ended with a prayer for peace.
"Let's all hope for a little peace in this world right now," he wrote, "so we can all continue to enjoy music and have some fun on this globe. I say we send a bunch of bands, food, artists, strippers, bartenders, proctologists, psychologists and lots of love over to Iraq and North Korea for a big party! Wouldn't that trip them all out? . . . Well, enough of my optimistic loving hippie thoughts, but hey, I can dream, can't I?"