Rest In Peace
Jerry Williams moved to New York in 1979 to further the hardcore music he and his band Th' Cigaretz, who had formed in 1977, had been working on. Realizing that Raleigh, North Carolina was not the best place in the world to be a punk band, the group made the move; shortly thereafter Th' Cigaretz released a 12" EP. As history would have it, a copy fell into the hands of Dave Parsons (Ratcage Records) who wrote a glowing review of it in Mouth Of The Rat. Parsons introduced himself to Williams following one of Th' Cigaretz NYC performances and from that time on they remained close friends.
In September of 1980, Jerry Williams would begin renovating the interior of 171A. Previously the place had been a glass shop, but after moving in their PA equipment Williams went on to build a stage at the front and an audio booth in the back. By November the 171A Studio was a venue used to house after-hours parties where downtown bands like The Cooties would perform. For a few weeks everything went well with gigs happening on Friday and Saturday nights. However with a huge New Year's Eve show coming up, the New York Fire Department stepped in and stopped further shows from proceeding. Although 171A was indeed violating codes, it appeared very suspiciously that a rival club on the same street had tipped off the Fire Department. Since its opening 171 A had been cutting in on the weekend business of neighboring clubs by selling liquor without a license, so the motive was there.
By now though 171A had gained a lot of name recognition around town, so instead of shutting it down completely Williams decided to change it into a rehearsal studio. At the time, most of the available rehearsal spots in New York City were tiny little rooms, but 171A offered much more. Jerry described it as being like "...a full sized room with 15 foot ceilings and a floor space 60 feet long and provided recording artists with a quality PA system suspended from the ceiling. It was a cut above other rehearsal studios and since it was about half the size of CBGB's it produced a very similar sound."
Over the next few years, 171A Studio would go on to be used by the Bad Brains (who recorded their famous ROIR cassette there*), Reagan Youth, Beastie Boys, the Young And Useless, Richard Hell, The Toasters (then known as Not Bob Marley), and many others. In the fall of 1981, Jerry was working extensively with the Bad Brains and actually formed a post-Cigaretz group comprised of Bad Brains roadies who called themselves Bloodclot. Williams played guitar, the Bad Brains drum tech Alvin Robertson did drums, John Joseph (who went on to the Cro-Mags) did vocals, and lastly Ted Horowitz rounded out the Bloodclot line up. Although Bloodclot never released an album, they did perform many live gigs opening for the Bad Brains. [taken from Jerry Williams' MySpace page, with additions]
* Also notably recorded at 171A Studio: the Beastie Boys' Polly Wog
Stew EP and The Young And Useless' Real Men Don't Floss EP.