Sunday, September 19, 2010

Sailin' On

Jerry Williams
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.


Tim said...

Jerry's brother, Tim, here. Thanks for remembering Jerry.

Mr. Lee said...

Your brother played a very important part in NYC's rich music history, was an inspiration to many, and deserves tribute... May he rest in peace.

Karate Boogaloo said...

Where did this news come from? I haven't seen anything else yet. Sad...sorry to hear it. - Tim B.

Ben / The Brought Low said...

Also produced the Cro-Mags Age of Quarrel demo and the Absolution 7". Rest In Peace.

pandrogyne23 said...

When we married Lady Jaye Breyer P-Orridge she brought Jerry Lee Williams with her to live with us in Cazadero, California. He was a great "Uncle" to my daughters, Caresse and Genesse and a very patient muse when we were stressed out by any crisis. Lady Jaye adored him as a brother. We know s/he will now be discussing favourite hard core gigs with him in Hardcore Heaven! S/he passed away 3 years ago this Oct 9th. They both died far too young.
Genesis Breyer P-Orridge

Anonymous said...


Sean P. Murphy said...

Jerry Williams was one of the finest men I have ever known in my life.

He was a gentle loving soul and his generosity knew no bounds.

His 11th street apartment was a sanctuary.

I was blessed to spend many a night there listening to music - all kinds of music in his company.

When I was at my lowest point Jerry and Jackie took in my cat Blarney while I did a stint in Bellevue.
The cat had kittens on an unsuspecting Jackie's bed.

Jerry and she adopted several of the kittens which thrived and were with him in Yucca Valley.

He taught me so much - by example.

A wonderful positive soul has left us...

My thoughts and prayers go out to his brothers and Family.

Sean P. Murphy

(BEEP) ''Four Seven Three...''