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Jerry Williams
Jerry Williams

R.I.P. Jerry Williams


Jerry Williams was a musician, producer, and owner of Studio 171A, where Beastie Boys recorded the Polly Wog Stew ep, their first release on the Ratcage Records label.

In 1979, Williams moved to New York City with his punk band th' Cigaretz, who formed in 1977 in Raleigh, North Carolina. Shortly after the move to NYC, th' Cigaretz released a 12-inch record titled Crawl Rite Outta My Skin, which fell into the hands of Dave Parsons who wrote a glowing review of it in his 'zine Mouth of the Rat. Following one of th' Cigaretz New York performances, Parsons introduced himself to Williams and the two became friends.

In September 1980, Williams began renovating the interior of 171 Avenue A, which had formerly been a glass shop. After moving in the band's PA equipment, Williams built a stage at the front and an audio booth in the back. By November, 171A housed after-hour parties where downtown bands like the Cooties performed. Williams successfully pulled off gigs at 171A every Friday and Saturday night for a few weeks until a rival club tipped the New York Fire Department that it was selling liquor without a license. The NYFD closed down 171A as an illegal club.

With few options, Williams decided to turn 171A into a rehearsal studio. At the time, most of the available rehearsal spots in the city were small, cramped rooms. Williams described the space at 171A as "a full-sized room with 15 foot ceilings and a floor space 60 feet long...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." (Williams would later run sound at CBGB's.)

Over the next few years, 171A was used by the Bad Brains, Reagan Youth, Beastie Boys, Young and Useless, and many other bands. In the fall of 1981, Williams worked extensively with the Bad Brains and actually formed a band comprised of Bad Brains roadies who called themselves Bloodclot. Williams played guitar, the Bad Brains drum tech Alvin Robertson played drums, John Joseph (who went on to have success with the Cro-Mags) provided vocals, and 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. In fact, Bloodclot played the second day of the now-famous November 1982 CBGB's benefit.

While Williams was on the road with the Bad Brains in 1981, Cigaretz member Scott Jarvis supervised activities at 171A, including the engineering of the Polly Wog Stew ep.

In 1982, Williams engineered the Young and Useless' Real Men Don't Floss ep and produced the Bad Brains' eponymous first album on ROIR.

In 1999, Williams moved to San Francisco. He died on September 18, 2010, due to liver failure.

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