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Jerry Williams, RIP

A few days ago I saw on a friends facebook page that Jerry Williams, formerly of Th' CIgaretz, had died. He was 61 years old.

I didn't know Jerry Williams very well, but he was a big part of my college years. I used to go see his band Th'Cigaretz quite frequently when I was a student at NCSU. They pretty much started the punk scene in Raleigh. They arguably started it in North Carolina...the first time I'd ever heard of them I was still living in Charlotte and a friend told me about seeing them.

All of the band members had silly pseudonyms. His was Ed McMuffin. I didn't know his real name until I interviewed them for the school paper.
I had already written about one of their performances, and mentioned this to Jerry when I approached him for the interview. He had read the review, and liked my use of the portmanteau word "fecetious". Being a good punk rocker, Jerry usually projected a surly, insulting manner towards people he didn't know well , so getting a compliment from him meant a lot. (He even smiled!)

I wrote about Th'Cigaretz several times after that. I thought about them (and other Raleigh bands) when I saw the film Almost Famous.  In one part of the movie, Lester Bangs advises the main character, a very young rock journalist named WIlliam Miller, not to become too friendly with the band. William Miller ignored that advice, and when I was in his shoes I didn't follow that advice either.

So the admonition from Lester Bangs made me feel a bit guilty. Now that Jerry is gone I'm feeling differently. People are not around forever, and it's good to make some sort of connection while you can and not feel too bad about it.

Here's some other obituaries. A lot of them include information about Jerry's career in New York that I didn't include in this piece.

Th’ Cigaretz Jerry Williams 1949-2010 R.I.P.
Sad Cigaretz News
Jerry Williams aka Jay Dublee, RIP

Here's a youtube video of Th' CIgaretz "Apartmentalivin'"


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