The World/Inferno Friendship Society’s Jack Terricloth Dead At 50
Jack Terricloth, the founder and sole constant member of the Brooklyn cabaret-punk institution World/Inferno Friendship Society, has died. No cause of death has been revealed. Terricloth was 50. The band shared news of Terricloth’s passing in a Facebook post last night:
We are devastated to say that our guiding spirit, instigator, inciter — the person who, to most of us, lived under the name Jack Terricloth — has left us for the astral plane. We will be working on plans for a celebration of his extraordinary life. For now, we want to thank Jack for inspiring this remarkable community — something more than simply band, family, or scene — which changed the lives of so many people in ways which are hard to articulate, and which is perhaps the most enduring part of his legacy. Please raise a glass of your choice in his memory; we shall not see his like again.
Terricloth, a native of New Jersey, led the punk band Sticks And Stones in the late ’80s and early ’90s. After that band broke up, Terricloth relocated to Brooklyn and started up the World/Inferno Friendship Society, a large ensemble that fused punk with sounds like jazz and klezmer and that often featured huge ensembles onstage. In the band’s infamous live shows, Terricloth was as much ringleader as singer. He brought levels of showmanship that were rare on the independent music scene, and he turned World/Inferno shows into theatrical crowd-participation circuses.
The World/Inferno Friendship Society released their debut LP, the concept album The True Story Of The Bridgewater Astral League, on Gern Blandsten in 1997. The went on to release a number of albums, including last year’s All Borders Are Porous To Cats. More than the records, though, World/Inferno were famous for their wild and cultlike live shows. The band kept a rotating lineup of musicians, and its membership temporarily included prominent musicians like the Hold Steady’s Franz Nicolay, the Dresden Dolls’ Brian Viglione, and Antibalas’ Mike Wagner, among many others. Below, check out some examples of World/Inferno in action.