Music News & Reviews

Appreciation: Jerrod Figgs was a father figure in Lexington music

Jerrod Figgs, second from left, with Sunny Cheeba: Steve Cherry, Figgs, Tim Welch and Wendell Rodgers. Figgs died July 30 after a brief illness.
Jerrod Figgs, second from left, with Sunny Cheeba: Steve Cherry, Figgs, Tim Welch and Wendell Rodgers. Figgs died July 30 after a brief illness.

The Lexington music community lost one of its most prized ambassadors last week.

Saint Jerrod Figgs died on July 30 following a brief battle with pancreatic cancer. He was 53.

An artist of boundless and inexhaustible spirit, Figgs had become a father figure of sorts to Lexington artists and audiences alike through the decades. Figgs knew the ropes of the local music scene from a steady stream of bands he fronted for over 30 years. Some were possessed with punkish, metal-esque immediacy (Bored and Dangerous), others were pure party vehicles (the long-running G-Funk All-Stars), and one was, in effect, a mash-up of all that (Groovezilla, which paved the way for the larger, more streamlined G-Funk).

More recently, his interest ran to more the more reggae-fied grooves of the Rudies, Kail Kreek Dub Collective and Sunny Cheeba.

But Jerrod was also an immensely warm-hearted guy. While he loved to talk music and gear, he was also interested in any performance project, music or otherwise, anyone else in the community was involved with.

I had only heard recently that he had been ill, so, like most everyone else last week, I was shocked to hear he had left us so quickly after his diagnosis. He leaves behind a massive and righteous groove.

“My music just reflects where my mind is at as far as how I view the world,” Figgs told me last winter when discussing an upcoming performance by Sunny Cheeba. “I’m not Mr. Politics or trying to be an activist or anything. But if I have anything to say as far the world goes and I feel like I should say it just as a human being, then I want to do it through music. That’s my approach to it. Besides, I can’t write freakin’ pop music, man. I’ve tried. I can’t do it.”

But he also emphasized how essential band spirit was to the process of making music, either live or in the studio. That’s where the warmth enters in that you sensed whenever you ran into Figgs — which, would invariaby be around Lynagh’s Pub or the long defunct music club adjacent to it where he so often performed.

“It’s a friendship thing. It’s a camaraderie thing. It’s about making music and not sweating it.”

  Comments