To previous associates who met him backstage, he was Pete Ventantonio, a punk rocker from Bridgewater, N.J. On his data, he typically most popular whimsical credit like Marcello DiTerriclothia or Favorite Singer Who Goes With Everything.
But to the followers who swarmed his concert events, he was Jack Terricloth: the crooning, bellowing, devilishly smarmy vocalist and ringleader of the World/Inferno Friendship Society, a band with an ever-changing lineup that melded punk defiance with the decadent theatricality of Weimar-era cabaret.
Over greater than 20 years, the group constructed a cultlike following with a rock sound embellished by piano, violin and a brass part. Its stay exhibits — that includes Jack Terricloth in a darkish go well with and slicked-back hair, like a 1930s dandy — have been key to the rise of the so-called punk cabaret motion within the mid-2000s, which additionally included Gogol Bordello and the Dresden Dolls.
Although largely ignored by the mainstream music trade, World/Inferno, which was primarily based in Brooklyn, made inroads with main arts establishments just like the Public Theater in New York and the Spoleto Festival U.S.A. in Charleston, S.C., for considered one of Jack Terricloth’s signature tasks: an exploration of the lifetime of Peter Lorre, the goggle-eyed character actor recognized for motion pictures like “Casablanca” and “M.”
“I find Peter Lorre a strangely charismatic, extremely creepy person, which I think most punk rockers can identify with,” he stated in an interview with The New York Times in 2009. “It’s the lure of the other. He’s the underdog, the outsider.”
To followers and fellow musicians, Jack Terricloth was an inspirational if distant determine who preached what he thought of the central philosophical lesson of rock ’n’ roll: the liberty to reject society’s programming and reinvent oneself anew.
He was discovered useless on Wednesday at his residence in Ridgewood, Queens. He was 50. His sister, Lisa Castano, stated the trigger was hypertensive heart problems.
He born Peter James Ventantonio on June 11, 1970, and grew up in Bridgewater. His father, James Ventantonio, was a lawyer and municipal decide; his mom, Anita (Winkler) Ventantonio, was an elementary-school trainer.
As a young person, he was impressed by punk rock and by stars like David Bowie who created their very own personas, stated Mike Cavallaro, a childhood good friend who performed with him within the band Sticks and Stones within the 1980s and ’90s.
By the mid-90s, as punk went mainstream, Peter started to conceptualize a style offshoot that may incorporate theatrical presentation and a charismatic, world-weary frontman character. The World/Inferno Friendship Society’s first album, “The True Story of the Bridgewater Astral League,” within the model of a musical, was launched in 1997.
“We are a punk-rock band, and we play punk-rock shows, but our music couldn’t be more different,” he informed The Times. “Kids see us and think: ‘Guys in suits and makeup at a hard-core show? Come on.’ But we always have them by the third song, and then we’re something they have to accept about the punk rock scene and about the world. We’ve now entered into the great dialogue that is our culture.”
The album “Addicted to Bad Ideas: Peter Lorre’s Twentieth Century” (2007) turned the band’s greatest second. It was tailored right into a self-described “punk songspiel” of the identical title, carried out at rock golf equipment and in high-profile arts sequence like Peak Performances at Montclair State University in New Jersey.
After its concert events, the group typically mingled with its followers — who referred to as themselves Infernites. Performances, like its elaborately staged annual Halloween exhibits, have been embraced by each the viewers and fellow musicians as communal rituals.
“He made you feel that you were part of a secret society,” Franz Nicolay, who performed keyboards within the band within the 2000s, stated in an interview.
In addition to his sister, Jack Terricloth is survived by his companion, Gina Rodriguez.
The group’s self-mythologizing typically made its historical past murky. Even the title Jack Terricloth has numerous apocryphal origin tales. Mr. Cavallaro recalled his good friend buying it from an previous girlfriend. Others stated he took the title to tell apart himself from one other Pete throughout his early days within the New Jersey punk demimonde.
The final purpose appeared to matter lower than the act of self-reinvention, and his viewers’s being in on the act.
Early final 12 months, the World/Inferno Friendship Society launched an album, “All Borders Are Porous to Cats,” and, like artists in every single place, was grounded by the pandemic. Yet Jack Terricloth was decided to discover a solution to protect its Halloween custom for its greatest followers, stated Bill Cashman, his good friend and the group’s supervisor.
So the band devised a scavenger hunt by which clues to the situation of an out of doors efficiency have been scattered all through Brooklyn. About 50 to 60 followers made it to the present, on the roof of the Brooklyn Children’s Museum.
“It meant a lot to us to do that, even if we did it for a small amount of people,” Mr. Cashman stated. “Just for the sake of doing our thing.”