Saint Jerrod Figgs, a treasured member of the Lexington music scene since the 80’s, died Monday, July 30. According to his former wife, Amy Byers Figgs, he died after a short battle with pancreatic cancer. He would have been 54 this year.
Figgs was a founder of WRFL and a member of the musical groups Bored & Dangerous, Groovezilla (which became G-Funk All Stars), The Rudies, Kali Kreek Dub Collective and most recently, Sunny Cheeba. His music transcended genres. His style blended reggae, pop and punk. Figgs’ music was even featured on MTV.
Figgs’ impact on Lexington music is immeasurable. He entertained audiences and inspired artists.
“Jerrod was a towering figure in Lexington music, somewhat literally – dude was tall,” said Mick Jeffries, a friend of Jerrod Figgs and member of WRFL. “And while he’ll certainly be remembered for his funkier stuff, let’s not forget IIIrd Heaven, a scorching metal band that he helmed along with guitarist Wendell Rogers in the mid 80’s – black guys shredding, years before Living Color hit the national stage doing that. IIIrd Heaven blew my mind.”
“He was somebody who was always there,” said Matt Dacey, a friend of Figgs and a WRFL DJ. “If his band wasn’t onstage, he was in the crowd. He supported the local music scene with his art, and with his presence. He treated everyone as a friend, and he made Lexington a better place.”
Donald Mason, a friend of Figgs and the director of the Lyric Theatre & Cultural Arts Center, says Figgs inspired him to start his own band, Soul Funkin Dangerous, when he saw Figgs perform with G-Funk All Stars at The Dame. Mason was amazed by Figgs’ energy in his performance.
“When I was DJ-ing at ‘RFL I would play Sunny Cheeba and all his old stuff quite often because I felt he was one of the quintessential artists of Lexington and continued to make new waves,” said Mason. “His impact on the Lexington music scene over several decades was one that can’t be replaced.”
As an musician, Figg’s believed in sticking to his beliefs and creating quality art for others. In a May 2018 interview with the Chillin’ podcast, he gave this advice to aspiring musical artists, “Just stay true to your core beliefs of who you are as a person and be honest with yourself about what you want to try to accomplish as a musician, as an artist. There’s nothing wrong with wanting to be famous or anything like that, but at the same time, as an artist, I think you have a responsibility to the people who are into what you’re doing to give them a quality work.”
Figgs is survived by his mother, Minerva Williams, his two daughters, Zuri Earl and Saidah Figgs, his sister, Athenia Figgs, his half-brother, Anthony Crowders and his former wife, Amy Byers Figgs. He also had numerous aunts, uncles and cousins.
Service will be held Sunday, August 5 from 2 p.m.-4 p.m. with visitation beginning at 1p.m. and service beginning at 2 p.m. at Milwards Funeral Home. A memorial will be held at Lynagh’s Irish Pub that night at 7 p.m.
WRFL is grateful for Figgs’ contributions to the radio station and the Lexington music scene for more than 30 years.