Jack Terricloth Foundation

ABOUT

MISSION STATEMENT

The Jack Terricloth Foundation is dedicated to promoting art and helping those in need, in furtherance of Peter James Ventantonio’s legacy, including by hosting public art events, collaborating with artists to produce and publish mixed media art, and raising funds for direct aid to artists, communities, and individuals in need.

In its first year, the Foundation has pressed a tribute record and sold almost 1,000 copies, created a supplemental tribute tape to accommodate the desire by friends and fans to pay tribute to his music, held a series of tribute concerts, including a sold-out Halloween performance, with hundreds of attendees, donated $10,000 to MusiCares, and successfully achieved 501(c)(3) status. At the close of the year, the Foundation co-hosted an art show entitled “Stop the Invasion.” For this show, the Foundation partnered with Seth Tobocman, The Museum of Reclaimed Urban Space, and “Band Together For Ukraine” to raise funds to support the “Razom for Ukraine” charity. 

In 2023, the Foundation put on three events and released a new vinyl record. The album is a posthumous collection of previously unfinished works by The World/Inferno Friendship Society and was curated, mixed, and recorded by Foundation & Society member Scott Hollingsworth. Proceeds of album sales raised money for several nonprofits: Rock to Recovery, O Positive Music Festival & year-round medical clinic, and Tamerlaine Sanctuary & Preserve. A record release event was held which had additional merch that benefitted Envision Freedom Fund, a Brooklyn based bail fund and decarceration advocacy organization. 

We have more plans in the works, but in the meantime, your donations will go directly towards the Jack Terricloth Foundation’s charitable purposes, and will help us keep Jack’s memory alive. If you have thoughts on where you think Jack would approve of our next contributions going, please let us know.

Photo by Konstantin Sergeyev

BRIEF JACK BIOGRAPHY

Jack Terricloth was known by most as the film noir crooner of the Brooklyn based circus punk collective The World/Inferno Friendship Society.

Born as Peter Ventantonio in 1970, Jack grew up in Central New Jersey. As a teenager, Peter found himself indoctrinated in the local burgeoning punk rock scene. As “Pete V”, he started seminal New Jersey hardcore punk bands Sticks & Stones and Neurotic Impulse. He soon moved to New Brunswick where he lived for a number of years before eventually making a home in New York.

Over the course of the next several years, Peter became immersed in the New York Hardcore & Punk scene that centered around ABC No Rio, Reconstruction Records, and The Continental. As the years went on, he became inspired by a wide array of eclectic influences and soon would undergo an artistic transformation and personal metamorphosis.   

From his obituary in the New York Times, written by Ben Sisario:

To old friends who met him backstage, he was Pete Ventantonio, a punk rocker from Bridgewater, NJ. On his records, he sometimes preferred whimsical credits like Marcello DiTerriclothia or Favorite Singer Who Goes With Everything. But to fans who swarmed his concerts, 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 more than 20 years, the group built a cultlike following with a rock sound embellished by piano, violin, and a brass section. Its live shows – featuring Jack Terricloth in a dark suit and slicked-back hair, like a 1930s dandy – were key to the rise of the so-called punk cabaret movement in the mid-2000s, which also included Gogol Bordello and the Dresden Dolls.

Although largely ignored by the mainstream music industry, World/Inferno, which was based in Brooklyn, made inroads with major arts institutions like the Public Theater in New York and the Spoleto Festival U.S.A. in Charleston, SC, for one of Jack Terricloth’s signature projects : an exploration of the life of Peter Lorre, the goggle-eyed character actor known for movies like “Casablanca” and “M”. 

“I find Peter Lorre a strangely charismatic, extremely creepy person, which I think most punk rockers can identify with,” he said in an interview with The New York Times in 2009. “It’s the lure of the other. He’s the underdog, the outsider.”

To fans and fellow musicians, Jack Terricloth was an inspirational if remote figure who preached what he considered the central philosophical lesson of rock’n’roll : the freedom to reject society’s programming and reinvent oneself anew. 

As a teenager, he was inspired by punk rock and by stars like David Bowie who created their own personas, said Mike Cavallaro, a childhood friend who played with him in the band Sticks and Stones in the 1980s and ’90s. 

By the mid-90’s, as punk went mainstream, Peter began to conceptualize a genre offshoot that would incorporate theatrical presentation and a charismatic, world-weary frontman character.

The ultimate reason seemed to matter less than the act of self-reinvention, and his audience’s being in on the act.” 

The World/Inferno cultivated a lovingly devoted fanbase that followed them all up and down the East Coast, Europe, and beyond. Setting out to not fit into one genre, Jack created an entire scene of his own and a close-knit community coalesced around his vision. The band toured for twenty-five years, played to packed houses, released 9 full length albums, and performed a musical about the life of Peter Lorre that was reviewed on the front page of the New York Times Arts section.

On May 12, 2021, Jack Terricloth passed away. 

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. We shall not see his like again. 

Jack’s spirit and memory continues to live on within the community that he brought together and within the body of work that he has left behind.

OUR TEAM/BOARD MEMBERS

Founding MEMBERS

Lisa Castano
Scott Hollingsworth
Bill Cashman

BOARD

Lisa Castano, President
Scott Hollingsworth, Vice President
Bill Cashman, Secretary and Treasurer
Freddy Alva, Member
Ingrid Ammann, Member
Yula Be’eri, Member
Sam Kawahara, Member
Dominick Ruggiero, Member
Dwight Weeks, Member