Messages posted 10 October:

Back in June of 1997 I purchased my first fender strat and played my last
"acoustic" gig at the Orange Bear. As I left that night I saw a flyer next
door begging the question, "Are you a musician trapped in a business suit?"
Make a long story short I found myself in the Penthouse and through the Jam,
through Bill I became part of my first hard rock band "STRAIN".

Bill I never thanked you for that and well, though we passed some head butts
since that time, I always managed to find great music and great people
because of the Jam. Beyond your sometimes hard exterior lay a soft
passionate underbelly for the music you so loved and a face I never fully
knew but always grew because of.

Thank you Bill and wherever you are, there is a Jam there with you


Many kudos to Bill Bennett for providing an environment for folks who aspire
to develop a closer relationship with music. He was always enthusiastic and
generous with me, both artistically and in other ways. I am grateful to Bill
for my time at OWSJ, and will truly miss him. I sincerely wish for comfort
to his family, friends and all whose lives he touched at this
incomprehensible time.

Jeff Ganz


You were an eternal optimist, an iconoclast, and a true “Plan C” musician. A NY original and an ambassador of passion for music. You’ve touched so many people in such a profound way that words just seem so small and meaningless in comparison. Anyone who’s ever attended an OWSJ function knows how special you are to our community. I always asked you to start wearing earplugs and your response was ”I get to enjoy so few things, at least let me enjoy the music”. Well friend, enjoy the music. My wish is that you will forever enjoy the music.

Glenn Fleischman

After watching the VH-1 special on Warren Zevon, I turned to my wife and said, "What a great gift it would be to know when your time on this earth is coming to an end." When she asked me why I thought this, I explained that that way you could do all the things you've always wanted to do and tell all the people in your life the things you've always wanted to tell them. She looked at me and asked, "Why do you need to know your time is coming to an end to do that?" Bill Bennett was one of the lucky ones - doing what he wanted to do and always saying what was on his mind. May his life be an example to us all. I will truly miss him and never forget him or my time at the OWSJ. Rest in peace, my friend. SW.


This is such an incredible loss to us all. My condolences to Bill's family.
Farewell, Bill, I will miss you. Thanks for letting me play.
With love and deepest respect,
Mike Berman

May we be measured in the end by the love of our friends.

And may we be forgiven for the volume of our music.

Bill Bennett was a truly wealthy, and forgiven, man.

John Chapin

I am one of the many people whose life was changed by Bill Bennett. I had
always wanted to sing rock and roll. He was the bass player in my first band
at the Jam about six years ago, and we had a lot of good times playing
together, on-stage and off. After he bought the business, he spent a lot of
his time and energy making sure that I was always singing with various
bands, often participating in those bands himself, and that made me very

I live close to the Jam, and even after I let my first membership run out, I
would see Bill out and about in the neighborhood. About six months ago, I
rejoined. By coincidence, at the same time, I started to see him about once
or twice a week at Starbucks on Chambers and West Broadway in the mornings.
He used to say "This is my big excursion into the outside world." (We all
know how rare it was for Bill to actually leave the Jam, unless it was a
performance night.) After a while, I could see that Bill was really not a
morning person, and I would approach him more gingerly as time went on,
perhaps just nodding in his direction from my place in the cue. The last
time I saw Bill, he was in Starbucks, shading his eyes with a newspaper.
Perhaps he had seen me, and he was too sleepy for our usual silent "hello."
I understood.

I will miss you, Bill.

Anne Secor

Dear Bill,

Thank you for giving me a chance(s) to pursue my passion even after I pissed
you off so many times. I enjoyed your coming up and playing harp on stage
with me and really appreciated your saying the type of music I played was
your favorite. And all those New Year Eves when you made yourself available
so Jammers would have a place to hang.

You will be sorely missed and your contribution to all of us was never
appreciated as much as it is now that you are gone.

I hope your next journey is as productive as you last one.

Thank you Bill for all you added to my life and the great people I met thru
your OWSJ.

Dan Berliner

It was with great sadness that I learned of Bill's passing. While I had not seen Bill since he left FPG, the photo agency that both Bill and I worked at for many years, I had been kept up-to-date about his activities.

I know that Bill was truly happy with the direction of his life and what he was accomplishing. My heart goes out to his family and friends at this time.

Gary Elsner

Like hundreds or perhaps thousands of others, I have Bill to thank for getting me into music when I was pathetic, getting me into bands, and completely altering my life by helping me experience music. We usually regret not thanking people who changed our lives, but this was such a powerful thing he had done that I was compelled to thank Bill very directly more than once for it.

Aside from what he did for us all though, which is just incalculable, Bill also had some personality characteristics that I want to celebrate. His insights into people and stories about them always showed incredible perceptiveness and intelligence, and they were always expressed with a New York-biting-edge to them. Although his dry delivery rarely begged for a laugh track, I often caught myself chuckling quietly about what he had said, and upon reflection I celebrate that he was a subtly, but extremely, funny man. I never fully grasped that when he was living.

Thanks Bill not only for what you did for us, but also for being who you were.

Jim Scibetta

I am deeply saddened by the news of Bill's passing. He gave me the confidence to pursue my musical dream. He was always supportive and very understanding. He is the link to many relationships that have blossomed as a result of The Jam. I will always remember him. May us never forget all that he has done for the music community.
-Sharon Wolfe

i have just been able to grieve enough to seperate
myself from the situation...last night..i went to the
jam and stayed on the roof and cried out for him.
he was the only one who was close to me. i guess i was
in so much pain and confusion to really communicate
how much love i felt for him.
bill, was a deeply special human being and a purist.
he was not a person of many words, he was more a
creature of instinct.
i don't think i can adequately find the words on
something as silly as a bulletin board..

"Everyone has talent. What is rare is the courage to follow the talent to the dark place where it leads."-Erica Jong


Your facial expression gave it away whenever we played it. There's a line in
"Ruby Tuesday" that I know meant alot to you:

"Catch your dreams, before they slip away."

Congratulations on catching your dream and experiencing it until the day you
passed on. Thank you for helping me and everyone else here get closer to their

I wish you as much success in the next stage of your journey.

Dave Stancavish
The Rolling Bones

I met Bill shortly after he took over the Jam. He gave me a job and made it possible for me to play music again. His home was for a time my home. It is the place where I met my wife Illiana. He and the OWSJ have enriched my life in way I could never put into words. I've known Bill as an employer, teacher, roomate and mentor. But most of all I know him best and will remember him always as a great man and a great friend.

Bruce Hubbard

Bill was a wonderful friend. It's hard to accept.

For over a year now, I have not been to Murray Street, but for the
seven-year period between 1995 to 2002, the Off Wall Street Jam played a
central role in my life. When I heard of Bill's passing, it was a real
body blow. Unfortunately, it usually happens that you don't realize a
person's impact until that person is gone. I had never thought of Bill's
influence until now. Remember the end of "It's A Wonderful Life" when
Jimmy Stewart gets to see what the world would have been if he had not
lived? In the past few days, I have looked at my life and wondered: What
would I have missed, if Bill had never spent fifty years here? For one
thing, some of the best memories of my life. I had been a classically
trained pianist who dreamed of playing keyboard in a band, but hadn't a
clue how to do it. Through Bill, I was able to not only play in bands but
also in shows and in venues which were beyond anything I could have
imagined. But, most importantly, when I look at the closest relationships
in my life, I would estimate that at least half of my New York City friends
are people whom I had met through the Off Wall Street Jam; most notably, my
dearest companion Tom.

And I am just one life out of hundreds who passed through. When I take
the panoramic view, I wonder, how many lifelong friendships were formed?
How many people had the chance to live out a dream? How many marriages
resulted and then how many babies were born? When you start to
contemplate how one life can change so many, it makes you assess your
own priorities. Bill, you were not always a walk in the park, but you
created a lot of love and your life made a difference.

You'll be greatly missed but, knowing your indefatigable energy, I
believe that you are already at work on your next show. Warren and
Johnny and June are available and waiting for an impresario to pull it
all together. Imagine the possibilities. There's sure to be a spot for
a bass player. Rock on.

Deborah Gray

Bill was my client second, my friend first. Upon acquiring the Jam, Bill came to me in despair over the bad tax advice he was getting. I saw a really cool guy with a vision that I understood and I gave him my support for his new venture. I got him out of his tax problem and made a really good friend whose company I enjoyed every time we interacted. Bill was unwavering in the joy he got form the Jam. Coming from the corporate world, the Jam was a radical change for Bill that he embraced and thrived on. Bill made it work because of his energy, love of music and belief in the idea of the Jam. I will miss Bill mostly as one of those rare individuals that makes one feel good just to be in their presence. Bill was a winner all the way.

Martin J. Lieberman, CPA
Partner & Director of Business Valuations

I worked with Bill at a photo agency (FPG) many years ago. I liked to tease him, at his expense, because he was such a curmudgeon and a know-it-all. But he had a very good heart and was one of the kindest people I've ever met. This is indeed very sad news.

Nancy Glowinski

It is a sad day for music in NY, Bill was a friend who helped alot of people, he will be missed.
- Theresa Dante

In the fall of 1995, I decided to leave my home in Staten Island and move
to NYC. I moved to 6 Murray St., and on my way to work each day with my
daschund Melville I passed a sign that read, "Are you a musician trapped in
a day job?" After passing the sign for two months, I grabbed a flyer and partially filled it out. All I wrote was my name, phone number, address and the words, "The Grateful Dead 112 shows." I thought to myself, "I am not a good enough guitar player to be accepted into this club." A week later, a man named Bill Bennett called my
office and asked me if I'd like to play guitar with him. Bill knew I lived
up the block and asked me if I lived in the loft with the purple neon
guitar in the window. Yes, I told him, that was me. I was nervous all day
because I thought I was trying out for the Off Wall Street Jam. I sat with
Bill for two hours and played every Dead song I could think of. He told me
I was fine and could be a jam member. I was so excited to be a member that
I paid my dues and attended the Blues Jam each Friday. The phone would
ring twice a week, and suddenly I would be playing music with some pretty
woman in the studio. I began to realize what his calls meant and "Goody,
this is Bill. Come over right now!" were our code words. I played guitar
and played some more and the next thing I knew I was playing at Max's
Kansas City, the China Club, Le Bar Bat, the Red Lion, the Village Vanguard
and more. After our constant late night code words went on for years we
began going out weekly to eat at midnight in Chinatown--salt and pepper
shrimp, beef chow fun. Chinese broccoli. It was the same meal sitting in
our stomachs at 1 am over and over. Bill would always complain about jam
members not appreciating what he would do for them, telling me he was
kicking out this guy or that girl. Guess what, Bill--you were wrong. You
would be shocked to find out that the members of the jam love what you did
for them. As a matter of fact, they loved YOU. You came to Thanksgiving
dinners at my house, I did your dental work, we played in three bands
together. You told me I had all sorts of musical diseases: dental
dementia, minor chordaphobia, excessive riffamania, pentatonic
scale-amania. I would scream at you because I just wanted to know the next
chord to a Tom Petty song. "Oh," you would say, "You must have chromatica
flatachordatosis." I had more musical diseases than I could mention.
Eventually Bill would say, "It's an E minor flatted ninth." Thank you,
Bill. I am going to miss our late night little talks and your special
philosophy of life: music, woman and the jam. I'll miss doing your dental
work and your insistance that you didn't need anesthesia. I'll miss your
direct and indirect blunt honesty. I'll miss all my musical diseases.
I'll miss your voice telling me to come over now. I'll miss playing with
you. You put your heart and soul in the jam and because of you I've met
some wonderful friends, my fiancée, my late-night hang-out boys. I learned
how to play guitar in a group and I gave you my purple neon guitar. Do you
know why?? Because I loved the jam and the joyous moments it gave me. I
was with you when your broken body went to heaven. I promised you I would
learn that Tom Petty riff you wanted me to play. I hung a OWSJ guitar pick
by your bedside. The jam in heaven needed you, for whatever reason, I
don't know why. Maybe now you're running the off-off wall street jam with
famous musicians Stevie Ray, Jerry Garcia and Duane Allman, but I know you
would rather be here with us. If you're looking down upon us wondering
what all the fuss is about, it's about you, Bill, and what you did while
you were here. You gave many people the opportunity to play music, be rock
stars, make friends and all of us at the jam love you for that. I hope you
find a good Chinese restaurant up there so when I see you again we can
order the same meal we always did. I'LL MISS YOU, MY FRIEND, AND LOVE YOU.
DON'T FORGET TO FLOSS AROUND THE GOLD CROWN I PUT IN THIS SUMMER. You won't believe how much you are missed by so many people. Call me sometime and say,
"GOODY, THIS IS BILL. COME OVER NOW!" Love, Goody (a.k.a. Richard
Goodman, your friend, band mate, dentist and late-night partner in crime)

Fare you well my honey
Fare you well my only true one
All the birds that were singing
Have flown except you alone
Goin to leave this Broke-down Palace
On my hands and my knees I will roll roll roll
Make myself a bed by the waterside
In my time - in my time - I will roll roll roll
In a bed, in a bed
by the waterside I will lay my head
Listen to the river sing sweet songs
to rock my soul
River gonna take me
Sing me sweet and sleepy
Sing me sweet and sleepy
all the way back back home
It's a far gone lullaby
sung many years ago
Mama, Mama, many worlds I've come
since I first left home
Goin home, goin home
by the waterside I will rest my bones
Listen to the river sing sweet songs
to rock my soul
Goin to plant a weeping willow
On the banks green edge it will grow grow grow
Sing a lullaby beside the water
Lovers come and go - the river roll roll roll
Fare you well, fare you well
I love you more than words can tell
Listen to the river sing sweet songs
to rock my soul

I met Bill 14 years ago at FPG. I couldn't have succeeded in this business without him. He helped me grow & learn. He was a good friend & teacher. He was a truly talented & caring person. I haven't spoken to him in a little while but I have thought about from time to time. He touched my life & I'm sure many others. He will truly be missed. Bill, may your spirit live on always.

Marci Gershel

It is so hard to believe that such a charismatic, talented and young
spirited man could be gone. I want to thank bill for encouraging me to live
out the fantasy of being a singer in a rock and roll band. Few things have
made me feel as alive as singing with the Y Nots. That gift he gave to me
and obviously so many others, the gift of believing in yourself and the
music, of being transcended by being a part of the music, that is an
extraordinary gift. I hope he knew how much he was appreciated and
respected. Thankyou, Bill, from the bottom of my heart....

In my last conversation with Bill, he told me with some apprehension about his upcoming 50th birthday. Having just turned 50 myself, I reassured him that he would slide through this transition with joy. I look forward to celebrating Bill's life on his 50th birthday and every day I sing and play music. In addition to his dedication to the Jam, I saw that Bill had a keen intellect and a kickass sense of humor, as evidenced by the weekly Dr. Sharpely letter. I truly hope that he was fulfilled in his life. My heartfelt sympathies are with Bill's family and friends. Ellen.

As I was nervously preparing in the moments before the debut of Abbey Road Kill, my first gig in almost twenty years, Bill Bennett, my bass player and friend, came over to me and whispered the words of encouragement I so sorely needed to hear. "Don't trip over the wires", he said.

Bill, I will miss your ability to cut to the heart of things, especially as it relates to playing music. As with so many of us, you rekindled in me something long since dormant - the joy of playing live music, and the desire to share that joy with band mates, friends and anybody else who happens to be in the audience. You always said "I live to gig, and I gig to live". In doing so, you touched the lives of many, many people who will never be able to tell you what a wonderful gift you gave us all.

The last words I ever sang onstage with Bill could not be more perfect. "And in the end...the Love you take, is equal to the Love you make."

Thank you, Bill. And wherever your journey takes you, be careful to step over the wires.

Brian August

I was brought into OWSJ by former member Howard Finkel and Empro Express about 4 years ago having just returned to New York from Boston after a 9 year residence there.
I didn't know any musicians in NYC and had little to no musical outlet at the time. Bill was always an encouraging presence and and endless source of dry wit.

After my tenure with Empro, Bill coerced me into The Riverboys and Bandwidth during which time he became an invaluable friend. I remember going to rehearsals at the Jam and coming in at night seeing Bill fighting with the computer, going through the well choreographed steps of letting a member in through the front door (look at screen, push button to open door, get up push button to send elevator down). Many nights he seemed exhausted having been there most of the day and night but it was clear there was no place he'd rather be.

On my first "away" gig with the Riverboys the memory of him that stands out most in my mind was us waking up in the band cabin at Club Getaway (all seven of us!) and Bill literally refusing to speak until he'd had a cup of coffee.

The last time I saw him was a few months ago when my drummer couldn't make it to a private gig down the street from the jam and we placed an emergency call to Bill asking if there were any drummers in the house. Bill loaded a drum kit and Tyrone in the van and brought the lot down to us.

I wish I'd had more such moments with him in retrospect but the few I have, I cherish.

Safe journey friend and I hope wherever you are, they ain't playing Sympathy for the Devil.

Love, Anastasia Rene

What can I say? Shock. Sadness. A sick, queasy feeling in my stomach. I’ve been like this for three days and only now can I put words to what I’ve been feeling.

I came to the Jam in late ‘95 after my divorce and move to NYC. It was cold and lonely. I hadn’t touched my drums in something like 20 years. Something caught my eye one ad, a story, who knows...about the Off Wall Street Jam. It took me a couple of months to get up the courage to walk through the door. Bill greeted me and took me into the warm waters of playing music again.
That’s the short story.

The longer story is being told by everyone who’s posting to this site, by everyone who’s called or emailed or spoken on the street to one another. Often we don’t realize how many lives we touch. When we see and read and hear the outpouring of grief it should remind us all about how many lives Bill Bennett touched. How many creative collaborations resulted from his almost Newtonian way of throwing people together in a room with a bunch of instruments to see what happens. More often than not, wonderful things happened.

But Bill didn’t just make music happen for so many people...certainly that’s the stated reason for being at the Jam...he did much more. Whether he realized it or not he created a community. It is a community as vibrant, as alive as any I’ve ever seen. I am privileged and humbled to be part of that community. I have met people who will be lifetime friends and, I hope, collaborators...people who I think of like family. Bill was (and will always be) this community’s lifeblood....just look at all the bands he was in, pollinating them like bees in the springtime. Surely there’s a little Bennett in each of us?

So to Bill I say farewell. I have so much to thank you for that I can’t even begin to write it all here. And to everyone else at the Jam I have this wish - - keep a little bit of Bennett inside you. When the amp is turned up think about Bill popping his head in the rehearsal room to ask you to turn it down. Think about him behind that old desk, sometimes smiling, sometimes grumpy. Remember how he would file through to find your session card. Remember his posting after 9/11. Keep a little piece of the guy there with you when you play. Remember him and smile. I’m sure he’ll be smiling back.

Marc Steve

Bill helped us to become better at what means so much to us.
He challenged us to improve individually and as bands.

I have so many great memories and friends as a result of Bill's efforts !!
Thanks Bill. We will miss you.


The words have been so hard to find.

Bill - Thank you for giving us all a home where we could express ourselves.
Thank you for helping us on our musical journeys. Thank you for giving me a
family when I felt as though I didn't have one. Thank you for giving us the
chance to be rock stars. You've touched so many lives and helped so many
people fulfill their dreams...including me...and for that, I will be forever

I came upon a child of God
He was walking along the road
And I asked him "Tell me where are you going?
This he told me
"I'm going down to Yasgur's farm
Gonna join in a rock and roll band
Got to get back to the land
And get my soul free

We are stardust, weare golden
And we've got to get ourselves back to the garden

Love and music, Heidi ho

This is really a tough time for a lot of people. I found this
photo of
playing with the Bones at the 9/11 benefit at Le Bar Bat and
thought that it really captures Bill's vitality.

Everyone has reported, quite accurately, on Bill's devotion to bringing music into his client's lives. It's all true, every word of it. And we all thank Bill for that commitment.

But I must thank Bill for something else. Here is a guy who, presumably, has no children and yet is actually interested in the kids that showed up at the jam. He would put in extra time playing with teenagers and even pre-teens. Some were dragged by their parents attending open jams. Some of the kids just responded to the placard on the street. Word spread and the local high school students partook.
He never said to the kids, "don't touch that." In fact he encouraged them to touch it. To try any instrument they were inclined to.

My own kids found that Bill had a soft touch. All they had to do was bring him an order of Burger King fries and they could play for free.

When I told my kids at dinner about Bill's passing my youngest said. "that's sad, I liked him, let's have a moment of silence." And we did. But I told both the kids later that Bill would want them to make a joyful noise, make it soon and make it loud.

Bill, we will all miss you.

Dwight Yellen

Bill and I were not friends. Actually, I don't think he liked me. I would come to the jams to hear my friend Goody play, and Bill would always charge me the $10- even though I was a "friend of the band". He would give me a steely glance, and occasionally a begrudging nod of recognition, but that was it.

However, having been to the original Woodstock, I know a true rock and roll brother when I saw one. His vision was pure and simple: Create a forum so people could share their music. You and I get up in the morning and go to work from 9:00 to 5:00 to make money to pay our bills and create an enjoyable life for ourselves. Bill clearly would get up and create ways for people to share and enjoy their music.

I am not a musician. But I am a music lover. The jam was not only about people playing music, but also sharing their music for others like me to enjoy. In this, regardless of likes and dislikes, we are all brothers. I made many friends coming to hear the music, and I'm sure Bill appreciated me being there. The world is a more enjoyable place with people like Bill around. Dude, you are sorely missed!

Ron Caspari

My deepest condolences to Bill's family & friends at this time of grieving.
Dear Bill,
I can't believe you're gone. On the other hand, I bet you're already busy whipping that Heavenly Jam into shape to give you a proper send-off. First song, "My Way" belted out by 'Ole blue eyes' himself to celebrate your life. You, who figured out how to be the lead rock star in your own Spinal Tap Reality Show without all the trappings of that pesky fame, yet all the fun. And, in that pursuit, served countless humans on their quest to the Infinite through the making of music.
Next, you're telling Hendrix to "turn down"!!! & electrify "Hey Hey My My" since you managed to burn outa here rather than fade away. You exited stage left very shortly before there was any reference to leathery old rocker, botox, comb overs, hair plugs, & the like. I can see you razzing Jim Morrisson, asking him if that's a microphone in his pants or is he just happy to see you. Then you tell Graham Parsons, "Can you go cheer up Lizard King in studio 3?" & you get them in the same room together yukkin' it up & doing duets of "To All The Girls I've Ever Loved Before" & "Mamas Don't Let Your Babies Grow Up To Be Rock Stars." Need I elaborate?
Movin' on over to the next room, maybe you shoulda knocked. Janis Joplin & Stevie Ray Vaughan are at it & in your best Dr. Sharpley advice-voice you say, "You know, you two could work it out so you both get to solo." This is just the right thing at the right time & they rip into a sparkling version of "Piece of My Heart." You will always be remembered & cherished in so many hearts....
Seque, "Knock Knock Knockin' On Heaven's Door" strains are heard in the next room, it's Johnny Cash. You nod in silent understanding & pick up bass. Both of you are wearing black.
(Confidentially, to Dr. Sharpley, thank you for the goodly amount of "Love Potion #9" you've dispensed through the years. I (& my vocal chords) am very grateful for the repetitive "turn down guitar" advice.)
I see you getting to the last room, the white room, & John Lennon's in there, alone, playing "Your Blues." This is the first time I have ever seen you truly stumped, since there's nothing for you to say; no advice or criticism or collaborative witticism. Sorta like how we're all sittin' here, stumped. Bill, apparently, they needed you to break on through to the other side to run the Jam over there more than we need you here. Hard as that is to believe.
I'll miss you, & never forget you. May Eternal Peace & Love caress your soul.
(All above-mentioned join together with Elvis, Duane Allman, Miles Davis, Warren Zevon for gorgeous rendition of "Amazing Grace" going into slammin' finale of "When the Saints Come Marching In." ......Bill is now in that number.)
Love Always,
Sue Scarlett Montgomery

Messages posted 9 October:


Julie Marcus

I didn't know Bill well at all. I met him maybe once or twice, but what I remember about him is his vivaciousness and how dedicated he was to the Jam and the Jammers.

For this reason, I thought the following quote was very appropriate.

What we have done for ourselves alone dies with us; what we have done for others and the world remains and is immortal.
— Albert Pike

Heather G.

I am greatly saddened by the loss of our friend Bill. Bill and the Jam have changed my life in so many profound ways. I am truly grateful to Bill for the opportunity to play music, express myself and get to know so many good people. I am proud of Bill's efforts on behalf of the Jam to bring music to high school kids and others in need. May the forces of goodness bring peace to Bill and all of us. Elliot.

For Bill-
Cher ami, vous verrez Paris avec moi de toute façon, parce que vous
voyagerez toujours avec moi à mon coeur.

Bill and I had our differences of opinion in the time I knew him, but the one thing I'll never forget is his unwavering dedication to the Jam and to music, in general. I probably wouldn't be in a band right now if not for the OWSJ, which means I owe the opportunity to do something I love to Bill; a debt I could never hope to repay. I only hope that he is resting peacefully knowing that the community he built and carried on his shoulders for so many years is stronger than ever.

Condolences to his family, and to everyone feeling this great loss.

Adam Swiderski

My thoughts and prayers are with Bill and his family wishing that his passage over is a peaceful one. My heart goes out to the Bennett family and though I only knew Bill for a short time (1 yr. or so) I share in their grief. Bill helped me to change my life and gear it toward a life devoted to music. He got me singing again after many years of suppressing my talents. In the year that I jammed with Bill I blossomed from a shy wallflower. I owe that transition to Bill's constant nudging and his literally throwing me in the middle of many a stage show. I think having jams at both Red Lion and Orange Bear are great ideas, and I will be there singing my heart out for Bill. Again, my prayers go out to Bill and the Bennett's.

Bill, I never got a chance to say this...but thank you for everything. I will truly miss you.

Karen Jean

Hey Bill,

Thank you for everything you have done. While we all know how hard you worked, you always made it seem effortless in the way you helped us all feel like rock stars. We could not have done it without you. You were so supportive of us and created the most comfortable environment where we could just be ourselves and show our true colors without fear of judgment. You were the ultimate matchmaker, one of music, friendships and even relationships. You have given me some of the best memories of my lifetime, as well as the best friendships. I could not have had them without you. I feel so lucky to have personally known someone who has had such an instrumental impact (pun intended, Bill) on so many lives. I thank you, I love you, and I will miss you very very much. Stacie Bach

This is such a loss..... First of all Bill, thank you for encouraging
me to rejoin the OWSJ back in 2000 after an eight year hiatus - it felt so
to come back "home" to this special fraternity and create music once again.
Thank you for the great showcases, and thank you for your wonderful
humanity and guidance. It was a pleasure to know you in this life.

May God eternally bless you and your family - Amen.

Maurice " Mo" Kelly

I always respected and admired Bill. He lived his life for music the way I always wanted to do. He always gave us in Ragtag a push to play out and that really helped us push a little harder. After 9/11 I wasn't sure if I wanted to continue jamming but Bill sent out an email about Volumania and he listed Ragtag as one of the bands that he wanted to play. I was very happy that he included us in that email and the gig was one of the best that we ever played. He's at peace & up there jammin' with Lennon, Hendrix and the rest of the greats. He was a true musician and I will always remember him.

Rob Emery

I have known Bill for over 12 years now. In fact, I was at Bill's very first jam session at OWSJ. This was way back in 1991 when he just joined as a member. Like the rest of us, he had put off playing music while focusing on a 'normal' career. So the enthusiasm from Bill at that first session was palpable. The first song we played was 'Sunshine of Your Love'. When we finished, we all had grins on our faces because we knew we had something there, the air was electric. Three weeks later, we were on stage at a Jam Night at the old Lonestar Roadhouse. From that point on, Bill never looked back and he became probably one of the most active jammers in those days. We played together in a couple more projects (including the infamous Red Zepprin) since that night at the Lonestar but I eventually left the Jam. On the other hand, that initial musical ethusiasm of Bill's never waned. As we all know, he eventually became the owner of OWSJ and that's probably one of the reasons why I have rejoined. He was not the owner because He wished to run a business, he was the owner because he truly loved to play music. In fact, Bill was passionate about his music and he tried to instill that same passion to all the OWSJ members. For that, he will be sorely missed.

UB Cheung

i'm shocked and terribly saddened by bill's death. i know everyone is.

it's impossible to sum up someone's personality, life, talent and energy in one phrase, but when i think of bill, i think: He Made It Happen

when i first moved to nyc five years ago and inquired about the OWSJ, bill kept calling me on saturdays to come in for the singers' jam. he helped me put a band together, Planet 52, and we performed at The Jammys.

being in a band was a dream my whole life, He Made It Happen.

lots of people have this same story. i'll always remember bill and we'll all have to carry on his devoted work and love of music, and the people who make it, at The Jam.

thank you, bill, we love you!

Bill not only enabled me to play much more music by buying and running the jam, he urged me back into it. He called me one day in 1996 after about a year of not playing music and asked me to join a band. Since then I have played continuously in numerous rock and jazz projects (including many with Bill: Abbey Road Kill, Squeeze Play, Tara and the Terrors, etc.) and I owe a great deal to his inspiration. In addition to being a dedicated and talented musician he was also a great friend, a sharp wit and a genuinely good man. Music remains an essential part of my life, with many thanks to Bill.

He signed his postings, “Thanks for playing.” Bill, thanks for the chance to play.

Kevin S. Murphy

Bill Bennett was someone I knew for over 12 years and who I respected. Sometimes we did not get along but, to his credit, Bill and I would simply agree to disagree and continue on as pros, adults and musicians.

He was a tough man. I was there when he would berate some poor musician in his bands for missing a chord or playing off time or some nonsense. But he was driven by perfection and by music. He would say that the first reason to play music was the worship of God and he definitely saw it that way. If you agree that being closer to God is trying to be perfect, then you have an appreciation of Bill’s motivation and drive for perfection.

Bill was always honest, sometimes brutally honest, but truly honest, offering praise, criticism and critique often in one sentence. I appreciated that about him. He never held back with me. Told me how it was straight up all the time. Sometimes I did not agree with him but I knew where he stood and why. How many people can you say that about in your life?

We also had some fun times, playing some wild shows and doing some crazy things. Being kicked off the Orange Bear and Red Lion stages for being too loud (Banned Halen), rocking an outdoor gig with our Led Zeppelin tribute, Red Zepprin over 11 years ago, I even own a snare drum courtesy of Bill and OWSJ for winning a drum Jammy. I smile and think of some truly great memories.

Finally, if not for Bill, I would have not met some amazing and significant people in my life, people who I now value as brothers and sisters both personally and in music. Many who are now dear friends who I would not know if it were not for Bill and the concept of OWSJ.

I will certainly miss him.

Carlos Cabrales

My condolences to all Bill's family and friends.The loss to the NY music world is profound.I am in shock at Bill's passing. I thought that he was one of the ones who would live to be 110, and still be rockin.The energy he created and fostered around him was nothing short of miraculous. In this world, in these times, Bill Bennett created a haven for all of us who thought we'd lost our souls. He let us find them again. He was a hero to me, in his own cantankerous way.He had a heart of gold under that cranky exterior. He had a vision, a vision of nuturing the powers of music in all of us, and he was determined to see that vision through, no matter what. He gave me the experience of a lifetime, twice, when he brought us to play at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. A true miracle, one that I never would have even considered possible were it not for Bill. I don't think many of us got to say the thank you's to Bill that we now wish we had, but I feel that he is still with us, so I want to say, Bill, THANK YOU! You will stay in my heart forever, Sandra

The Bill Bennett I knew and loved for 3 years was a man of extremes. When he was good, he was good, and when he was bad he was horrid.
He was one of those characters that comes along once in a lifetime. He was brilliant and funny and crazy and generous and unremorseful. He lived by his own code...he did not base his life upon what others thought was appropriate. He had a drive in him to live and make the most of every moment. He only answered to himself and himself was a study in contraditions. He was I believe, a tortured soul ,who found the silver lining in his own unquiet state of inner affairs.
I was very close to Bill and I think my adolescent confusion mirrored his own perpetual childhood. He both childlike and jaded. He was dark and light.
He was totally rock and roll.
This is what I know he would want
A) to have the Dr. Sharpley book published
B) to promote a show at the garden
maybe we can make this happen.
I love Bill unconditionally.

aurora felice

I came to the Jam a few years back to hang out and noodle on the Bass,
having played guitar since, er, well
a long time ago. Anyway, Bill - also being a guitarist turned bassist -
set me up with some lessons, rookie jam nights
and finally a band gig. I was enjoying mid-life better than
adolescence. A strange thing happened. That spark
of Bills love for music re-ignited mine and I started playing guitar
again. And writing songs. A lot. And started
gigging around the city as a singer songwriter. When I slacked off being
an active Jammer Bill still booked
me to open a few Red Lion shows.

Bill and I also shared the "chuck the corporate lifestyle, do what you
love" journey in slightly differing variants.
I wrote a song called "It's Not The Money" which spoke to that
experience. Bill heard it for the first time
when I opened one of those Red Lion shows...he put a buck in the tip
jar. That tune will be forever dedicated
to Bill.

Thanks for the spark, Bill.

performing as: Michael McCrary, NYC


I know I'm writing this as though you are still here with me. The truth is, you are. You will always be with me, just as you'll be with the rest of the people you have touched in life. You affected me in a lot of ways. Music was just a part of it. You know I always looked up to you, admired you, and loved you. You were one of the best friends I ever had. I just I wish I could have told you that before I lost you. But I have a feeling you knew anyway. You always seemed to know what I was thinking.

You and I go back a pretty long time. Over 10 years. And I knew from the first time we met, at that awful Rolling Stones session, that you were someone special. I remember how aggravated you were that people didn't know their parts. I know we used to joke about how you sometimes were kind of tough on band members. But I always knew it was done out of love for the music, and love for the people you were playing with. It's because you truly cared. And even though you used to tell me that you just had no patience anymore, the fact is, you were the most patient person I ever knew.

You were also an incredible musician. And I think people sometimes lost sight of that because you were doing so many other things. When you were in a band, you didn't just play your part. You also directed other band members, taught them their parts, organized the practices, set up the gigs, and at the same time ran the business. I don't know how you did it. It was more than any one person could handle. Yet you seemed to do it all with ease.

And I have to say I never knew anyone who had such self-confidence, and who was such a leader. Every time I ever went on stage with you, I was always secure, because you were on that stage with me. Man, I would have followed you anywhere. And now as I look back, I feel so honored to have shared so many moments with you. I really had no right, as a musician, to even be on the same stage as you. But you always took care of me, and always made me feel good about myself, despite my hacking up so many songs. You made all my rock and roll dreams come true, just like you did for so many people. You built the Jam into an institution that I have no doubt will exist long after we are all gone.

To say that we owe you is a understatement of epic proportions. You made music a part of so many people's lives. I think of how many people you have influenced, how many have been on stage, and fulfilled life-long goals in music, and it is clear that you have made your mark in this world. So few people ever achieve that in life. Even though it was cut short, I will always take comfort in knowing yours was a life well-lived. You did what you wanted to do. You did what you loved. And you gave something back to the world. That is all any of us could ever hope to do.

But the truth is I will miss you terribly. There's just no getting around that. And it has nothing to do with music. I never knew anyone who could make me feel so at ease. Just to be sitting in your office, shooting the breeze. I always felt safe, like I was at home. You were the most together person I ever knew. You made me feel together just for being with you. You had an amazing gift. I know I will never meet anyone like you again. I'm just glad I met you at all, and thankful for the time we had. And I'll savor every memory. I'll think of the days when you lived on West 15th St, when we first became friends. I'll think of the day I got married, when you led us all up on stage to take over for the band. I'll think of how many times I picked up the phone to talk to you about the upcoming shows, and to see what you had working. I'll think of all the bands we were in together (and there were lots of them). And you know I'll never forget the day you and Jay almost came to blows in the studio. We had a lot of laughs about that one. You never did back off from anyone, now that I think about it. I'll also think of the non-music subjects we talked about. I know we talked about women a lot. But that stuff is just between you and me. There was so much more, I can't even begin to tell. The memories are endless.

I have to say also, that I will have a very hard time playing again. I can't get you out of my mind, and I know the next time I play it will be hard not to cry. When I heard you were lost, I even thought it possible that I'd never play again. I feared I'd never experience the same type of joy. I couldn't imagine what it would be like to play without you being there. But then I thought, what would you say if I told you I was giving it up. And my answer came immediately. You'd say "C'mon Mike, get that idea out of your mind and play. It's only rock and roll," or something like that. I know that playing music is what you stood for, and if you taught me anything, it was to keep on playing no matter what. "Never stop playing" is what you always said, referring to what to do if something went wrong on stage.

Don't worry. I never will.

Mike Macchia

Bill was an amazing man. He really cared for the community and for enriching everyone around him through music. His organization and life was centered around creating bands, friends and communities.

When I approached him to do a story (in the school paper) about OWSJ as an organization (the concept was so appealing), he offered to donate instruments to my former school, Stuyvesant. Bill’s generosity enabled me to start the After School Jam Club, a club that enables students in the school to get together and recreate the aura of OWSJ at Stuyvesant. The instruments he donated are still being used by students who love music. His magic is still at work: whenever a musician hears a guitar being played in the hallway somewhere, they come to listen or to jam. I’ve met many friends because of a common love for music and the availability of the instruments at school. I’m going to do everything I can to use Bill’s model to try to get musicians together wherever I go in the future. Bill was really a genius.

My sister, who met him the night I wrote the story about him, also remembers how dedicated he was, and how he coaxed her into jamming with the people in the studio on keyboard. He had such a great talent for getting people together to enjoy themselves.

I can’t forget how happy and positive Bill always was, and how dedicated he was to music. He always said “Hi” when I passed him on the street, and invited me to bring all of my friends to jam in his studios. Bill had an amazing heart. I’m really going to miss him.

Thank you, Bill.

-Alex Barash

It had been 17 years since the last time I played in a band, till I walked into the studios of the Off Wall Street Jam. I played at the Jam a few times then officially joined last year and formed a band. Because of Bill Bennett, a group of regular guys with day jobs got the opportunity to, not only play together once or twice a week, but to play out live, twice. The thrill and enjoyment of those evenings I will never forget. Thank you, Bill, for reminding me of the power of music and the true pleasure that comes with playing and singing.

I wish to pass along my sincerest of condolences to all the members of the Bennett and OWSJ families and to anyone who had the opportunity to have met Bill.

John Corrigan

Mike, Dwayne, and I first met Bill in early April. We were opening a large
corporate offsite for our company, American Express, and found out that Bill
could help us out with rehearsal time. After one session, we asked him if he
could rent us the instruments. He also agreed to throw in the bassist for
free. In what I suspect what typical Bill fashion, we asked him to be there at
6:30 am to setup and run through a sound check. 7:15 am and no Bill and no
instruments. 7:30 am -- a phone call and yes, he's on the way. Sound check
happened, and 45 minutes later, we kicked off the offsite, with Bill not
missing a beat and seeming like he had jammed with us forever (in spite of the
fact that he had only spent about 20 minutes in practice).

I will recall his devotion to furthering the cause of the Jam, his dedication
to the Corporate Battle of the Bands, and of course, his passion for music.
Deepest condolences to his family from me and the team at American Express.

John Chung

I have been a familiar face and charter member of the jam since Feb 02.Through Bills efforts,Ive met jammed and made friends with many a musician and because of Bill was able to put back the missing link and void in my life.As a singer, songwriter, and player for almost 30 years I developed a vast knowledge of SONGS in my reportoire.As a result I often had the opportunity to run the 'Singers Circle' on saturday afternoons and play various shows.Though Bill was a tough man, when he saw a talent and burning desire he wouldnt be afraid to let you know he observed and admired.Bill would refer to me as 'Mr Music'.Though we didn't always see eye to eye on certain things,You couldnt ignore his talents as a musician and his yearn for perfectionism.I can't imagine OWSJ without him but im sure he would want it to go on.This is a terrible tragedy to happen for a still young man.Thanx Bill for making it happen for us

Richard Mansour

I can't tell you how shocked and upset I am to hear the news regarding
the passing of Bill Bennett. I had to remove myself from the trading
floor when I read the e-mail. Bill has been a tremendous inspiration for
me and has allowed me to fulfill my rock-n-roll fantasies. It is because
of him that I have found the courage to perform on stage. It is because
of him that I realized that I was good enough to play out live. It is
because of him that I've had the opportunity to play, meet, and
socialize with various other music lovers and create another life for me
aside the daily grind of wall street. I can't tell you how refreshing it
is to leave my day job and to sit and play the drums with other
musicians and to have this so called "second life". I have had the
opportunity to play with Bill in several bands; Miller Time, Squeeze
Play, Nancy Luka Band, The Porch Band, and of course Aprils Reign. I
love the jam. I love the people I've met along the way. I can't think of
anything better then playing music and having the opportunity to play it
live, in a bar, in NYC. Without Bill, I'm not quite sure that this
"fantasy" would have been lived. I'll miss you forever Bill. You have
giving me something that I didn't think I could ever achieve. Wishing
you peace and happiness in your new life. You have no idea how many
lives you have touched. You have touched mine immensely. Bidding you
Godspeed Bill, your absence will be sorely missed.

Goodbye my friend,

Bob Berger

We were all stunned to find out the news of Bill's passing. Fort Bragg would not be what it is without Bill Bennett. Period. Our heartfelt condolences go out to all in the OWSJ, Elaine, and Bill's family. There is not enough cyberspace to list all of the times that Bill made me laugh, taught me something, or pissed me off within the same conversation. That was Bill and that was why you had to love the guy. Suffice it to say, Bill Bennett was a character...and now he is a legend.

Rock on, Bill! There's been all the fixings of a great rock band in heaven. They've just been waiting for someone to come along with the chops to put it all together.

Cameron, Rene, Newton, and Cody
Fort Bragg

Aww, bloody hell! Just when we were gettin' ready for our Halloween World
Tour, I get this news that Nigel has got himself into a bit of trouble. That
bloke has this hot rod, see, and he loves to show off how fast this thing
goes, 'specially when there's a tasty bird wid' him. After our last several
drummers perished from overdose, speedbikes and booze, we hoped that was the
end of it. 'kin brilliant now that our lead guitarist and brother is now
added to the list. Supposed to have smudges taken 'o us next week for the
tour posters, we were. Bollocks. Well, Wiggy, Snowflake and me be missin'
our old mate, and hope he rocks on wid' Marc Bolan up there on the pearly

-Phillip McRotch, Glamasaurus Rex

On a serious note, I'm saddened to hear the news. I, like many others I'm
sure, were hoping that this was just a bump in the road, and that Bill was
going to recover quick and complete. Sometimes things just don't go the way
we would like.

I think Bill had a special place in his heart for G-Rex; it wasn't only the
music, but the chance to play out the rock star roll, a stereotypical
belligerent British glam rocker, complete with wigs, makeup, high platform
boots and accent. Out of my several bands over the years at the jam, this
was my only gig with Bill; while it might have been a little bumpy at times,
I honestly believe he really enjoyed playing the role of Nigel Brisbane. I
don't know how much enthusiasm he showed for his other bands, but I know
that there was a special excitement in him when he got to put that outfit

Bill, we'll miss you. May you rest in peace.

Brian J. Bernstein

To Bill, a/k/a Dr. Sharpley, you were wise beyond your years, and had a spirit far younger than your age. You knew how to live, and I am sure you knew how to die. You lived life with a vigor that we jammers could only marvel at and wonder how you did it. You brought music back into my life and you made me feel like I was 17 again, and the feeling was worth a million dollars. But I only had to pay a few hundred bucks, probably the best deal I will ever get anywhere. You shared your love of music with us all, and you were such a fixture in our lives that we sometimes took you for granted. That won't happen again. I will never forget you. Love, Dave Kaminsky

Bill has been a very special person in my life. I've
experienced so much joy at the OWSJ because of his
efforts. I will truly miss him.

Rich Oshinsky

It is with deep sadness that I post this message. I was so sorry to hear the news about Bill. I am a singer and former performer of the jam. Bill has always kept in touch with me to find out how I was progressing with my singing career and I always appreciated that. I saw his dedication to the jam and I always admired his hard work. I know this was his passion. I send my sincerest condolences to Bill's family and all those who knew and loved him. You are in my prayers. It is a terrible loss.


Benita Charles

Like UB, I met Bill when the Jam first opened in '91. But I didn't really get to know him until he became the owner. One thing about Bill, he always strived for perfection. That's an important concept.

I always felt that Bill acted like a father with his flock. For all of you Jammers that don't have much experience playing in bands (and I guess for those that do), Bill always tried to make you better musicians. Just because you play an instrument doesn't make you a musician. Listening to your bandmates, playing off of them, having a sense of dynamics - THAT makes you a musician. That's why Bill used his "tough-love" approach - he wanted to see improvement in his Jammers.

As many of you know, for the past few years I have run the Saturday Singer's Circle for Bill. He always gave me carte blanche to run it as I saw fit. Bill did not give away that responsibility easily, but he knew that, like him, I always tried to make the experience a rewarding one, if not an educational one. I was just an extension of Bill on Saturdays (plus the fact that those 4 hours really drove him crazy!).

It's ironic that Bill never wore earplugs and his hearing suffered because of it. But all of you Singer's Circle participants know how I like to "remind" you to "turn it down". That's because Bill wanted you to learn the art of listening to each other and become better musicians. He also wanted you to protect your hearing and not suffer as he had.

Bill was kind enough to include me in his house bands at Le Bar Bat and to think of me when he needed people for gigs. I'm glad I got the chance to thank him for those opportunities. Never forgetting his roots as an agent, Bill also wanted the Jam to become a place where he could send Jammers out on paying gigs when the chance arose. That's another reason he wanted all of us to improve our musicianship.

So next time you're playing and jamming, think of Bill and the lessons he tried to impart - they are very good ones.

Finally, since I am the "Tunemeister" and everything reminds me of a song (albeit top 40 from the 70's), I think it's appropriate to end with this song for Bill. It was the Righteous Brothers last big hit - "Rock and Roll Heaven" (1974)

If you believe in forever
Then life is just a one night stand
If there's a rock and roll heaven
Well you know they have a hell of a band

And now they have a wonderful addition to the house band in heaven - our friend, Bill Bennett.

Bill, peace to you always.

Marty Bender

Dear Bennett family,

I would like to extend my deepest sympathy to you at this time. Bill was a
special friend and fellow bandmate who will always hold a place in my
heart. I am so sorry that he was taken so prematurely. He accomplished a
great deal in his short time with us, and both made and created wonderful
music and lasting friendships in his lifetime. He was unforgettable.

Bill had a powerful impact on many of us. I pray that he is resting
peacefully at some hot music venue in Heaven, and I hope that the
outpouring of affection from "Jammers" past and present will comfort you in
the days ahead.

Stacey Mondschein

My heartfelt condolences to the family, and a very heartfelt thank you to
Bill for putting music on top of the menu for me again. My situation was
special in that I have always led a very active life as a musician in
Denmark, but upon moving to New York I was genuinely afraid to try and take
it up, given this city's mythic status. But that is precisely where the Jam
and Bill came in. At the Jam, it is easy: come and play, and you will meet
people. I surely did, and I hope to continue doing so!

Thanks, Bill, rock on!


My heartfelt condolences to Bill's family and friends. I was shocked to receive the e-mail announcing his passing while I was working late last night. The sad news has greatly affected me. I saw him very recently, when he convinced me in typical fashion to come and watch him play on the Elton John Tribute Band downstairs. The entire Jam community will miss him terribly. Thanks to Bill I got involved in actively playing music again after many years. I am grateful to him for having provided the facility to express myself again musically on a regular basis. Going to the Jam on Murray Street will never be the same. May he rest in peace, and surrounded by heavenly music.

In the fall of 1998 .....I inadvertently found the OWSJ site on the web, I was looking for a way to reconnect with 'city' musicians. Being originally from the city and living up in Putnam County I was hungry for a way to play more often. When I found the site it seemed it was just what the doctor ordered. I called and the fellow on the other end started to do (what seemed like) a mini-interview. I told him I was a singer and played some harp, he asked me my name, I told him Michael Evans. He said not the "Mike Evans from 82nd Street?"
I was stunned, telling him yes that's me, he said "Hey Mike, it's Billy Bennett from the Central Park, The Fountain days!!"

I was in a locally popular band called "The Sugar Blues Band" in the late sixties, we played the Cafe Wha? (the teeny bopper day band) and the Electric Circus among other church and synagogue dances. Bill was part of our tag along groupie/fan club. I was about 18 and Billy about 14 and wherever we went there went Skinny Billy. Tagging along in filthy, ragged bell bottoms that were way to, tattered, tight and long. Actually most of the sole to his shoe never touched the sidewalk, it was to busy scuffling with the inside of his tattered, ragged pant bottom.

Hank Goldsmith spoke of Bill's "Warrior Heart"....
Absolutely....he had the spirit then, a rag tag warrior. Remarkably determined to follow 'the music'. Bill loved the music, he loved bands. He loved our band, we were rock stars in his book. 18 year old omnipotent wanna be's, and sometimes Bill took the brunt of our omnipotent bully-hood. He preserved, he followed his heart.

Many a warm Sunday afternoon at 'The Fountain' while sidestepping swarms of hippies, Frisbees, conga beats and partaking in the counter culture elixer-du jour. Our pack would sit and play for hours. I think I may have shown Bill some of his first guitar chords. "What a trip!"

I have made life-long friends through the Jam and have remade A life-long friend. I love you Brother Bill you are in my heart life-long.

Michael Evans        [Pic of me and Billy (.jpg-53k)]

[after 9/11.....I had this poster made of Bill and presented it to him at a Jammy Award ceremony. He didn't like the photo so never put it up...he has a framed copy somewhere. (.jpg-250k)]


Messages posted 8 October:

I'm a friend of Eric Bradley's from OWSJ. I just got the news on Bill
Bennett this morning.

My most heartfelt and deepest condolences. May you and all of his
friends and family find peace and strength together in this saddest of

Rene Ferrer

Bill was such a sweet man- Those of us in the neighborhood will miss him - I loved running into him on the street and on our pier- We planned big things with our new community center and with the kids downtown. We are very sad.

I will miss him.

Bob Townley
Executive Director
Manhattan Youth

So sorry to hear this terrible, tragic news. I'm one of the many people who can honestly say that Bill changed my life. I'm sorry that I never told him that. Rest in peace.

Bruce Meyer

Bill has seen all of my bands,, from begining to end, he set up my first gig, and he has been so great to me, he will be missesd greatly be me. my condolences go to his family.
Love Ray Weiss

Hey, Bill, it's Ed. I want to put a band together. You know what I'm
talking about. A band whose members took a different road away from
their musical roots. A band of good people who work their day jobs but
live to get back to those roots. You know, people who play because they
love it, not because they earn their living doing it. Not because they
have to do it to earn a living. People who belong to the OWSJ. People
who, but for you, would never have gotten the opportunity to get
together as a band. People who, but for you, would never have gotten
the opportunity to get up on a stage and perform together. People who,
but for your dedication, would never have developed so many close

You know what I'm looking for, Bill. You dedicated your life to knowing
what I'm looking for and helping me find it. You dedicated your life to
living the dream that long ago died in most of us, only to come to life
again for us because of your efforts. So Bill, I thank you from the
bottom of my heart for putting this band together. We all thank you.

How many people can say they truly made a difference in so many peoples'
lives? Bill, you earned that right many times over. Goodbye, my friend.

Ed Howe

i am laurie locicero, bill and my husband who had passed away recently also were friends. i used to come to the jam and sing while louis and everyone jammed. when i wrote to bill and told him louis had passed he was so shocked. he aslo was telling me to come down and get back into singing again for louis would have wanted me to..
i kept telling bill next week, next week... and i kept putting it off. now i have lost the chance to be with bill in my time of grieveing and since have turned it over to him.
i am so saddened by this and i prayed so hard just now when i got this email of his passing that louis would meet him on the other side and jam on with him.
i really feel sad over this and i wish i didnt procrastanate on coming back down... i will never get the chance to thank bill personally for talking with me about louis and giving me strenght to move forword and sing again.
just goes to show never put off anything you really want to do.. for you may not have another chance to do it....
life is so short, although beautiful , its hard to express how difficult it can be. but with this shocking news im sure eveyrone is feeling it all.
i am so sorry bill for not coming back sooner to see you and i only pray you will jam on with louis up in heaven..
god bless you
i will miss our talks.
thanks for being so cool and touching my life in the short time that we conversed over the computer.
keep that wit with you always and we will all meet again someday.
good by my friend.
love you always and will never forget you.
say hi to louis for me when you see him....:-(
love always
laurie locicero


Thanks for all you've done in giving us the OWSJ. Through the Jam, you
afforded me the chance to do something that I'd always wanted to
in a rock and roll band. You made possible the friendships and memories
associated with those Friday night shows and Saturday afternoons spent
trying to get it just right. And yes, in retrospect, you were probably
right........we were a bit too loaded and loud. Your passion for the music
and utter determination to making the Jam work will not be forgotten.

We'll all miss you.

Joe Bruno

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