feature: r.i.p. doc night – saxophonist, vocalist, and early pioneer of the punk rock, ska, reggae scene in dc

October 7, 2015
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R.I.P. John Andre “Doc Night” Williams (aka Night Cherokee) – the saxophonist, producer, writer, vocalist, band leader, and fixture of the DC arts and music scene; an early pioneer of the punk rock, ska, reggae scene in DC”.  Watch the pioneering musician in action below, and CLICK HERE to help raise funds for his burial. A tribute show is set to take place in DC in Jan 2016 to honor Doc Night’s musical legacy.



Statement from Doc Night’s Family

His influence and loss is felt by many around the world and he was recognized as an early pioneer of the punk rock, ska, reggae scene in DC in the early 80s and even up until his passing. He has been recognized by artists such as the Bad Brains, Henry Rollins, The Foo Fighters, Red Hot Chili Peppers, and many more.

Doc Night is significant as he bridged the gap and crossed over many musical genres and style sand quite simply brought all types of people together through his music and message.

In the early 80s and 90s he shared stages with bands and artists such as Static Disruptors, the Psychotics, Riot Squad, Outrage, HR (Bad Brains), Scream, Doc Night & The Hipnotix and helped shape DC’s punk and hardcore music scene. He performed around the country and world with the Scotch Bonnets, Perro Bravo and others.

He has performed most recently at Artscape in Baltimore and graced the stages of the 9:30 Club, RFK Stadium, Bossa, Chief Ike’s Mambo Room, The Black Cat, the Velvet Lounge, rock, reggae and ska festivals around the world and countless others.

Doc contributions and involvement in DC subcultures of Go-Go, Hardcore, Punk, Hip-hop and others of the 80s as evidence in the recent “Pump Me Up” exhibition at the Corcoran gallery is unquestionable and he will certainly be included in DC’s hall of fame along with the likes of Chuck Brown as so many others.

Doc loved life, he loved all people and most of all his loved his family. He is being mourned by artists and musicians around the world and there are plans by the family and friends for a memorial and musical tribute on Sat. September 19, 2015 at 6 p.m. in the Fine and Performing Arts Center at Bowie State University.

A musical benefit jam and tribute to Doc Night to assist with his final expenses and to give the entire DC community to pay tribute is also being planned in DC in the coming weeks and will soon be announced. The goal is to make this an annual event in his name and honor to bring together and bridge the general of Go-Go, Punk, Rock, Funk, Reggae, Hip-Hop and Soul. Just the way Doc did.

He died on Sept. 10, 2015 in his home in Capitol Heights, Maryland and leaves behind a daughter Laila Williams and son Adriel Williams, also a musician and performer. This is especially significant as Doc lost his mother the Rev. Loretta Williams in 2014, who he often dedicated his performances to and credits with his musical gifts. He also leaves behind his brothers Tewodross “Teo” Melchishua Williams and Daryl Williams, father John J. Williams and nieces and nephews.