Close friends of Billy 'Stix' Nicks remember the Michiana legend

Published: Nov. 20, 2017 at 12:29 AM EST
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On Sunday, close friends of Billy 'Stix' Nicks shared stories of the legendary Michiana drummer.

Billy played the drums for Junior Walker and the All-Stars and was a staple of the Michiana community. He died on Wednesday from cancer at 82-years-old.

"You had to experience Billy Nicks, you cannot describe Billy Nicks," said Larry Catanzarite, a friend of Billy's for over 40 years. "Billy had a million friends, but we had been friends for so long that I think we had a little bit of a special bond."

He said he would run into him all of the time performing in town.

"I would kind of slowly sneak into his vision and see how long it would take before he spotted me," Catanzarite said. "And he would be very busy at the drums and all of a sudden he'd spot me and he'd kind of light up and next thing you know at the next break he'd come over and give me a big hug."

Band singer Terry Austin also spoke with NewsCenter 16 on the phone. He sang with Billy for 11 years until he died on Wednesday.

"I was finally singing with a professional musician, I had been with a lot of amateurs, but Bill was the first professional Musician I ever played with," Austin said. "He loved his music and he loved performing and was a lover of teaching. He loved to teach."

Billy taught at Notre Dame and the South Bend Music Exchange. Leaving a lasting impression in our hearts.

"I don't think a lot of people knew that he had any health issues so probably maybe better that we didn't," said Catanzarite. "Maybe just let him put his sticks down."

The 'stix' part of Billy's name was added because you would always see him carrying a set of drumsticks with him. He leaves behind his wife, four children, nine grandchildren and many other relatives.

A funeral service will be held for him this Friday at 11 a.m. at the Morris Performing Arts Center.