South Bend local music legend Billy “Stix” Nicks passes away at 82

Drums @ SAE

One day after he was inducted into the South Bend Hall of Fame, a local musician passed away.

Billy “Stix” Nicks was a legendary drummer, a mentor to young musicians in the area, and played with Junior Walker and The All-Stars, The Four Tops, Marvin Gaye, Smokey Robinson, and others over a decades-long career on the drum stool.

He was honored Tuesday night as one of seven inductees for the South Bend Hall of Fame. Wednesday night, according to a family member, he passed away after a long illness at the age of 82.

Nicks was raised in South Bend and loved to support the local music scene, as well as the young people who made that music. He taught at his own studio and was an adjunct music teacher at Notre Dame.

His funeral arrangements have yet to be announced.


  1. Billy was certainly a natural, God given talent! A real gentleman who was helped along the way, he didn’t need much help, at Central Senior High School and band director Arthur Singleton. I remember so well the “drum war” performed with Porter Thompson at a Central band concert in the spring of 1952 or so. Billy would pound the skins for five minutes or so and then Porter would do the same. The war went on for over 30 minutes! What a wonderful experience. Everytime I would see Billy, we would relive the “war”. I am sure he is still pounding the skins, looking down and smiling at the many who feel fortunate in knowing and hearing him.


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