1990s London Band Envy – Th’ Faith Healers and What The FUCK?!
Above Photo: Th’ Faith Healers.
In the early 1990s, long after my own bass-playing days in Liverpool bands were over (which period is vividly recounted in my Punk and New Wave memoir, Bombed Out!), I was walking home with my girlfriend having seen a band in the Town and Country Club in Camden, London.
We were walking past a pub called the Bull and Gate, also in Camden, and heard loud and unusual musical sounds coming from inside.
The scene was absolute but fantastic chaos, and even though it was already late, and we had work the next day, we went in to see a band that made a huge impact on me; possibly the biggest since the whole Eric’s, Punk and New Wave scene a decade earlier.
They were called Th’ Faith Healers; just a bass (Ben Hopkins), a guitar (Tom Cullinan), drums (Joe Dilworth) and a lead singer (Roxanne Stephen). There was also a huge guy roaming around, dressed from head to toe in bandages, looking like a Mummy, who blundering around the stage as they blasted out their fantastic set. The audience was going crazy as well; it was like we’d just walked onto a wild film set.
I just turned to my girlfriend and said, “What the fuck!?” She was blown away too, so we stayed late into the night to watch them. I loved their music; it was exceptionally raw and powerful.
After that, we went to see them play many times. They were a great live band, who we only ever saw play in pubs, which made them seem even more electrifying and loud. They remain my most-watched band since the Punk and New Wave period.
They brought out an excellent album, called Lido, in 1992 which I bought (on cassette), but because of various things going on in my life around then, I lost track of them.
One thing I vividly remember when I used to watch them was a feeling of deep envy – a jealousy even – wishing I could be up there playing and wondering ‘what if’, although I think that becomes part of a musicians’ DNA after they pass through a band period.
I wonder if anyone else suffers from this – a massive admiration and happiness when seeing excellent live bands, but tinged with a not-unpleasant undercurrent of deep regret and envy?
Well, that was me, watching The Healers….
Here are two of my favourite Faith Healers tracks off their Lido album.
Don’t Jones Me: