If you listened to WSOU in the late ‘80s and early ‘90s, you are probably familiar with the music of Faith Healer. Besides being in heavy rotation on New Jersey’s premier heavy metal outlet, they also achieved the feat of becoming the second most requested band on a Belgian radio station.
The group was started by guitarist Joey DeMaio. He had been writing with Peter Blates of Accept, and he was looking to put together some musicians to play some of the songs he had been writing. He put together a top-notch group of musicians, including vocalist Peter Scherer, guitarist Gordon Brown, drummer Carlo Lotorocca, and bassist Fred Teschle.
The music of the band had a bluesy, Led Zeppelin type of sound, and they immediately started recording. The group also started to play around the area, and quickly started to get a buzz. But it wasn’t long before Gordon and Peter left to pursue a more acoustically oriented sound, which they achieved with their new group. Mr. Reality. To replace them in Faith Healer, Joe brought in vocalist Bruce Terkelson and guitarist John Albino. Derek Taylor also came in to play bass, from the well-known Jersey band Ritual.
The band kept playing, and soon signed to a major management company. The company had several big Japanese acts, including Loudness, EZO, and Kitaro. The band did a number of showcases, and actually received a deal, although the management turned it down, apparently, thinking it wasn’t enough money. “We weren’t informed of that until after the fact.” Recalls Joey. “Looking back, we would have taken it.”
The group became a regular at many of the top original clubs in the area, including the Ritz, the Limelight, and CBGB’s in New York, and the Birch Hill in New Jersey. A good following developed. “It was a really strong band, live as well as on tape,” says Joey. Meanwhile, the song “Soul Of Pain” became a staple on WSOU, and found its way to Europe through Martin Hooker of the Music For Nations UK record label.
Finally, around the time Nirvana and Pearl Jam started to take over the airwaves, the band members decided to call it quits. “We played a lot harder rock,” says Joey. “We knew at that point we weren’t going to get a deal.”
Bruce, Carlo and Joey still play together, and continue writing and recording. “We don’t take it too seriously, but we still write together,” says Joey. Bruce, Carlo and John were also part of the White Boys, a circuit cover band that had a reputation for excellent musicianship. Bruce and Carlo can now be seen in the clubs with the band Far Cry. Derek can also be seen in the area clubs, playing with Dee Snider of Twisted Sister fame.
Joey, meanwhile, has become somewhat of a fixture on the Jersey music scene. He is the owner and operator of both Wild Sound Rehearsal Studios in Asbury Park, and Shorefire Recording Studios in Long Branch, two of the leading facilities in the state. Additionally, he has started a production company with John Blates from Accept, they are actively seeking bands to produce.
Joey has fond memories of his time with Faith Healer. “We were always the best of friends,” he says. “We never had any problems, and we went our ways very amicably. We knew it wasn’t going to happen for our style of music. It’s always possible that we may get back together and play some day.”
Copyright © Hal B. Selzer/The Aquarian/East Coast Rocker and transcribed with permission.