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Th' Faith Healers

Th' Faith Healers Impressions

This page is a collection of fans' impressions of th' Healers. If you were at a gig or want to tell people about any other musical encounter with them, just and I'll add your input to this page.

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Tom Carter writes:

I'm the same "Tom Carter" who wrote the third impression at the very bottom of this page, from the mid-90s I believe, when I was still in college. I can't believe that this message board is still up!!! It brings back a lot of old memories; what a little weirdo I was ;)

It is now 2020, and I don't keep up with new music anymore; I stopped sometime at the turn of the millennium. I mostly only listen to my old favorites from the 60s-90s - which of course still includes Th' Faith Healers. I've got all their albums ripped on my iPod (all my original vinyl and CDs, including that old set list, are still in my mother's storage).

Essentially, I have never stopped listening since I wrote that message below, though perhaps less religiously. I don't use YouTube much, but today on a lark I decided to search Th' Faith Healers, which pulled up a video of their entire 2006 show. How sad I am to have missed that.

But I am very impressed that their passionate performance sounded exactly as they ever have; even the most subtle melodic nuances in Tom's guitar (which I have subconsciously memorized after so many years of consistent listening) and Roxanne's vocals are nearly identical to their albums.

Thank you, lady and gents, for your timeless music. It has comforted me through happiness and heartbreak over the past three decades. To say I love you guys might sound a bit melodramatic, but I think it might be true on at least a spiritual level.

Phil Jansseune writes:

Loved this band above all others and saw them many, many times on the London pub circuit. Best (funniest) memory is a gig at Camden World's End (I think) where Roxanne fell off the stage halfway through a song and didn't reappear until the end. Laughing her head off, she said she couldn't get back up as someone was standing on her hair. First gig I took my girlfriend to, who became my wife - tiny gig north of Camden Lock somewhere - she loved Tom's manly forearms! Must have been the hair...

Adam Woodward writes:

I first got my ear drums pierced at a Silverfish gig at LCE. Th' Faith Healers bounced on stage as first act with me thinking 'who's this shower o' shite then?'. After a couple of minutes of my guts vibrating to the swirling, thumping beat of 'Slag' I was sold - like an over-emotional adolescent being lured into a right-wing religious cult, Th' Faith Healers had my soul.

A few years later and somewhat deafer, I delved into gig promotion - my first target TFH. I was determined to find out if I was the only lost soul in my town, or if I could actually indoctrinate other Essex boys and girls into the cult of noise. Chelmsford is Essex's Black Hole of Calcutta, but gig wise it was looking more and more like the centre of all things good and sexy in loud sounds. We had a good turnout - part curiosity - part friends of the support act. There were far too many amps for too few metres2, too much sweat, too much cheap beer and underage drinkers. At about the same point in the opening of 'Slag' that grabbed me and refused to let go, the small function room at the YMCA began to empty out - some covering there ears, others half running as if to escape a fire. One girl threatened to sue me for wrecking her ear drums. 'What d'y' wan fer 3 quid, y' heathen?' And it was beautiful and I was so happy.

Gig over, band paid, one local musician stumbled out gasping for breath and said 'Thankyou, thankyou. That's the best damn gig I've ever been to!' with a tear in his eye and 3 girls far too young accompanying him. And there it was. In a population of some 200,000 I wasn't alone after all - maybe I was seen as being a little wierd for not actually liking the Wonderstuff or the Mission or some other pants like that, but I wasn't balmy. I never did see that bloke again. Apparently he became some sort of groupie or something and followed Th' Faith Healers all over the place.

So gawd bless ya Faith Healers. I'm going to illegaly download all your music now cos my vinyl's all shot to fuck!

setlist Horst writes:

London, 93 Feet East, 20 April 2006:

Wow, that was something.

This Time / Gorgeous Blue Flower / Love Song / Heart Fog / Get the Fuck out of My Face / It's Easy being You / Ooh la la (aborted after three false starts) / Hippy Hole / Moona-inna-joona / Don't Jones Me / Ooh la la / Spin ½ // Mother Sky

Finally met Rozzie and many of th' former Faithful, who still showed a lot of faith in the band, who didn't disappoint. It felt somewhat less improvised/chaotic than the Berlin gig, which may have come from the practice gained during the US dates. Still, Tom had a problem with his guitar -- he had taken it apart after the US tour and there were some parts missing, so they had to get the guitar of Joe's nephew (?) in time for the concert, which they just about managed to do.

setlistAs for the music, I'm still kind of lost for words, so you may want to check out Chris Marling's review until I get around to write something proper. Let me assure you that it was fast and energetic, and didn't fail to excite the audience, many of which (judging from their age) hadn't seen th' Healers back in the old times.

A selection from the pictures that I took at the concert can be found on the Pictures page.

David in Philly writes:

I'd last seen th' faith healers at CBGB in NYC 1994. May have been a CMJ night, not sure. Was in college at the time, and knew I needed to see them. Loved Lido, loved Imaginary Friend even more. Managed to stand front of Tom, against the stage, but distressed by clueless drunk french girl who danced all night while swinging her lit cigarette for over an hour. Relieved about 10 minutes into the spin 1/2 encore when most of the crowd left, giving me room to dance. Felt like over 20 minutes of blissful white noise. Friends waited outside. Their loss.

Have probably listened to one of the albums at least once a month since, the band being one of my favorites but seemingly lost to the ages. But what's this... playing a 100-capacity venue in Philadelphia for $8, 12 years later? I think that's less than I paid in NYC. Must go.

Set: Moona ina Joona / This Time / Don't Jones me / Ooh La La / Hippie Hole / Reptile Smile (apparently 2 songs too soon) / Get the Fuck Out of My Face / Heart Fog / New #2 / Love Song / It's Easy Being You / Mother Sky // Spin 1/2 (12 mins)

Small but reverent crowd; much dancing to selves, but no moshing. Wired on two pints of Aventinus, was in blissful heaven. As if the band had never left! How does Tom create all that sound by himself? How does he remember how to play? Everything so precise, yet still so passionate.

Met Ben from BadaBing and bought the peel sessions, and listened the day after. So remarkable -- the first 3 tracks were like listening to the soundboard from the Khyber.

I'm left now feeling like I've seen the best band to ever walk the earth... able to play with the same precision and passion through decades. I'm saddened to know that this is a one-off tour, but optimistic that a decade down the road, another label might coax them into another tour, and they will still sound as breathtaking.

Steven Coviello writes:

Th Faith Healers in Boston (PA's Lounge) - thought i'd send you some info from last night's show:

Setlist (not in order): Get The Fuck Out Of My Face / Ooh La La / Curly Lips (Peel style) / Bulkhead / This Time / Hippy Hole / Dont Jones Me / Reptile Smile / Moona In Joona / Love Song / Mother Sky / Its Easy Being You / Spin 1/2 (got the stiff crowd dancing) / Heart Fog

There could have been a couple more, but it was mostly Lido. Nothing from L' (or EPs) and very little from Imaginary Friend. Roxanne plugged the Peel Sessions disc in a coy, tongue-in-cheek way everytime they played a track from the cd.

They were supposed to play 2 shows that night. The first one started at 8:30pm and another to begin around 11pm. There was so much talk and advanced sales for this night that the promoter had reserved a 2nd show for latecomers. but half way through the first set it was learned that it was going to be one show (i think it was a curfew issue with the club).

So the Healers jammed through 1/2 Spin then took a cigarette break saying, "Everyone come outside for a cigarette then we'll come back afterwards". Several followed and they came back somewhat content that there would only be one show. They looked at the playlist for the 2nd show, scratched out all the repeat tracks and played an encore set of 8 different songs for the audience. So we got a bonus encore from the band with songs we wouldnt have heard had there been a separate show.

Other notes:

Tom had trouble getting the wirey/scratchy intro to Reptile Smile. It took about 4 tries with lots on onstage teasing at him.

Tom stopped about 1/4 of the way into Heart Fog to insist that the bass be turned up louder. which turned out to get a good idea.

I yelled out Jesus Freak toward the end to which Roxanne replied, "awww, we didnt rehearse that one". a guy standing in front of me replied to her, "did you rehearse ANY of them?" which got the band and crowd laughing. Roxanne sneered, stuck up her middle finger and cracked, "we got a smart ass in the front row". everyone was still laughing. They played Mother Sky next and the same guy made a sarcastic crack about playing their own material. This got the band roaring again. There was lots of teasing going on all night.

i talked to Roxanne after the show and shared stories of when i first saw them at The Knitting Factory in NYC in 1992, playing with Moonshake and Stereolab. I asked if it was going to be another 12 years before we'd see them again and she said that "this was just a one-off that took alot of nagging" (from Dan of Ba Da Bing Records). She said they had "no plans to record again or continue touring". While feeling lucky to have thus seen them this time I was sad that would be it. Jokingly, she said that "they could live off the royalties now" and "will come back out if they can scrape up some more unreleased material" (also in a very joking manner).

After the last song almost everyone yelled out "Thank You!" from the crowd. The band proceeded offstage, drank and hung out with the crowd. Dan from Ba Da Bing Records was selling tour posters and Peel cd's and telling everyone "Thank You" for coming. It was like being at a small party.

setlist Horst writes:

Concert at the WestGermany in Berlin, 11 March 2006:

It was loud and, whoa, speedy. Joe was drumming like a madman, Tom and Roxanne seemed to be pretty out of breath at some point and saying something to the effect of needing to exercise more. Only Ben seemed totally unimpressed, keeping up his thumping bass lines.

Moona-Inna-Joona / Don't Jones Me / Ooh la la / Hippy Hole / Get the F*ck out of My Face / This Time / It's Easy Being You / Curly Lips (abandoned after two false starts) / Heart Fog / Bulkhead / Mother Sky / Reptile Smile // Love Song / Spin ½

Great relaxed atmosphere, everybody, especially the band, seemed to really enjoy themselves. Roxanne recalled afterwards how the audience at their first gig in Berlin many years back had just stood there stone-faced, not getting into the music at all - well, things were certainly different this time.

And of course I brought neither my camera nor my minidisc recorder to document any of this... ah well, there's always the London gig to look forward to... ;-)

Rozzie Starr writes:

I cannot explain how excited I was when I heard last year that th' healers were reforming! I remember seeing them for the first time at the sausage machine, white horse in hampstead ('i think it was before the 'now that's disgusting music' live show)..I was completley blown away' as were my friends. I became an addict for their music and had to see them every time they played, no matter what town or country..I'd spend my lunchtimes getting together with fellow fans making our t-shirts (do you remember the 'joe is my dad' ones?!!) hours on the phone in the evening on spreading the word on how amazing this band was...till my dad banned me off the phone....th' faithful were born and completely fed off the raw energy of the band. On themes I've got to say the 'monster munch' theme at the bull and gate was one of my favourites! I still have all my records, posters, news cuttings, flyers and stage-filthy, sequined faithful t-shirts (thanks to Nicki for the art! xxx ) In all the years past and all the shows I've been to there hasn't been anything to really compare to one of th' healers shows and the kids just don't dance like they did then!! I have many many tales to tell too many to write here so we'll have to all just hook up at the next show and have a good ole natter! See you down the front (maybe not on the stage this time!!!)
Th' band have always had a special place in my heart...thank you for great music and some amazing memories xxx Rozzie Starr!

Sean Cooper writes:

i'm sure we've all had the experience of sitting in a car after arriving somewhere, the radio still on, waiting for the song to end to find out who the f*$k that amazing band just was. the most memorable instance of that for me was th' faith healers when i caught the first minute or two of "spin 1/2" at the tail end of a long drive home from my parents' house back to college, around 1992. i sat in my driveway in the cold for another 10 minutes after killing the engine, very aware of how long the song was for that and also increasingly certain that, whoever this band is, i have to have this record. lucky for me the DJ came on when the song ended and remembered to back announce it (this being college radio you couldn't always count on that happening). i bought the album the next day. i saw th' faith healers a couple years later, at the kennel club in san francisco. my ears are still ringing.

Gordon Moakes writes:

I never got to see Th' Faith Healers. I was just a teenager living a fair way out of London when a friend of mine played me 'Imaginary Friend'. In those days we wouldn't venture into London for gigs unless more than one of us were really big fans of a band. He thought the record was okay but I taped it and it just made the hairs on the back of my neck stand on end. I remember he had a function on his stereo which meant if the album was longer than a 45-minute tape it would fade it and as a result my version of 'Everything All At Once Forever' was only about twelve minutes long. But I played that tape to death. I still have the final Peel Session on tape too, with the usual snippets of John back-announcing the songs. I thought 'Ooh La La' was amazing - it was kick start tune for me, the kind of song I'd put on first thing in the morning. And I learnt that version of 'Without You' to play on an acoustic guitar to my friends at college.

I slowly pieced together the rest of my collection. I found 'Mr. Litnanski' in a great little record shop in Bolton called 'X'. I hope it's still there. I have most of the Quickspace stuff too (the best of which was 'Happy Song No. 1' to my ears but I kept collecting). There's some gems in there.

'Imaginary Friend' was always the pinnacle for me. I love the pure simplicity of the bassline in 'The People', the mixture of the straight hypnotic repetition and the sweet little melodic interplay. 'Heart Fog' and 'Sparkingly Chime' just made my heart soar. You rarely get such out and out happiness listening to rock music. Tom Cullinan was one of the few guitarists I really respected - he really did sound like he was playing two guitar parts at once. And that tugboat bass sound. That's so fucking primal.

Nowadays I play bass guitar myself for a living, in a band called Bloc Party. Because I began as a bedroom guitarist, it was bands like Th' Faith Healers when I was 16 that made me want to play. In their case, the discipline of playing along to a four-note bassline for 20 minutes was always strangely inspirational.

Stu writes:

th' faith healers were great! I was lucky enough to be in a band that supported them at the Adelphi in Hull, in about '92. It was a great gig, we played frizbee with the guys before hand, and I tried to chat-up Roxanne too. I saw them again there on the Lido tour. I still have the 'pop-song 'oldman' t-shirt, a lido t-shirt and a limited edition th' t-shirt. What a great band to accompany a great time in my life.

Samuel Talya writes:

I was just obsessed with them from the first time gorgeous blue flower was played on John Peel. Living in London meant that I was sooo lucky and got to see them tonnes of times. I remember one 'secret' gig at the brilliant Camden Falcon and the ever present 'Faithful' were on stage. I think the theme that night was frozen peas or something (they had a theme each gig). Kind of a shame that they weren't more successful, but in a strange way it made it all the more special when you did meet someone who was a fan. It was like you were both in on this really well hidden secret. I was wearing my t-shirt one day walking round Euston in London, and a guy was walking towards me with a healers T on as well. We both just grinned at each other - great!

Anyone remember the first peel sessions - Jesus Freek, coffee commercial couples and bobby cop? god I drove my mates mad singing that!

Dan writes:

They drew big black XX's on our hands at the door, but there were probably no more than twelve people in the club (I think that was probably the maximum occupancy anyway).

Matty went bonkers when they played "Heart Fog" which he had been listening to ten times a day on average for the week leading up to the show.

Their guitarist looked like a slightly more wholesome version of Keith Richards and the singer had a lot of hair. They played "Don't Jones Me" for about a half an hour and the t-shirt featured a green cat and a green spider. It was a sad day when mine disappeared.

Paul Spendlove writes:

Th' Faith Healers are fantastic live. I highly recommend it. The lead singer, Roxanne, is of Amazonian proportions and gets "performance inspiration" from bands like Zep and AC/DC (don't worry, this isn't reflected in the sound), so there's lotsa hair flailing. The drummer, Joe, is tkinetic guy i'c drummer I've ever seen, yet still looks totally laid back the whole time. They're one of the only modern bands who truly jams onstage, although in a very minimal and repetitive way...and, besides MBV, only th' faith healers could get away with a 20-minute song to wrap up their show. Go see them and make them money.

Mark Heustice writes:

I think it was Pheonix 93, not sure but I wanted to see them but the tent they were in was too full and I couldn't be arsed. They sounded immense, throbbing, meaty. Mmm. But I cant get near them. Bugger.

Then I bought the 'Pop-Do we not like that?' comp a while back and was too lazy to look around for Faith Healer albums. I had trouble finding them. Were they in the F section or the T section? You know what some record shop staff are like. I SAID SOME. I finally found Imaginary Friend but wasn't too impressed. It wasn't raw, like Don't Jones Me, the track on PDWKLT. Or like the Peel Sessions stuff, which I found in Luton Library of all places. But then, something wonderful happened. I was drunk in London at around 10 in the morning. No, I 'm no lush, but I do work nights and I had just finished a 7 night stint. I needed a drink after that, let me tell you guv. 5 lagers later and I am feeling rather warm and hungry. Hungry for music. "Oh, no, I thought, not again. Last time I did this I spent £60 in Virgin. Oh, well, here goes." So after a rather boring experience in Virgin I headed for Berwick St in Soho. "Must get Faith Healers" I chanted. Three record shops later I wandered into a tiiny one full of vinyl. Cant remeber what it was called. Indie section, yeah, F section, maybe I dunno. And there it was. Waiting for me. Lido. On vinyl, there, its there. I am dreaming, I shall wake up in a pool of vom. No. Its there. Oh my christ. I have it. So yeah Faith Healers were OK.

Matt writes:

I have just played all of my Faith Healer's vinyl after at least half a decade, and had forgotten how amazing they were. I went to see them twice in 1991, first in Leicester at the Princess Charlotte, and then a week later in Stoke at the Wheatsheaf. My brother and I chatted to them after the Leicester show, and they were so nice that they even put me on the guest list for the gig in Stoke a week later! And who was supporting them in Stoke?.... PJ Harvey, that's who. And who decided to pop out and make a phone call when the support act was on, just a few weeks before she went super nova? Muggins here!

But back to Th' Faith Healers.... they blew me away both times, and were really friendly and open (I had a massive crush on Roxanne). And they introduced me to Can! What a band.... we shall never see their like again.

Dan Payne writes:

Good to see you haven't taken this site down. I LOVE Th' Faith Healers, I was lucky enough to see them twice (in Bath of all places!) and they were just amazing. They don't make many bands like them any more, which is a shame. If you'd like to check out a band which reminds me of TH's, go to www.magicdirt.net . No, I'm nothing to do with them, but they're pretty damn good, especially for a bunch of Ozzies!!!

Doug Taylor writes:

wow, this all takes me back. 1990 i went to see Lush playing the Edinburgh Venue and a true love bloomed. th' faith healers supported and blew me away (though not any of my friends - but who cares, i knew better). weeks passed with no sight of a record anywhere, despite my frantic searching, and then, one glorious day, up popped Pop Song under the 'T' section in One Up Records, Aberdeen, Scotland, my home town. i can still remember the thrill.

i snapped up every subsequent release and until now was very quietly smug about it, 'well surely no-one else gets it' i thought. peachy to find this site. th' faith healers still rock my world.

Gavin Hogg writes:

Joe and Ben once stayed at my house in Middlesbrough (about Autumn 1991) after a gig at the Middlesbrough Empire one Monday night. They were very charming and I made them peanut butter on toast and cups of tea the next morning. Top band.

Will Savvy writes:

i discovered th faith healers in late 92 or early 93, when i happened to hear the single "dont jones me" on the local college radio station, always curious to find new music i bought the "lido" cd and the also the "dont jones me" single sometime in 93. by the time "imaginary friend" was released, which i was lucky enough to hear an advance copy of, i was a full fledge faith healers fan.

and then.. i saw them live! i remember that night, somewhat, thursday, march 17, 1994 at the 9:30 club in washington,dc. that year i must have seen at least 100 hundred shows and at times they all kind of meld together, but to this day th' faith healers' stand out as probably the best show i've *ever* seen, though that bauhaus reunion last year was damn good. it was st patricks day, at 18, i was too young to drink, but i needed no alcohol to enjoy the sheer magic of th' faith healers performance. i'm pretty sure they said this was the first gig on their american tour, though i cant verify that, perhaps maybe you could get a list of show dates on this site sometime. they were the headliners, and after sitting through a tiresome opening act that where so boring they literally took all the energy out of me, th' faith healers finally took the stage and revitalized us all, at the beginning of their set the tiny place had maybe about 20 people, which felt kind of intimate and special, though by the middle of the set, the place filled up alot more.

i cant remember it all, but highlights include: roxanne dancing barefoot on the dirty crusty stage while playing the tambourine; my friend taking *one* picture of roxanne and getting yelled at by security or whoever it was (if i ever get a copy of it from her, i'll scan it so you can post it); meeting tom and roxanne after the show, and talking to them, they were so cool, they talked to us for a while and they were really friendly; hearing roxanne say to the other faith healers in between songs during the encore "what should we play next, gorgeous blue?" and me and my friend, front and center screaming "YES!!! PLAY IT PLEASE!" and they did!; and noting to my friends the obvious tension between the bandmates, i remember them exchanging dirty looks at each other, totally unaware of their imminent demise. heart fog was irresistable, spin 1/2 was great too, i wish i could remember more but that whole weekend was a blur concidering i saw two more shows that weekend. i wish someone had a live tape of that show because it was incredible. a couple months later i was dumbfounded to hear that they broke up, i just couldnt understand it, just a few months ago i saw them and now it was all over, too bad.

Ryan Johnson writes:

Until this evening, I was almost sure that I was the only person who not only knows of, but absolutely loves this amazing music. I was a late-comer, discovering them in late 94 after hearing Heartfog on the University of Minnesota's student run radio station. I was mesmerized, and subsequently became a fan. I have until now been a bit lonely in my passion for this music, but I am relieved to know that there are others who have recognized it. I had been wondering about the band for quite some time, and am disappointed to hear about their end. But the music will always live as long as I am here.

Tim Procter writes:

I guess I'm spoilt - and very very lucky - being a music-obsessed Brit I managed to see th'Healers five times, each time better than the previous one. And I know what Jacob means, no other band has made me feel quite like them.

1992, at college in Oxford, reeling from an incredible, caustic Silverfish gig and repeat plays of their 'Fat Axl' album. Soon after Silverfish played, John Peel broadcast a session by th'Healers. I'd heard the name, a snatch of 'Reptile Smile' somewhere, meant to check 'em out because they were always mentioned with Silverfish and the Camden thing but never got round to it. Until that session. Four tracks spread through the show. After 'Moona Inna Joona' had detonated, I was frantically searching for a tape to catch the other three. 'Reptile Smile' was just... perfect. Then they came up on the gig list for Oxford's best venue, the Jericho Tavern, a tiny sweatbox above a tatty pub that attracted a good and dedicated crowd of students and locals alike. After much evangelising to friends, we went and, well, it was OK. At first. It was one of those odd gigs that felt flat and emotionless for the first half, then for no apparent reason went into meltdown halfway through. Maybe I'd wound myself up for it too much, maybe they were having an off night (but they weren't shambolic). Roxanne and Tom looked cool, the sound was great, just something was missing. Then Abba's 'SOS' went through the mincer, rational thought went out of the window and the place went mental and the energy and adrenaline blasted in. 'Reptile Smile', a monstrous version of 'Spin 1/2', Roxanne dancing and shaking her mane as hard as the crowd. This was a buzz I'd had from no other band. I was hooked.

'Mr. Litnanski' came out and became my record of the year (I still think it's the best thing they did, the concentrated essence of what they were seems to be in that record). Come October '92 they were back at the Tavern on stunning form, 'Oh Baby' and 'Moona Inna Joona' even more alive and crackling than on the EP. They played yet again in January. This gig was even better, packed to the hilt, sweaty as hell, people trying to dance and collapsing in waves on the front of the tiny stage, forcing Tom and Ben to play standing right back against the amps. Roxanne just seemed to dance on oblivious. 'Spin 1/2' lasted about 20 minutes and was still too short! Someone later told me that the Jericho Tavern was th'Healers' favourite venue outside London, but even if that's not true, it was still the perfect place to have seen them!

For a while I thought they were going to break big. The last Tavern gig was so joyful, so packed, so damn fine that I'd have sworn their magic was way too big to be contained in tiny cult venues. This carried on when they played the very first Phoenix Festival that summer. They were on late in the afternoon, in one of the tents, after a slew of frazzled noise merchants like Mint 400 and Skyscraper. The tent was full, the reaction absolutely ecstatic. Some new stuff appeared, 'See Saw' and then this other new tune. What. the. fuck. is. this? The most nerve-shredding piece of tension-to-noise I had ever heard. Tom building the most incredible wall of noise, getting denser and denser as the riff spiralled up, and that final vocal, Roxanne's strangled cry. They'd surpassed themselves. The marathon 'Spin 1/2' was a perfect foil, familiar dance-yourself-stupid relief. They got the most fanatical cheer of the whole damn festival. Surely they were on their way up?

The last time I saw them was in November, at The Garage in London, and something had changed. The place (a medium-sized and very popular venue) wasn't full, but there was a relaxed feeling, which the band seemed to enjoy, Roxanne announcing she liked the "mellow vibe tonight". Perhaps they knew they were going to split and were enjoying their last gigs as a result. Anyway, it was great, they played that song again (which I now knew was 'Heart Fog') and this time it seemed beautifully melancholy, unlike the wired, supertense Phoenix version. The big riff-outs were soothing and trancey, and they even sneaked 'Pop Song' in as an encore to bounce up and down to. And that was it.

I still miss them, for two years they were the most exciting band I knew of, soundtracking my leaving college and getting a job. Each gig caused major anticipation, and they never disappointed. Yet none of my other music fan friends liked them - I've even met people who thought they'd sold out with 'Lido', for fuck's sake. They still pop up and cause shivers - I found the 'Go Abba' single last year, which brought memories of that first gig flooding back. A few months ago, 'Gorgeous Blue Flower' got played on the 'Evening Session' radio show. And I've finally seen Quickspace (the latest incarnation with Nina), and that night they had the guitars whacked up loud and heavy, and recalled th'Healers quite a bit. Maybe it's good that they split, it would be sad if they were still schlepping around with the magic gone. But yeah, music's never quite been the same without them.

Dave Milsom writes:

During the spring of '90, i studied abroad in London for a semester through the University of Delaware. Throughout the three or four months, i used to see th' faith healers name listed for gigs, but i never made it to see them. i finally did go to see them at the borderline club, which had just started to have 'indie' bands play. needless to say, i was overwhelmed. there were only about 25 people there, but i danced like i had never danced before. Unfortunately, i was to leave a week later, and never got to see them again. about a year after i got back, the 'reptile smile' song swept through my circle of friends, and, for a month or so, was played everyday on the college's radio station.

Five years later, I finally got a chance to revisit London. One night i went with a few friends, and friends of friends, to a pub, with the intention of drinking a bit, and then seeing (i think) the band Kepone, who were playing at the Garage, across the street. We were all sitting at quite a large table, so i didn't get a chance to get into much detail with those who weren't sitting in my immediate vicinity. I was introduced to everyone, though, one of them being a woman named Roxanne. A couple of nights later, someone was talking about 'faith healer' roxanne, and i realized that that was who i was introduced to a few nights earlier. I wished i had known, for i would have said something like, 'i really like the band you used to be in'. But looking back, it probably was good i didn't know, 'cause i woulda come across as some kind of fan-boy........oh well....

Jacob writes:

i first heard th healers in late '92 when our very good late night cbc radio show "brave new waves" did an interview with them (interspersed with cuts from lido). 'spin 1/2', for the first time, at 2-odd in the morning remains a musical turning point in my life (then they played 'stomach worm' by stereolab, also one of my top songs of all time, and a fine track by spiritualized - a very good night...

at first i thought they were a famous group i just hadn't heard of, but no one else knew anything about them. i did manage to find lido at an hmv - for $30. i equivocated but eventually laid down the cash, a move whose happy rewards i point to as the source of my unrestrainable spendthriftness to date.

i managed to see them live when they came to toronto touring lido. they played between two other unremarkable bands. roxanne's throat was a mess and she was quite inaudible. also tom and ben seemed a bit at odds, and ben was badly out of tune, so they had to stop while tom retuned ben's bass. there was generally some indication that a lot of alcohol had been imbibed. also tom popped a string early on and they got kicked off stage when it was the next band's turn, but not before they had managed to drag out 'spin 1/2' for about twenty minutes. it was easily the best show i have ever seen. after the show i got a chance to go up and offer my thanks for their fine music. they were very pleasant, especially considering what had been by some objective measures a disastrous show. later on i saw it written up as a toronto critic's favorite show that year...

i wrote to the band that year and got a very nice reply from roxanne. when imaginary friend came out i had an opportunity to see them when i was in new york, but only found out about the show after the fact! it was a great disappointment at the time, but in retrospect i'm glad i caught them after lido, which i much preferred to imaginary friend. i haven't really liked anything tom's produced (or anyone else for that matter) since then anywhere near as much, but it's still good and i look forward to anything that comes out with his name on it.

i'm still a little mystified that they never became a huge sensation, or even a little one really... but that's the music industry for you. honestly i've enjoyed the rest of music a little less since i first heard their music, so thinking about th faith healers makes me a little melancholy. but for those moments of ecstasy in fall '92, and the audible echo of it i hear every time i listen to lido, it's worth it.

Tim Wade writes:

I first heard Th' Faith Healers when I was in a record shop in Manchester in the UK. They were playing Lido over the shop sound-system and I thought "Fuck whats this..." and bought it there and then. "A Word of Advice" is still one of my favourite pieces. I have this lasting memory of standing at Colombo Airport in Sri Lanka on the way back to Austrailia (the Royal Jordanian plane had broken down). I was extremely tired and stood gazing out of the huge window watching helicopters taking off to "sort out" the Tamil Tigers. I had "A Word of Advice" going on my portable Diskman. The whole thing was a bit like an out-take from "Apocalypse Now"....

Tom Carter writes:

one day in 1992 my most favorite radio station in my hometown of san francisco, kusf, played 'reptile smile'. i loved the song. i got lido that day and fell in love. it's all i listened to. i dig her voice. i didn't know what the fuck she was singing but it was beautiful. and i dig the loud noisy guitar and drums and stuff. since i was kinda into the whole music scene i looked for other records and neat faith healers stuff but i didn't find nothing, and nobody knew who th' faith healers were cept kusf but all they told me was there's some records somewhere in the dusty san francisco used record shops. i never heard th' faith healers on any other radio station and never read about them in the music rags. it was kinda neat because it's like th' faith healers were my little secret.

i listened to lido when i woke up and when i went to sleep.

a year or so passed and then one day i was browsing in a record shop and i saw imaginary friend. i was breathless. i got it in a sinch and went for a long drive. i remember it was rainy. i loved imaginary friend more than lido because it was hypnotic. 'everything all at once forever' was beautiful. i was jazzed. i listened to imaginary friend forever and ever.

and then one day i saw in the newspapers that the breeders were playing and th' faith healers opening. i got a ticket and went to the show alone because i wanted to be alone with my little secret. i was so tickled to find out what she looked like. the show was on march 31, 1994 at the warfield in san francisco. the crowd was a bunch of little girls in pig tails and knee highs who loved the deals. i stood in front of the stage and then she and them walked on the stage started playing music. the lights weren't even turned off and the stupid tricks in the crowd wouldn't be quiet and nobody knew who th' faith healers were and nobody was dancing. but i didn't care. i was in a trance and so happy to hear them in real life. they played 'spark' and 'heart fog' and 'love song' and 'woa baby' and 'moona' and 'reptile smile'. i hollered to her that i loved her and she smiled and winked. when she sang she reminded me of janis joplin. the fellas kinda stood there and played really loud. it was brief but rapturous. i waved good bye and the guitar fella tossed me the song list. it's on ripped out note paper and written in red marker on both sides because they changed the order of the songs. the breeders were drunk and i hated them and i think th' faith healers should have played last and played 'everything all at once forever' till the morning.

and that's that. i listened to lido and imaginary friend forever and ever till today. it was still my little secret but i got an old girlfriend to love them. i still didn't find any other records and never read about them and never heard them on the radio.

i found l' like i found imaginary friend. l' is neat because it's old stuff. i still didn't know the words to any songs on lido and friend and l' but i never much tried to. and then tonight i was fucking around on the stupid cob web and i decided to type th' faith healers because i was listening to friend and then yer sight came on and i was so happy. and then my heart broke when it said they weren't together anymore because i've been waiting till tonight for a new record and show and i'll never get to hear a new song or see her. i was happy to find out all the neat stuff about them and their names and the lyrics and stuff. i wonder how many people in the whole wide world like th' faith healers. until tonight it was just me but now i have faith healer friends.

David Lawton writes:

I feel honoured to have seen Th' Faith Healers twice live, once when they supported Carter USM at Sheffield University years ago (just after the release of 'Pop Song'), and once when they toured to promote Imaginary Friend at Sheffield Leadmill. Both occassions left me estactic, more than words can express, so I won't try. Unfortunately they didn't tour up North much, they mainly concentrated on London.

Erica writes:

I saw them open for the Breeders and Jon Spencer Blues Explosion, two years ago in Columbia, Missouri at the Blue Note.
A friend of mine had Lido and Imaginary Friend, which I had heard maybe twice total.

I was totally amazed by their performance and immediately loved them. For me, they made the show, the Breeders and Jon Spencer just didn't seem to measure up since th' Faith Healers put on such an amazing set. I couldn't tell you what songs they played, I do remember 'Heart Fog', though. Roxanne seemed quite tall to me, I don't remember seeing her face because the whole time she had her long, dark brown locks hanging over her face. I remember her navy house dress with little white flowers on it, and her being barefoot. She didn't move a lot, but basically just rocked back and forth to the beat of the music. It was a totally mesmerizing experience for me. I was totally upset by the crowd because everyone was just either standing there talking or talking shit on the band, just because they had never heard of "these healer people." I don't really remember the rest of the band because I just stared in awe of Roxanne. I'm sure I was one of few people in the crowd that were getting into their set.

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