"As summer 1973 began, Knight launched his boldest promotional stratagem, the band Faith. Drummer Dave Barnes told me the story:
We were called Limousine when we found out from our manager Bill Craig Jr. that we were going to meet Terry Knight. We just knew we were on our way to stardom. Terry Knight flew us in to New York from our hometown Muncie, Indiana for our meeting. We met with his photographer that took the famous portrait of our backside, so no one would see our faces.
The gimmick with Faith owed to their anonymity and Knight's strategically-planted rumors the band was comprised of heavyweight members from various, legendary 1960s groups from London. Supposedly the musicians - Noel Redding and Keith Relf were among the names whispered - came together to forge an illustrious new career without cashing in on prior glories or running afoul of contractual complications. Sold as a "mystery supergroup," Faith is a bizarre twist of art imitating art: Knight took the cue from none other than his collective nemesis, Rolling Stone magazine.
In 1969, Greil Marcus penned for Rolling Stone a spoof record review of an album by "The Masked Marauders." Tantalizingly, the group supposedly included Bob Dylan, John Lennon, Paul McCartney and Mick Jagger (performing such obviously satire titles as "I Can't Get No Nookie"). The presumably stoned public rushed to stores to snap the record up. When no such record could be located, Marcus decided to pursue the gag and, calling in some favors (and some not-so-heavy session musicians), a "Masked Marauders" record was rushed out to an underwhelmed audience. Soon enough, Rolling Stone exposed the very hoax they created.
Without examining the consequences of jiving Rolling Stone with their own jive, Knight decided to take up the idea for his own.
Lead singer Carl Storie recounts the experience:
The album had been released before the Brown Bag deal. We were called Limousine - the record was on GSR. He bought the rights to it and took it to his studio and remixed the masters. He made a lot of changes; the album really sounded different, better - he had a real talent for that.
We met with Terry only once - in his New York office. I never questioned the mystique, the gimmick. He believed in the music, he believed in us as musicians; he felt the skill of the band would overcome any negative stuff resulting from the ad campaign.
We had this huge billboard on the Sunset Strip, so everybody who was anybody would see it and be talking about Terry Knight's new mystery group - it was the cover of the album, specially designed so the heads of the band came out over the top of the billboard. He had the Faith logo put on matches, patches for clothes, postcards - anything it could be printed on. He did it all, he put our names on everything; it was incredible.
He paid us to rehearse; we worked on our show up here [in Indiana] all summer long. He would call us everyday from New York or wherever, asking us "Are you getting the act down tight?" "Yes, Terry, that's all we're doing, working on our show." We played in this cabin; no one was to know what we were doing or whom we were. It was a wonderful time in our lives. We had our debut show planned for Madison Square Garden; Styx was going to open.
Then Rolling Stone exposed us; they busted the plan. They called us hicks - we were devastated, the joke of the town, they came down on "the hype." The show didn't happen; Terry folded the label shortly after the album came out.
Rolling Stone didn't bother to review Faith. Robert Christgau's Creem review was an exercise in humiliation, stating only "I was curious enough to play the first side of this record the day I got it. It took me two months to get to side two."
Like Windmill In A Jet Filled Sky, Faith is a classy album, displaying some excellent writing and playing. The opening track, "Sometimes, Sometimes" is an alluring blend of funky backbeats, uptown riffing and heavy-duty soul shouting. The gospel-inflicted piano ballad, "Answer To The Master," features the sort of honky-tonk epiphany that made the young Rod Stewart such a white-hot comet. The melancholy acoustic serenade, "We're All Heading In The Way / The Last Song" is both philosophical and emotional.
It didn't matter - summer '73 belonged to Led Zeppelin's Houses OfThe Holy and Pink Floyd's Dark Side Of The Moon."
Excerpted from I (Who Have Nothing): The Terry Knight Story by Barry Stoller
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