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Faith or Fear Bassist Dies Onstage During Show

Faith or Fear bassist Clarence ‘C.J.’ Jenkins died this Sept. 13 of an apparent heart attack while his band was playing onstage. Jenkins, 50, collapsed just before the Philadelphia-area thrash band finished their set at Millville, N.J.’s Arts, Music and Antiques Festival, New Jersey’s Daily Journal reports. Guitarist Chris Bombeke and other bystanders performed CPR on Jenkins until medical personnel arrive. He was rushed to Vineland’s South Jersey Healthcare Regional Medical Center, where we was pronounced dead.

A thrash band in the vein of Exodus or Overkill, Faith or Fear formed in 1985. Their 1988 Combat/Relativity album ‘The Punishment Area’ made them a popular regional band and got them national recognition as well. In addition to playing countless Philadelphia-area shows, they had toured with Sepultura before breaking up in 1991. The band reunited last year, and their latest album, ‘Instruments of Death,’ had come out in June. The band was playing in their hometown of Millville for the first time in 20 years on Sunday when Jenkins collapsed.

A musician through and through, Jenkins had been working at Musikraft, a company that made and serviced guitar necks and bodies. “We will all greatly miss your immense musical talents, oustanding craftsmanship, boundless knowledge, guidance, and inspiring passion and enthusiasm,” a statement said on the company’s Web site. “Most of all we will miss your friendship and your conversation. We are lucky to have known you. Your spirit will live on in us all forever.”

“I’m just happy he went out like that,” Bombeke told the Daily Journal. “He went out to a huge crowd. I had to pry that bass out of his hand.” Before Jenkins’ death, Faith or Fear had been considering touring Germany, Japan and South America, where audiences still have a deep appreciation of ’80s thrash. Bombeke says that while his immediate thought was that there would be no Faith or Fear without their original bassist, that he hasn’t decided whether or not they’re going to retire the band for good.

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