Clarence "C.J." Jenkins, bassist for the popular Philadelphia-based thrash-metal band FAITH OR FEAR, died Sunday (September 13) after suffering an apparent heart attack during the group's performance at the city's Arts, Music and Antiques Festival.Jenkins, 50, collapsed around 2:45 p.m. as the band performed under a tent on High Street, said FAITH OR FEAR guitarist Chris Bombeke. Jenkins, of Newport, was rushed to South Jersey Healthcare Regional Medical Center in Vineland, where he was later pronounced dead, said his sister, Karen Connors. FAITH OR FEAR was in the midst of a comeback after reuniting last year.
The band released the CD "Instruments of Death" in June. Sunday's performance was FAITH OR FEAR's first in its hometown of Millville in about 20 years, Bombeke said. The band was nearly finished with its 30-minute set when Jenkins collapsed, according to Bombeke, who added that he and other bystanders performed CPR on the bassist until rescuers arrived. "I don't think FAITH OR FEAR would have even been a name to talk about without C.J.," Bombeke said. "We never had another bass player." Jenkins worked at Musikraft LLC, a Landisville-based company that makes necks and bodies for guitars and basses. FAITH OR FEAR rose to prominence in the late 1980s after releasing the album "Punishment Area". The band, which had started out rehearsing in a chicken coop, went on a national tour, but split up in 1991 without releasing another record. FAITH OR FEAR's original lineup — minus guitarist Merritt Gant — reunited last year, playing shows in the Philadelphia area. The band was considering a tour of Germany, Japan and South America — countries where there's been a thrash-metal revival — in 2010, Bombeke said, adding that he hasn't decided if he'll continue with FAITH OR FEAR.