Dressed in their usual black shirts, sunglasses and black fedoras, Full Gospel Boogie Band will take the stage at 7:30 p.m. tomorrow at Westminster First Assembly of God.
The Christian rock band, a cross between ZZ Top and the Blues Brothers with some Billy Graham thrown in, will perform with another local band, King James.
The band includes Doug Briscoe on drums, Buck Wike on bass, Dan Tesch on guitar, Ray Remmers on keyboard and John Pepsin on guitar, harmonica and vocals.
The band members are former nightclub musicians who have played full time, Mr. Pepsin said.
Offstage, the band's careers are varied. Mr. Remmers, 44, of Owings Mills, who has been blind since birth, is a piano and organ technician who works on instruments for places such as the Peabody Conservatory of Music in Baltimore.
Mr. Tesch, 38, of Hanover, Pa., is head of biomedical engineering at Greater Baltimore Medical Center, and Mr. Briscoe, 44, of Westminster is an engineer for Saft Inc. Mr. Wike, 37, also of Westminster, is a welder.
The band's sound has been called "a mix of raspy Southern rock and traditional rhythm and blues."
"It's the kind of music that we all really enjoy playing," said the 41-year-old Mr. Pepsin, who owns New Song Guitar Center in Westminster. "But the message of the gospel is the most important thing in our lives, so we have blended the two."
About half of the band's songs are original. Some are taken from rock or country songs, such as Hank Williams Jr.'s "All My Rowdy Friends Are Coming Over Tonight."
The band received permission from Mr. Williams to do its version, called "All My Christian Friends Are Coming Over Tonight."
The band is celebrating its fourth anniversary this year. In the beginning, everyone in the band except Mr. Remmers attended First Assembly of God. The band was created to help the church out of a bind.
"Our church had a band scheduled to play in Westminster and that band canceled. So, a few of us got together and put some songs together so there would be music that night," Mr. Pepsin said.
The band's persona -- the Blues Brothers look -- was devised by the band members' wives.
"They decided if we were going to play this kind of music, we should look the part," Mr. Pepsin said. "It seemed, when we started dressing like that, it really took off. We started geting calls to open for major [Christian] recording artists."
The band receives calls to play along the East Coast from Virginia Beach to West Virginia to Delaware.
The group performs about three times a month, Mr. Pepsin said, and rejects many opportunities because band members don't want overexposure.
This summer they performed at the Fishnet Festival in Front Royal, Va., and the LambJam in Milton, Del.
They have played the LambJam for three years and are booked to play again next year.
The group began playing afternoon performances, and has gained momentum each year, Mr. Pepsin said.
"We are in the evening program," he said. "We're moving up. We are the only band performing at the festivals without a recording contract."
The band's two custom-made recordings outsold most of the major artists records at both festivals, Mr. Pepsin said.
He said the band receives "pretty good airplay" on contemporary Christian music stations, and "we would like to see the next album have national distribution."
Their two compact discs can be found at Christian bookstores in Westminster or at Mr. Pepsin's store.
Tickets for the band's performance are available at local Christian book stores for $8 or at the door for $10.