Woof Guide to Obscure Catholic Music: Teresa and the Scapulars

Woof Guide to Obscure Catholic Music: Teresa and the Scapulars November 27, 2013

The general attitude toward Teresa and the Scapulars by those in the know is “the less said, the better.” Formed at a Catholic girl’s school in Los Angeles in the late 1960’s, a school that shall remain nameless to protect the innocent and guilty alike, the Scapulars began as a student folk ensemble intended to play at school Masses. The members, all avid listeners to local radio, soon slipped the leash of the school’s music teacher, Sr. Mary Incontrovertible, and began to experiment with secular folk rock, psychedelic rock, and other controlled substances on their own time. Though always careful to maintain a proper profile at school, they soon became a favorite at weekend parties thrown by their schoolmates for their flash, their sly double entendres, their musical skill, and their eye makeup, not to mention the drugs the bass player was peddling on the side.

Joe Piccone, father of lead vocalist Maria Teresa Piccone, had contacts at Capitol Records in Hollywood, and a record contract was in the offing when the school administration learned about the drug connection and alerted the authorities. Bass player Janine “Jo Jo” McAuslan was arrested, convicted, and sent to Juvenile Hall, and Piccone and two other band members spent weeks in rehab. After that, the Scapulars went their separate ways, none of them returning to their original school.

In most cases little is known of their subsequent careers. Of them all, only Maria Piccone had any future contact with the music industry; after graduating from another school and another session of rehab, she married an industry executive and vanished into obscurity. Bassist “Jo Jo” McAuslan had the most colorful career. After leaving Juvenile Hall she spent several years in the Haight-Ashbury where she tie-dyed muumuus and sold incense. Later she became active in the local neo-Pagan community, for which she wrote a variety of tracts. After many years on a commune in Northern California, sick of vegetarianism, earth tones, and spreading manure by hand, she cried, “All I have grown is but straw!” Penniless, and with nowhere else to turn, she threw herself on the mercy of her old music teacher, Sr. Mary Incontrovertible. Three years later, she became a postulant at a Carmel in Nebraska, where, as Sr. Teresa Benedicta of the Cross of the Child Jesus, she remains to this day.

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