Remembering Gene: Greg Lawless

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1) How did you first meet Gene?
Gene and I met when we were just 19 years old. I think it was the summer, or fall, of 1981. The way we met was Paul Valadez, our bass player in Adam Again, grew up with Gene and known him since before they were teenagers. Paul and I had a band together that had been going for a couple of months and he said he had this friend that was really good, he played guitar, keyboards and drums, and he asked if he could bring him down, I agreed and so that’s how we met. Gene was really quiet, and if I remember right there was quite some time before our second meeting, maybe a few months. I haven’t thought about this in some time so it’s slowly coming back… we had a brief meeting and then a couple of months later Paul and I decided to start a new band, we asked Gene to be a part of that and he agreed. Not long after that Gene took over leadership. People are probably surprised by that, Paul and I were in the band before Gene, but once Gene got involved we soon realized that he had better leadership qualities than either of us. The three of us were in the band that went through a couple of incarnations before it became Adam Again. We all attended the same church where Michele’s father was the pastor, so we already knew her. Adam Again was together about 5 years before Jon Knox came on board. The first two albums were recorded with a drum kit, not live drums. We put an ad in a Southern California paper and Jon was one of a couple of people that responded, and he joined sometime around the summer of 1989, but he could probably tell you better on the exact dates.

2) What projects did you work on with Gene?
Outside of the Adam Again albums, I worked on a few others with Gene and Terry Taylor. I played on the Scaterd Few album, a Choir song or two and several others, but not too many outside of Adam Again.

3) How do you think Gene impacted the music scene?
He was definitely involved in a lot, Tooth & Nail records and some others ones, but they would probably be able to answer that better than I would.

4) How did the songwriting process in Adam Again work?
Up until our record Dig, it was all Gene, and we were totally happy with that… I mean, ya know, I love Gene’s songs. When we were recording the Dig album I had started a couple of side bands because Adam Again didn’t play live that often and I wanted to play a little more. So occasionally I had a little side band and I would write a few songs, then around the Dig album I would give some of my ideas to Gene and he would change them around a bit, make them better than I could (laughter). So, I guess those songs are co-written on those two albums, Dig and a little on Perfecta. They were basically just riffs of mine, or songs that were in other forms that I just gave to him to do whatever he wanted with them. So it was a bit more of a collaboration at the end, but the majority of songwriting in Adam Again was all Gene.

5) Three words you would use to describe Gene?
Yeah, I don’t know if I can give you three words, but I can… ya know, I loved Gene, as a person, as a friend and as a brother. I loved his music, we played together long before Adam Again when we practiced in Michele’s dad’s church. They let us practice 4 or 5 nights a week, and he’d have a new song at almost every practice and I just loved playing with him. You know, in all these years I’ve never really done an interview like this where I had to put all these thoughts into words. Musically I looked up to Gene so much, I just thought he was fantastic, he was great, I mean he could play anything. He was a great keyboard player, a great guitarist, but in a different sense then a lead guitar player or something like that, I can’t imagine a greater rhythm guitar player. A lot of people don’t know that he could play drums, I admired his musical abilities and his gifts in the studio. He was one of the most intelligent people that I knew, it seems like when we would hang out he would read 3 or 4 different newspapers a day.

6) As a friend how did Gene influence you?
Oh my gosh, he influenced my life in so many ways. The music I will make the rest of my life will always be influenced by Gene. When we first met he had this huge record collection, stuff that I had never heard of that wasn’t even on my radar, so he influenced me with that and with how I perceived music. As time went on I always appreciated how at a young age he was aware of things like social justice, that was real heavy on his heart, and he brought that to my attention for the first time. His political views, his views on his walk with Christ and probably a lot more that I can’t think of right now or even put into words. I think about Gene all the time and I still miss him a lot, not just because of the music we played, but I miss his friendship dearly. Next to my wife and kids he was one of the most important people in my life.

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Ten Songs photo shoots, provided by Todd Zeller

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