1) When/how did you first meet Gene?
I first met Gene back in 1982 when he was in a band called Martus. Sim of Undercover was also in that group as well. If my memory is correct I believe Gene was on keys. Anyway, it was this outdoor gig and both Martus and us (Altar Boys) were on this huge rickety old trailer that was converted to a stage. I still have pictures of that gig somewhere. I actually don’t recall how much interaction I had with Gene, but I remember going away from that gig really liking all the members of Martus. We played together a couple of times after that.
2) What projects were you involved in with him?
I worked on two projects with Gene at the Green Room. The first recording he worked with us on was the second “Clash of Symbols” project (Begging at the Temple Gate Called Beautiful). He did a little engineering and producing. Mark Rodriquez was the main engineer on that project, but Gene would pop his head in, put in his two cents and subbed a couple of times for Mark. Before this time I do not recall ever working a lot with Gene – which is unfortunate – I did hear his name a lot as a quality producer and of course we had basically the same circle of friends. But the first project I really heard him do was the second Swirling Eddies recording. I was impressed by it, but I always thought the snare was too loud, and I would always rib him about it….”Hey Gene, what’s up with that snare?? Do you think you could have made it louder??” He would of course just laugh at me and say, “What are you talking about? It sounds great?”
In 1997 or early 96 I asked Gene to help me with Full Circle – my 3rd solo project. We recorded several songs and mixed a few of them down. I loved working with him, and just remember laughing and laughing with him. All I did was laugh during those sessions. When he died I was devastated. Fortunately, I was able to take the 2 inch tape, transfer it on pro tools and Bobby Hartry and a number of my friends finished it up. The finger prints of Gene are all over that project. I know he would have been proud of it.
3) How do you think Gene shaped and impacted the music scene?
I think Gene helped to bring a certain edge and style to Christian music that was missing. However, I feel that his influence is more subtle and not as direct as some might think – others might feel different. But if you ask any of today’s groups or Christian artists about Gene Eugene, they would probably just give you a blank look. Yet, his influence is there and I can hear it in some of today’s music. Again, I will hear an arrangement or part in a song, and think to myself, “humm, sounds like something Gene would do….I really miss him.”
4) Three words that you would use to describe Gene?
The real thing.
5) As a friend of yours, how did Gene influence you?
I think what I like best about Gene was how he accepted, understood, encouraged and respected me as an artist and a person. To be quite frank, for whatever reason I feel I have been misunderstood and am a bit alienated by more than a few artists that run in Gene’s circle – for whatever reason, maybe it’s my breath. More likely it is because I have a history of being somewhat intense and at times a little difficult, oh well. But with Gene it was always good, no weird vibes, he never made me feel uneasy or tried to intimidate me, most importantly he gave me the benefit of the doubt and never held my faults against me… hence a true friend, I appreciated that in him, more than you could ever know.
A week or so before he died, Gene and I sat and talked for a couple of hours in the kitchen at the Green Room. It was really difficult to get his undivided attention because he always had so much going on and there was always someone stopping by the Green Room. So this was a very unique situation, I feel that time we spent together was a gift from God. It was a special time that I will always treasure. He told me some very nice things about myself that were thoughtful and had a lot of insight. In the end, I think what I loved most about Gene is he could bring out the best in you, both as an artist and a person, and that is a real gift and something that not all people can do…. Like Gene, Bob Hartry also has that ability too. Guys like him and Gene are few and far between. I am a better person for having known Gene, I think about him often, and miss him dearly.