1) When/how did you first meet Gene?
I’m not sure when or how I first met him, but my earliest memory of Gene is when they recorded Ten Songs for Adam Again simultaneous with our recording of Chase The Kangaroo. It was Derri’s studio, and The Choir would work most of the day, and then Gene would come in around 10 or 11PM, and work from midnight, all night long. So our creative worlds collided and I ended up interacting, staying late into the night, and Gene ended up engineering for us… it was just overlap. I started writing lyrics on some of Gene’s songs, and playing percussion, and like I said he started engineering for us. That’s my original memory of him, that original relationship developing.
2) What projects were you involved in with Gene?
Well on Homeboys, the song “Hide Away” was the only song. I wrote the entire lyric to Gene’s music and I was really pleased with that song. That was pretty special to me, and then on Ten Songs I wrote some lyrics on “Beat Peculiar,” “Tree House” and maybe something else… but, those were the two projects I was most involved with.
3) How do you think Gene shaped/impacted the music scene?
He produced a lot of bands at The Green Room. His studio was very affordable and he was a real hands-off kind of producer and engineer. He kind of let people do their own thing. He was the kind of producer where the boat was coming into the harbor and he would grab the chain and wrap it around the post, if that makes any sense, and so I think that resulted in a lot of creativity. A lot of bands that worked there during that period of time were able to find their own way and not be over produced. I think there was a lot of raw beauty back in that day. I think with allot of the Tooth & Nail bands that he really allowed them to be raw and unique and really bring out that beauty, so I think that had to be good for music. There’s nothing better than raw beauty from an artist if you can pull that out. The fact that so much music came out of The Green Room, and he had his hands in so much music, that had to have had an impact.
4) Three words to describe Gene?
Six words come to mind right away. I’ll narrow it down, but I’m thinking he was generous, he undercharged for his studio and his time. He was a gambler, quite literally. He was spirited in a childlike way. Gifted with his engineering, he didn’t know what he was doing, it was all intuitive. He wasn’t a very hard worker, he did it for fun, he did music for fun so I definitely think he was gifted. Definitely the most peculiar person I’ve ever known, there were so many strange things about him. He had his own sense of dress, his studio was called The Green Room but he wouldn’t eat anything green. I don’t just mean vegetables, if it was a green M&M, a jellybean or a pickle, if it was green he wouldn’t eat it. He was street smart, and he was shady… definitely. Interesting that he was shady in ways of business, but he maintained fond relationships. He had a high tolerance for other people, for quirky people, for troubled people and people with flaws. I think that’s why people extended him a lot of grace, and in return he didn’t seem to hold grudges. He had a strong sense of self and a real confidence in his ear. I think that’s the makings of a good producer and engineer, I think it’s real important to be confident in your ear and in your musical sensibility, and he would quickly say what he thought and it didn’t take him long to mix songs because he knew what he wanted. He was very confident in his ear and his musical opinion.
5) As a friend how did Gene influence you?
He extended me a lot of mercy. You know, um… there’s some personal stuff that went on between us, and I had offended him in some way, and he extended me a great deal of mercy. That has influenced me to be merciful to others… definitely.
Adam Again promo shot, provided by Todd Zeller