sly and the family stone

the cleaning up the basement and the thought of playing some vinyl had some thoughts of the past floating through my brain
then someone commented on a previous post about the 930 Club
more specifically the death of Gene Hawkins the singer of Lucy Brown
as Gene was interviewed in that movie about the 930 Club
in this email the woman who commented made mention that she did not know how Gene died
that whole thing brought up all sorts of memories

Gene was a friend of friends
Gene was good friends with some good friend of mine
this did not make us good friends
it did make us friends who hung out and had good times
that said... Gene was a good dude... and all who met him were his friends

my mind battles to talk about times with Gene or the time of his death
the time of his death seems like the direction to go

I remember the night pretty clearly
it was over a decade ago and I was living in a group house in this same neighborhood of mount pleasant
one of housemates and good friends at the time, scott, was one of the founding members of lucy brown
lucy brown was playing at the 930 club.... scott was heading over there
although scott and I went out most every night together he went to the show without me
which is understandable as he wanted to see his brothers... his former bandmates
a bunch of guys he spent a great deal of time with and shared a great number of experiences together

scott left early and came home early
scott was home so early that he was home before I went out for the night
he walked in earlier that the opening act's start time
I asked if scott was okay
scott was white like a ghost
scott responded without making eye contact and without altering his slow pace up the stairs
gene is dead is all that scott said
I did not press things
maybe a short question that got a short answer
I offered to talk then let scott go

it turns out that the band got together at sound check and Gene was no where to be found
so someone went to his apartment
not sure if they forced the door open
Gene was found dead in his apartment
dead of a heroin overdose

the death was a shock to all
to be quite honest his heroin use was a shock, at least to me
at this point in time... although I was not neccessarily close to Gene I did see him once a week
a bunch of us went stopped by to see him dj once a week for part of our bar rounds
there were hellos, there was catching up, there were shots and beers
heroin was never mentioned

gene was a great guy
I have amazing memories of hanging out with gene
hanging out or listening to his music
seeing him perform
whether he was playing with the forever funky Lucy Brown or fronting the local ska band THE NOW

I did not go to his funeral
as I felt that if I should attend some of his closest friends would have asked me if I were attending
having lost friends before
I knew how people can be posessive over the death of their friend people can be
and did not want to risk turning this event into a social event

it goes without saying that his loss is tragic
it has been many years since his death
there are certainly others who feel his loss greater than mine
lives have been altered by his absence

a bad combination
a set of bad choices ending up in a really bad day

emailed scott and mentioned this post
scott said that someone had just emailed him this YOUTUBE video of lucy brown
they look like kids
they were kids


Anonymous said...

I was working at 9:30 Club the night that Gene died, and I remember it well.

Like you, I wasn't real close with Gene, but we would always say hi or talk for a minute or two upon seeing each other. He was a good guy, and always had a good word to say.

All of the staff at the club would always look forward to Lucy Brown shows because they were all such nice guys, and were really easy to deal with. They drew a good drinking crowd, and everyone had a good time. Whether you liked their music or not, it was always an easy, low-stress, and fun night.

It was with that feeling that I went into that night, but of course it turned out much differently. When Gene didn't show up, everyone thought that he must have gotten delayed somewhere or something; no one suspected what had actually happened. When word came back that he had OD'd from heroin in his apartment, everyone was in disbelief; no one had any idea that he had been using the drug. We had sold a lot of tickets to the show, and we had to refund everyone's money without telling them what actually happened (out of respect for his family, we wanted to be sure that they got the news before any word went out), which was hard because all of the staff was completely wrecked by the news. We were all crushed, and it was awful.

Like you said, Gene was a good guy who made some bad choices and paid the price. I didn't attend the funeral for the same reasons you listed. Gene really touched a lot of peoples' lives, though, and I know he's missed by many to this day.

gwadzilla said...


thanks for your comment
as I think that the Blog and posts like this will help to fill in the blank for some people

the title is vague
I think through a google people may find some answers
Lucy Brown was pre-Internet
so the facts are not all out there
here we have brought just a few pieces of the puzzle to surface

a few years back I blogged about a friend of mine through Jason Yas
he also died early
my announcement of his death and my mention of his goodness was appreciated by others who were closer to him
hopefully someone will chance on this posting and feel good that they searched the Internet for some information on Gene

gwadzilla said...

and that picture
it is not Sly and it is not Gene
that is the character Judas from the musical Jesus Christ Superstar

the character sings with great passion and great soul

Gene had that same sort of voice

too bad Living Color arrived on the same day as Lucy Brown
the industry only needed so many punk/funk combinations

while the Chilli Peppers are still doing it

Anonymous said...

I didn't know about Gene until I read your blog. Never actually knew him but I enjoyed their shows. Sad news.

by the way, Itunes classifies them as "metal," which is completely inadequate...

gwadzilla said...

I am not sure of the exact date
nor am I positive about the number of years
but I am going to guess that gene died in 1996
just over a decade ago

not metal
more of that funky not quite punky thing
great energy
great shows

gene loved to perform
so did the rest of the band

I remember scott having the same energy for a packed house of an empty bar
the whole band played with some great energy

Danielle said...

This morning I was telling my son about Gene. Besides being my cousin, he was also my buddy and it was nice to have a close friend who could sit next to me at the kids table for Thanksgiving-even in our 20's cause our family is huge. It was 1995. The funeral was gut wrenching and my Aunt Betty had Gene buried in a grey suit-I'm sure he understood though, anything for Mom. We miss deeply, to this day. I didn't know it was herion. My poor Gene. He was the best.

gwadzilla said...

gene's death was a shock to so many
I knew gene, but never that well
but gene was very good friends with some very good friends of mine
so our intermittent friendship bridge to a higher level
not to mention our interaction was always out dancing or seeing a band
so the energy of our friendship was high
I liked gene
everybody liked gene
many people miss gene
certainly some people miss him greatly
it is sad that your son only gets to know gene through your stories
it is sad that gene did not get to live his life any longer than he did
how he died is not important
it is just sad that he died

bill said...

I just found this blog while searching through a bunch of my old pre-internet cd's and albums. Very sad news indeed, it's old for many of you but to me it's news and it's terrible.

rest well Gene.

- Austin, Texas loves you

Taty said...

Hi, I found this blog by searching for info on Gene. I watched a video of Alice In Chains in 93 and, as always, felt the great sadness of Lane's death. I then thought of Gene, with whom I remember spending lots of time in NYC after-hours clubs playing cards and indulging in those substances that bring you to after hours in the first place. I remember seeing him backstage at a Pantera show in 92(I think they were both signed to Megaforce at that time). Most of all, I remember what an excellent human being he was, and the fun times we had. I too, was not spared by the chains of heroin addiction, but the loss of someone at the hands of that drug is a tragedy like no other. Thank you for providing info on Gene's passing. May he rest peacefully, perhaps somewhere among the stars - in a beautiful, faraway galaxy.


JH said...

Gene was a friend of mines that started out with him being a fan of my band. He was a really good dude with a big heart and an even bigger voice. Like many others, I, too, was surprised by his death from an overdose. We'd hung out many times over the years and I never had a clue. Sad and heartbreaking. He is missed by many of us.......