Still Remembering Gene


One of the people who helped change my mind in an irrevocable way is named Gene Eugene.  He died 11 years ago today, and I wanted to take this place to celebrate him for the way he changed my mind.  Gene was a musician, the lead singer and lyricist and guitar player for a band named Adam Again, which later led to him being a part of other bands (Swirling Eddies, Lost Dogs).  He was also a music producer.  What Gene and several other musicians did for me while I was in my late teens and early 20’s was make Christian music  that was not derivative* of what was happening in “Secular” culture.  It was music that was earnest and authentic, an expression of art and heart and spirit that also spoke the language of the world around it (and me).  The music of Gene Eugene (and others) was simultaneously timely and true.

*Of course, virtually all music is derivative in some way – it’s almost impossible to use instruments and voices to do something that hasn’t been done before on some level.  That’s not what I’m talking about.  I’m talking about the tendency of Christian “culture” when I was a teen in the late 80’s (and sadly, still today) to take something from popular, “secular” culture and imitate it for Christian consumption, implicitly with all of the “secularity” scooped out and replaced with Jesus.  As in (to borrow an actual comparison guide that is about 3 and half years old): “If your kids want to listen to Lenny Kravitz, Stevie Wonder, and Red Hot Chili Peppers, then they’ll love Hyper Static Union!”  It happens with music, books, film, performance art – pretty much any form of cultural expression that can be copied.  And it has all the power and depth of a Wayans brothers spoof film.  Which makes me wonder who will be the Christian who comes up with a “Christianized” version of Charlie Sheen’s twitter feed?  (apologies to Joe Posnanski for blatantly borrowing his footnoting technique, which is utterly sensible to me)

And that experience I had of modern music by Christians that stood on its own merits dropped a rock so large into the pond of my soul that it is sending off ripples still.  Simply put, Christians should be the best culture makers, because we are children of the Maker of true culture.  Gene Eugene was one of the first people to help me come to that thought.  Thanks, Gene (and Charlie Peacock, and Michael Roe, and Steve Hindalong and Derri Daugherty, and Terry Scott Taylor, and Mike Knott, to name a few).

Trouble with Lies (lyric by Gene Eugene, 1988)

They unveil their latest crusade
It’s some moral outrage they’re stopping
Worldwide, religious arcade
It means their income was dropping
The host looks sincere
Irrelevant facts aren’t a part of his career

The trouble with lies
When you tell them you still got to sell them
With the look in your eyes
Oh, that’s the trouble with lies
As far as I’m concerned
With the lessons I’ve learned
I’m determined to try and survive
Without lies

This time it’s her out ’til two
He hears the car in the driveway
He wonders what story she’ll use
Did she get lost on the highway
He knows what it’s like
He had to come up with a good one last night

The trouble with lies
When you tell them you still got to sell them
With the look in your eyes
Oh, that’s the trouble with lies
As far as I’m concerned
With the lessons I’ve learned
I’m determined to try and survive
Without lies

I wish you could just tell the truth
I hear your voice getting nearer
It brings back the crimes of your youth
Avoid your eyes in the mirror
The trouble with lies
Is that you start to forget where the real man hides

The trouble with lies
When you tell them you still got to sell them
With the look in your eyes
Oh, that’s the trouble with lies
As far as I’m concerned
With the lessons I’ve learned
I’m determined to try and survive
Without lies


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