Christian Music - Reviews, News, Interviews

In Memory of Gene Eugene Andrusco...

  • 2000 30 Mar
In Memory of Gene Eugene Andrusco...
By {{Mike Stand}} ({{Altar Boys}}, {{Clash of Symbols}})

In September 1982, the {{Altar Boys}} were asked to play a gig in Ontario with a band called Martus. That was the first time I met both Gene Eugene and Sim Wilson (who later joined {{Undercover}}). I don't remember a lot about that meeting, what I do recall is that they were an enjoyable group of chaps.

Through the middle eighties I kept hearing the name Gene Andrusco over and over as he worked with Joe Taylor (editor's note - Undercover leader and cofounder of the legendary Brainstorm Artists International along with Gene) and others. In 1986 someone slipped me a cassette of the first {{Adam Again}} project "In a New World of Time." I fell in love with the band.

In 1988 Rob Watson agreed to produce my first solo record, "Do I Stand Alone?" We tracked most of it at Neverland studio (Derry's place) and The Green Room, except it was called something else then, I can't remember.

Anyway, it came time to mix the project and Rob and I just couldn't get the songs to sound right. Rob suggested bringing in Gene to mix it. I thought "The Martus, {{Adam Again}} guy? Does he mix and stuff?"

I found out real quick about Gene's abilities.

Rob and I had gotten up a starting mix of "I've Seen Gray." It sounded horrid. Then Gene walks into the studio. Rob and I left for a 10-minute breather. When we came back it was it was like magic. The song sounded great!

"What did you do Gene?" we asked ecstatically.
"I turned all the instruments down, you guys had everything pegged," Gene laughed.
"It does sound pretty good, huh" he added with a chuckle.
Needless to say, it was the handy work of Gene that made "Do I Stand Alone?" sound so wonderful.

In early 1995, I was working on the second {{Clash of Symbols}} record down at the Green Room. We hired Mark Rodriquez to engineer the record. But of course Gene was in and out the whole time listening and making suggestions. On the song "Red" he encouraged me to do something to make my guitar sound different or unique. He began looking at all my pedals and suggested I turn the rate knob on my chorus to eleven. It gave my guitar this funky warble sound.

"That's it!" He yelled. "It's great! Perfect for the track."

He was right. Gene kept giving us steady and creative input through the entire "Begging at the Temple Gate" project.

Early last year I approached Gene about recording demos of some of my new material. We tracked 4 songs and mixed them rather quickly. They came out good, but not spectacular. Later in the year, I asked Gene to track two more songs. Along with agreeing to record new material, Gene suggested we spice up the four songs we had just mixed, and remix them all over again.

"Mike, they're not quite right," he said.
I agreed they weren't record quality, but fine for demo purposes.
"Let's make them better," Gene stated firmly, "Let's make them right."

We recorded the two new songs and added some things to the other 4 songs. We mixed a couple of tunes, but Gene didn't seem to be really happy with the mixes. Finally, around February of this year, on a Thursday afternoon I met Gene at the studio.

"I feel good today!" he said as I walked in the door.
I looked at him like "what do you mean?"
"My ears, everything I just feel like I can do a better mix of "This Day Is Mine."
I laughed.
He goes, "No! Really, I feel like I can do some great mixes today."
We listened to the old mix together and agreed they were honking in the mids.
"I can do it better, just let me get to work."

As Gene was setting things up for the mix we started talking about Cornerstone 2000. He was all giddy about being there with {{Adam Again}}.

Then Gene asks me, "You're playing, right?"
I said, "No, I wasn't invited."
"Do you want to play there?"
"Yeah, we would love to," I remarked quickly.
"Well, then why don't you e-mail John and find out if {{Altar Boys}} can play. They're bringing in a lot of the veteran bands back this year. I'm sure they would love to have you."

As quick as he said that he got John Herrin's e-mail address up on the computer. Gene was notorious for always checking his e-mail. So, I dashed off a short letter to Cornerstone. John e-mailed me back the next day. He was receptive to the idea and graciously agreed to give Altar Boys the last remaining slot for Cornerstone 2000.

Soon after that Gene got down to work. I sat in the little "Tikki room" outside the mixing room while Gene worked frantically for a couple of hours. Finally, he popped his head out and said, "come on in and have a listen. I think it's all there."

He was right. Except for a few loud BGVs in the bridge of the song, he nailed it. The mix of "This Day Is Mine" was stunning!

He took a break and cooked up some chicken for himself. We had a few laughs, listened to a couple of CDs. One CD was of a band called "In the Pink"

"Pink something or other" I don't know.
"Listen," Gene said "that's got to be Dave Grohl on the drums. No one plays like that!"
"Yeah," I smiled, "it's got to be him all right."

It was a wonderful evening and I felt honored to have Gene's complete undivided attention. Usually there are people coming in and out of the Green Room all night. It's a wonder Gene got anything done at all. But that evening, it was just Gene and I hanging together, something I rarely have time to do these days with anybody.

At 11:00 PM I left the studio. Gene insisted on working up a mix of "Rocket to the Moon." I had no doubts about his abilities. My presence and input was merely symbolic. I kind of felt guilty about leaving though, but Gene insisted, "this is what I do Mike! Go home, it will be fine." That was the last time I worked with Gene. We emailed each other about once a week or so after that trying to find time to finish mixing the material, but as we all know, Gene was never one to be idle. The Green Room was like triple booked or something to that effect. I did stop by the Green Room a couple of weeks ago to pick up a DAT copy of "Rocket to the Moon." "It's here someplace," Gene remarked looking through a bunch of DATs scattered here and there on the rack holding various tape players and assorted bric-a-brac. "Don't worry, I'll find it later. I keep all my important DATs right here," he insisted. That was the last time I saw Gene.

I learned a lot from Gene. I always was marveled at his uncanny ability to be so non-intrusive in his musical suggestions. Musicians are a sensitive uppity bunch of individuals. We tend to become overly defensive at the slightest hint of any criticism. Yet, Gene had this charming and nonabrasive way of making suggestions to change your music, whether it was as simple as a change in a lyric or guitar line or as involved as a complete structural overhaul. And 9 times out of 10 he was right on the money. No one ever took offense at his suggestions. It was like magic. It's a gift and what a gift I tell you! I coveted every aspect of that ability.

Gene taught me how to give. He always reiterated that he liked doing the "big" projects so he could afford to do the "little" gigs - like helping me with my demos. He was committed and knew his purpose. If it was within his ability or time to help you out, he did it. No questions asked or back peddling.

The most impressive character trait of Gene though was that I never, ever heard him say one unkind word about anybody or anything. It's the truth! If he didn't like a certain style of music or band he would say, "you know, they're just trying to do something different." I never heard a cynical word out of his mouth only words of encouragement and understanding. We should all pray for such balance in our lives.

I join in with so many others who cry and stand in shock at the loss of our comrade. I'm still dumbfounded. But should I be? The Lord had His reasons for calling Gene home, obviously. The Bible continually reminds us that our presence on this earth is temporary. Still, death is so final and it is something that the living has to somehow continually come to terms with. I know I'll see Gene again and when I do I like to think he'll invite me into his heavenly Green Room to record a new batch of tunes.

Thanks Gene for everything you taught me by both example and exhortation, and for all that you added to both my music and to so many others, as well. I'll miss you more than you'll ever know.

My prayer is that through the death of Gene we'll all learn to come to terms with our own mortality and draw closer to God.

May the peace of the Lord be with you all. Remember: You are Loved

{{Mike Stand}}

For our Music News report by Dan MacIntosh
from Gene's funeral, Click Here.

A memorial fund has been set up to help defray the costs of Gene's funeral. Tim Taber ({{Prayer Chain}}, Transparent Artist Management) is administering the fund and Michelle Palmer (aka Rikki Michelle) is behind it as well. This is the way to go folks. If you'd like to contribute or just send condolences:

Send your contributions to:

Gene Eugene Memorial Fund
c/o Transparent Artist Management
14151 Newport Ave. #203
Tustin, CA 92780

Special thanks to my old roomie Dr. Tony Shore at Obvious Communications for finding this for us. For more write ups on Gene as well as the LA Times Obituary and links on their "Links" page to other tribute pages, please check out...

edited by Scott A. Shuford for the Music Channel at