Dec 1, 2013

...Clubhouse In The Sky

Once, in A New World Of Time, there was a band that showed so much perfect promise.  It was a man and his wife, leading a band that had some interesting spiritual things to say. Their name started with "a", and consisted of two words.

I could be talking about Arcade Fire, but I'm not  I'm talking about Adam Again:  a band from earlier in this century and the end of the last one.  They too had all the makings of fame- but you haven't heard of them, have you?  This is a small piece of their story.

Gene Andrusco was a child actor.  A voice actor.  He once did voice-overs for a cartoon, with an actress.  They both did voices for the children of the title character.  The name of the cartoon is unimportant.  You may have heard of his coworker though:  Jodie Foster is such a famous actress that she is said to have inspired Reagan's would-be assassin, and most certainly inspired a band called JFA.  I'm sure Gene inspired lots of people, maybe they started bands, but they didn't name them after him.

And they knew people.  In the above-linked album, you'll note the distinctive cover art.  It reminds you of Talking Heads and R.E.M., does it not?  Indeed.  It is by Howard Finster, and his work appeared on the covers of Reckoning and Little Creatures, two iconic 1980's albums.  Oh, and on Adam Again's In A New World Of Time.  Again they were peers of greatness.

But they weren't just close to greatness.  They were more than capable of it themselves.  Listen to "Jimmy" by the Lost Dogs, or "Dunce Cap", also with them.  Listen to "River On Fire",  from Adam Again, and you can just hear it.  They had it.  Gene had it.  Whatever that un-imitatable quality is- Gene's voice had a copyright on it.  From their name (a reference to the second Adam) to their songs, they had a subtle and honest emotional pull that could bring you to tears)

I am not their biographer.  I can't say 'except for _______ and ________ they would've been the biggest band in the world!'.  I don't know that kind of detail.  But I can tell you the two major points that would have to be touched on in that biography

The first is the dissolution of the Andrusco's marriage to Michele Bunch-Palmer in 1994.  She continued with the band until the year 2000, but you have to know that things had changed in the creative engine of the band.  Yes, this sort of pain can sometimes produce great art, and arguably in this case it did as well, but as to the world changing, career-making success that the band sometimes talks about in their lyrics (or laments not having) it was undoubtedly affected by the change.

By far the saddest and most final of the signpost events that affected Adam Again, though, was the death in the year 2000 of Gene "Eugene" Andrusco.  If their marriage and/or divorce is an arguable point, and it is arguable whether their marriage was the creative center of the band, Gene's death was unquestionable and irreplaceable.  It was the end of the band, the end of their apiration for acknowledgement. If- as lyrics suggest- the band was their house, this was the house burning down.

Realizing all this, it is poignant to listen to the band as they comment frankly through their music about how hard life can be, about having "...the pink slip for my car... a little place...  a band that plays my songs... " and knowing that they all "...need more, much more".  This sort of thing is typical for rock.  What isn't is listening and KNOWING that it's never going to be.  Knowing that barring some amazing and unimaginable turn of events, this music will slowly slip into obscurity.  That the band members go their separate ways, but the band itself, the "house" is simply a place you remember which is no longer there, like the hillside that's been leveled to create a mini-mall.  Knowing this makes it bittersweet to listen to.  But what can you say?  The impossible happens.


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