Stories from the Road: Conversations with Gene Big G Part 2

Stories from the Road: Conversations with Gene Big G Part 2

Gene kicked off the song on his guitar, but when he reached the end of the opening--still the lone sound of his guitar. No drums that were supposed to be playing. He didn't panic; he knew once they got rolling, everything would be fine. So he played the starting notes again. And again no drums. He kept playing. Still no drums. Five times he played through the opening before he felt a tap on his shoulder. It was his drummer.

This particular drummer, Gene explained, was particular about his stool, or "throne" as he called it. He would move it back and forth, looking for a stable spot. This time, he had placed his throne right on the edge of the drum set's elevated platform. "Hey Gene, don't laugh," the drummer said to him on stage, in front of a whole stadium of people, "but I just fell off the stand and my ass is hurt." The entire stadium erupted in laughter, as his mic had blasted his confession through the speakers. After they got started again, the gig took off. "The crowd was so crazy, clapping, we played an extra three songs," Gene said. "They didn't want us to go away."

The musician has been lead guitarist and songwriter for two bands over his career. He formed the Ripple Road Band first, a trio made of guitarist, bassist, and drummer. They played hard blues but were not afraid to blend genres, adding a twist of Latin or R&B vocals. More recently, he established Charm and Fiction, a blues band all his own. Gene is the one constant of Charm and Fiction, playing lead guitar, singing, composing songs, and is joined by different musicians when needed. Gene will admit that he's had his fair share of musical clashes with band members in the past, he is constantly drawn back to the stage, no matter the challenges.

"If a gig goes right," Gene said, "at some point, you slip under the influence of the crowd, their reactions, and you go crazy." At one gig in New York with the Ripple Road Band, he had one of these moments. A couple was sitting at a nearby table, clearly deep in the music. The guy had a Corona beer on the table. "I took this bottle of Corona beer and started to play with it as a slide!" he explained. "At first, he was like ‘What the hell are you doing with my beer?' but when I started to play with the beer, he started clapping." Once he finished his part, Gene did return the beer.

To be concluded in Part 3 next week!

Share this Post:

Guests Have Said

  • “It has been a great pleasure to work with Multicultural Arts Exchange! I enjoyed the company of the organizers - Michael Zorich and his team. Thank you very much for sharing the gift of the brilliant music performance with people. Thanks to you it is affordable and amazing!”
    Vlad Pochepinski
  • "I was lucky to attend a concert in Northeast Philadelphia in a synagogue Shaare Shamayim to see 'Three Tenors' in their tribute to the legendary Maria Lanza. I personally got a great inspiration from an exclusive selection of favorite areas and popular Italian music as from beautiful academic singers. The audience was excited and did not want to leave the hall! Everyone, including myself, is so grateful to Michael Zorich, who organized such a special concert."
    Ella Lomazova
  • “Had a great time on Saturday 9/9 at the opera dinner at Melody Restaurant. Great people running MAE and fantastic singers with Opera on Tap. First time at Melody restaurant and I thought the food was GREAT!”
    Daniel Pantano
  • “I was with my family at the concert yesterday. We all had so much fun. Thanks to the organizers for a wonderful concert! The performance has surpassed all my expectations and left a lasting impression!”
    Natalia Glick
  • “Four of us enjoyed Justin Gonzalez's beautiful voice, his touching stories and great song selection. Even my husband, who only has place for rock in his soul, liked it a lot. Thank you for organizing the concert. Look forward to more events like that!”
    Paulina Korchagin

Ready for a Show?

We would love to talk to you about purchasing tickets, memberships, or volunteering for an event.



Get tickets to your favorite events at an affordable price ahead of time to reserve your seat.



Subscribers receive early access and savings on tickets to our events which will be mailed to you.



Providing customer service or help behind the scenes, volunteers play an essential role at Multicultural Arts Exchange.


Support Our Community

If you are supporting our vision to make Northeast Philadelphia a great cultural destination, please, donate as much (or as little) as you can by clicking on the "Donate" button. Our fiscal sponsor Fractured Atlas will happily process your gift and you will be rewarded by a richer cultural experience right where you live!

Support Our Creative Community