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Gene Eugene was a member of a band called Adam Again. His wife and he had been divorced for some time but she still remained in the band with him, loyal. He was also a member of a band called Lost Dogs, whose other members also had their own bands. They were four friends. Now Gene is dead.

I only know all this because I was told. There was a tribute for him at Cornerstone at midnight on a night fireworks were set off to celebrate a belated independance day. I had never seen Adam Again live, and tonight the lead singer was dead. His friends filled the spot where he was once, singing his songs as best they could. They would sing and then one by one go backstage and pat their eyes. I never knew musicians could be this close of friends, that they clung to love this way.

I adored the band Lost Dogs, and the void where Gene's voice was before resonated; it was not the silence I had hoped for but an electric absence. It sizzled like water droplets on a frying pan.

I watched this remnant of his band hold the pieces together in the white lights, I witnessed their blend of rejoice in strength and minor crumblings between songs. They had each other, but it was not always enough. Not up there, on stage, in front of everyone.

Gene's guitar, un-owned now. Projected on the curtain behind it, they had put together a montage of Gene in the studio, Gene with his guitar. With his frumpy sweatshirts and blonde dyed hair, his limited smiles. Stairsteps swabbed with cobwebs that led to the soundboard, his fingers knowing the levers and knobs. His soft voice crooned as home movie grain images flickered over objects then to people, people and Gene.

I didn't know this man, but I knew people who did. But even that connection didn't matter. Throughout the festival, his death was being worked over like old gum, worn to leather in people's mouths as they began to accept grief, the way we all do at first, with wide open eyes that don't see anything yet, can't focus. Through their struggles in plain view I saw enough of Gene to mourn with them.

Ralston had said that if Gene heard the band playing his songs that maybe it would rain that night, to show that Gene had heard us in Heaven. But it didn't. There were fireworks instead.

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