Meet the Gene Pool

The dashing and cordial Martin Rossiter of the English group Gene has

graciously agreed to contribute a road report to ATN, detailing the

trials, tribulations, and petty arguments of one band, one bus, and a

seemingly endless tour. In today's report, we meet the band and

assorted others. Meet ATN special correspondent Martin Rossiter:

Eleven people, lost luggage, perspiration, claustrophobia, nightly

panics. It's hard to find the words to describe this lifestyle, for it

is a lifestyle, not a job, an occupation, or a hobby. "Weird" is a

little too MTV for my palate. Ditto "wacky." "Peculiar" is close, but

not quite right. I think "odd" best sums up this experience.

There are eleven people in our traveling circus. Let's say hello:

Terry Merchant is the Godfather. Born circa 1812, Terry is by far the

most experienced member of the gang. His official capacity is backline

technician; this does not stop him from drinking, in one evening, more

than an entire Betty Ford meeting could muster in a week.

"Fuck off, Pip, get it yourself." "Why the fuck should I? You left it

there!" etc. etc. etc. These delightful contributions to the English

language come from Scally, shirt seller and wannabe Beatle, and Pip

Rhodes, lighting designer and pocket generator.

Next in line is Chris Wibberley, the latest addition to our party. If

every group has one deathly silent and mysterious member, Mr.

Wibberley is our man. Is he a serial killer? Is he a former Colombian

drug baron? Does he make chickens uncomfortable when the moon is full?

We know not. He does, however, give us a wonderful sound when we

perform, and for that all past indiscretions and sins of omission are


Brother Louis, Daddy Louis, Daddy Who and Love Slug are some of the

more complimentary monikers given our Tour Manager, Paul Louis

Henderson. The man is unstoppable. He is a rock, a god amongst men, an

emerald in a sea of glass, the color red in a monochrome world. He is

also sole and chief editor of my road reports. Draw from this what you


The fifth member of Gene is the fearless Snake, our devoted soundman.

A brief history: Matt and Steve know Snake from their pre-Gene days in

Spin. Returning from a Birmingham show one evening, the Spin van broke

down, and Snake and the driver hopped out to investigate the problem.

An errant truck plowed into the van while Snake was still under the

hood, throwing him forward and breaking his back. I repeat, he broke

his back! Nevertheless, whe Gene formed there was Snake, offering his

services free of charge. We love this man.

Ex-paramedic and Village People look-alike (which one? -Ed.) Russell

Fine is our driver. We have only known Russell two weeks, but it feel

like two years. Driving to Vancouver, we were discussing the OJ case

when Russ turned and said, "What, OJ's in trouble?" This man is the

king of comedy.

On to the band: Steve Mason is our guitarist and the world's sleepiest

man. Kev Miles is our bassist and amateur comedian. Matt James is on

drums and a great philosopher. Lastly, for myself, Martin Rossiter,

I'm the singer, and anything else is not for me to say.

I am sitting in a day room in Sioux City pondering what further tales

to tell, but my thoughts are interrupted by Matt and Steve arguing

over socks. Steve heightens the drama by attempting to juggle the

socks in question, while asserting his right to ownership. This is a

typical Gene scenario. No lines of cocaine, no televisions crashing

through windows, just eleven people, lost luggage, perspiration,

claustrophobia, nightly panics, and socks.