I guess they just felt sorry for me
(25 June 1960)
Rock star has had to cut short his British tour - but before he left he gave this interview to DISC reporter Richard Adams
FIRST IT WAS THE EDDIE COCHRAN TRAGEDY, THEN CAME THE DEATH OF HIS DAUGHTER, MELODY, BUT HIS FANS UNDERSTOOD…
I Guess they just felt sorry for me
With most singers, their voice and face are their fortune. With Gene Vincent it’s the same, only the reasons for the fortune are different.
It’s not the girls who go for that face, it’s the boys. And take a look at that face, a close look. It’s pinched, tired and lined as if he has all the worries in the world.
But it’s his fortune.
“Only about 40 per cent, of my fans are girls,” reveals Gene in a voice so quiet that it’s barely audible. “But it’s better this way. I don’t get all that screaming, and I don’t make the boys jealous.”
That is a long sentence for Gene. He’s moody, quiet, appears to be shy and is quite happy to let someone else do the talking for him. He registers no change of expression when his name is mentioned and rarely smiles.
There’s a slight trace of a grin however, when the subject of his face come up. But he doesn’t say much about it. “No, I guess it isn’t very beautiful, but I wouldn’t change it.”
Says his road manager, “The fans all look upon Gene as being one of them. They turn up at the stage door sometimes in their hundreds all wearing black leather outfits the same as Gene wears on stage.
“They crack jokes with him, asking where he’s left his motor bike, and all seem to like him. Not once have we had any rowdyism or trouble.
THE ‘TOUGHS’ HAVE CHANGED
“Sometimes they have even helped us to clear a way for Gene to get to the car. And these are the real toughs who usually make trouble for other stars.”
When his friend Eddie Cochran was killed in that tragic car crash last April, Gene suffered a great personal loss.
He felt incredibly lonely, and his loneliness made him feel even more homesick.
Then came the news about his daughter and his hurried return home. Gene Vincent certainly has had it hard.
But though Eddie’s death first brought on this loneliness it also helped in one small way to make life a little easier. With Gene’s consent his road manager says: “Ever since Eddie’s death the fans have been far more considerate to Gene.
“At one time when Eddie and Gene were touring together there used to be massive crowds outside the stage door who just wouldn’t let either of them through. Now the same crowds are there, but they’re far more considerate to Gene. They seem to sense that he has lost a friend and try to help him.”
Says Gene: “I guess they feel sorry for me.”
He seems to be miles away as he says this, but no more sad than he usually looks. I ask his manager how he tells whether Gene is sad or not. I’m told: “It takes a long time and you have to know him very well before you can tell…”
The one thing which Gene shows any real enthusiasm for is his new record “Pistol Packin’ Mama,” arranged for him by Eddie just before he died, and “Weeping Willow.”
He plays me the disc and asks whether I like it or not. I say I do.
But I couldn’t tell whether my comment made him happy or not.
It would have done, I think, if it hadn’t been for those tragedies.