Spent Brothers Productions Gene Vincent Website


(New Musical Express)
(August 1961)

FOR the second time in little more than a year, Gene Vincent makes a sudden departure from British shores. Again he gives his personal life as a reason, and again the loyalty of his fans is tested to the utmost.

Will Gene ever return ? That’s the question being asked by his many followers-and I’ll stick my neck out for once and warn Gene to rebuild his career on disc, and not on personal appearances.

Remember June 19 last year ? That’s when Gene limped on to a plane back to the States after his visit had been plagued with ill-health, bad luck, and the death of his best friend Eddie Cochran and his own injuries in a car crash.

This time, Gene collapsed in his dressing-room at a Glasgow ballroom. He was rushed to hospital and doctors warned his road manager, Henry Henroid, that he was very sick indeed.

Two days later Gene was back on the road again ! Mot a wise move, you may say, but he felt his actions were justified by the long string of engagements for which he was booked.

No surprise
It came as no surprise to many to learn less than a week later that he had flown back to America-the country he had decided to leave to settle in Britain.

European manager Don Arden explained that Gene was unable to carry on, owing to his illness.

Now there are several things about Gene Vincent that should be stressed.

First, he was ultra-sensitive.

Secondly, he became a different person on stage.

Thirdly, he seems to be haunted by a jinx that has struck again and again disrupting a career that was given a flying start with “Be Bop-A-Lula.”

These three facts tie in perfectly. His sensitivity meant that his manner was construed as eccentric and temperamental.

His stage appearances took a fantastic amount of energy-energy that wasn’t being replaced because of his almost permanent ill-health.

And his feeling about the jinx had a thoroughly alarming effect on him psychologically.

Taking all these things into account, I maintain that Gene should record worthwhile hit parade material, and make no personal appearances at all.

After all, if you’re sick, it’s foolish to work, isn’t it ? And while recording isn’t exactly a piece of cake, at least Gene needn’t step into a studio if he doesn’t feel like it.

One school of thought expresses the view that an artist should have no personal life; that “the show must go on” maxim should apply no matter what-but I know from personal knowledge of Gene that he really is ill and to have carried on would have been disastrous.

Don’t be surprised, though, if Gene’s legion of fans in this country altogether understand why he should suddenly desert them when he has said both on stage and radio that he is going to settle here.

There are plans to bring him back when he is fit, but I think he will be foolish ever to set foot here again.

His make-up is such that a strange country, people and places to whom he is unused, upset him, and an artist of his sensitivity cannot work properly under these conditions.

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