Memories of Gene
By Jim Bruno
Well, the story wouldn’t be complete if we didn’t talk about our experiences and memories of Gene Lunsford.
Gene was Larry Lunsford’s father.
Gene was, in a lot of ways, a lot more like a teenager than an adult. He was an up personality – very funny and a lot of fun to be around. He loved to horse around as much as the rest of us. He interacted with us more like he was one of the guys than one of the dads.
Gene was our second manager, and by the time the band won the Teenage World’s Fair, Gene was already with us.
Even though Gene was a lot of fun, he still had a drill sergeant side of him. He was very concerned with our appearance and always wanted to make sure that our clothes were laundered, clean, pressed and looking good. If they weren’t, Gene was prone to docking us, which kind of became an inside joke with the guys – “You’re gonna to get docked if you forget your tie!” or “Your shirt is wrinkled. You’re gonna get docked!” – things like that.
It’s a notable part of the story because everything was important, from the clothing to the choreography, the dancing, the music – all were part of us trying to present the very best show we possibly could.
So again, while others might have rebelled, we all understood what he was doing, and although we may have moaned and groaned here and there, it didn’t stop us from actually trying to live up to Gene’s and our own expectations.
There were many performances where we would be driving to our gigs and back home again, and Gene would be there with us talking about how the night went. We talked all about the show, telling jokes, making us all laugh. He was a lot of fun.
I should mention we had a van and a trailer. For most of our performances, we all traveled together in the van and the trailer carried all of our equipment. That was another thing that really made us feel special and also made that time so magical.
There was an amazing amount of bonding at a very impressionable time in our lives when all of that was happening.
Gene was just as dedicated to the band as all the other members were, and he certainly had great influence on us in many ways. You can definitely add Gene to the mentors list.