The Gene Pool

The Gene Pool

BandAmericanaRock

The Gene Pool is a roots based rock band based in Austin, TX. Their debut release; "3rd and Main" features 12 original tracks produced by Steven Collins (Deadman). Dark, haunting arrangements with soulful rock and roll gives a nod to the past and pulls it into the future of American music.

Biography

“We wanted to make a record that was honest, soulful and sincere,” says the Gene Pool’s Geno Stroia II of the band’s first full-length CD. “We didn’t want to make a ‘perfect’ record."

We could say “mission accomplished” and stop there, but then we wouldn’t have a chance to enthuse about the music itself, a style the band loosely defines as Texas roots rock. Now don’t let that term unduly stereotype your thinking. We’re not talking Texas roots rock as in honky-tonks or Hank Williams homages. You’re more likely to pick up elements of gospel, blues, soul and jazz infusing the work of songwriters Stroia, Jackie Hibbard and Jorge Castillo, all of whom also sing and play guitar, and Stroia says, “I hear a little bit of everyone in what we do – some Dylan, Beatles, Stones, the Band, Van Morrison, Tom Waits …

“There’s lots of integrity in those guys, so it helps to have good taste.”

Integrity. Taste. Honesty. Sincerity. If one needs to put a finer point on “roots rock” (with or without the “Texas” aspect), those are some good words to use. Some good qualities to strive for.

Alliance, Ohio, native Stroia seems like the kind of guy who guides his life by those principles. The way he structured the Gene Pool is a good indicator. When he formed this one in March 2002, he sought out musical peers who could share the stage, not just support him. In fact, when asked about the name, he admits he’d be embarrassed to use something like the Geno Stroia Band. The Gene Pool was the suggestion of a friend.

“She said, ‘If you ever start a band, you should call it the Gene Pool, because it’d be like you and all your friends playing.’ And I said, ‘You know, that’s a great idea.’ The name seems to fit,” he adds, “and people seem to remember it really easily.”

Just as he didn’t want the band to carry his name, he didn’t want to be its main attraction.

“I wanted to put a project together that allowed me to start singing and performing my songs, where I was the front guy but not really the front guy,” Stroia says with a laugh. “So I called Jackie and Jorge. They were musical friends and we had played in bands together.”

Stroia, a veteran of the Groove Junkies, the Jay Thomas Band and Parade, asked them if they were interested in working out some songs they couldn’t perform with their other bands.

“We thought it would be just a little project, doing one-off gigs here and there. But it turned out to be a lot more,” he says.

“From all the live shows, I think we’ve gained a lot of knowledge and restraint. And going in to make a record forces you to really think about what you’re playing,” Stroia says. “We tried to make a really sparse record with that in mind. There’s not a lot of misspent notes.”

Steven Collins was hired to produce because, Stroia says, “We knew he’d draw performances out of us. He didn’t allow a lot of takes – some songs are first takes. He’d look at us and say, ‘Yep, we got it.’”

They recorded the album’s 12 tracks at Stevens’ studio, the Troubadour, a restored and converted town meeting hall in MacGregor, Texas. Because the place had such a wonderful, time-transcending vibe – “You feel like you can make a great record in there the minute you walk in,” Stroia says – the band named the album after its location at the corner of Third and Main.

Standout tracks include the soulful, bluesy “Goodbye,” the pensive and pretty “Cry Blue” and the sinewy “Escape 504” and the gospel rave-up finale, “Sinners and Saints.”

Stroia calls “Goodbye,” another gospel cut, a special tune – particularly for Hibbard, its composer, who wrote it about his brother-in-law after he was killed in a car accident.

Of “Cry Blue,” written by Castillo, Stroia says, “It’s one of the finest songs I’ve ever been part of.”

“If somebody said, ‘Hey, Bob Dylan wants to listen to only one song from you guys,’ that’s the song I’d give him,” Stroia says, adding, “I think it not only captures who we are right now, but who we could be in the future.”

Stroia wrote the jazz-inflected “Escape 504,” which might not be out of place on an Iguanas album. He and Hibbard co-wrote “Hangin’ On,” which he says he’s proud of because it’s one of the first songs he brought to the band. Usually, he says, whoever writes the tune sings it, but he knew from the beginning that one was meant for Castillo’s voice.

When it comes to writing, Stroia, who also teaches guitar, says, “I have one rule, and the rule is, there’s no rules. I take ‘em however I can get ‘em. I just try to be an open channel. … I love words, and I take them very seriously; they’re very expensive to me.”

The Gene Pool’s previous release, a self-titled EP, received critical acclaim and airplay on several Austin radio stations, and its single, “American Steel,” broke onto the Americana chart in Europe. The band has shared bills with some of Austin’s and Texas’ favorites, including Los Lonely Boys, Bob Schneider, Stephen Bruton, W.C. Clark, Jon Dee Gr

Lyrics

Escape 504

Written By: Gene Stroia II

I had everything I needed, then I gave it all back
Walked through the shadows where the sky turned black
Hopped a loaded freighter to a town called "Dead"
Stopped long enough just to rest my head
Took it all down to the company store
Pawned it for some peace of mind I need that more

When you left me for that other man, it hurt so bad
I’m still readin’ letters from the times we had
Like a scarecrow in the wind, I’m twistin’ all around
Shoutin’ from the field but I can’t make a sound
Took it all down to the company store
Pawned for some peace of mind I need that more

Storm clouds formin’ by the old grist mill
My mind is racin’ but my feet stay still
There’s a fair skinned woman in a long black gown
Stickin’ out her hand tryin’ to flag me down
Grab my green dufflebag, squint to see
Is that Miss Lucy back from Tennessee
Took it all down to the company store
Pawned for some peace of mind I need that more

Takes me by the arm and she leads me on
Can’t tell you how long we walked or how far we’d gone
Says we gotta see about a deal turned south
Then it hits me what she means as I drop my mouth
Vindication for a sin in a two-bit town
Now a bullet to my brain gonna take me down
Took it all down to the company store
Pawned for some peace of mind I need that more

Blind Side

Written By: Geno Stroia II

BLIND SIDE Geno Stroia II / GSIIMusic 2005 BMI

FEELIN’ SAD AND LONELY – SINGIN’ FOR ME ONLY
IT DON’T MAKE NO DIFFERENCE TO ME
DON’T KNOW THAT MUCH ABOUT HER BUT SHOULD I REALLY DOUBT HER
WHAT HAPPENED I JUST COULDN’T BELIEVE
I’VE BEEN DOWN ON MY FACE DROPPED OUT OF THE RACE
LOOKIN’ BUT I CAN’T HEAR A SOUND
I LOST ALL MY POSSESSIONS COLLECTED MY OBSESSIONS
BUT I NEVER SAW THE HAMMER DROP DOWN

WHEN LOVE COMES DOWN IT ALWAYS HITS ME ON THE BLIND SIDE
WHEN LOVE COMES DOWN IT ALWAYS HIT’S YA

JUST THEN SHE SHOWED UP LATE AS IF TO SEAL MY FATE
AND TELL ME WHAT THIS LIFE IS ABOUT
I WENT SEARCHIN’ FOR MY SOUL DEEP DOWN IN THE HOLE
BUT I NEVER HEARD THE SHOT THAT RANG OUT

WHEN LOVE COMES DOWN IT ALWAYS HITS ME ON THE BLIND SIDE
WHEN LOVE COMES DOWN IT ALWAYS HITS ME ON THE BLIND SIDE
WHEN LOVE COMES DOWN IT ALWAYS HITS YA

SHE GOT ME LOOKIN’ UP FROM THE BOTTOM
STANDARD ISSUE IF YOU REALLY MUST KNOW
I’M HEARIN’ ALL DRUMS WHEN THEY COME KNOCKIN’
IT’S HARD TO WALK IN WHEN THE DOORS ARE ALL CLOSED

THINGS GET COMPLICATED SOMETIMES I FEEL OUTDATEED
THE THOUGHTS FALL RIGHT OUT OF MY HEAD
I CAN’T ALWAYS EXPRESS IT – SOMETIMES I WANNA WRECK IT
YOU KNOW WE GOT US –IT’S BEEN SAID

WHEN LOVE COMES DOWN IT ALWAYS HITS ME ON THE BLIND SIDE
WHEN LOVE COMES DOWN IT ALWAYS HITS ME ON THE BLIND SIDE
WHEN LOVE COMES DOWN IT ALWAYS HITS ME ON THE BLIND SIDE

American Steel

Written By: Geno Stroia II

Times are hard - down at the mill
they locked the doors -it's all overkill
union busted they all go insane
panic stricken- it's all down the drain
i can't stop - i feel it still
american steel

people fade- life moves on
the town stays but the factories gone
lots of names read off the page
they gave it all for a minimum wage
i felt the shock - it seems so unreal
american steel
american steel

unemployment - cheap red wine
the bills are due but we're all behind
look for answers the futures unclear
was it your dream to live and die here

i can't stop it seems to unreal
american steel
american steel
american steel
american

Superstar

Written By: Jorge Castillo

Just a smile opens doors most don’t dream of
Her eyes take in all points of view
No time for ideas sent to seed love
She shuts her ears to politics and news
It’s the mire of today its, its desire for a play of redemption
It’s a burden to know, she’s the star of a show yet unseen -Riff w/break-

Stayin’ blind deaf and dumb ain’t so easy
Everybody’s brought you something to see
All your fashionable words don’t appease me
You believe what you want to believe
She’s the queen of the day, And she’s well on her way to redemption
It’s the fire that she knows, she’s the star of a show yet unseen
Chorus:
Superstar, that’s who you are
Be who you wanted to be,
Superstar, how bright you are
Shine for everybody to see

Discography

The Gene Pool - (The Gene Pool) EP 2003
Singles - American Steel
- Flyin' Standby

3rd and Main - Full length LP released Oct. 2005
Single - Superstar - (added by KLBJ 93.7FM -Austin, TX - 2006 - 7 spins per week).

Set List

Set list and length vary.
Covers can include:
Cripple Creek - The Band
32-20 blues - Robert Johnson
Cabin Down Below - Tom Petty
Whiskey Trail - Los Lobos
Wasted Days and Wasted Nights - Freddy Fender
Someday Baby- Bob Dylan
Honeybee -Tom Petty
Come Together - The Beatles
Sissy Strut - The Meters
Call me the Breeze - JJ Cale
Goin' Down - Freddie King
I Got Loaded - Los Lobos
Manic Depression - Jimi Hendrix
Lookin' Back - Johnny "Guitar" Watson
Have You Ever Seen The Rain - CCR
Outside Woman Blues - Cream
Black Cat Bone - Albert Collins