While Glenn was charting his own difficult course through music and life, younger brother Gene was forging his own unique and remarkable career.
Born three years after Glenn, Gene, like Glenn, grew up in the Collinwood neighborhood of Cleveland, attended Nottingham Elementary, then Collinwood High for a short while until the family moved to Euclid, OH in 1958. Not liking Euclid High very much Gene left school in the 11th grade.
What Gene liked was cars. He liked working on them, painting them, fixing them, modifying them, driving them, and most of all: racing them, more specifically drag racing.
He took a job at Keith Weigel Motors working in the body shop, and stayed there until the dealership closed twelve years later.
Currently, Gene owns four cars, all of which are extensively modified; a 1967 Chrysler, a 1962 E-Gasser, A Fleetline Chevy Fastback, and his primary racing vehicle, the 1952 Chevy 2 door hard top, bought new by his dad Bill, in 1952, and given to Gene when he was 15.
It is the ’52 Chevy that Gene drives and races to this day and with which he held the NHRA record between 1964 and 1967. He also held the NASCAR Street Eliminator record in 1965.
But we’re interested in Gene as a bass player, a musician, and just how that came to happen.
It was Dave Griggs who convinced blues legend Robert Lockwood to start playing again. In 1970 Lockwood began appearing with the Dave Griggs Blues band, but soon looked to put his own band together.
Gene and Robert became so close, as musicians and as friends, that Robert didn’t want to perform unless Gene was there.
Together, sometimes as a duo, and sometimes with the rest of the Lockwood band, Gene and Robert played everywhere. Oh, and at every performance, Gene wears one of the Amish style flat-brimmed hats he first bought out in Middlefield, OH.
In November of 2006, at the age of 91, Robert Lockwood, Jr suffered a cerebral aneurysm and a stroke and passed away shorty afterward. Since then, Gene has mostly limited his playing to his performances with Glenn.
The Schwartz Brothers are a uniquely Cleveland institution. Two brothers both highly accomplished individually, and joining together to create the kind of of almost subliminal musical connection some say is only possible between brothers; combining hell-fire preaching with jaw-dropping musical virtuosity