Gene Paul Deer II, a beloved Indianapolis Blues icon, left this world too soon, on January 4th, 2024, at the young age of 59.
A lifelong Hoosier, he was born in Indianapolis, Indiana on June 1, 1964, to his parents, Gene P. Deer I, and Carol Deer. Gene grew up in Indy, raised his children here, and became a true local legend, inspiring many through his gift of music.
Gene developed a passion for music at an early age, quickly learning guitar and other stringed instruments, taking inspiration from Muddy Waters, B.B. King, and Stevie Ray Vaughan. Open minded and influenced by many artists, Gene developed his own sound, mixing his favorite bits from rock, jazz, blues, and the soul. His talent was unmatched, cultivating various styles to produce an authentic sound that people gravitated to.
He formed his first band, “Coda” in the 80’s and shifted to his solo career creating the “Gene Deer Band". He then went on to produce two albums “Soul Tender” in 1995 and “Livin with the Blues” in 1998, and one single, “Everybody Knows (The Blues Got Soul)” in 2011. Gene was awarded the Best Blues Artist in Indy, 10 times over and he racked up 5 million streams on Spotify.
In 2002, Gene was hired by Indy Car driver, Kenny Brack, as a band leader and musical director. With his position, he toured with the Indy Racing League in 2003. He also accompanied the band, Ranging Calm, on a tour in South Africa in 2007. With other countless experiences his music career brought, Gene had plenty of unforgettable stories and memories to share with his friends and family.
An undeniably talented musician, songwriter, and singer, Gene also had a magnetic stage presence that captured audiences and created loyal fans who came to see him again and again. He performed in many cities and venues, but his home was at the Slippery Noodle, the oldest bar in Indianapolis.
Gene was a genuine, down-to-earth, loving gentleman. He enjoyed fishing, relaxing on the lake, and taking long rides on his motorcycle. He was a talented golfer, and a devoted Indianapolis Indians fan. Gene also enjoyed eating at locally owned hidden gems throughout his city.
His selfless nature was shown through his many charitable acts and involvement such as the Circle City Toy Run and The Irvington Theater. Many would consider him a philanthropist, always ready to lend a helping hand.
Gene’s passing certainly leaves a void in the hearts that experienced his gift. His career came to a close with his final gig at the Rathskeller on December 23, 2023. Although he left this world too soon, his impact is undeniable and his legacy will live on through his children, friends, fans, and his beloved music.
Gene will be forever missed by his children, Jesse Ray (Susie) Deer, Erin Marie Deer, and Evan Paul Deer; his mother, Carol Deer; his siblings, Dawn Deer, Steve (Jo) Deer, and Tom (Judy) Deer; and an endless list of extended family, friends, and fans.
Gene is preceded in death by his father, Gene P. Deer I.
Visitation for Gene will be Friday January 12th, at Flanner Buchanan—Washington Park East (Community Life Center), 10612 E. Washington St. Indianapolis, Indiana, 46229 from 11AM-3PM. His funeral service will begin at 3PM. Gene will be laid to rest in Washington Park East Cemetery.
In honor of Gene and in lieu of flowers, contributions may be made to his children to support them through this difficult time.