Uncle G’s FUN Classic Rock Story Time: Uncle G, Rockline, and Yes (1999)

First Published: Classic Rock Radio (UK) 02 April 2016
“Uncle G”, Rockline, and Yes (1999)
By: Gary “Uncle G” Brown
Twitter @GBrown0816 

Uncle G’s FUN Classic Rock Story Time

Hard to believe this happened almost seventeen years ago. Progressive rock band Yes was a guest on radio’s Rockline, promoting what was at the time, their newest album; Yes – The Ladder. A ninety minute program that I wanted to be a part of. And that I did! Here’s a re-count of all that transpired.

Note: I originally wrote, and posted this on a Yahoo Group called; YesTalk. Remember, this is back in 1999. No Facebook, no Twitter. On the Internet, discussion formats were popular. The group I belonged to, was a reunion of sorts for those of us who belonged to a Yes discussion group found on what was called; Prodigy. The first online service that I belonged to, mid to late 1990’s. Was great finding like-minded Yes fans there. A bonus for myself, who wanted Prodigy really for the questions/polls conducted by what was then, one of my favorite TV late night shows; Politically Incorrect.

And without any further ado, here’s a reprint recounting all that happened the night I talked to Yes over the radio. For myself, a very cool YesMemory.

The Yes Line-Up (1999) / All Guests On Rockline (13 Oct 1999)

Jon Anderson – Vocals
Steve Howe – Guitars, & Backing Vocals.
Billy Sherwood – Guitars, & Backing Vocals
Chris Squire – Bass, & Backing Vocals
Alan White – Drums, Percussion, & Backing Vocals
Igor Khoroshev – Keyboards, & Backing Vocals.

Uncle GRockline (1999) Original Post (17 Oct 1999)

Hey Folks, I’ve planned on posting this the night that I got on Rockline. Four days later, and here it is.

Wednesday night ( the 13th of October 1999 ) I came home from work looking very forward to the Rockline show that was set to go down a few hours later. Working myself to death, I came home tired, and decided it would be best to take a little power nap. Getting a couple hours of sleep in, I woke up an hour or so before the interview show was to start.

Earlier that day I went to Radio Shack to get an adapter for the antenna on the receiver. I hooked that up, checked to hear if all was alright, opened some blank tapes, and I was set. Ends up I was talking to a friend in DC at the time the show started, so I ran over to the stereo and pressed record just as the event started to come on.

From there I said my goodbye’s to my friend, and headed to the kitchen for a cup of coffee. While there, I got the phone, and hearing the phone number being repeated for those who had questions for the band and wanted to participate in tonight’s show, started dialing. My wife asked me who I was calling. When I told her Rockline, she just gave me that look that equals to what a waste of time this was going to be. Fact is, we have been there and done that. For shows in the past that had Alice Cooper and Yes, what my wife ended up watching me do, was call for 90 minutes, getting no results. Anyone’s conclusion to seeing this done several times, was that this activity was nothing more than a big waste of time. The lines are always busy. I myself decided that if I had no luck in say a 10 or 15 minute time frame, that I would give up, and just listen to the show.

After about 5 to 10 minutes, the weirdest thing happened. I heard a ringing, and not a busy signal. This was followed up by some guy who actually answered the phone. “Hello, thank you for calling Rockline. What is your question for the band?” My jaw like to drop to the floor.

“Hi, I can’t believe I got through”, was how I responded.

“A lot of people do call “, was the reply I got.

“What’s your question for the band”, the guy repeated.

All the sudden I realized a problem. I didn’t have one. And then another weird thing happened. I started hearing myself give a reply to the question.

“Well, I was wondering the difference between marketing and promoting an album in the 70’s as compared to doing so today”.

After a moment of silence, I was told that I was going to be put on hold, and that there would be no guarantee that I would make the show.

“Okay”, was my reply, and there it was. I was in line to ask Yes a question on Rockline. How cool is this?

Having a cordless phone, I went to the living room to tell my wife. Surprised, to say the least, was her reaction. From there on, I kept her posted with what was going on.

What was going on, was that I was hearing the show live over the radio. Why I say live, is because when I flipped the tape over, it dawned on me having the phone in one ear, and listening to the show come out of my home stereo speakers with the other, that there was a delay of about five seconds, between the two. Just enough time for the professional working the show, to secure that if I screwed up by saying something that I should not, to bleep me. Not that I would.

From that point, time went by. I would hear some questions, and then some music. After a while of this, the guy who answered the phone, cut-in to ask me a few questions. What’s your full name, address, phone number, how old are you, etc..We had a pleasant conversation with it ending by him saying that I would receive a CD of ‘The Ladder’ in the mail for being on the show. Then it was back to the world of waiting, and being on hold.

After hearing another classic Yes song, a female voice cut in this time. ” Can you repeat your question for the band for me?” I did so, and she replied that I was close to getting on the air. “Please turn down your radio. Don’t say hi to the band because this takes up airtime and other callers want to get on. I’ll come back on when you’re getting ready to go on”. “Okay”, I said, and back to hearing the show on the phone I went.

A couple minutes later, and she was back. “You’re going to be on after the next caller” she said. The next caller’s question was about Bruce Fairbairn. They started talking about his death. Here I am thinking, isn’t this depressing, and I got to go on after this. Well, they spent a little too much time I guess, for afterwards it was right to commercial.

Here came the lady again. “Your on right after the song”. Was I nervous? My main concern at that point was that I didn’t want to ask a stupid question, nor did I want to sound like a dork. Not really a big deal I was telling myself. I spent quality time talking to Steve and Billy before. I met Jon. The song was “Lightning Strikes”. It ended with the band appearing to be in good spirits, seeming to get the topic of the death of Fairbairn behind them. “The next caller is…….” It was showtime.

Full speed ahead. I quickly got a plug in for the upcoming Houston show, and proceeded to ask my question. When finished, I heard silence. My first response was that I bombed. Billy Sherwood was first with an answer that got a laugh. Again a moment of silence. The DJ stepped in, and then Jon Anderson really took over. Towards the end of him giving me a reply, he said that radio itself seems at times to forget about them, but at the same time here they are making new music and still touring the world. Good answer, and I figured at that point that I was finished.

” Gary”, goes the host, what type of sales are you in (or something like that)? Here’s a surprise! I blurted out something about the mortgage business, and if you want to buy a house to call me, which got a good response from the guys. Chris came out and said that he was thinking of living in Austin.

There you go. After the show I got some instant messages when I came on the computer. It was really cool talking to friends on here like Roy, Dave, and Eddie, who had just heard me on air, just a little before. My reaction to it all was that it was like a natural high. Real cool! I have since gotten some other friends that called or E-mailed saying they also heard me. Typing this all now, I can truly say that I’m happy that I picked up the phone, and gave it a try. An old saying comes to mind; If at first you don’t succeed, try try again.

Yes Official Website: www.YesWorld.com 

YesThe LadderArtwork by Roger Dean

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