Space City Comic Con 2015: The Trade

As Seen on Classic Rock Radio (UK)
First Published: 12 Aug 2015
Space City Comic Con 2015
Chapter Three: The Trade
By Gary “Uncle G” Brown
Twitter @GBrown0816

Space City Comic Con 2015 - BannerStar Trek: Voyager 20th Year Anniversary – Space City Comic Con 2015 Reunion Banner

So I walk up to actor Garrett Wang’s table, looking to do a trade. Garrett is best known at least to this convention, for his role as Ensign Harry Kim. A popular character that lasted all seven seasons, on the third spin-off from the original 1960’s Star Trek television program. Fan favorite; Star Trek Voyager. First run episodes ran from 1995 to 2001. Closer to what I personally think the original Star Trek show was about; exploring the unknown, character development, and having scenes of good lookin’ women in heavenly attire. The science fiction series in total, filmed one hundred and seventy episodes. I have many favorites. Most of which center around Jeri Ryan and her 7 Of 9 character (wink wink). Excellent storytellin’ throughout its entire run. State of the art effects used back in the day (14 years ago). Bravo to all the series employed, behind the scenes and in front of the camera. Now, back to Garrett.

The day before this, I had an opportunity to ask Mr. Wang a question for a story idea I thought of. Had to do with Voyager’s Holodeck, and using its technology, being able to recreate one musical event of the past. For yours truly I used Woodstock as an example. The main reason is that I was still in my single digits when that took place. If older I’m sure I would have at least tried to attend. Using the fictional spacecraft’s technology, I could do that. For those who read my story, Garrett’s answer was he’d use the Holodeck so he could attend an Elvis Presley concert. In my mind, a super cool answer. In part because outside the NGR Center, in which we were, was the Houston Astrodome. Still standing and in need of a little renovation. I’m being sarcastic here. The place looks like a shit-hole, as compared to its glory days. Has been voted by city residents to be torn down. Yet, there it is. Historical in a sense that grand events from the past taken place there, including Elvis playing at the annual Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo. The last time was back in 1974. Played two shows, for a combined attendance of; 88,119. During one performance Elvis commented about the large size of the audience saying it was the largest crowd he’d ever played for. Like they say, things are bigger in Texas.

So forty-one years ago across the hot parking lot from the building Garrett and I were in, was where the legendary Elvis Presley and his band played.

Walking up to Garrett, I thanked him for being cool the day before and answering my question. Next came the setup for a proposed trade I wanted to do with him. I said (paraphrasing) I will trade you your autograph on a 3×5 card that I will supply, costing you nothing, and in return I will give you this CD, and I hand it to him. Now, remember everything I said up to this point. Here’s the CD I made a copy of only a few hours beforehand; Elvis Presley – Event Number Eight: Houston, Texas, U.S.A. March 3, 1974.

Now for those who want to Google and buy this CD themselves, it’s really not for sale. At least not legally. This is what is typically referred to in the trading circles as a: bootleg. A ton of Elvis’s shows was recorded back in the day. Many of them soundboards. Which is what ‘Event Number Eight’ is. Sounds better then if at the actual event.

Anyone who attended a concert at the Astrodome in person, in which I did more than once, knows the sound was borderline horrible. Plain and simple, the acoustics sucked. Makes sense the soundboard recording is better sounding. Listening to this treasured recording would be a real trip for those who I bump into every now and then who attended either one of the performances. I stay about thirty-five minutes away from the Astrodome. Many of those in attendance at either one of the two shows that fateful day is still alive. I’ll run into folks every blue moon who once they find out that I write for a classic rock station, want to tell me every detail of their being there. Talked about like it was the historical event that it was. Entertaining recollections indeed. All the world loved Elvis, especially Houston Texas.

So Garrett has the home-made CD-R in his hand. He starts reading aloud what took me almost an hour to print. One word explanation; arthritis. But it’s cool. Something I wanted to do. Got the idea while having morning coffee going over the day before events. A light bulb went off over my head when I was reading Garrett’s answer to my holodeck question.

For like a year, a decade ago, I got into a serious Elvis Presley kick. Started buying his CDs. Since a kid, I have been into trading. Too poor to buy everything. Pertaining to music, not regular products. I always loved broadcasted concerts, and pretty early on would stay up late at night and record them over the radio. And then I make copies and trade. Others did the same thing with musicians/bands they liked. Then I discovered bootlegs. As a collector of music and having thousands of CDs, some of these rare recordings are too good to pass up. I found a serious Elvis collector who also liked Prog-Rock, so off to the races we went. I remember one he wanted was Yes @ Roosevelt Stadium, back in the 1970’s. A concert I was at as a matter of fact. Broadcast by what was at the time, New York City’s top rock station; WNEW FM. And that Ladies and Gentlemen is how I got a very special collector’s CD of Elvis at the Astrodome in 1974. The entire show, afternoon performance. Broke attendance records, only to that night, break another attendance record. That’s impressive!

So Garrett is reading aloud the cover I made of the CD. Has a hint of excitement in his voice as he’s going down the tracks, reciting one great song title after another; All Shook Up, Love Me Tender, Hound Dog, Fever, Suspicious Minds, and then the closing number, Can’t Help Falling In Love. Garrett looks at me and says; “I’ll trade!”. Took my 3×5 card and signed it. We both smiled. I thanked him and left so he could get back to business and sign autographs for money.

Elvis Presley - Event Number 8 - backing (text)                                                Track Listing and ACTUAL photo!

So how cool is that? Thanks to Garrett Wang for playing along TWICE with me. I hope very much he enjoyed listening to the live Elvis recording. It was more a gift than it was a way of obtaining his autograph. Afterward, I thought it would make for a cool story to tell. That’s what I do right? I explained to a Space City Comic Con volunteer while just hanging out, that I was in all actuality, a storyteller. Not that I wasn’t able to be a stick to the facts reporter. I learned journalism 101 back in high school. Writing to me is more fun this way.

While at the Con, and observing that which was going on around me, I happened to watch Garrett with his fans. The dude can’t be any cooler. Doing a simple Google search will show one picture after another of Garrett behaving wonderfully with whoever approached him. I would recommend if the opportunity ever arose of being able to attend a convention and Garrett was there, to go up and say hello. Just bring your wallet. Leave the trading up to the professionals.

Garrett Wang (in person_25 July 2015)Garrett Wang Star Trek: Voyager Promo Photo + Garrett Wang autographed 3×5 card

“Uncle G”, Rockline, and Yes (1999)

02 April 2016
“Uncle G”, Rockline, and Yes (1999)
By: Gary “Uncle G” Brown
Twitter @GBrown0816

Uncle G’s Time Machine

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 G / Rockline (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: 

Welcome to the Gary “Uncle G” Brown Archives

Thanks for checking out the; Gary “Uncle G” Brown Archives. A catchy name for sure. Rolls right off the tongue (insert laughter).

Hopefully enjoyable in one way, shape, or form. If one can spend a few minutes engulfed in what I author, and while doing so be enlightened and or entertained, then I as a writer, did my job.

So let’s do this … onward through the fog.

Gary “Uncle G” Brown

Memories of Space City Comic Con 2015

First Published: 21 May 2016
Memories of Space City Comic Con 2015
By: Gary “Uncle G” Brown
American Correspondent for
Twitter @GBrown0816

My first Space City Comic Con was three years ago, back in 2013. I had a super time spending the day checking out all their was to see, as well as meeting the majority of the special guests that had appeared. Two years later (2015) and I was back at it again. Instead of one day, I spent the entire weekend there. Reason being so I could cover the event for the classic rock station I write for. Ended up being quite a task.

My main focus, was on the live music Space City Comic Con 2015 had to offer. One guest in particular, Tim Russ. Most know the name from the television show; Star Trek: Voyager. Besides his acting, Tim is really a very talented musician. I had the pleasure of interviewing him before the convention about a new CD he had at the time, just put out called; Tim Russ – Lifeline. I enjoyed the task of reviewing the CD, and wanted to go a step further with it. Tim was all too happy to oblige. I then picked up on the fact that not only was Mr. Russ going to be a special guest at Space City Comic Con 2015, appearing with several other actors from the Star Trek show he did, but that he was also going to be a musical guest there. Seeing how I review music concerts as well, it just seemed a given that I be there. And that I was! In my opinion, things could not have worked out any better. The response from all the pieces I wrote, not only on Mr. Russ, but on my experiences at the convention, amazed me. For myself, it was a really cool writing experience. I thank all who made it possible. To those who assisted, and to everyone else who found the free time to hang out, and shoot the bull with me some.

Seeing how Space City Comic Con 2016 is getting near (May 27 – 29), I figured I put all my stories together that I done centering around last years mega successful Space City Comic Con, and again let them fly. I know there are some are out there reading this now, that are not one hundred percent sure if they are attending or not. So this re-posting, for those on the cusp. A gentle nudge to push one in the right direction of good times, and everlasting memories.

As for myself, I wish I could attend. Things have a funny way of changing over the course of one year. For this Space City Comic Con, instead of driving in, and going home at the end of that day’s events, I would have to fly in, rent a car, and crash at a nearby hotel. Two words explains it all; separation / divorce. As ugly as that is, my friends tell me I’m all the better because of it. So not a bad thing. A life lesson to pass on; don’t take anything for granted. As it pertains to Space City Comic Con 2015, the special guests you have an interest in seeing this year, but are thinking you might pass on till the next time around, could have other obligations preventing them from making it in 2017. Events could change. Items you might be interested in obtaining, purchased by someone else. Catch my drift? Believe me, this year’s Space City Comic Con, will be unique in it’s own way, and the only way you will have the opportunity to experience it, is to be there. Even if it be on a shoestring budget. Just do your best to make it happen. And to all who have already made plans on attending … enjoy!

OH, and should anyone have contact with William Shatner, please pass on that I’d still would love to interview him on his music. Seriously! I enjoyed his last album (William Shatner – Ponder The Mystery), and I am also a big Billy Sherwood fan, who helped Mr. Shatner on that project.

Stories: Space City Comic Con 2015

01.) One Question with Uncle G (Star Trek: Voyager Alumni)

02.) Concert Review_Tim Russ at Space City Comic Con 2015

03.) Space City Comic Con 2015 – Chapter Three: The Trade

04.) Space City Comic Con 2015 – Chapter 4 – It’s A Wrap!