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

Tim Russ – Lifeline (2015)

As Seen On:
First Published: 12 June 2015
Music Review: Tim Russ – Lifeline (2015)
By: Gary “Uncle G” Brown
Twitter @GBrown0816

 photo Tim Russ - Lifeline_zpsdoknw0wj.jpg

I had several reasons for buying Tim’s newest CD titled Lifeline off CD Baby Dot Com. This is my second Tim Russ CD, as I purchased his self titled release for GNP Crescendo Records at a Xena / Star Trek Convention back in the year 2000.

Jump ahead fifteen years and I find out Mr. Russ is not only appearing at the next Space City Comic Con, held in Houston Texas next month, but he’s doing a musical set there as well. Being a journalist for a classic rock station, I decide I would like to cover this special event. Traded emails with a super helpful guy named George. Results, I’ll see you there.

On a side note, if just into Star Trek, the spin-off Tim was associated with most, Star Trek Voyager, is having a twentieth anniversary reunion at the Space City Comic Con this coming July (24th – 26th) with many of the cast members being there. I don’t play favorites. Star Trek Voyager contained so many good stories, and in my opinion, was an excellent science fiction television series. Attending the reunion, and joining first hand in the festivities should be fun!

Back to Mr. Russ and his music career. One man who I wish could attend Tim’s performance along with me would be a fellow writer at, named Derek. Cool dude, and seriously into Mr. Russ’ music. Told me he digs Tim’s guitar playing style. Says a lot, because Derek listens to the best.

Before the acting, Tim was a professional musician. He’s been at this for over four decades now. Being either in front of the camera, or directing, work of this type takes up a lot of Tim’s time. Even so, he still manages to get out and play music, whenever he can, such as at the UP & COMING Space City Comic Convention. My friend Mr. Watts, lives in England. If Derek could attend and help me cover it for the station, I know he would in a heartbeat. A lot of miles between the U.K. and Houston Texas USA. So I decided to jump in so Derek (and our readers) could experience it vicariously through me. Believe me, no one’s breaking my arm. My pleasure! Lots of things going on at the Space City Comic Convention this time around. Plenty for a correspondent like me to write about.

Part of being a credible writer is doing research. I read Tim had a new CD out called Lifeline and figured he might perform a song or more off it at Space City Comic Con (July 24_July 26). Found it and ordered the actual factory pressed product via CD Baby Dot Com, so I’d be familiar with the material. Within a few days, it was in my mailbox. Been playing the disc in the car and house every day since, appreciating it more and more with every listen. Of course, there are reasons for that. So without further ado, my thoughts on Tim Russ – Lifeline (2015)

If getting into Tim’s music for the first time, be aware that song wise he’s into the lyrics as much as the man is into the actual music. The title track, and the one that starts off the CD called Lifeline, illustrate that through and through. One of two songs written by Tim Russ on this new studio offering. Lyrics are strong, and the music that accompanies it, fits like a glove. Displays excellent song writing skills. The tune itself stays in your head, long after you’re done playing it aloud. Problem with starting off an album with such a tight number, is that it’s possible to let down the listener if the rest of the material on the album isn’t equally as good and exciting. Am happy to report that’s NOT the case here.

The next ten tracks are songs written by a variety of others, that Tim interpreted his own way. More upbeat than not. Some rhythm n’ blues, mixed in with other styles that keep the listener engaged. Musical compositions that one could know already. Songs by Joe Bonamassa, Bruce Hornsby, Bo Bice, or Jamie N Common.

A very special track is saved for last called Doom Doom Diggity. Mean ass guitar work with spoken words that certainly catch your attention, as well as make one laugh out loud. Based on a real human being? I’ll have to ask Mr. Russ that myself the next time opportunity arises. The wife and I have been playing this track lately on the ride up to the gym. Really helps get our heads zoned in on what we’re about to try and accomplish. Written by Mr. Russ, and as infectious as the title track, Lifeline, that he also penned. Red Alert … BOTH tracks qualify as songs that stick in your mind, long after that last note plays out. At the station we call it ear-worm material.


Using the five star rating system, whereas one star means it’s horrible, to five stars meaning it’s terrific, Uncle G rates Tim Russ – Lifeline … 5 stars! Fact is the whole album is done really well.

For those wondering, Tim’s singing voice is strong, and what I find to be a tad earthy, which really magnifies lyrics and help define their meaning. Has a great delivery, in which voice and instrumentation combine for one unique listening experience.

I really like the choice of songs that Tim covers. I had fun researching and finding out where each song originated. Surprised me with the Jamie N Commons tune, ‘Lead Me Home’. Fans of the television series The Walking Dead should know this one. Speaking of those into television, if into American Idol then you might dig Tim’s version of Bo Bice’s, ‘Witness’. The first song (track six) on the CD that I gave a repeated play on the first listen.

The musicians who accompany Mr. Russ SMOKE! Ladies and Gentleman, the Tim Russ Crew: Jack Conely who plays a mean-ass harmonica, and drummer / percussionist, Jim Martin, whose drum work demands paying attention to. The keyboard work of Bill Burchell is outstanding! As is the saxophone playing of Daniel Mancuso. And I can’t forget the ladies, Diana Perkins (percussion / vocals) and on background vocals, Maria Madero, Adelina Madero, and Diana Perkins. Everyone does a brilliant job, and that’s behind the scenes as well. The physical CD sounds just awesome in my home and car stereo.

And there you have it. A recommended buy that would be a welcome addition to any general music lover’s collection.

Link to Purchase; CD Baby – Tim Russ Page

Space City Comic Convention (July 24-July 26) in Houston Texas USA

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!