"You don't remember who I am, do you?" Gary Wilson asked me via e-mail. I'd been interviewing the indie-rock pioneer about his rediscovery since being name-checked in Beck's "Where It's At" ("Like my man Gary Wilson rocks the most"). When a recent e-mail from Wilson mentioned "Don't you remember lending me that article you wrote about [TV show] Thriller?" I realized that I'd known and hung out with Gary Wilson for years; I didn't know he was THE Gary Wilson, whose homemade '70s records are being reissued to such acclaim.
Wilson's comeback began in 2001, when a record label hired a private detective to track him down about re-releasing "You Think You Really Know Me," the quirky pop masterpiece he recorded in his parents' basement in 1977 (a copy recently sold on eBay for $222.50). The private dick found Gary employed at the same local strip club where my housemate at the time ("Savannah") worked. I had hung out there with Gary. We talked about music and vintage TV shows. He may have mentioned he used to be in a band, but it wasn't until the recent e-mail that I connected THAT Gary with DIY legend Gary Wilson, the one who told me this tale of the weirdest local gig he ever played.
"It was New Year's Eve, early 1990s, at a private party held at the house of the president of a big company. The band was finishing up our last few songs for the evening when all of a sudden there was a loud noise and commotion in the other room...a fight had started and guests started running out of the room screaming. They were covered in blood and their tuxedoes and gowns were ripped and destroyed. Two of the guests went through the picture window and were rolling around on the lawn. Glass everywhere...we continued to play for another five minutes. I remember breaking down the equipment as fast as we could."
Wilson still holds a job in a local porn emporium; autograph-seekers will have to carry their Another Galaxy LP (self-released in 1974) around until they find him.