Danny "GC" Brown caused a mild kerfluffle when he disappeared before an immunity challenge, but how much of his absence was the power of reality television editing, and how much was a genuine crisis? Before heading home to Portland, GC spoke to reporters to set the record straight about his attitude, whether he was a quitter, and what he was really doing out in the boat that afternoon. He came across as mellow and relaxed Ė and surprisingly unbothered by his early exit from the game.
What was your strategy going into the game?
Just to be a guy who can help around at camp and provide for the team, but also just be under the radar a bit, get along with everybody, and definitely not be a leader. Seriously, I planned for months before going on the show, after I watched all the episodes of every season of Survivor before I left, and I noticed that the leaders always got voted off, always had a target on their backs for whatever decisions they made. So I told myself that whatever I do, I just canít be the leader. Maybe I can lead by example, but thatís it. That was my strategy.
But you did take the reins to be the leader of the tribe.
Thatís right. (laughs) Exactly. That, uhÖthat was all bad right there. I really didnít want the leadership role, and not because Iím not a leader. Iím a supervisor, and I do music and everything, and I want to be a leader in the community. But this is the game of Survivor and itís not the same. I really didnít want to be the leader. Just by the things I was doing around the camp and the relationships I had with people early on, they volunteered me to be the leader. I didnít get up and say, ďHey pick me, I think Iíll be the best leader for the tribe.Ē I feel I could have done it. I could have been a really good leader. But I was scared to do it. Looking back, maybe I should have just went ahead and shown them how good of a leader I could have been, but I was hesitant because I knew that people really didnít want to take direction from me because of how they reacted to things I asked them to do. It was a difficult situation, my friend.
What surprised you most about Africa?
I was surprised by how it looked and how beautiful it was. It wasnít hot! I thought it was going to be over 100 degrees there and it wasnít, it was a pretty good temperature, like 80-something. It didnít get too hot. Man. Just being out there in that environment, with animals, elephants, gorillas and all that stuff surrounding you. Itís pretty crazy.
Where did you go before that challenge when no one could find you?
(chuckling) Well, I was hungry, man, and I knew the rest of the people on my tribe were too, and I knew I had a little bit of time before the challenge started. So I decided to try to go catch some fish and bring it back to cook before the challenge so we could eat or whatever. I kind of got caught up in the moment because I was having some luck out there, I was catching some fish, and I lost track of the time. I didnít realize it was that close until I started hearing them call me. I was like, ďWell shoot, Iíd better get back.Ē
In the last episode, voting out Jacquie instead of Kelly. Can you explain the logic there?
Yeah, that happened because we felt that we werenít doing too good in the challenges, and we knew Sugar was at Exile Island, that if she was to come back from Exile with her and Jacquie and Ace all together, that could be pretty bad for the Fang members Ė especially if Sugar had the immunity idol. And we didnít want them to have the numbers on us. We knew that Kelly and Ace, and also Kelly and Jacquie didnít get along. So there was no chance they would use her in an alliance. So we chose to get rid of Jacquie to keep the power out of Ace and Sugarís hands.
When you saw the elephant, can you describe how that was?
Iíd say we were probably 50 or 60 yards away Ė maybe closer, because how the camp was set up was kind of on the edge of a lake, and it curves around, and as soon as it curves around the elephant was right there. So Iíd say 50 yards, but maybe less. We were all kind of surprised because that was our first time seeing an elephant that close to the camp. We had seen evidence that they had been that close, but we never really came face-to-face with them. It was kind of cool because we finally got to see it. It was amazing. Thatís what Africa was all about.
When you went out on the boat, it looked like on TV like you got upset and just wanted to be off by yourself. Was that the case? Did you really forget there was a challenge? Why didnít they show us what happened?
The people in camp all knew I was going to catch fish. I knew that I had enough time before the challenge. I knew we had a challenge and I was not purposely trying to be late for the challenge. I did catch fish, I caught a catfish and a tilapia. I brought them back to camp and we didnít have time to cook them or eat them because we had to go straight to the challenge. So when we got back from the challenge we ate the fish. As to why they didnít show that, I have no clue. I have no idea.
The show made it seem like you had an attitude about everything.
Yeah, yeah, I noticed that. It was kind of hard at first to watch it because I know thatís not how I really am. I do get upset at times, Iím not going to lie, Iím not perfect. Itís just the fact that we had some really good conversations and really got to know each other, and all we did was sit around and talk and laugh and try to be positive about everything. And the one moment that you have a conflict with somebody, I feel like itís the only parts Iím really seeing of myself [on TV]. It was kind of like, it was hard at first but then itís like, whatever. Itís just a show. Itís funny now.
Did the tribe sit around and talk strategy a lot?
Yeah, we did. Thatís all we did because we lost so much. We always knew we were headed for Tribal Council, so we were always going off and talking strategy. Thatís all we did, talked about that, talked about home, whatever. We were just really bonding with each other, but thatís not really what the people get to see.
Why do you think you guys lost so much?
I think we lost so much just because we were at a physical disadvantage to the other team for whatever reason. I feel like we really did try, and they show me looking like I quit all the time and thatís not really how it was. Like I said, thatís TV, man. We went into every challenge with our minds set on winning because we needed that. We know how it feels to lose because we lost already, so itís like weíd go, ďNext time, letís make sure we win that reward or that immunity so none of us have to go home.Ē It just wasnít working out. It wasnít working.
Did you know Sugar had the immunity idol after Crystal found it?
Yeah, I sure did. I came back from somewhere, and they were in there sitting in the hut, and acting all paranoid and saying I had to vote Sugar out because she had the idol. And I was like, ďHow do you know she has it?Ē and they said, ďCrystal looked in her bag.Ē I was like, ďWell thatís pretty scandalous but hey, at least we know she has it.Ē So yeah, I already knew.
Did you already know you were going to get voted out at Tribal Council, or was that a surprise?
I wasnít sure because how everyone was acting, they were acting paranoid because Sugar had the immunity idol and they knew that for a fact now, and they really wanted to get rid of her because of that. I wasnít sure they were going to vote me out because of that reason.
So why didnít they vote Sugar out?
UhÖ(sounding genuinely puzzled) I donít know. I did tell Matty that I was like, ďItís getting kind of hard out here for me, I feel like Iíve had enough of this.Ē I really donít like arguing with people. Iím not that type of person. I try to avoid arguments any time I can. I walk away from it or whatever. I felt like there was no way for me to get away from it. (chuckling) I was just trapped with all these negative people and it was making me the same way. I was like, Iím kind of tired of feeling like this. I know itís a game and itís a million dollars, but man Ė this ainít right. Iím not supposed to be acting like this.
You actually did say you wanted to go home though, right?
Yeah, I did tell Kenny and Matty that thatís how I was feeling. You know, I told them for them to tell me, you know, to help me change my mind or give me a reason to feel better, but it just didnít happen. (laughs)
So how do you answer criticism that youíre a quitter?
Well, you know, they could call it what they want. I know what happened. I know how hard it really was. I felt like I took myself out of the game because I donít want to be portrayed as the person whoís always arguing and yelling at people, or whoís a negative person. Because thatís not me, and I felt like the longer I was there, man - I was going to continue to be like that.
Is Aceís accent fake or real?
(laughing hard) Hey man, I donít know! I think itís real because every time I talked to him heís never slipped up and sounded like he didnít have an accent, but on the show last night there was a part on there that kind of sounded like he lost his accent for a second. So I donít know! I wonder.
What do you think of him as a player?
I think he was a pretty good player. He cracked me up. Heís a character, definitely. Heís a good guy. I donít have nothing bad to say about him.
Watching the show is different from when youíre out there, so did you know at the time when you were on the show that people were criticizing you for quitting challenges?
No, and I donít really feel like I quit in any of the challenges except for the one where we were digging in the sand. And I wasnít even the only one who quit! I just took a break for a second, and it looked like I quit, but thatís not the reason why we lost. We were all digging and nobody found anything. I took a quick break, and thatís what happened. But the other challenges I didnít quit. I canít think of one other challenge I quit. If it looked like that on TV, thatís one thing, but I know myself that I didnít give up, 100%.
Were you surprised to learn Crystal was an Olympic gold medalist?
YeahÖI was very surprised. I thought she was a basketball player or something because she so tall and she looked pretty athletic. But I didnít know sheíd won a gold medal. She didnít tell anybody while I was there. It was a big surprise to find that out. Especially considering how we did in some challenges! I was like, ďMan, maybe we should have won more if we had an Olympic gold medalist on our team!Ē But that didnít help either.
Do you think she was holding back for strategy, or is she just not as athletic as you would think an Olympian would be?
She probably could have been holding back. She looks like she had it in her. I donít know, weíll see.
In your bio picture you look so happy and relaxed, and talk about how you like to be outdoors, and thatís so different from the way we saw you on the show. Do you regret going on the show at all?
No, I donít regret it because itís just TV. I know people out there who are watching the show, theyíll see it and think about me one way. But Iím comfortable with who I am. They can think whatever they want to think. Iím fine with that because I know thatís not really how it happened?
Was the experience anything like you imagined it would be?
It was just a lot harder. Like you said, you really didnít see that and thatís the type of person that I wanted to show, and who I tried to be most of the time. Even when I was out there, I donít recall any other times that we argued that they didnít show. Every single time we argued itís on there. They didnít forget even one. But all the good times, all the times we laughed, joked around Ė I didnít see any of that.
At what point did you decide you wanted to be on the show?
I've watched a lot of the seasons, but I really started watching in the Africa season, and after I watched the season with China, I really started having the feeling that this might be the show for me, and that I should try to get on it.
Has this changed the direction of where you're headed with yourself?
I'm working hard on my music career; January or February, I'm releasing a new CD. I'm going to be doing a TV show here locally in Oregon called ďThe ArtistĒ where we show videos and promote local artists and do interviews.
What did you think of Randy's trick of telling Ace to freeze?
You know what's crazy? I didn't even know he did that until just last night. When the challenge happened, we went back to camp after losing, and I didn't know that even happened. Watching it last night I was like, "What the hell? That looks like a setup to me!Ē I'm not saying it was, he could have just tricked him, but what was Ace thinking? No fault to Randy for telling a guy to freeze, since he's on the opposite team, but for Ace to actually listen to him-- what's going on here? It seems like he's trying to help the other team win.
What did you miss the most while you were there?
What I missed the most from home was some damn food. I was starving out there, man! I lost 23 pounds or something by the time I left, and I was only out there for 15 days.
What was the first thing you did when you got home? What was your first meal?
I had some pizza, and the first thing I did was just visited with my family. And it was just weird, man! After being out there, to just come back home, it was just weird! It's a weird adjustment. It's kind of hard to explain. It's not just being in another country, it's being in that environment with the game and all that. It's just kind of weird!
So when you got home, did you fall in love with your bed all over again?
Oh yeah! And the shower!
Who would you say you were closest to out there?
I was closest to Kenny while I was there. We had some good times out there. I wish they had shown that. I was trying to coach him on his dating and everything. Not that I'm the love doctor or nothing. But I tried to give him a few pointers.
Are you rooting for Kenny and Matty?
Yeah, Iím rooting for Kenny, Iím rooting for Matty, Iím rooting for the Fang tribe still. Hopefully one of them will win. But itís not looking so good for Fang. (laughing)