Grand Funk concert stories
From 1998-VH1s Behind the Music Grand Funk history part 1 of 5 parts
From 1998-VH1s Behid the Music Grand Funk history part 2 of 5 parts
ABC in concert presents Grand Funk Railroad
- The unofficial Grand Funk site
This site is ran from out of Sweden by a great guy named Jimmy K.A great website that features both Mark Farner as a solo artist and a Grand Funk member,as well as the new Grand Funk which today performs without Mark.
- Mark Farners fan based page
This is the official Mark Farner fan based website.Easybreezes is a name of a song from Marks first solo album in 1977.This is where the websites title comes from.
- ::Mark Farners Official Website::
This is the official Mark Farner website.Visit Marks grand website and get truly funked today.Photos,merchandise,tour schedules,videos.Marks website has them all and then some.
Grand Funk ReflectionsClick thumbnail to view full-size
Who is Grand Funk Railroad?
I could be mistaken but I think it was in January 1973 when I had experienced my first Grand Funk Railroad concert when they appeared on the ABC In Concert television series with special guest Freddy King even though the actual concert was in December 1972.It aired twice and we watched both times.I do remember that it was an historic occasion for me.My sisters watched it too.I had watched various artists on this show whenever it aired and always looked forward to In Concert anxiously each week.However,this time was extra special for it was the band that my sister had idolized at the time.My oldest sister liked GFR as well but was much more conservative when it came to stuff like rock musicians and concerts.Today I am a guitarist for 31 years.Well,the time had come.My sister and myself sat eagerly in front of the set.Her long haired concert going boyfriend had came over to watch.He hated Grand Funk but we didn't care.It was a fun rockin occasion for us to watch this show together.As I watched Mark Farner move across that stage I found myself yearning for a guitar to play.By the time the show was over,this kids determination was now at an all time high.
The following night during the repeat performance, I watched it with my other sister and my dad.I can remember during a break telling my sis that someday I would play like Mark.They began laughing at me.I got mad and said why not?Jokingly I exclaimed,Who knows, I may just someday play with these guys!I may even someday actually know them! After the chuckles and laughter died down,dad sternly and loudly proclaimed, You will never become one of those long haired freaks if I can help it.We watched the rest of the show in amazement.I now truly wanted to learn to play if only I had a guitar.Thus ended was my first authentic Grand Funk Railroad concert at the age of 11 and nothing was the same.
Grand Funk Railroad was one of the biggest power trio super groups of the 70s.From out of Flint Michigan emerged Mark Farner,Don Brewer and Mel Schacher.They were just three young guys from outta Flint Michigan who had put together a little garage band and in the summer of 69,found themselves on stage in front of 186,000 people at the Atlanta International Pop Festival that same year.They played for free and the rest was history.They then returned the following year as the headlining act.From 1969 to 1976 they would release more than 15 albums.A whopping 12 platinum and 16 gold albums,or was that seventeen?There are countless testaments attesting to Grand Funks success.As the critics cried foul,the people yelled for more.As they say,if the critics really hate you and your work,then you're probably on the right track,because of you're refusing to be the typical cookie cutter version of any particular art.
Long ago one critic had this to say.Many people judge art,any kind of art,based upon if they feel it is bad or good,however,art is not always based upon if it is good or bad,but when it very simply,cannot be ignored.Interesting huh?The Grand Funk albums On Time,Grand Funk,Closer to home,Live Album,Survival,Mark Don & Mel,and Epluribus Funk were released from 1969 to 1972 bringing about such hits as Heartbreaker,Inside Looking out,Time machine,Closer to Home,Mean Mistreater,Feelin Alright and Footstompin Music.They had toured all over the world many times over and the first to sell out Shea Stadium faster than even the Beatles did in the mid 60s.In 1972,their producer Terry Knight had sued them for breach of contract for millions of dollars and won.All they got to keep was their name.This was when Grand Funk had omitted the word railroad from their name,at least on the LP covers.Adding long time keyboardist and friend Craig Frost,they embarked on getting this railroad back on track with the self produced album Phoenix which brought the hit
single,RocknRoll Soul which managed to hit into the top 40s list.The album cover featured the mythical phoenix bird rising from the ashes.A very descriptive cover conveying what they had been going through.
They had survived.In 1973,singer and producer Todd Rundgren and new manager Andy Cavalier would produce this Grand Funk quartets 1973 album,Were an American Band.As a single,the title song went to number one.Thing is,it had went to number one before the album itself had even yet been released.Were an American band went straight up to number one with hits Were an American Band and Walk Like A Man.In 1974,the album Shinon On was released with hits shinon On and a new version of Little Evas,The Locomotion.In 1975,producer Jimmy Ienner produced their album,All the girls in the world Beware! This yeilded hits,Bad Time and Some Kind Of Wonderful.Also in 75 a new live album from their world tour was released as well.It was titled,Caught in the act.This album included the word railroad in its description.They had been touring close to all the time when not in the studio.They had a couple close calls with planes almost falling out of the sky too.
After having finished the 1975 world tour,Grand Funk Railroad would go back into the studio.This would not be their last album,however there was an air of a bad omen to what the album was.Mark and the guys were to appear at a promo shoot for this upcoming album.The shoot was done at a place that sells caskets.They were to get into these caskets and the picture is taken of all four of them by a cameraman situated above.Thus this album was called,Born to die.It did release the singles Sally and Take me.The album didn't do so well.There was a Greatest hits album that followed in 1975 right after the Born to Die album.In 1976 Grand Funks final album,which was produced by Frank Zappa, was released entitled Good Singin,Good Playin.In the next couple years Mark would release two solo albums entitled Mark Farner and No Frills that were produced by Dick Wagner.Members Don,Mel and Craig would be doing their own things and recorded their own album.They called themselves-Flint.
In 1981 Mark,Don and new bassist and old friend Denny Bellinger would go back on the road for what would be called the Grand Funk Lives tour after completing the Grand Funk Lives album which yeilded the hit Queen Bee which appeared in the 1981 movie Heavy Metal.In 1983,these same members released the album,What's Funk?.On this LP Mark does a remake of the old hit single,It's a mans world.Mark later would form a new band of his own called The Mark Farner Band and would continue touring.In the mid 80s to early 90s Mark and his wife found a new connection with each other and Jesus Christ.Mark in the later 80s and would release the three christian rock albums,Just another Injustice,with the hit,Isn't it amazing,along with albums Wake Up and Some Kinda Wonderful.In the early 90s the 3 original amigos got hit hard by the IRS over a business venture they were told was long closed back in the 70s.The IRS were relentless.Don and Mel settled outta court while Mark chose to keep fighting but eventually lost.In the mid 90s Mark was touring as part of Ringo Stars All Star Band as the other GFR members were doing their own projects.
In 1996,the three got together at a hidden locale to have a meeting.It was decided that Mark,Don and Mel would once again tour as Grand Funk Railroad.The 3 original amigos were back.From this time through 98 they toured and were the most successful reunion band to hit the stage,filling and outselling venues faster than most of the newer mainstream supergroups.Truly a mark of genuine funkness.In 1999 Mark went back to being solo with his own band and would soon after form Mark Farners NRG band which still performs today.A few more Grand Funk albums would be released as well such as Live Bosnia,Anthologys 30 years of Funk and a series of greatest hits cds released by capitol records.In 2001 Don and Mel formed a new Grand Funk Railroad,without Mark.They brought in Bruce Kullick formerly of Kiss,Max Carl from 38 special and Tim Cashion from Bob Segars Band.Mark chose to remain solo.This new Grand Funk is still touring and they are pretty good,but its not the genuine deal.Its Markless!And they're using the GFR name which I personally feel is wrong but I supposed to each his own.
Mark had put together during this time,Hubert H-Bomb Crawford on drums,Paul Ojibway on keyboard and Lawerence Buckner on bass.This was and is Mark Farners NRG band.Still touring and playing the Grand Funk hits and their own stuff too.In 2004 the cd NRG Live was released.On July 4th 2006,Mark and NRG have released the cd,For The People which I feel is one of Marks best of all time.Its really that good.As of 2007,Paul had left NRG and new keyboardist,Karl Propst would be taking his place.My first Grand Funk show was on ABCs In concert back in January 1973.My first live concert was the Lives tour in late 1981.I can still remember back in December 84 when I met Mark backstage for the first time.Since that time in the past,I have 21 Grand Funk,Mark Farner shows under my belt.The guitar playing ability that I now possess is directly due to the influence that Mark and his music has had on my life,and I am proud today to still be his fan and to call him my friend,and I am thankful for all the great memories.He has been a true inspiration.He is a very kind and giving man.
In 2005,myself and fellow brothers and sisters on Marks Railroad forum were trying through various online campaigns,to get back into Marks possession the recognition he so rightfully deserves,as both a solo musician and a founding member of Grand Funk Railroad.As for Grand Funk Railroad?Well,they're still touring and they are very good,but I feel Marks band is genuinely better.Of course,everybody has their own feelings on such things.Mark wrote 85 percent of all of the Grand Funk material.Yet,he is not allowed to use the name Grand Funk in any of his advertising,unless it states,Mark Farner formerly of Grand Funk.And Grand Funk must be in all capital letters.Marks gone through much but he has stood on his own as a solo performer and is still considered by most as the driving force behind Grand Funk Railroad.Even to this day he is recognized this way.
Today in 2009,Mark and his NRG band still perform throughout the country,bringing forth a still very powerful arsenal of heavy duty industrial strength rock and roll to the masses.Each show I have attended has had its own very unique story and magic around it.Each of which I would like to share on here,as time permits.There is a very real message in Marks music.A message so profound that if heeded by everyone,it would bring us all closer,closer to home.
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