my grand funk concert stories a weekend of rock
Mark Farner at the Carousel in Celina Ohio 1989Click thumbnail to view full-size
Hot summer nights at the carousel
1989 for me seemed like a year of big parties and wild abandon.It was indeed a crazy time.Partys and loud music and guitars being the norm.Music would blast from my place as well as the neighbors upstairs as people would stumble through the yard and even hang from the roof.We actually called home the hellhouse.Complete with faulty electric,crumbling foundation,the shower in the basement,leaky roofs and a landlord who probably partied it up more than we did.I often wondered when the house was gonna literally cave in.I give this dreaded analogy for a reason.Hopefully it gives one at least a general idea of what my lifestyle was like back at that time.I was far from any christian for sure.There was lottsa parties but it was not a happy time by any means.Alot of bad things had occurred as well.In December of 1988,just two months after attending my sixth Grand Funk/Mark Farner show in Cincinnati,I had met up with a girl who lived an hour away in Columbus Ohio.Sometimes Id visit with her there.It was good to get away from all the craziness occassionally too.In June of 1989 she and I along with my friend Dave L would venture to just outside of Celina Ohio for a full weekend of rock and roll.One weekend prior to this she and I were walking up high street in downtown Columbus in the evening amongst the thousands of people when out of nowhere this black man walks up and taps me on my shoulder.He says,hey dude what are you doin here?As I turned I seen it was my friend Lewis whom I hadnt seen since 1981 after my grandpas and his fathers death.They had both died as friends in the nursing home together.Lewis and I had became the best of friends and have been that way even to this day.He had became a preacher in later years.I thought what were the odds of my running into him down here among all these thousands of people?It was really good to see him again.While she and I were hanging around in that area,I had found a flyer in a radio store advertising a two day concert at a place called the carousel which was a big indoor outdoor club out in the country just miles outside of Celina Ohio.We made our plans to go.The place had an opened up outdoor area complete with stage,an all sand ground like a beaches,picnic tables and alot of space all contained within a large steel fence.My friend Dave L came along too.A nice campground was right down the road so we made our reservations there.Both days were very hot and sunny.Many local and regional bands would be playing on both days.These were both all day events.Steppenwolf was featured for Saturday night and Mark Farner would be the featured artist the following Sunday night.I had written Mark a week prior to this show.I had sent it to the carousel in Celina in care of them and they assured me that Mark would receive it when he arrived there.Both these Steppenwolf and Grand Funk shows were never much advertised.In fact we had guessed that perhaps only about 400 people had shown up for day one and only a few hundred for day two.Heck if even that many.The ad flyers were misprinted as they read Mark Farner of Grand Funk Railroad with hits the locomation,instead of the locomotion,and footstoppin music instead of footstompin music.Obviously very few of these flyers were made either.After spending the entire Saturday there with all these bands including Steppenwolf who were really great,we called it a night and headed back for the campground.But then the unthinkable occurred.We were less than a few hundred feet from the campgrounds entrance when a deputy sheriff pulled us over and gave her a complete dui test.She had earlier drank quite a bit too.He had her go through the entire gambit and then finally told her she was on the borderline.Where you going?he asked.She points at the entrance that is a stones throw away and says,just right there sir.He actually then let her go with a warning.Ah yes,now theres the cherry on the sundae that made our evening complete.Once there we built us a campfire.We stayed up for a little while and had campfire munchies and eventually passed out while laying beside the fire.The next day we went swimming for while.After our swim we got ourselves together and headed back to the carousel for day two of our weekend rockfest.All of the other bands were really good.When it was time for Mark and the guys to come out,we were able to walk up and occupy the entire length of the front of the stage for everyone else were still clear in the back of the place behind us.Soon more people came to the front of the stage.The show was a mixture of Grand Funk songs I had heard at the previous shows along with some of Marks christian material.The song isnt it amazing sounded so awesome live.Such a smaller crowd yet youd think them guys were playin to a large packed house by the way they performed their whole set.The whole concert was great.After the concert we could see that people were already lining up outside of the tour bus awaiting for their turn to go aboard to meet Mark and the band.We waited awhile and eventually got in line ourselves.We talked with some stage crew a short while.We had learned at that time that former grand funk members Don Brewer and Craig Frost were now touring and performing with the bob segar band and that Mel Schacher was now into selling and trading refurbished Jaguars or something like that.I also heard about Marks big upcoming show.He was going to be doing a concert at the Atlanta pop festival in tribute to the original pop festival that had helped propel them into stardom back in 1969.This would be the 20th year anniversary of that first concert.When we did get in line I began letting people cut in front of us as she and Dave were getting kind of upset and asking me what was wrong and why would I be doing such a thing and both of them fearing that they wouldnt get to meet him.But I just kept on lettin everybody cut in front of us anyways.She and I would soon get into a small argument about this and by the time our little spirited debate was ended,we were about to board and we would be the very last ones as well.The bus door opened and we three and one other guy stepped in.As Mark was walking toward the back of the bus he says,How ya doin Chris?Hey I got your letter by the way.Ill be right with you.This was a special moment for me for we were about to sit down in Marks bus and chat with him for a good while,and I wasnt the least bit stoned and neither were my friends.He soon came back and asked us to have a seat as I introduced everybody to him.We all then sat down.Mark walked back up front to speak with the driver and then turned and walked back to us.Hey Chris come here,he says.I stood up and walked over to him.Hows things been?he asked.In reality things had not been very good for me at all as he then hugged me and asked again.Hows things been?As he hugged me while asking,I could feel myself tearing up but I still maintained myself as I was barely able to blurt out,things havent been too good Mark.We both sat down as I then pulled out a spanish style cross and a button depicting him at the carousel that I wanted him to have and handed them to him.He talked with us a very good while.He told me about how if I would use my talents for God rather than for myself that my success would eventually be assured and in Gods good time a path would be made for me to be able to travel towards my goals.We all talked about other things as well and it was awesome.Mark and his bandmates and some other guys from his crew all prayed for us on the bus as we all held hands in a big circle.They were all praying for my well being and success.I must say that this was one of the most moving moments in my life and I realized that this wasnt something that just happened everyday.Soon they were all packed and ready to leave.We each got our autographs and posed for a pic with Mark before saying our final goodbyes to them all and I really felt genuinely happy.We were all high but in a much different and better way,and to this day I still cant quite exactly describe it.But I knew we liked it though.When I arrived back home I knew that things would likely be as chaotic as they always were.But I always had this memory.When life became like a social disaster I could always go back and recall that evening with Mark on the bus,and its as though nothing is the same.
Nothing is the same-Grand Funk Railroad from the Lp Closer to home 1970
Grand Funk Railroads producers of their music
Terry Knight produced the albums on time (1969)-grand funk(the red album (1969)-closer to home (1970)-live album (1970)-survival (1971)-epluribus funk (1972) Mark Don and Mel (1972)
Grand Funk (themselves)produced the album- pheonix (1972)
Todd Rundgren produced the albums-were an american band (1973)and- shinon on (1974)
Jimmy Ienner produced the albums-all of the girls in the world beware!(1975)-caught in the act(1975)-born to die (1975) and- greatest hits (1975)
Frank Zappa produced the album-good singin good playin (1976)
Dick Wagner produced Marks first solo album-Mark Farner-(1977)
Jimmy Iovine produced Mark Farners second solo Lp-no frills (1978)
Don Brewer,Mel Schacher and Craig Frost produced their own album called -Flint(1977)
Andrew Cavaliere produced the Grand Funk Lp-lives (1981)
Cliff Davis and Gary Lyons produced the album-whats funk?(1983)
Mark Farner,Bill Baumgart,Tim Heinz produced Mark Farners album-just another injustice (1988)
Mark Farner-Mark produced his own album here called-wake up (1989)
Bill Baumgart produced Mark Farners album-some kind of wonderful (1991)
Ron Nevison produced the live Grand Funk album called -Bosnia (1997)
Steve Lisuk-produced Marks live cd-NRG Live (2004)
Mark Farner-I believe Mark produced his cd-for the people (2006)
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