grand funk stories Youngstown welcomes Mark Farner and Peter Frampton
B&Bs Backstage Youngstown Ohio 9/11/2004Click thumbnail to view full-size
Just over two months after the Mark Farner show I had attended in July 2004 at the Colerain township festival I had discovered two more shows that were coming in September.I called my friend Mr.C whom Id met at the Colerain show.I told him about the two upcoming concerts in the northeast section of Ohio that Mark Farners NRG band would be doing.He and his family would not be going.My girlfriend and myself both decided that we were going and would attend both the shows.These concerts were fast approaching.We already had our tickets,motel reservations and our plans made for the upcoming shows.Itd be a long drive.We would be driving literally from one end of the state to the other going from the southwest corner to the northeast corner of the state.Indeed a very long drive.On September 11th 2004 we would be seeing Peter Frampton with special guest Mark Farners nrg band at B&B Backstage in Youngstown Ohio.We then went to the city of Wooster the follwing day September 12th.Mark and the guys would be playing at the Wayne county fairgrounds during the fair that evening along with special guest Gary Puckett from gary puckett and the union gap who were famous for the 60s song young girl.Going to both concerts?Heck why not!We were already far away from home and Wooster was fairly close to Youngstown.The concert in Youngstown would be on a Saturday night.A nice luxury suite at a hotel that was only a three minute walk of the concert area was perfect.We would stay there on both Friday and Saturday nights.Sunday night we would be in Wooster and stay the night there and be on our way back home Monday morning.After a very long drive Friday afternoon we had finally arrived at our destination in Youngstown.Earlier in the week we had heard from B&Bs backstage that Mark would be at a tavern next door to the concert place as well as right next door to our hotel.They would all be there at around 11pm.We decided to go there a little bit early because of the likelihood that the place could become rather crowded later on.We both wanted to have a booth or table to sit at.We walked over there and went in and easily found us a booth when we arrived and I then had an odd feeling.I just couldnt quite put my finger on it though.Over an hour later we had noticed that we were still just about the only ones in there besides the workers and perhaps a couple of people at the bar.I was growing a wee bit antsy but didnt know why.Prior to leaving for these concerts I had been on the phone with Mr.C and he asked us to tell Mark he said hi if we seen him.We told him we would if we seen him.Around 11pm or so,Mark and his company came in and were going to eat dinner.He was greeted and shook hands with a few people including us but he didnt seem to know me as he met us for a second and immediately turned and walked to the back of the place into a private dining room as Joy and myself were somewhat dumbfounded for he seemed closed off and uneasy.Later a girl approached us and says,whats that mans problem?When I spoke with him he acted all pissy like he was king sh*t or something,she remarked.It then suddenly occurred to me.We were just about the only people in there when the place should be packed and the place reopened the kitchen so Mark and all of them could eat in private.It wasnt publicized,I muttered to her.Places like this ussually fill up fast when its announced that a special guest will be there.I told Joy,it obviously wasnt announced.We may have been told about Marks arrival here but obviously nobody else had been told.She agreed but was a little more recalcitrant about it.She then laid it down to me.Well Chris there is still no excuse for being and acting like that and I dont care who the hell they are,nor how famous and uppidity Mark is because its still no excuse for rudeness and bad manners.I tried downplaying it all with her.Theyre getting our money Chris and they wouldnt have anything at all if people like you and I hadnt given it to them.Think about that a minute!This is my vacation time Chris.I have chosen to spend my only vacation this year to see their shows instead of spending it elsewhere,she boldly stated.I liked this aspect of Joy.Coming from a good home and wonderful christian parents and family,her upbringing taught her to quickly point it out when she felt something to be wrong,and she cared not as to who they were or whether they were famous or not.She says whats on her mind and just doesnt care what someone may think.She was on her vacation at the moment and intended on enjoying every second of it.I sat and thought for a moment.I said,well were probably not really supposed to be here and there could be any number of things he may be contending with at the moment like jet lag.She agreed with me but was still very vocal about her thoughts concerning it.We both then decided to walk back to this private dining area when we saw another person walking back there.I was a little nervous.I didnt really wish to interrupt them and had no intentions of pestering them for autographs and what not.We just simply got up and walked in.Mark and the band and a few others were all seated around a large table as we walked up to them.One guy asked Mark if our sudden presence was alright and he knodded that it was ok.Somewhat tongue tied I said,Um ah hey Mark,we didnt mean to disturb you guys but we just wanted to let you know that Mr.C says hi and all.He acknowledged this but appeared visibly bothered.Well thats all we needed to tell you and were sorry if weve imposed.You may not remember me,I calmly added..Yea I do youre Chris,Mark replied.Well we gotta go now,I replied.We both wished them all a good evening and then promptly left to go back to our booth up front at this place.I now felt pretty bad.We then were talking with another guy that had came over and sat down with us.He explained that really nobody knew of their arrival there except for the workers and that it wasnt publicized,just like I had already figured out.A short time later Marks keyboardist Paul Ojibway came out.He walked to the front of the place and first began talking with the guy that had been sitting in the booth with us.Joy then asked,Hey whats up with Mark?Whats up his a#s anyways?Paul took a seat at our booth and talked with us as we listened intently and trying to figure out what he was saying.He then filled us in on some things.He was very kind and cordial as he went into topics such as why they prefer not to be viewed as rock stars and seen moreso as ordinary people instead,as well as how he had discovered many musicians who were better than him musically,including his own mailman.I knew exactly where he was coming from there.He talked for a little while with us and his visit with us was both informative and fun.While we were still chatting with Paul in this tavern,I noticed that he really seemed to wanna know that we understood what all he was trying to convey to us.We understood where he was coming from.What I was failing to understand was why he was telling us about his mailman and these other better musicians and all this other stuff.He visited a short time longer then said goodbye and left.He was really cool and it was a real pleasure for us to get to chat with him awhile.And it sure made me think alot.I thought about the old demo tape I had given Mr.C to give to Mark just two months earlier.I then said aloud,For Gods sakes Joy,he surely wasnt referring to that silly tape of mine was he?He might of been,she replied.I went on with,but why?I dont understand.That doesnt make any sense because that tape was recorded on a two dollar tape recorder and the recording really sucked.Well at least my heart was in the right place I guess.She then replied,I know it was hon but you seem to always underestimate yourself Chris,and I wouldnt sweat it if I were you and consider it a compliment.My mind pondered for a few moments.As motivation guru Tony Robbins once told me at a seminar long ago,ya gotta be for real and examine yours and others actions in a positive light by asking yourself the right questions,and dont always blame yourself or others if another is unable or chooses not to see things in the same light as you.Dont give up your personal power.A story about Tony would be a story in and of itself that I would like to write about sometime in the future.Yes how right Tony is and how true it is as well.I began to try to think realistically about what all Mark is probably having to deal with alot of the time. Its probably quite a bit.Lord knows how many people send him tapes and this and that and open hands coming at him from all directions and only God knows what else coming at him in a continual stream,yea its no wonder.I have been there myself at times.One doesnt have to be a rock star to know how some people can be towards others,and especially when youre really trying to succeed at something worthwhile and meaningful for you.Im just a little known musician and just another person.Id guess that there are perhaps thousands out there who are all unique to me and yet still similar in certain ways.And many of them are devout Grand Funk fans.I am just happy for all of the concerts I have gotten to see and for all the experiences that went with them.Even the not so good ones.Over this weekend an idea came to me.When we would get back home I intended to make all of my Grand Funk pics and memorabilia available online to whomever wished to see them.This was a fun project for me.I had uploaded the whole lot onto a picture site and later a man named Jimmy K invited me to have these pictures displayed on his very fine website.Jimmy is owner of grandfunkrock.com.Its the unofficial website of both Mark Farner and Grand Funk Railroad and is based out of Sweden.This had all occurred after our concert weekend.Anyways,we both had decided to just hang around this tavern for awhile and talked with some people and enjoyed ourselves before walking back to the hotel suite which was right across the street from the one Mark and them were staying at.Friday night in Youngstown was done.It was late but we eventually finally got us some sleep.The next evening was Saturday as we walked over to the outdoor concert area and had reserved seats that were fairly close up.Perhaps nine or ten rows back.The concert was just as grand as it could be but for the higher price of these tickets we still seemed to be a good distance from the stage or so it seemed.We were still satisfied with it though.Mark opened up with are you ready,then others such as time machine,nothing is the same,footstompin music,some kind of wonderful,shinon on,the locomotion,heartbreaker,people lets stop the war,into the sun,he sent me you and a whole list of other songs.The encore would be closer to home.Peter Frampton was a great show too and was a first for both of us which we really enjoyed.We liked how he kidded around with his audience too.This was supposed to be the better of the two places that Mark would be playing this weekend but we later both had to agree that the show in Wooster the following night was better all the way around.A better show,better price and better all around.Mark came out later for a meet and greet as many people began getting into the line.Peter Frampton didnt come out.When we finally got up there to see Mark,he signed my monumental funk album cover as well as the book by Kristofer from grand funk to grace,which I had bought,as well as Joys shirt and one autograph to give to her son Justin.We were later talking to Paul again and for a good while too.We took some pictures and chatted with Paul and soon it was time for Mark and all of them to leave.Paul kept belly aching Mark into taking a picture with Joy and myself.Mark wasnt taking pictures this evening but however he made an exception and did take one with us which was kind of him to do.We thanked him and then left.Calling it a night,we walked back to the hotel after what would be my 14th Mark Farner Grand Funk concert.The following morning we would sign out of the hotel and drive a short distance west to Wooster Ohio and checked into an Econo Lodge.The concert here would be in the evening and would be my 15th one.After this Youngstown show I had continued reading Marks book in our room and was very surprized by all of the hell he had been through.I now understood what Paul had tried to convey to us.We both were rock and rolled out and got to bed because we knew that the following day we were gonna do it all over again and we just couldnt wait.
Just couldnt wait-Grand Funk Railroad/Lp-Good singin good playin 1975-76
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