MARK FARNER On His Reunion With GRAND FUNK RAILROAD: 'Maybe If Enough People Prayed Sincerely, That Prayer Would Be Answered'
May 5, 2023
Mark Farner, a founding member of GRAND FUNK RAILROAD, has once again said that he is open to a reunion with his former band.
This past March, it was announced that GRAND FUNK RAILROAD would celebrate the 50th anniversary of its 1973 "We're An American Band" platinum single and album with 2023's "The American Band" tour.
Led by original members, drummer Don Brewer and bassist Mel Schacher, GRAND FUNK RAILROAD is slated to play several headlining shows this spring as well as serve as the "special guests" of Kid Rock for two hometown shows in Michigan at Little Caesars Arena on Friday, July 14 and Saturday, July 15. Joining Brewer and Schacher on tour are newer additions to the band, singer Max Carl, guitarist Bruce Kulick and keyboardist Tim Cashion.
Asked in a new interview with Artists On Record Starring ADIKA Live! if he has ever had the urge to call Don and tell him that they should mend their differences and go back on the road together, Mark said (as transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET): "I have said it in person. I have said, 'Why can't we just bury the hatchet, go give the fans what neither one of us can separate from each other. There is three people — the ingredients are three specific people. No replacement of any one of those people can even come close. But I just met with a lot of resistance. There's stuff that's… And I'm not a psychiatrist; I don't know what's going on. I know it's not love. [Laughs] It ain't love. But I have done that. I've made the suggestion at least once a year for the past 24 years, and sometimes more than that, more than once a year. Because I remember when THE BEATLES were all still alive. And I'm thinking, 'You selfish pricks.' [Laughs] 'Why don't you just get back together so I can come and see you?' 'Cause I was a BEATLES fan. There was that anointing on them, like there was on Elvis [Presley]. But they took that and did something else with it. People do that; they'll just flop over and [go], 'Oh, yeah, man. All these people love me. Check me out.' God… Thank you, Lord, that where I'm at, I can see through the glass — even though it's a dark glass, I can see clearly through the other side. And I'm in touch with the love that could make millions happy again if the three of us got back on that stage.
"I don't wanna forecast any doom or gloom, but every time I've made the suggestion — and they know I've been open to it for all these years to go back out — we'd split it three ways like we did," he continued. "Just on the money aspect of it — just on the money aspect of it — Melvin could set his boy up for life. He's got a boy who has a child; I think one or two children by now. I don't know, 'cause I haven't kept that close a contact; it's not permissible. But I still love Melvin. He's a childhood friend of mine. We rode dirt bikes together. We jammed together. We smoked dope together. We did everything together.'
The legendary 74-year-old rocker, who turned to Jesus in the late 1980s and became a born-again Christian, added: "Maybe if enough people prayed sincerely, that prayer would be answered. I was praying for THE BEATLES to get back together, but there was something in there that just wouldn't allow that…
"I think if that could happen, there's only one person stopping that from happening. And Lord knows it's not Mel. [Laughs]"
Earlier this month, Farner told John Beaudin of RockHistoryMusic.com about GRAND FUNK RAILROAD celebrating the 50th anniversary of "We're An American Band" on tour this year: "You mean the GRAND FRAUD tour? [Laughs] Yeah, the GRAND F-A-U-X RAILROAD. It's too bad. 'Cause it's really dishonest. As legal as it may be, it is completely dishonest to the fans, and the fans are taking a slap in the face, just like they are with that fake FOREIGNER that's out there. There's not even an original member in that band, and they go out as FOREIGNER, without telling the prospective audience that there's no original members. But the audience, the fans don't get the truth. They get screwed again. And I think the fans have been screwed enough, man. Why not tell people the truth and go out with the chest held high instead of hiding behind your dark glasses and trying to present a fraud?"
Having reportedly written more than 90 percent of the GRAND FUNK music catalog, Farner has sold more than 30 million records worldwide and has earned 16 gold and platinum albums.
Farner's first years in music were with the bands TERRY KNIGHT AND THE PACK and THE BOSSMEN. When GRAND FUNK RAILROAD formed in 1969, they named the group after the Grand Trunk & Western Railroad that runs through Flint. Like a Spartan, Farner was intent on bringing rock destined for arenas. What began as rehearsals at Flint's Federation of Musicians Union Hall led to some of rock music's watershed moments. At the 1969 Atlanta International Pop Festival, they shared the stage with rock luminaries such as LED ZEPPELIN, Janis Joplin and CREEDENCE CLEARWATER REVIVAL. The same year they formed — 1969 — the band further defied expectations by releasing two albums (via Capitol Records) in a four-month period. Farner wrote all but two songs from "On Time" and the platinum-selling "Grand Funk". He said they wanted to take advantage of the meteoric rise that was building in terms of the band's popularity.
"It wasn't much pressure because the songs were coming fast," Farner said. "I had nothing but time for songs."
By 1970, Farner's songs were pivotal to the band's success. The epic composition "I'm Your Captain (Closer to Home)" became an anthem for Vietnam War veterans and audiences alike. Farner would later perform the iconic song at the Vietnam Memorial Wall, on the 25th Anniversary of the Vietnam Memorial Wall. Farner also received the Vietnam Veterans of American Presidents Award for Excellence in the Arts.
In July 1971, the trio sold out Shea Stadium in New York; 55,000 tickets were sold in a record 72 hours — besting THE BEATLES' previous record.
The Farner-penned composition "Bad Time" was GRAND FUNK's last Top 10 single, reaching No. 4 on the Billboard Hot 100 in June 1975. Although it never topped the charts, the song was the most played tune on radio that year due to demand.
Farner is a three-time Michigan Rock And Roll Legends Hall Of Fame member — inducted as a solo member in 2015 and an inductee as part of GRAND FUNK RAILROAD and TERRY KNIGHT AND THE PACK.
Current GRAND FUNK RAILROAD singer Max Carl is a rock veteran from 38 SPECIAL. Max penned and sang 38's biggest hit "Second Chance" and was co-founder of California's legendary JACK MACK AND THE HEART ATTACK. Don refers to Max as "the best blue-eyed soul singer on the planet. Kulick is best known for his 12 years with KISS and has credits with Michael Bolton, Meatloaf and Billy Squier. (KISS members Gene Simmons and Paul Stanley were influenced early on by GRAND FUNK.) Keyboardist Tim Cashion has a master's degree in music from the University of Miami. Affectionately called "Dr. Tim," his credits include stints with Bob Seger and the SILVER BULLET BAND and English soul man Robert Palmer.
GRAND FUNK laid the groundwork for such bands as FOREIGNER, JOURNEY, VAN HALEN and BON JOVI with its signature hard driving sound, soulful vocals, muscular instrumentation and forceful pop melodies. The fact that GRAND FUNK's legacy still reigns over the classic rock landscape fifty years after its 1969 birth in Flint, Michigan is a testament to the group's influence and staying power. Mega-hits "We're An American Band", "I'm Your Captain/Closer To Home", "Locomotion" and "Some Kind Of Wonderful" still receive continuous airplay on classic rock radio. "We're An American Band" has received notoriety in recent years being used in movie soundtracks and in television/radio advertising. The huge hit was featured in a General Motors national TV ad campaign and in Disney's animated feature film "The Country Bears". "We're An American Band" was featured in the Cuba Gooding Jr. film "Radio", and in the swash buckler "Sahara" starring Matthew McConaughey.
Internationally acclaimed GRAND FUNK has toured the world, selling out in the U.S., Canada, Europe, Japan and South America. The group's widespread appeal is also evident in its prestigious recording achievements. Over their career, GRAND FUNK has had 19 charted singles, 8 Top 40 hits and two Number One singles ("We're An American Band" and "Locomotion", both selling more than one million each). The group has now accumulated 13 gold and 10 platinum records with record sales exceeding 25 million copies sold worldwide. The most recent gold CD award was presented to the band for their greatest-hits package "Grand Funk Railroad The Collectors Series".
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