Steve Janowsky, the Review Fix Rocktologist- Episode Two: Mark Farner Interview
Mark Farner, guitarist, singer and songwriter for Grand Funk Railroad, has had a prolific and stellar musical career. The Flint, Michigan native was part of one of America’s first power trios (1968-1977, 1980-1983 and 1996-1999) along with Mel Schacher (bass) and Don Brewer (drums and vocals). With classic rock anthems like “We’re an American Band,” “I’m Your Captain” (Closer to Home), “Inside Looking Out,” ‘Heartbreaker,” “Bad Time,” “Mean Mistreater”and “Foot Stompin’ Music,” Grand Funk Railroad sold 25 million records while scoring 12 platinum and 15 gold albums.
Farner’s one of a kind vocals and expert guitar work defined Grand Funk Railroad’s (later called Grand Funk with the addition of keyboardist Craig Frost) sound and helped make them one of the most electrifying live acts in rock and roll history. What other rock group could play the Atlanta Pop Festival in front of 160,000 people as an unsigned band, be snapped up by Capitol records, and record their first album within four months? The band also set an attendance record at Shea Stadium in 1971, surpassing the legendary Beatles appearance in 1965.
From 1983 to 1994, Farner recorded Contemporary Christian albums garnering critical acclaim and continued to wow Grand Funk Railroad fans and newcomers to his music. He also toured with Ringo’s All-Star Band on numerous occasions starting in 1995 and later reunited with Schacher and Brewer for a series of benefit concerts for war-torn Bosnia that were recorded on the double CD “Bosnia.” From 1999 on Farner has toured with his band Nr’G releasing “Red, White and Blue” and “Live Nr’G.”
Reviewfix.com recently spoke with Farner about Grand Funk Railroad, Ringo Starr, John Entwistle, recording, touring and what the future holds for this brilliant musician.