Jim Maijala's Phunk Phiction -- A Life-long Addiction

From: jmaijala@juno.com
Date: Sun, 19 Jul 1998 07:58:40 -0700
Subject: re: the phiktional account

ATTENTION: This is a work of fiction. No character in this story corresponds to any person either living or dead ... but if you see yourself, I won't be surprised ...

Now without further ado ... A LIFE LONG ADDICTION ...

1970 ...

Dave pumped the pedals of his bike as fast as he could. The sweat was really dripping from his forehead as he pushed his Schwinn Stingray up Parker Hill to Tom's house. Tom had called him earlier and told him to "bolt out of that pop-stand" and get over to his house ... He had something for him to hear. Tom wouldn't tell him what it was, was it a tape recorded telephone call from Bev, his girlfriend?, or was it just another stupid joke to get him to come over? Oh well, he would just have to wait and see.

Tom's house was coming into view. Dave could hear something coming from the house, something unfamiliar. He skidded the stingray to a stop (after popping a wheelie) and walked up to the front door. Tom's little brother, Bobby, was sitting out front slapping a baseball into his Rawlings "Reggie Jackson Autographed" fielders glove.

"Hi Creep!" said Dave as he deftly avoided Bobby's foot that was poised to trip him. "Tom's upstairs in his room, Dork," explained Bobby.

Without further discussion, Dave opened the screen door and walked up the stairs to Tom's room, he encountered Tom's mom on the way up and gave her a cheery, "Hi, Mrs. Blake!" Mrs. Blake gave Dave a perfunctory wave and she hurried downstairs carrying the vacuum cleaner.

The door to Tom's room was closed, as usual. He couldn't smell any fumes coming from the room so he decided to scare the crap out of Tom. Dave crashed through the door screaming like a banshi and then threw himself onto the floor and faked an epileptic siezure ... Tom didn't seem to notice. He had a pair of KOSS headphones on that seemed to cover his entire face, he didn't even see Dave come in the room (all his effort was wasted!). Dave could faintly hear music coming from the headphones but couldn't place it.

Tom finally grinned at Dave and unknowingly shouted, "Nice try, fart breath, next time knock! ... You should listen to this." Dave assumed he was talking about the new Beatles album, "Let It Be." A few albums were strewn about Tom's bed. Dave rifled threw them; there was the "American Woman" album, and "Abbey Road" and an old "Paul Revere" Album and one other. It was black and said "Live Album" on it. It was a band called "Grand Funk Railroad". "Who are these guys?"

Tom removed the headphones and immediately began talking, "Dave, Larry told me about these guys. This is their Fourth album and we've never even heard on 'em. Check this out, it's a two album set. Here, let me put side one on for you, listen to this." With that Tom picked up the needle from his big console "Philco" hi-fi set and tossed the second disc from the set onto a chair and put side one of "Live Album" on the turntable. He nearly dropped the needle onto the platter and turned up the volume (after unplugging the headphones).

Dave listened quietly at first as the crowd noise on the album brought him into the action ... 'we want Grand Funk, we want Grand Funk ... Mark!, Mark! ... Hey, I'm keep getting a shock off this mike, can you switch the ground around? I know it's a hell of a rush, but I can't take too many more ...'

Then it happened. The wall of sound that came out that old Philco stereo was incredible. A song called "Are you Ready" blasted from the speakers! Tom was standing in the middle of the room doing a variation of "The Dog" as some guy named, Mark Farner, rammed his way through the solo.

At the end of the song Tom turned down the hi fi set and said, "Isn't this really groovey? It's just three guys, (he read from the album liner notes) Mark Farner, Don Brewer and Mel ... I don't know how to pronounce his last name." Dave looked at it and tried a few names ... "schasher, shcasss ter, how about, THAT'S ALL FOLKS."

Nothing would be the same again ...

To be continued ...

Jim's a good mans brother
Keeping the dream alive into the next millennium ...

From: jmaijala@juno.com
Date: Tue, 28 Jul 1998 07:00:32 -0700
Subject: Re: A Lifelong Addiction ... Chapter 2

... Still 1970 ...

By now Dave had acquired all of the Grand Funk Albums himself. He had "On Time," "Grand Funk," "Closer to Home," and "Live Album." He had also saved up his allowance and gone down to the local Woolco and bought himself a cheap guitar. Believe it or not, he had also found a song book that had some of the songs in it. Now all he had to do was learn to read music and he would be all set.

Tom and Dave spent alot of time together trying to figure out the songs from the Funk albums. When they weren't playing their git-boxes they were listening to the albums and reading the liner notes and trying to figure out who the guys were. Soon, they were testing each others knowledge by "Pop Quizezzzzz."

Near Christmas, Dave turned 16 and got his drivers license. Now the guys would cruise and listen to GFR on 8-tracks in the car. Tom had been saving his money and now bought a Kustom amp and electric guitar. He was really getting serious about this rock and roll stuff.

1971 ...

Dave, by this time, had talked his Dad into buying him a bass guitar and an amp, it was a Gibson Hercules. Together, Dave and Tom practiced their Grand Funk until they thought they had it down. They recruited Larry to be the drummer, all Larry needed were some drums. This turned out to be quite a problem since Larry didn't have any money and his folks couldn't afford to buy him drums.

By this time, Survival was out and GFR was out touring in their area. All three of them bought tickets to the show. All they could afford were the "nose bleed" seats, but that was okay, at least they would be there.

The day of the concert finally arrived after what seemed like a century. The concert was fantastic with Farner dancing about the stage ripping on his quitar, Don pounding away at the drums and Mel stoically playing his bass like nothing was actually going on.

Tom was more tired than Farner after the show. He studied his every move and resolved to be just like him. Dave had an easier time of it since Mel didn't run around so much. Larry decided to get a job and stop waiting for someone to buy him drums, he would buy them himself.

Chapter three next week ...

Jim's a good mans brother
Keeping the dream alive into the next millennium ...

From: jmaijala@juno.com
Date: Tue, 4 Aug 1998 11:59:55 -0700
Subject: Re: A Lifelong Addiction ... Chapter 3

Chapter 3 ...

Late 1971 ...

Larry had gotten himself a part time job as a dishwasher at a local restaurant for $1.40 an hour. He worked three evenings per week for about 5 hours and on the weekends for another 12. That totaled out to be about 27 hours per week, which using a pencil and paper worked out to be $35.80 per week. Considering that he was going to school that wasn't too bad.

He had checked on the price of a set of Ludwigs at the local music store and they were about $500 after getting all the accessories. Slingerland drums were about the same price so he decided to go with the Ludwigs. After working for about a month he put a set on "lay away." Every two weeks he would get paid and then the next day he would make a payment on the drum set.

"Man, this is taking foreeeeeevvvvveeeerrrrrrrr!" he complained to Dave. However, things were looking up, he had been promoted to Bus Boy at the restaurant (Land of Goshen!) and now was making $1.65 per hour!

By Christmas he had earned enough to pay off the drum set. He went with Tom and Dave to the music store to pay them off. It was December 22nd and shoppers were out in plenty. It was cold and snow was falling from a gray sky, perfect weather for Christmas.

As he walked up to the store he saw the family station wagon pulling out of the parking lot, "I wonder what Mom was doing here ... probably getting a few last minute gifts." He walked into the store and told the clerk that he was there to pick up the "KIT."

The clerk couldn't wipe the "shit eating" grin off his face. "I sorry Larry, someone just bought them, there not here anymore." "WHAT!?, are you friggin' kiddin' me? I had them on lay away!! What's going on here ...," Larry stammered and then noticed that the clerk was still grinning and pointing in the direction of the departing station wagon.

"Hey, numbskull, who do you think bought them?" Tom said with a smile. "Yeah, it's not like it's Christmas or anything." contributed Dave as he proceeded to do a Hadji impression ... "Sim, sim, sala, bim ... ride that camel Johnny ... just like my homeland!"

Larry felt like an idiot (and looked like one too). Obviously his Mom had paid them off and was hiding them for Christmas. He would have to take back all the bad stuff he had said about his parents! Oh well, mum was the word. He would behave like he didn't know, and man, was that going to be tough.


All went off as he figured. After all the presents were given and received his father escorted Larry to the basement where the drums were hidden. They were bright red (just like Don's!) and gleamed in the dim lighting. Larry was pumped!!

Tom was equally lucky. His parents had upgraded him to a matching Fender Bass and Bassman amp. He plugged in immediately and blew out 5 light bulbs! (the bassman pulled so much juice that they had to replace a couple of fuses in the fuse box) (remember fuse boxes? I do.)

Dave received a flood light set with a bunch of multicolored flood lamps. Now it was time to get psychedelic!


Now for the first time Dave, Tom and Larry were ready to practice a real band ...

"Let's do Are You Ready," suggested Tom.

"Alright, I'll start us off ... one, two, onetwothreefour ...," with that Larry pounded out the beat ... and boy did he sound shitty! Tom and Dave desolved into a fit a laughter that took about a half hour to get over. Larry was pissed.

Chapter four to follow ...

Jim's a good mans brother
Keeping the dream alive into the next millennium ...

From: jmaijala@juno.com
Date: Thu, 13 Aug 1998 00:13:04 -0700
Subject: Re: A Lifelong Addiction ... Chapter 4

After not so careful thought ... Chapter 4!!

1972 ...

Things were starting to come together. Larry was really improving his drumming. Tom's bass was blasting and Dave's chops were really chopping! In fact, they had an entire set of numbers down pat. They always opened with "China Grove," followed up with "Anybody's Answer," "Get Back," "Are You Ready," "American Woman," "Green Eyed Lady," and "Inside Looking Out." While everything was looking rosy they now knew that something was missing. They knew that because Grand Funk had added a keyboard player.

One of their friends, Hank Douglas, played the organ. In fact he had a Farfisa combo compact. Better yet it was red. All he needed was an amp for it. Well, Tom sold him the Gibson Hercules amp. Now he was ready to rock. Hank was a great addition to the band since they could widen their group of songs. They added "Rock and Roll Soul," "Footstompin' Music," and "Wooly Bully." In a fit of hilarity they also decided to add "Fire," the version cut by "The Crazy world of Arthur Brown."

They decided to name the band "Peace Generation" which seemed topical for the times. They started lining up gigs all over town. The kids liked them and they discovered a rather strange benefit to playing in a rock and roll band ... girls started hanging around them (oh no, groupies!).

Summer 1972 ...

"Man, every time I think we're going to make money on this deal, something else breaks," lamented Tom. It seemed that all the money they made from the gigs was recirculated into the band for repairs or upgrades. They didn't seem to be getting ahead.

That's when Hank came up with a great idea. "Let's raise our price." "But we're the 'Peace Generation.' We live on energy and love. Why do you think I wear these love beads and have this peace sign hanging around my neck." explained Dave. "Dave, fold your peace sign four ways and stick it where the sun don't shine! We need the money." shot Tom. "Okay, let's raise the price tag on a gig by $20." commented Larry. "20 bucks higher?" asked Dave. "Alright, it's settled. We'll now ask for $80 a show. I hope we still get some jobs." cautioned Hank.

Well, it didn't seem to affect anything. They still were playing a lot on the weekends and they were putting a few dollars into their pockets.

Things were looking good ... this could go on forever ...

Stay tuned for chapter 5 ...

Jim's a good mans brother
Keeping the dream alive into the next millennium ...

The Grand Funk Railroad Web

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