From: "Yvonne Graf" <email@example.com>
Date: Sat, 15 Jan 2000 13:14:17 -0500
Subject: (GFR/RK) more Funk (phunk) Fiction
"This show sure takes me back," said Deb as we watched "That 70's Show" on Fox. Snickering at Eric and his friends.
"Yeah especially that part where they sit in a circle and discuss things." I said making the quotation marks at discuss.
"Come on I never did that stuff! I never even tried a cigarette much less weed."
"Yeah but you inhaled enough at concerts.can't tell me you didn't come out of there without a buzz."
"Hyde reminds me of my boyfriend from then." Sue said. "What an asshole he was."
"I kind of like Hyde." I said. "He's the most intellectual of all of them that's for sure."
"Give me Kelso any day.cute and dumb." Sue sighed.
"So, is Hank a Kelso then?" I asked. Hank had been her husband for over 15 years.
"He was when I met him." Sue said with a wink but said nothing further on the subject.
"I wonder if they'll ever talk about or play Grand Funk on here? They were one of the biggest groups of the 70's." Deb commented. "I remember one episode where they went to see Todd Rundgren."
"This takes place in the later 70's, like '77. Kind of after Grand Funk's time." I said. "Still, they reference other big bands like Zep and Pink Floyd. Who knows, maybe they will. I think it would be cool to see Hyde in a Grand Funk T-shirt."
"Fez would be funnier." Deb said. She always liked the odd balls.
"I would just like to hear him say Grand Funk." I said and we laughed at the thought.
We continued to watch these kids who for the most part were in diapers during the 70's talk about platform shoes, disco and how it was being a teenager in the 70's. All of us, Sue, Deb and myself had spent our teenage years in the 70's. The show did bring back memories, good and bad for all of us.
"Well, I have to head home." Sue said standing and reaching for her coat.
"Home to Kelso.I mean Hank?" I asked.
"Kelso.I wish." she laughed.
Later that evening Deb and I tuned to "Doctor Who" a British TV show, which featured a character, called The Doctor, a Time Lord, who would travel through time and space. At this time Tom Baker, a tall, big nosed man with big blue eyes, played the Doctor. He was in his late 40's with lots of curly hair and a long scarf and overcoat.
The Doctor's time machine was called a Tardis. The outside of the Tardis looked like a British police call booth. The inside was much bigger. Sometimes looking like a laboratory, other times like a mansion. Unfortunately for the Doctor, the Tardis had lost its steering, meaning the Doctor never really knew where'd he end up in time or place. He usually had a companion, and at this time it was Leela, a tribal warrior dressed in a leather bikini. Leela was no bimbo though. It was all the Doctor could do to keep her from killing everything she came in contact with.
The Doctor also had K9, a mechanical talking dog/computer that kind of looked like a canister vacuum.
I started watching this show sometime in the 80's having accidentally stumbled on it as I channel surfed. It is done with that British "Monty Python" humor, and Tom Baker by far is the best of all the Doctors. He quickly became popular in the US, and had a large fan club in the 80's. Some friends and I even went to see him once when he spoke at a Doctor Who conference in St. Louis.
I often wondered what it would be like to have a Tardis? To travel through time just to see history as it happened. I dozed off with this thought in my head.
It was spring. The real date wasn't for a few weeks yet, but it was defiantly spring. The trees were budding, grass was pretty much green, and only patches of dirty snow lined the streets.
I hardly took notice of this as Deb and I hurried through the parking lot at the Mall of America. We had to go and pick up one of her sons at school, and had only a few minutes to run in and get something she'd waited until the last minute to get.
We ended up on the roof of the mall, which is why I even noticed the trees and dirty snow. It was pretty busy, as it usually was. And to top it off, the elevator was either broke or very slow. There were some people standing by it any way. A couple with a baby carriage and some teenagers Deb and I referred to as mall rats.
"Stairs?" I asked and she nodded and we headed down the stairs.
Our footsteps echoed on the concrete stairs as we trotted down them. It had snowed earlier in the week, so they were a little wet still and slick. When we got to the level where we should've been able to enter the mall itself, we stopped dead in our tracks. In front of us was what looked like a British phone booth. It had a flashing red light on the top and we could hear whrirring sounds coming from it like a car starting.
"A Tardis!" Deb exclaimed.
"Couldn't be." I said but didn't step near it, instead I stepped back a bit.
The door opened without a sound. We peered in, but it was too dark to see anything. Like two curious cats we crept forward never taking our eyes off the door in case someone or something popped out.
At the door entrance we still couldn't see anything. It was like looking in a dark closet.
"What should we do?" I asked Deb.
"Go in?" She asked.
"What? We don't know what's in there.could be anything in there."
"We could phone home." Deb said in a nervous giggle.
"Ha-ha." I looked around the parking lot or what should've been a parking lot and saw no cars. Just emptiness.
"See anything wrong with this picture?" I asked bringing Deb's attention to the empty parking lot.
"Yes.and the fact that there's no entrance to the mall.." She said.
I looked around. Even the stairwell we had come down was gone. A concrete wall had taken its place.
"Looks like we're suppose to go in." I said looking at the Tardis/phone booth.
"Should we?" Deb asked still peering inside the dark Tardis/phone booth.
"Where else do we go?" I said and we stepped into the entrance.
Once inside the doors closed as quietly as they had opened. It was dim inside but as our eyes adjusted I knew this was not a phone booth. It was a Tardis like the one I'd seen on TV.
"Now what?" Deb asked looking around at the gizmos and gadgets lying around.
"I don'.." But stopped as another door, an inside door opened and out came a tall man with lots of curly hair and blue eyes. He wore a long scarf over a long overcoat that reached to his ankles. He had a large friendly grin; one my brother would call 'shit eating'.
I tapped Deb on the shoulder not able to utter a word.
"Look at this stuff.goes beyond the Pentium III don't you.wha.." she turned and stopped in mid sentence.
"Hello." He said, but not in the pleasant British accent of Tom Baker.it was a mid-western twang. It was Don Brewer of Grand Funk from around 1974 or so. Had to be.what was he doing here? For that matter what were we doing here?
"Uh, hi, .who are you?" I asked as Deb and I backed away from him a bit.
"Everyone calls me the Doctor," He said pleasantly. "Welcome aboard." He closed the door he had came out of making sure it was done quietly as if not wanting to wake someone in the next room.
"Can you tell us Doctor why we are here?" Deb asked as he turned back to us sweeping the long scarf over his shoulder.
"I'm not sure.no one tells me much, I just follow orders." He said with a grin. "Would you like some tea or coffee.? Perhaps you're hungry? I have some licorice snaps? They're rather good." He held out a handful of colorful candies, which we both declined.
"Wait a second.whose orders?" Deb asked.
"The council tells me.they are my.boss I guess you'd call it?" he asked quizzically with a cocked eyebrow. "I have bologna or peanut butter.the crunchy kind.my companion insists on it." he rolled his eyes as if referring to a naughty child.
"Sorry Doc, but we're not hungry." Deb said. "We want to go home.or to the mall."
"No can do ladies." he said sweetly. "I should probably warn you about my companion. I just recently picked him up and he can be kind of.unpredictable at times. I'll try to control him, but don't get too close to him in case he makes a sudden move."
"Sounds dangerous." Deb said.
"Sometimes." the Doctor agreed. "He's a warrior you see, and it's in his blood to fight. I on the other hand prefer a peaceful approach. So far he has not killed anyone, but it's a battle, pardon the pun." He sighed. "Unless he has Bumble with him. Bumble keeps him in line."
"Bumble?" I asked.
"Yes, my android. He keeps him in line."
Deb opened her mouth to say something, when we heard a crash coming from behind the door the Doctor had come out of.
All three of us turned toward it and the door swung open banging on the wall behind it. There stood none other then Mark Farner, looking a lot like he did on the cover of "Survival". His hair was loose around his ruggedly handsome face. All he wore on his torso was a leather armband like the one Alice from Roadkill told me she made for Mark years before. It had silver conches sewn into it and long leather straps hung under his arm. He wore tan leather trousers and matching moccasin knee high boots.
He looked from us to the Doctor then back to us again.
"Now Marque.these are good women. not enemies."
"Not enemies." he repeated.
Deb and I just stood there speechless staring at him. If you put a guitar in his hands I could easily see him go into "Paranoid" or "Inside Looking Out" or any other song by Grand Funk.
"You won't hurt them now will you?" The Doctor asked.
"Won't hurt.not enemies." he said, and seemed to visibly relax.
He then went past us to a small table and opened up what turned out to be a 'fridge and began to quickly make peanut butter sandwiches. I now understood what the Doctor had meant by the peanut butter remark. He made 4 sandwiches and wolfed them down quickly with at least a quart of milk, some of which ran down his bare chest.
"I do have to teach him some manners." The Doctor sighed.
Deb and I couldn't take our eyes off of him. It sure looked like Mark, as much as the Doctor looked like Don but it wasn't them.
We watched as he wiped at his mouth with his forearm getting rid of his milk mustache and with a glance in our direction turned to the Doctor.
"Where are we going Doctor?" He asked, his English better then I thought. He too had a mid-western twang.
"Now I've told you before Marque, I don't know where.this thing hasn't had any kind of navigation control in over a millennium."
"I thought the Doctor could fix it." Marque said once again regarding us with more of a curious look then anything.
"Well, I'm trying.without manuals it's not that easy." the Doctor said as he opened a box and we heard him turning things, and banging things. I wonder if he had his sonic screwdriver, Doctor Who's tool to fix everything.
Suddenly we were moving and we heard that sound like a car starting.
"We're moving." I said.
"Yes that's usually what we do," the Doctor said. "Its just where will we end up."
"I have to pick up my kid at 4!" Deb said.
"Time has no meaning here." The Doctor said.
"No meaning." Marque repeated.
"Stop that please Marque." The Doctor said. "You don't have to repeat everything I say."
"Everything you say." Marque said like some goofy parrot.
"I swear Marque I'm going to drop you off on some desolate planet that has no peanut butter!!" the Doctor exclaimed.
Before Marque could make a comment or repeat the Doctor, we came to a halt. The whrirring sound stopped and it was quiet.
Marque was eager to go out and explore wherever we had landed, but the Doctor grabbed him by the shoulder pulling him back. The only reason he could stop Marque was because he had leverage over him being so much taller. Marque though was very strong and just about took the Doctor off his feet.
"Wait.we must get Bumble first to test the air. You could walk out there and be poisoned." The Doctor said.
"You mean you can't steer or even tell where you are once you landed?" Deb asked.
"It needs work."
"Work? It needs an overhaul!" Deb said flapping her arms at her side in frustration. I don't think she was buying his previous remark that time meant nothing in here.
Marque obediently went through the inner door and we heard some noises. Like machinery banging together.
I don't know what I was expecting to come out of the door. A "Star Wars" android like R2D2 or C3P0 or one like in the movie "Alien". Instead out walked Mel Schacher the way he looked around 1974. He was dressed in blue jeans and a black T-shirt. He had a Yankees hat crammed down over his curly hair.
From: "Yvonne Graf" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
To: "Grand Funk" <email@example.com>
Subject: (GFR/RK) funk fiction part 2
Date: Mon, 17 Jan 2000 19:17:54 -0500
Bumble regarded us and then turned to the Doctor
"Bumble we need you to check out where ever we landed to make sure it's safe." The Doctor said not bothering to introduce us to him.
"Gotcha." Bumble said, the last thing I'd expect an android would say and headed out the door.
We watched through the windows on the door as Bumble stepped outside. It was hard to see much more then right outside the door, but Bumble looked around, lit a cigarette, and checked his watch a few times. Finally put out the butt and came back in.
"It's earth.it's safe." He announced looking a little board, then looked over at Marque. "You have to eat less peanut butter Dude.you smell like a peanut butter sandwich."
"Any idea what time in history on earth?" The Doctor asked.
"Late 20th century." Bumble said with shrug. "That part of time looks all the same to me.there is something though."
"And what is that?" The Doctor asked when Bumble didn't continue.
"It's really loud out there."
"Loud?" the Doctor asked. "What do you mean by loud?"
"Go see for yourself." Bumble said and led the way out the door with Marque hot on his heels. The Doctor followed and Deb and I had no choice but to follow him.
Once outside I looked around and knew I was at a rock festival. Judging by the way the kids were dressed it was either late 60's or early 70's. Guys with beards and long hair, girls with sun dresses and flowers in their hair. Most looked pretty stoned.
Bumble was right. It was loud. Loud music blasted from a stage we saw in the distance.
It was also a warm humid night and Deb and I was dressed for a cool spring day in Minnesota. Even though the Doctor wore the long scarf and overcoat he wasn't even breaking a sweat and looked quite comfortable.
Our Tardis unfortunately for us had landed by the port-o-potties. The Doctor locked it with a large skeleton key so a stoned kid wouldn't mistake it for the john and we headed forward toward a large crowd of kids.
As we made our way through the crowd, we did get some funny looks from the kids, but most just ignored us. We were far from the most unusual characters there. Bumble and Marque fit in better then Deb, the Doctor and myself, mostly because of the way we were dressed.
At one point we passed a couple of guys who handed Marque a joint. Marque looked at it curiously, until Bumble took it and was about to stash it somewhere but the Doctor grabbed it and tossed it away nodding his head no.
"Hey it's you?" a kid, probably 17 asked stopping in front of Marque.
I was starting to feel sorry for him. First the kids with the joint, and now this, but he looked so much like Mark Farner, and I had a feeling of where we were, but wasn't sure yet.
"Me?" Marque asked looking at the kid who danced around him pointing.
"The Dude from yesterday.man you guys are so cooool!" He said still jumping. "You guys just ripped up the stage. you got an album out yet? I'm gonna' get it when you do!!"
"Should I kill him Doctor?" Marque asked not knowing what else to do.
"No.no." The Doctor said and looked at the kid I'm sure wishing he'd quit jumping. He looked like he was getting a headache. "Thank you young man.but we're in a hurry."
"Yeah you guys go on soon! Rock on!" the kid ran off probably to tell his friends he met up with the hot new group Grand Funk Railroad.
We continued on our way and saw a stage set up with instruments. A drum set was the showpiece; otherwise it looked pretty simple.
Kids around us were clapping and chanting.
WE WANT GRAND FUNK WE WANT GRAND FUNK WE WANT GRAND FUNK.
Deb and I joined in much to the annoyance of the Doctor. Even Marque joined in looking more like a warrior then anything. Which according to the Doctor he was. Bumble stood by; his arms crossed looking at what I'm sure he regarded as silly humans.
The lights went down and the band stepped on stage.
"HERE'S THE GROUP YOU'VE BEEN WAITING TO SEE.GRAND FUNK RAILROAD!!!!!!" came the announcer's voice, and the band ripped into "Are you Ready".
Deb, Marque and I danced around as the Doctor put his fingers in his ears and Bumble stood looking board.
I saw the Doctor look at the stage and looked a bit startled at the band. It wasn't everyday you see yourself pounding away at the drums.
If Bumble noticed his resemblance to Mel, he didn't show it.
Marque was way too busy dancing to look at the stage, but when he did he looked at the Doctor and asked if he (Mark Farner) was from his tribe.
"He very well could be." the Doctor yelled over the crowd.
"Any idea where we are?" Deb asked during a short lull. The band was tuning up for "Heartbreaker".
"Atlanta Pop festival July 1969." I said. "Pretty positive it's the last night they played."
As the set ended and the band ran off stage, Marque took off this time avoiding the long reach of the Doctor. Marque was determined to meet up with Mark Farner, he of the strange green weapon that he slung around like a club. It made noise though, and Marque wanted to know how the sound came out and what kind of weapon it was. I only know this because when the Doctor quit answering his questions, he was asking Deb and me.
"Go after him Bumble." the Doctor said and Bumble who had lit another cigarette stomped it out and quickly went through the crowd after Marque. The Doctor followed and Deb and I again ran to stay up with him.
We saw Marque run up to the barricades that surrounded the stage area. There were some burley looking security guards standing there and I thought for sure they'd stop him.
Remember though when I said Marque was strong? He easily knocked these guys down like they were bowling pins and steamrolled to the back stage area.
Bumble, the Doctor, Deb and I just stepped over the unconscious guards and followed Marque.
Marque seemed to almost know where he was going for before long he met up with some roadies and other people backstage. I didn't see any of the band members and wondered if they had already left, but I'm guessing not. They most likely would have to help tear down the equipment and load it back in the trailer to head back to Michigan. At this time in their careers they didn't have a large crew. If I remember right they borrowed a roadie from their management company.
Then out stepped Mark Farner, still holding his Messenger guitar, the strange green weapon. Behind him was Donnie, holding a beer and Mel trailed behind talking to someone, I'm guessing the loan roadie for the band.
For me, seeing them young again, Don and Mark not even 21, Mel a teenager just took my breath away. I couldn't talk. Deb and I hung back as Marque stood in front of Mark Farner and they regarded each other for several seconds. Bumble and the Doctor even stopped in their tracks. I'm not sure they did this because they were afraid of what a sudden move would make Marque do, or they were amazed by their look-a-likes.
"Why Brother, you could be my Brother." Said Mark Farner with a friendly smile. He didn't seem to have any fear of Marque.
"What tribe are you from?" Marque asked looking from Mark's face to his guitar.
"The what.? I'm from Flint Michigan." Mark said puzzled.
"Your weapon.what kind is it?" Marque asked, obviously more interested in his guitar then where he was from.
"My ax.? It's a Messenger."Mark said bringing it forward so Marque could see it better.
Seeing this almost legendary instrument up close, before it was beat up by it's owner over the next few years, was truly an awesome site.
"Ax?" Marque asked curiously. "Why do you call it an ax? I see no sharp edges.and how does noise come from it? How does it kill?"
"Noise is right the way you play." Don said behind Mark's ear.
Mark swung back, but Don easily avoided it with a chuckle.
"Kill? Brother all I do is play music with it." Mark said.
"But it is your weapon? So it must kill? Does it kill with the noise.?"
"Shut up Brew." Mark, said as Don opened his mouth.
The Doctor stepped in then.
"Come Marque we must go."
"I want to know more about the weapon." Marque said
"I'll tell you all about it." The Doctor promised and looked at Mark, Don and Mel who looked at him as curiously as they had Marque.
"I have lots of data files on this so called weapon." Bumble said. "It is not a weapon Marque, it is a musical instrument, forms of which have been used through out earth history. This particular one is crude and needs electrical power to amplify it's sound to what we were just victims to."
"You're not by chance a critic are you?" Don Brewer asked.
"No I'm an android." Bumble said.
Mark Don and Mel just looked puzzled, but the Doctor was able to pull Marque away. The only reason I'm sure was because he now was shooting questions at Bumble, who answered them as quickly as Marque asked. I now understood what the Doctor meant that Bumble was the only one who could keep Marque in line.
Deb and I did not turn away and follow them, at least not right away. We just stared at the young Grand Funk Railroad just ready now to hit their prime. I wish I could have told them about Terry Knight, about the lawsuits, about the wonderful success they were going to have. So many things that may have kept Grand Funk together, but I knew I couldn't change their future. It would make things different and maybe not all good.
We did get to shake hands with them. Now that's something we could never forget. I did the math quickly in my head. I was only 12; Deb was 9 in 1969. As I stood before them now, I was over 20 years older then them. It would really mess with your head if you thought about it too long, so with a quick good bye we ran after the others back to the Tardis.
From: "Yvonne Graf" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
To: "Grand Funk" <email@example.com>
Subject: (GFR/RK) funk fiction part 3
Date: Wed, 19 Jan 2000 23:56:25 -0500
Once in the Tardis I heard.Jimi Hendrix's "Purple Haze". I noticed on a small monitor Jimi playing his right handed guitar left handed. Marque sat mesmerized watching Jimi as he played, then got on his knees and lit the guitar on fire.
"Why does he do that?" Marque asked. "Destroy his weapon."
"It's an act Marque." Bumble said and clicked something in his hand and we saw Eric Clapton, on the MTV Unplugged show doing his laid back version of "Layla".
"He does not look like a warrior." Marque said looking at a very mellow, older Eric with his wire rim glasses.
"Nah, but I like him." Bumble said. " Now compare him to the person we saw tonight."He clicked and there was Mark Farner jamming away in what looked like the "In Concert" special from 1973. They were doing " Heartbreaker".
We watched as Mark played his hair much longer and he did not have the green weapon, instead he had a red one.
"I like him.he looks like a warrior." Marque said. "I would like to have a weapon like these men have.can I have one Doctor?"
"Oh god." the Doctor moaned.
"I don't see any harm in Marque having one Doctor It may, let's say, make him less susceptible to other things if he has his mind occupied." Bumble said.
"You may have a point Bumble, but I think we may have to set up a sound proof room for him." The Doctor said watching as Marque played air-guitar to his look-a-like.
"Are we going or are we going to watch videos all day?" Deb asked still worried about her kid. She kept looking at my watch, but it had stopped at just a few minutes before 3 P.M..
"Well, we can try." the Doctor said.
"Try.try he says." Deb moaned. I patted her back.
The Doctor went over to the box he had been at before and again we heard banging and other noises like someone working under the hood of a car and all of sudden the familiar whrirring and we were moving again.
When we stopped, Bumble again stepped out, and came back in much quicker then he had before.
"It's earth, mid 20th century." Bumble said. "My sensors tell me it's cold, so Marque you'd better get something on."
At first I thought maybe Marque would just ignore Bumble and go outside half naked, but instead he rummaged around in what turned out to be a closet and threw on a leather poncho, the same color as his trousers and boots. Bumble too put on a jacket; I'm sure more for looks then keeping warm. Would an android get cold?
We went outside and looking around I guessed we were again in mid to late 60's. The cars had Michigan license plates on them, so I kind of knew where we were, and when Deb pointed out a marquee of a theater I knew exactly where we were.
"Tonight only Terry Knight and the Pack" it read and we walked across the street. Marque was a bit amazed by the sites and sounds of the town and was almost run over by a 60's something Buick that looked like a car my father had owned when I was a kid. The man driving the car called Marque a nasty name, and sped off just missing us with spewing dirty snow.
Marque asked Bumble what it was that the man called him, and Bumble told him literally what it meant.
"My mother was not a dog." Marque said offended. "I still do not understand hippie though."
"My data files are not clear to me either on the word hippie." Bumble said. "But I guess you look like one to these humans."
"Don't sweat it Marque." Deb said. "Hippies were cool at this time. It was the thing to be."
"But we are in the blue collar town of what looks like to be Flint Michigan." I said. "I don't know how popular hippies would be in this town at this point in the 60's."
"Judging by that man's reaction, not very." The Doctor said. I guessed he too would look more like a hippie to most of the people here.
We did get a few stares and snickers as we stood with some kids outside the theater.
As we approached the pay booth. I realized that we had no money, or at least valid money to get into the place. The money Deb and I had was dated over 30 years into the future. I was about to ask the Doctor how he was going to get us in, then I saw him taking tickets from the attendant. I remembered from the show Dr. Who, that the Doctor could hypnotize people with a wave of a hand, which is what he did to the young woman in the pay booth.
Once inside, the Doctor had to work his magic again to get Marque some peanut butter candy and popcorn, otherwise he knew Marque would not leave him alone. He was kind enough to get Deb and I a pop. The kid behind the candy counter looked dazed as he handed over the food, which was a good thing since Marque wolfed down his candy in seconds. He really did like peanut butter.
In the auditorium, we found some seats near the front and sat down. Marque was enjoying his popcorn at a much slower rate then the candy. Deb and I looked around checking out the kids. The girls wore mostly dresses, although some wore the mini skirts that were becoming hot, many still had on the longer skirts. The boys for the most part wore their hair short, in a crew cut and a few ducktails here and there. More though had adopted the new style of the Beatle haircut. Marque certainly stood out with his long hair, which went past his shoulders. He did seem oblivious to the stares he got though as he looked at the ceiling and walls of the auditorium.
The Doctor too received a few weird looks because of his haircut. His afro stood out more in a lot of ways then Marque's long hair did. Bumble had stuffed more hair under his hat then he had before and I noticed that he had switched hats. He now wore a Detroit Tigers hat, complete with the logo of the Tigers from this time era.
The lights went down and the band came on. I vaguely recognized Terry Knight, but I knew Mark and Don the second I laid eyes on them. It was strange to see Mark playing a bass guitar, not to mention his John Lennon hairstyle. Don Brewer was 'as cute as a button' as my mother would say, back behind the drums pounding away as much as he could to the 60's rock the band played. One thing I figured out real fast was that Terry Knight was a horrible singer, but he did have a good rapport with the crowd and soon had them on their feet and dancing.
Marque worked his way toward the front of the crowd, and stood in front of his look a like, who noticed him but kept the same stoic look on his face. Marque I'm sure was wondering where the green weapon was, and why he was not moving around like he had done before.
There seemed to be something happening between them without words. Maybe more then the eye could see, because Mark Farner would soon adopt the hairstyle of Marque and even dress like him. (The auditorium was warm and Marque now wore the poncho like a cape. Mark could clearly see his bare chest and the armband, as did everyone else.)
The Doctor stood behind Marque, I'm sure to keep a hand on him should he decide to bolt again, and Donnie Brewer could clearly see him. It wouldn't surprise me if the thought going through Donnie's mind was why put two pounds of Brylcream on my hair to keep it in place when I can just let it go and it will look like that.?
We stood watching them for a couple of songs, some I knew. "I (who have nothing)" sang wretchedly by Knight was one I did recognize. It was all I could do to not do as the Doctor had done earlier, plug my ears. It amazed me that this was the Pack's biggest song.
It was Deb who realized that we were getting more snickers and comments then we had when we first walked in. Marque's appearance didn't help matters much, as he stood bare-chested in the midst of blue-collar kids.
The Doctor too was aware of the crowd and felt it was time to leave. We made our way through the crowd as the Doctor dragged Marque away from the stage. I looked back and saw Mark and Don looking after us. I'm sure as curious about us as we were of them. Even Terry looked after us, but only for a second as he turned and crooned to the crowd who cheered him on. And they were laughing at us??
I expected a ton of questions from Marque, but he was strangely quiet as he wrapped his poncho around himself. Bumble walked close to him so he could keep him safe from speeding Buicks.
Finally as we reached the Tardis, which was parked next to a junkyard, he turned to the Doctor and asked if it were possible to get more of the peanut butter candy. The Doctor rolled his eyes as he unlocked the Tardis. He looked like a mother becoming increasingly impatient with her child.
Marque seemed to be satisfied with this; for once in the Tardis he discarded the poncho and began watching videos again. I saw Eddie Van Halen, Stevie Ray Vaughn, Keith Richards, B. B. King, and Jimmy Page among many great and late guitarists of the rock and blues era, but always Marque went back to his look a like, Mark Farner. Maybe it was because they did resemble each other, but I wasn't sure.
He sat munching sandwiches as he studied him, chasing them down with milk, his feet up on the table that held the monitor. After he was done with his sandwiches, Bumble, probably out of boredom was throwing licorice snaps into Marque's mouth, which as far as I could see didn't miss one even though Marque never took his eyes from the monitor.
The Doctor was working inside the box, which I now was convinced was where the navigation for the Tardis was located.
"I think I have figured it out." Marque said to no one in particular. "These men make noise with their weapons, but they are not really weapons, and these young humans like it and dance to it."
"And pay money to hear it." Deb said.
"Money?" Marque asked curiously.
"Money is a commodity used on earth that they exchange for goods and services.like if you would give them some skins or something you and your tribe would trap." Bumble said.
"So I would need money for peanut butter?" Marque asked.
"That's right." Bumble said and tossed a licorice snap into Marque's mouth.
"I would still like one Doctor.I think I've figured it out and would like to make noise."
"Noise is right." the Doctor mumbled and tossed down a tool. "OK Marque, I'll get you one." He went through the inner door and came back with a shiny silver Velano. One like Mark Farner owned.
Marque took the instrument and strummed it. Bumble told him to plug it into the small amp he rolled out and Marque knew exactly how to hook it up.
What was even more amazing is when he began playing. It was the beginning chords to "Upsetter". Even the Doctor watched amazed as Marque played chords to several Grand Funk songs. I heard "Heartbreaker", "Rock 'N Roll Soul", "I come Tumblin'" and finally "Closer to Home". It even amazed us more when we heard him sing.
"I'm your Captain, yeah yeah yeah."
It was the only words he knew, obviously he'd been concentrating on how to play the guitar more then the lyrics, but he did sound like Mark Farner. It was like getting a private concert by the Funk guitarist.
"I'm impressed." The Doctor said as Deb and I clapped.
"I would like to see the warrior again." Marque said nodding toward Mark Farner as he sang the "Locomotion" on the monitor.
"Well, we'll see." the Doctor said as he continued to fiddle inside what I assumed was the navigation control box for the Tardis.
I had a feeling though we would be seeing the warrior and his companions again. There was a reason why Deb and I were brought along. It seemed we were on some kind of Grand Funk Trek. We were not just traveling through time; we were stopping at certain points in Grand Funk's history. Deb and I thought about sharing our theory with the Doctor, but we had a feeling he already knew, and choose not to share it with us. There would be no reason to send Bumble out each time we landed to check the atmosphere when we knew each time we landed we'd be somewhere on earth in the late 20th century, but with the Tardis' unpredictable navigation it was better to be safe then sorry. We were probably skipping around their history because of the Tardis' goofed up navigation.
"There are certainly bigger powers at work here." Deb said as she watched the Doctor.
Our theory seemed even more logical as we watched the Doctor, Don Brewer being the best fit for him, and Marque the warrior looking like Mark Farner. The only one that didn't seem to fit was Mel Schacher as an android. As far as I could remember, the Doctor never had an android, unless you considered K9.
I watched as Bumble threw a licorice snap from behind his back. Marque, never moving his eyes away from Mark Farner as he cooked through the solo version of the "Locomotion" caught it with ease and chewed contentedly.
When "Some Kind of Wonderful" came on the monitor, the Doctor looked up. Not so much because it was Don Brewer singing, it was because of Marque complaining that his protege was not playing his weapon.
The Doctor came over and watched as Don Brewer and Mark Farner sang while Mel Schacher kept a steady beat.
"Now that man does not sound bad." the Doctor commented nodding toward Don Brewer as he sang, and went back to the navigation box.
Deb and I couldn't help but snicker as Marque watched looking offended, and Bumble tapped a foot to the bass beat of the song.
As the song ended, the Tardis was again in motion and we held on. For the first time I didn't dread it, instead I felt excitement, for if our theory was true, where would we end up in Grand Funk's history? There were endless places to go and so much to see of this exciting band. Would they all be concerts I wondered? As the Tardis stopped, I would soon find out.
From: "Yvonne Graf" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
To: "Grand Funk" <email@example.com>
Subject: (GFR/RK) more funk fiction part 4
Date: Tue, 1 Feb 2000 23:10:55 -0500
After Bumble checked things out, and came back in with the information Deb and I already knew, we went outside and I saw we were parked next to a dumpster in an alley of what looked like a very big city.
Once we emerged out of the alley I knew exactly where we were. New York for even though it took a few seconds both Deb and I saw it at almost the same time. The familiar block long billboard of "Closer to Home" with the all too familiar faces staring down at us.
If our companions saw it, they didn't say anything. I had a feeling they really didn't realize how much they looked like Grand Funk.
The Doctor seemed to know where we were going even if we didn't and he hailed a taxi like he had lived in New York all his life.
As we drove, I noticed that there was quite a traffic jam up ahead. I've never been to New York. About all I know is what I've seen on TV, but up ahead was the unmistakable Shea Stadium.
Deb sat up front with the Doctor and driver. The driver chatted away in a thick Bronx accent while the Doctor only nodded his head and Deb sat quietly I'm sure suppressing laughter the whole time she was up there.
"Over there is the Stadium pal." The driver said and we were in a stand still. Traffic was jammed for blocks around the stadium.
I sat in back between Marque and Bumble. Bumble was quiet as he looked out the window. I couldn't see through the dark glasses he wore, but I had a feeling it wouldn't matter any way. I noticed he had switched back to his Yankees cap.
Marque stared awe struck at the city. He craned his head up to see the buildings and stared at the New Yorkers who were so much different then the people he had seen in Flint. He must have been staring a little too hard because one of them gave him a nasty hand gesture.
"What does this mean?" he asked putting up his middle finger.
"It means you're number one." I said before Bumble could answer him. Marque didn't have to know all the crude things that the 20th century had to offer.
"I am to educate him." Bumble said as Marque seemed happy with my answer and went back to looking out side.
"Well, it is one finger." I said shrugging.
"That gesture means something completely different according to my data files." Bumble said.
"Then maybe it's you who needs the education." I said sweetly. "Come on Bumble, he doesn't' have to learn all the bad stuff. Bad enough he was called a nasty name."
Bumble shrugged and I believe was adding my answer to his data files. At least I hoped he was. I also hoped Marque would not do the gesture to anyone in the Big Apple.
"We may as well walk from here." The Doctor said becoming impatient with the traffic and with a wave of his hand we were out of the car. I'm guessing the taxi driver believed he got his fare and a great tip.
We walked quickly down the sidewalk. It was cool out, but clear and noisy with the amount of people and traffic around the stadium.
It was no general entrance for us though. With a wave of his hand, the Doctor got us into the tunnel that led onto the field. No one questioned our presence, which kind of surprised me. We came to a heliport and before long we heard the helicopter over the din of the crowd.
In 1992 when the Minnesota Twins won the World Series, the sound inside the Metro Dome was deafening. Even watching on TV didn't take away how loud it must've been in that stadium. It is the only thing I can compare to the noise in this stadium. Even the helicopter's sound was almost drowned out until it landed on the heliport.
We watched as the door opened and out stepped the band members, Farner, Brewer and Schacher, along with Terry Knight and a few others I didn't recognize. Mel and Mark both had their guitars enclosed in cases. I believe Marque was trying to ask about this, but it was just too loud and he gave up.
The heliport was just behind the stage and the band members were moved quickly from the heliport to the back of the stage. We followed at a distance, the Doctor and Bumble had Marque in-between them.
Again we were not questioned, and I'm not sure if the Doctor was using some of his magic on the security back there or not, but we made our way to the side and watched as thousands of people yelled, cheered and stomped demanding their favorite band. We didn't join in as we had before, mostly because we really didn't want to attract attention to ourselves.
The now very familiar announcement came and Grand Funk stepped on stage to even more noise then we had heard before if that was possible. I watched as the band ripped into "Are You Ready" and not one person was sitting. They had to crank up their sound to be heard over the crowd. I looked over to the side of the stage and could see Terry Knight bopping along with the music. Who knew if that big smile on his face meant he was getting into the show, or just calculating the amount of his cut? You can guess the answer to that one.
I turned my attention back to band. Once again it was unreal watching them in their prime, the hottest, biggest band in the country. I knew all the stories and the press. Sold millions of albums with out airplay, with bad press and horrible reviews. Yet, looking out at the thousands of kids screaming and dancing it was obvious they either ignored or didn't read them or just bought the music despite them like most teenagers.
I'm sure that billboard didn't hurt things either in selling tickets to this show.
Then again, seeing Grand Funk Railroad live was an experience in itself. To truly appreciate this band, you had to see them perform. I've heard this comment many times before from other fans. Putting the vinyl on the turntable was just not enough. The closest you could come was listening to the first LIVE album. But nothing beat watching Mark Farner running around the stage, flying hair, armband and muscle. Donnie Brewer pounding on the skins, and putting on a great show of his own. Mel Schacher although not as flashy as his band mates, had a presence that no one could deny. Together they were a super group, full of raw talent and so much potential. They looked like they enjoyed it, and I truly believe they did love performing until the last one. Don't think for one second that Terry Knight didn't know what he had.
It was just before this famous concert, really early in 1971 that I became a Grand Funk fan. From the first time I heard "Closer to Home/I'm your Captain" I was hooked. The first album I owned though was the first LIVE album, as someone on my site wrote "the bible of rock." I did get to see them in the 70's, once in '72 and another time in '73. Even got to see them during the reunion tour they did in the 80's, and a couple of times in the 90's, but none of them can compare to this.
I think what made them so appealing was how approachable they seemed. They were like me, Midwest kids just a few steps up from a garage band, but there was some kind of magic about them. Unlike the other big bands of this time, Deep Purple, Led Zeppelin, Pink Floyd, they were from where I came from, they did simple rock and roll, they were at this point in their careers powerful, raw, sexual and far from flashy. They sang about the ecology and called their fans 'Brothers and Sisters'. They seemed to really care about the people. Maybe that was the biggest appeal of all.
Watching them was like a roller coaster ride. You go up the hills and sore down with songs like "Paranoid" and "Inside Looking Out". Then there's that quiet straight ride during slower songs like "Heartbreaker" and "Mean Mistreater". We rode for awhile before the Doctor informed us it was time to leave before the show was over so we'd beat the rush.
As we made our way out of the stadium and back to the street, I was trying to remember if the billboard was up when the Shea stadium concert was held. I don't think so. I seemed to remember it being up in late '70 maybe into early '71. The Shea concert was held in July of '71. Yet I saw it as the cab dropped us off in Times Square only a few blocks from the alley where the Tardis was parked. Maybe it was the Doctor working his magic on us, because Marque didn't see it, I would think he'd make a comment if he did, and the Doctor made no comment. Maybe it was up there for our benefit. Illusion or not, it was something to see!
Once inside the Tardis we waited for our ears to quit ringing. Marque turned on the amp, picked up the Velano and began strumming it, picking out songs he'd just heard played.
The Doctor once again was working on the navigation box for the Tardis. The Doctor Who from the TV serious had the sonic screwdriver, his handy dandy tool for everything. Our Doctor I saw for the first time had a drumstick.
"Do you see he's using a drumstick.?" I whispered to Deb who was watching him too.
"Yeah, noticed it last time.this is just too weird.I just keep thinking I'm dreaming and keep pinching myself, but I never seem to wake up. I keep seeing them!" Deb said. "What if we never go back to our time? What then?"
"Deb, I have a feeling it won't matter. We could be gone for only seconds of our time, or he could bring us back before we left!"
Deb rubbed her forehead and looked at my watch, still stuck at a few minutes before 3. I knew she was worried about her kids, especially the one she had to pick up, but what were we to do? The Doctor couldn't navigate the Tardis, at least that's what he was telling us, yet this whole thing seemed planned in a goofy kind of way.
"Now I know what it's like to be in the Twilight Zone." She moaned. "I'll never make fun of Rod Serling again!"
"At least it's been fun, not a nightmare like most of the Twilight Zone episodes were." I said watching as Marque expertly tuned the Velano for "Bad Time" which was odd since I don't think he'd heard the song yet.
When the Tardis began moving again, and then stopped several seconds later, we waited as Bumble did his thing then ventured out again. This time it was slightly different, he said we were in Europe.
From: "Yvonne Graf" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
To: "Grand Funk" <email@example.com>
Subject: (GFR/RK) funk phiction part 5
Date: Thu, 24 Feb 2000 23:45:30 -0500
I knew where I was pretty quick. We were in England. London to be precise. We were parked next to; you guessed it, a British phone booth. Deb and I snickered at this, but the others didn't seem to get the joke. The Doctor locked it and we headed toward what soon turned into a large crowd. It was the Hyde Park concert the band did in June 1971. The fog was thick though, so we really couldn't see the people, just hear them.
Marque seemed curious about the British people, but said nothing as we made our way toward what we hoped was where the stage was set up. The fog was so bad that I wasn't sure. The Doctor seemed to know and we had to practically run to keep up with him.
Bumble had on his shades, which he seemed to always wear. I'd seen him without them only once, the first time I saw him. Now he had on a plain, dark blue baseball cap. Better to be neutral I guess.
We fit in the best here of any place we'd been so far. Londoners are known for their extravagant dress, so Mark with his leather trousers, and poncho seemed to fit in. So did the Doctor with his long coat and scarf. Dr. Who was being shown in England at this time, but this version of the Doctor would not be introduced for another 3 years at least.
I remember reading about this concert. Grand Funk's records didn't sell well in England, yet their concerts did well. Go figure. I don't think that this concert was advertised too well, but Grand Funk was the headliner and from what I could gather, these people were here to see them.
In the fog, the stage looked almost like it was floating on a cloud. We had to get pretty close to really see it, and even though there were a lot of people there they parted like the Red sea as we went through. I'm certain the Doctor had something to do with that.
We stood to the left of the stage. I could clearly see Mel as he played. Don was a little foggy and Mark even more, but it didn't matter with him since he moved around so much.
We looked around and saw that there were several Hells' Angles mulling around by us. I really didn't know there was a chapter in England then I remembered the story I read about this concert. I turned to Deb to tell her, when it happened.
Mark Farner, a little over enthusiastic as he performed did a slide on his knees. The stage was either wet or highly polished because he slid right off the end of the 8 foot stage landing nimbly on his feet in front of the Hell's Angles who looked surprised at first, then applauded as if this was really a part of the show. We joined in, as Mark looked surprised and embarrassed. He quickly unhooked his guitar and ran back on stage. The whole thing maybe lasted 30 seconds, but it was one of the funniest things I've seen since this journey started.
I've read this account from interviews with Mark and knew it still haunted him as one of the most embarrassing things that happened to him, yet to me it did almost look like part of the show. Even the fog couldn't hide the blush he had on his face or the laughter exchanged between Don and Mel. They certainly knew this was not part of the show. He pulled it off pretty well though and I wonder if Terry Knight didn't try to talk him into doing it every night.
When Marque and Bumble started taking too much of an interest in the Hells' Angles Harley Hogs, the Doctor decided it was time to go. Like their counter parts, Marque and Bumble were fascinated with the beautiful bikes. The Angles didn't seem to mind the interest, but I'm sure as they talked with Bumble and Marque they would figure out that these two were 'not from around here', or 'not running on all two wheels' or something like that. This became especially true when Marque asked to ride one. The Doctor grabbed his shoulder and once again we went through the crowd. Marque protested, but not for a long time. I think the fog kind of spooked him.
When we got back to the Tardis we noticed an older lady trying to get into the Tardis. She kicked at it and tried again. The call box next to her had a young guy Deb and I referred to as a "suit" (well dressed man in jacket and tie).
"Shall I kill her Doctor?" Marque asked only wanting to protect his territory.
"No, no Marque." the Doctor said as we watched the old lady hit the Tardis with her cane.
"But Doctor, she is damaging your machine." Marque said looking fierce now.
"Believe me Marque, it's had much more abuse then what this old woman can do to it. We'll just wait till she leaves."
"According to my data files the Tardis can with stand over 10 trillion tons of earth weight, give or take a ton. This old human weighs only 130 pounds of earth weight." Bumble said taking advantage of our wait by lighting up a heater. "She can't even scratch it." for the first time though Bumble seemed entertained as he watched the old woman hit the Tardis once more with her cane then slowly walk away muttering to herself.
We waited until she was well down the street then quickly entered the Tardis. I'm not sure what the "suit" in the next phone booth thought, but it probably wouldn't matter when he saw the Tardis or call box next to him just disappear into thin air. To keep his sanity I'm sure he just thought it was the fog.
From: "Yvonne Graf" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
To: "Grand Funk" <email@example.com>
Subject: (GFR/RK) phunk fiction part 6
Date: Tue, 4 Apr 2000 23:51:27 -0400
When we next ventured out of the Tardis, Bumble informed us we were now in Asia. I was guessing it was the Tokyo concert at the Karakuen stadium in July of 1971.
If the Flint and British people had Marque curious, the Japanese really had him dumbfounded. It wasn't so much what they looked like, but their language that threw him off.
"What are they saying? Why do they talk funny?" he asked Bumble and the Doctor.
"They are speaking Japanese because we are in Japan.it is their language." The Doctor said patiently. "There are several different languages on earth."
"That person over there just said look at the silly Americans." Bumble said lighting a butt.
"Well, I guess we do look silly to them." The Doctor said.
"What's American?" Marque asked.
"It's like a tribe." The Doctor explained. "People of the earth are made up of many tribes. American is one, Japanese which is were we are is another."
"So we look like we are from the American Tribe." Marque said.
"You look and sound like one." Bumble said. "According to my data files since the late 1930's the Americans."
"Really Bumble we don't need to get into that right now." The Doctor said interrupting him, which I was grateful for. I may be seeing history, but I really didn't want a history lesson.
One thing was for sure though, it was gonna' rain like crazy. The sky was dark and the air was thick. We could already see some lightening strikes from cloud to cloud. And this was an outdoor concert. The "Decibel Dealing Grand Funk" (I always liked that description) were going to play a concert in what looked like a hurricane. I read a little about this concert. How the storm almost blew the stage away. I wish we'd gotten some rain gear from the Tardis.
"What I really need Bumble is a weather forecast." The Doctor said, although as far as I was concerned all he had to do was look around. I wasn't really sure if he was joking or not.
"100% chance of thunderstorms, and a tornado watch." Bumble supplied any way.
"Thank you Bumble." The Doctor said politely and we made our way to the stage, which had a barricade several feet from where the audience would stand.
It wasn't storming when the band came on, but started soon after. I was amazed that it wasn't canceled. It poured on the stage, and knowing how much electrical power was running up there Grand Funk was literally talking their lives in their hands by staying on stage and continuing with the show. Lighting struck around us, the thunder after words sounded muffled over Grand Funk's sound. It almost at times seemed part of the show, and who needs a light show when the lighting strikes cooperated and lit up the sky almost on queue of some of the songs. "Hitting the post" so to speak.
We were soaked, but we didn't care. Well, the Doctor didn't look too happy, and Bumble looked miserable as he pulled the baseball cap down and stood still. Deb, Marque and I though enjoyed the rain and danced in it as the band played. The Japanese people around us didn't seem to mind either. Grand Funk fans no matter where they are from are the same. They danced and cheered as loud as the American fans.
The wind picked up and we watched as the rain whipped at Mark as he tried to sing. There was a little "Ooooo" from the crowd when Mark was shocked from his mic to his mouth. He stepped back several feet, but went back and continued with the song. What a trooper!!
I noticed they all had on rubber soled shoes, but that didn't stop them from getting shocked by their instruments. Don was the less shocked of course but we could see small sparks coming from Mel and Mark's guitar strings to their fingers. They didn't miss a beat and as far as I could tell did their whole set, including a couple of encores.
Really, it was one of the most amazing concerts I've ever seen. A band that used who knows how much wattage playing in what was close to a typhoon. Though they were jolted a few times, they almost seem to enjoy the rain. It was Grand Funk vs. Mother Nature, and although Mother Nature punched a few times, Grand Funk seemed to have won. Like the post office through wind or rain or getting knocked on your ass by an ungrounded microphone, the show must go on! I told all this to Deb as we made our way through the mud back to the Tardis. We laughed hanging onto each other. The Doctor and Marque looked back at us a few times probably wondering if we had dipped into some sake while here in Japan. Bumble ignored us, which didn't really surprise me. I could tell he didn't care for the rain all that much and didn't take much notice in what we were doing.
Once back in the Tardis we noticed that our clothes were dry and we had no mud on our shoes. I guess kind of like the old Ray Bradbury story, we couldn't bring anything back from the places we were visiting. We could change the course of history if we did. I was bummed. What if Don Brewer threw a drumstick at me? Or Mark Farner a pick? I couldn't keep them? Damn all the luck!
Even though we looked like we hadn't been in the thunderstorm, it didn't stop us from talking about it. It had been truly amazing that those men on stage were not turned into crispy critters. Even Bumble commented on it. "According to my data files, they should be piles of ash right now."
Deb and I couldn't help but laugh at that one. It was like something out of "Spinal Tap". Just smoking piles of ash in front of microphones. Maybe melted guitars next to them. You of course would not see Don's since his would be on his drum stool, but still.the visual of it made us burst into giggles.
"Doctor, I think they have lost their minds." Marque said.
I waited for him to ask the Doctor if he should kill us, but he didn't. I had a come back too. "Geez Marque you slaaay meee!" I laughed even harder at that one. Instead to our amazement he started laughing with us.
The Doctor rolled his eyes and walked away nodding his head back forth. Kind of reminding me of the old woman in London.
Bumble regarded us from behind his shades, then went to the monitor and began watching Clapton again. I guess he did the android equivalent of tuning us out.
After our laughter subsided, Marque asked if we were hungry. After 5 concerts spanning the globe, we discovered, yes we were hungry.
"Do you like peanut butter?" he asked, a hopeful look in his eyes.
"Do we have a choice?" Deb whispered to me.
"That would be fine." I said, "Only one for each of us will do." I added remembering how much peanut butter he put on the sandwiches.
We joined Bumble with our sandwiches and watched a 1974 concert of Grand Funk. Don Brewer was doing his drum solo. Marque ate and handed us his milk carton, which he just drank right out of. Deb and I shrugged and each took a swig of the milk, which was cold and sweet.
I saw the Doctor looking at us, then nodding his head again. I guess he felt like he had more then just Marque to teach manners to.
As we finished eating, the Tardis began to move again.
From: "Yvonne Graf" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
To: "Grand Funk" <email@example.com>
Subject: (GFR/RK) More phunk fiction part 7
Date: Fri, 19 May 2000 23:26:13 -0400
I saw once again we were in New York. It was pretty obvious since just across from where we landed we saw Madison Square Gardens. Grand Funk Railroad was on the marquee. It was cold and I saw Christmas decorations up. This was the famous benefit concert for Phoenix house, a drug-rehab center in New York. I saw the ABC truck sitting outside. This was also the famous "In Concert" show. I remember watching this on my little black and white TV in my room when I was a kid.
We made our way across the street to the stadium. Once again there were thousands of kids milling about, smoking and drinking. It was kind of like a rock concert-tailgating thing. We though by passed the general admission, and like the Shea stadium concert, we found the tunnels that went back stage.
Unlike the earlier concerts, there was lots of people back there. Roadies, TV people and for the first time I noticed the groupies and, to our surprise, the police. Six police officers were talking with Mark, Don, Mel and I'm guessing the forth guy was Andy Cavaliere their new manager. It was a heated conversation they were having, and although I could not hear everything they said I could see Don Brewer's face turn beet red.
This was when Terry Knight tried to confiscate their equipment. The legal battle the band was having with their former manager was big news. Only Terry Knight though would try to shut down a benefit concert.
Finally though they compromised since canceling the concert would probably cause a riot, they let Grand Funk go on, only to confiscate the equipment once it was over. In interviews I read with the band about this incident, they really didn't care in the long run since they had extra equipment hidden away. They managed to stay one step ahead of Knight.
For the first time we got to see Craig Frost perform with the band. I personally have mixed feelings about Craig. Although I think he was one of the best keyboard players in rock in the 70's, I always liked the power trio of Grand Funk. The songs from the albums that Craig was on were fine, songs from the older albums I always liked just the three of them better. Just a personal opinion, but Craig fit in well with Grand Funk's emerging new sound.
We watched this concert from beginning to end, cheering, dancing and yelling along with the crowd. Well, at least Deb, Marque and I did. The Doctor watched tapping his feet and clapping politely after songs, especially I noticed the ones Don Brewer did. Bumble watched quietly from behind his shades, but at least he didn't look miserable.
It was kind of neat too watching the TV cameras zoom in on them. None of them stopped Mark from his flying around the stage. A few had to quickly get out of his way a few times though. They all did their fair share of 'mugging' but too bad.
After the show we stuck around. I was wondering why the Doctor did not suggest we leave. We watched as the crowd slowly left, and the roadies started the long chore of tearing down the equipment, most of which would be given over to Knight's people.
I saw the band members come out, now dressed in street clothes and watch as the equipment was taken away. They talked among themselves, and even though I could not hear what they were saying I could only imagine what it was, nothing good about Mr. Knight.
We hung back. I was wondering again why we were not leaving when the band members turned and walked toward us. They stopped in front of us, again surprised by standing in front of three guys that looked just like them. There did seem to be some recognition in their faces though.
We shook hands with them. When I watched Marque shaking hands with Mark Farner I'm sure I saw a connection, like the one I saw when we were in Flint. I saw it too with Don and Mel when they shook hands with their counter parts. It was pretty strange really. Talk about your "Twilight Zone".
"Haven't we met before?" Mark Farner asked his look-a-like.
"Yes," Marque said. "But we are from different tribes.you are with the American tribe." Remembering back to how the Japanese referred to us.
"Tribe?" Mark asked puzzled.
"Sorry, he's not from around here.he meant.band.An American band." the Doctor said thinking fast.
"Why yes we are." Mel said smiling.
"We're an American Band." Don said and seemed lost in thought for a few seconds, before flashing us that handsome smile of his.
They all looked at each other, maybe with the same thought.
No, I thought. There is no way that Don Brewer got the idea for his song, or how the band became known as "The American Band" because of us, but who knows? Stranger things have happened on this journey.
The four of them signed my hand and Deb's. I stared at their signatures scrawled across my hand and knew once I stepped into the Tardis they would disappear but the memory of Mark, Don, Mel and Craig holding my hand would not. Even time travel could not erase memories, which we were getting plenty of.
Andy Cavaliere joined us and told the band the limo was waiting to take them to their hotel. We said our farewells, and they left, Don Brewer saying something again about American Band.
We made our way back to the Tardis. Deb and I could only look at each other. Was this how they really got the name American band? Through chance encounters with beings from the future? Would they remember it that way? If they did, nothing was ever said that I heard then again who would believe them? Maybe they didn't even remember it themselves. The Doctor was able to pull tricks on people. He may have made sure they didn't remember where they heard it.
Before getting into the Tardis Deb and I stared at the signatures of the band members on our hands, then stepped in. They disappeared. I was disappointed but not surprised
From: "Yvonne Graf" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
To: "Grand Funk" <email@example.com>
Subject: (GFR/RK) phunk fiction
Date: Wed, 14 Jun 2000 23:04:59 -0400
Within a few minutes we felt the Tardis move. The Doctor I think had some control over it for he only was at the navigation box for a few seconds. When we came out I looked around and knew we were close to our time. The cars were 80's and 90's models; the way people dressed was defiantly 90's.
I saw palm trees and then across from us the NBC studios. I was guessing it was the appearance the band made on Jay Leno in May 1997.
Being a David Letterman fan, I missed this appearance, but have seen it on tape. Now I was going to get to see it live. With a wave of his hand, the Doctor got us into the audience near the front. Marque and the Doctor stood out among the conservative audience, but no one said anything. Californians are pretty accepting of how people dress. If someone wants to wear a long over coat and scarf when it's in the 80's so be it! If someone else wants to wear leather pants, boots and vest (it was too warm for the poncho) along with an armband, then have at it!
Bumble wore an Angles baseball cap and his shades, fitting in pretty well. He had it covered.
If anyone in that audience caught on that these three looked like Grand Funk Railroad from 25 years ago, they said nothing, although I could tell by the looks they were getting that maybe a few did. Maybe it started some rumors, considering how crazy the 70's were and the reputation this band had then. These were the guys that sang about chaquitas and sweet sweet Connie. Maybe they left a few 'souvenirs' along the way.
We waited for Grand Funk to come on. Cheered loudly when they did with the rest of the audience. For the first time on our journey, almost 25 years after it was released, we heard "We're an American Band". Was the Doctor and Marque responsible for this? Did they plant the anthem subconsciously in Don Brewer's brain? I would never know for sure.
After having seen them young so many times, it was strange seeing them older, yet there was the same energy and excitement they'd had 25 years before. Mark no longer played shirtless, the armband was gone, but the energy was still there. I believe that his guitar playing had improved and his voice was great. Maybe even better then 25 years before.
Don still had the great hair, even if it was gray and cut back. He too had not lost a step when it came to his playing and his voice sounded better then ever. He was still very handsome, to me aging the best of all of them.
Mel maybe had aged a bit, but he played the same. Listening to him was like stepping back in time. Still I believe one of the best bass players in rock. The god of rock bass players.
"They don't look the same." Marque said confused, hearing the same music but seeing different people playing it. His idol certainly looked different.
"It's 25 earth years since you've seen them." Bumble said. "Humans age quickly. Twenty-five years is a long time for them."
I was afraid to ask what a long time was to an android, or to any of them. I knew from the TV series Doctor Who, that the Doctor was several thousand years old, I couldn't remember the exact age. Who knew how old Marque was, and Bumble.well he could be older then than dirt for all I knew.
After the band went off the stage, we left. As we stepped outside the studios I almost expected to see the band members there, but they weren't. We made our way back to the Tardis.
Marque asked more about the TV crew and cameras then he did the band, obviously satisfied with Bumble's answer on aging.
"Earthlings have a source of entertainment called.television." Bumble said. "According to my data files, there were 57 channels with nothing on. Seems like a waste of time to me, which humans don't have much of."
Deb and I snickered. Maybe Bumble was a critic and just didn't know or if he did, didn't care. Nothing about earth seem to make him happy or impress him, unless you considered the old woman in England trying to get into the Tardis. It seemed even funnier that he quoted an old Springsteen song.
"Other sources of earth entertainment are radio, something called Saga which I'm not able to compute yet. I think it's related to something called computer games which according to my data files were very popular with the younger humans, although I don't know why since most were simple and boring." Bumble went on pretty much verifying my thoughts. I was going to say something to the effect that he did like Eric Clapton, but didn't say anything. The last thing I was going to do was argue with an android.
"Come now Bumble, humans did enjoy something called sports too." The Doctor said twirling his drumstick like a baton. "They just didn't sit around all the time."
"Yes, sports, like baseball, which they hit a small round object with a stick and then would run. Then there's basketball, using a larger round object which they would bounce to get into a net called a hoop, and the worst of all, football where they would pass an oval looking object called a 'pigskin' and large humans with helmets would push the other down to stop them. Very civilized race these humans."
"I kind of like the football one." Marque said. "Sounds like a sport a warrior would do."
"Figures." Bumble said.
"Don't forget the WWF." Deb said.
"WWF, another silly sport played by very large humans who yell, and dress like." he gestured toward Marque, "and throw each other around something called a ring. According to my data files, most were 'fixed' and everyone knew who'd win."
The Tardis started to move, which I was grateful for since I had a feeling Bumble was just warming up. He was finally getting to say what he thought of the human race, and none of it was good. He was starting to make me feel like we humans made no contribution, and were pretty boring. And I like football!!
From: "Yvonne Graf" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
To: "Grand Funk" <email@example.com>
Subject: (GFR/RK) Phunk fiction part 9
Date: Wed, 28 Jun 2000 23:24:19 -0400
When we stepped out, again I knew I was in my own time period. We were, pardon me, closer to home too because I saw Iowa license plates on the cars, and there was some snow on the ground. I wasn't sure where I was in Iowa, then saw the Sioux City Auditorium. I believe this was the last concert of the reunion tour, although maybe only a few people really knew this at the time. Many believe it was the last concert that will ever be given by Grand Funk Railroad, but I am an optimistic person and hope that they do reform sometime.
No one knew of the problems behind the scenes, at least the fans didn't yet. I heard the rumors, read comments but still it was hard to believe that we would never see them perform together. Probably the best live band there ever was.
We managed to get backstage and again as before not questioned. It was as if we were invisible to the roadies and security that were back there. We stood on Mel's side and watched as they played. There was certainly no sign of problems as they played. They seemed relaxed and happy. There was as much energy as before. I could see lots of people with Roadkill T-shirts on in the audience. They of course were making the most noise. You know who you are!
A few people in the audience noticed us. I saw pointing and people making comments. I'm sure they were wondering whom these three, with the exception of Bumble (who now sported a Hawkeye's baseball cap), oddly dressed people looking so much like the three men on stage from 25 years ago, were. Ah the rumor mill would be going crazy tonight, if they even remembered seeing us. I was never sure of that fact. Did the people we came in contact with us really remember us? Maybe subconsciously which would explain the metamorphosis of Mark Farner, the Beatle's haircut teen turning into the shirtless, armband, guitar-wheeling wonder. And Don Brewer, coming up with the #1 song and anthem that would become like a part of their name, the American Band Grand Funk Railroad.
I don't know if Mel got anything from Bumble. In a way I was glad of that.
At the end of the concert they stood toward the front, arm in arm and bowed. They had large smiles and were reaching down for handshakes. They came toward our side and again we shook hands with Mark, Don and Mel as they exited the stage. It was weird; I got to shake hands with them after their first big gig and at their last. Again, it could mess up your head if you thought about it so I didn't and just enjoyed the feeling.
It was sad really. I told Deb as we left that this was the last of the reunion shows. That GFR would disband again, and rumors would fly and this and that and it was a mess. She hadn't been keeping up with them as much as I was; so much of what I told her was news. Again, I don't care to dwell on rumors or point fingers at anyone. I do hope that whatever the reasons the band broke up that they would resolve them and get back together.
I remember a great quote of Don Brewer's from when the band broke up in the 70's. Being in a band was like being in a marriage. You get kicked in the balls, but you still try to make it work. I'm hoping they would take their own advice, and try to make it work even though they were kicked in a delicate area.
Almost as the door closed on the Tardis we were moving again. I was hoping we'd go back in time and see a big concert of theirs' just to get rid of the sad feeling I had, but was shocked and I have to say disappointed when Bumble returned from his inspection.
"It's earth again. Late 20th century. Looks like a." he seemed to be thinking a few seconds. "What earthlings called a shopping mall."
"Home." Deb and I said together.
"Looks that way." The Doctor said. "I guess your trip is done."
"Tell me first Doctor, why did you bring us?" I asked as we stepped toward the door.
"Like I told you when you came aboard, I don't know. I just follow orders." He said, shrugging a bit. "I do hope you enjoyed it. It was a pleasure having you along." he looked over at his other companions, Bumble again tossing snaps into Marque's mouth. "A big pleasure."
We thanked him, said good-bye to Marque and Bumble and went toward the door, and everything went black.
I opened my eyes and I was on the stairwell to the mall. I was lying down though and saw my friend Deb looking down at me with a worried expression on her face.
"What happened.?" I asked. "Did the Tardis leave?"
"Tardis?" Deb said. "No, you slipped and hit your head pretty hard. I was hoping someone would come down here cause I didn't want to leave you by yourself, but you were only out for a few seconds."
"You mean I was knocked out.? It was a dream?"
"Yeah.kind of scary.you sure you're all right?" she asked helping me up.
"Yeah, but you wouldn't believe the dream I had." I said feeling the knot on the back of my head. It had been a dream after all. I began telling Deb about it as we walked into the mall.
In the mall we stopped at one of the drink stands since I still felt woozy from my fall and I reached in my pocket for some change to pay, when I noticed scrawled across the top of my right hand, the signatures of Mark, Don, Mel and Craig.
The End! ... ?
I tried very hard to have the right dates and years, with the exception of the billboard, which I noted in the story. I used the Time Line on the Grand Funk web page to verify most of it. I also used the "Discoveries" interview from 1998, which described the Tokyo and Hyde Park concert incidents.
"Doctor Who" is a real show, and you can probably see it on your PBS stations if you are ever curious about it. I noticed they are re-running them here. Try to catch the ones with Tom Baker. They are very entertaining!! I use the Tardis on my web site.
The name "Marque" came from a magazine article I have. Mark when he was with the Pack or another early group spelled his name that way. I only saw it once, but things like that stick with me. There was some milk commercial on to a while back where milk was spelled mlyque. I like weird spellings on names.
"Bumble" came from a supposed nickname given to Mel by the other guys or Frank Zappa, I'm not sure. To me it fits him.
Don fit as the Doctor since he was tall with the curly hair. They could be brothers, or maybe nephew and Uncle?