[A picture of Mark from a Grand Funk reunion concert]

Photo courtesy of David Staats (DS3298@aol.com)

Grand Funk Railroad: Reunion News

I'd like to thank both Greg Wereley (wherligr@ix.netcom.com) and Tim Shafer (EfahsT@aol.com) for sending me copies of this article to post within my Grand Funk Railroad Web.

Grand Funk Railroad's Comeback Stays On Track

The Flint Journal

January 2, 1997
By Doug Pullen
Journal Entertainment Writer

Flush with the success of its low-key reunion tour last summer, Grand Funk Railroad expects to pick up steam in 1997. Flint's most successful rock group -- singer-guitarist Mark Farner, drummer-singer Don Brewer and bassist Mel Schacher -- followed the 13-city summer trek, including a sold-out June 23 show at Pine Knob Music Theater, with a recording session last August in Detroit. Band members recorded two new songs, which they hope will wind up on a planned box set that their former label, Capitol Records, might release this year. The group also hopes the songs will help them secure a new recording contract.

Grand Funk plans to do some more recording this year. But first on the agenda, drummer Brewer says, is a more extensive, better publicized concert tour. "We're throwing around some ideas for next summer, with a possible spring kickoff," Brewer said recently from his home near Jupiter, Fla.

To help take its reunion to a higher level, the band hired prominent New York promoter David Fishof two weeks ago. He'll manage the group and help promote its next tour, which could travel to Europe and Japan as well as the United States. Fishof's 'David Fishof Presents' has successfully packaged nostalgic themes and artists, most notably the star-laden Ringo Starr tours and the "Dirty Dancing" tour that revived the Contours' career. Farner was featured on Starr's 1995 tour and also performed on another Fishof presentation, the "Super '70's" tour.

"I like challenges and this is a big challenge," Fishof said from his New York office recently. "They've been out of view for so long. We need to recreate their fan base and get them new fans. The current hunger for all things '70's won't hurt," he said, noting the success of the Kiss and Styx reunion tours in 1996. "It's a good climate to come back," Fishof said.

Grand Funk formed in Flint in 1969 and went on to become one of the most popular rock bands of the early 1970s. Its first 11 albums sold more than 20 million copies. A 1971 show at Shea Stadium sold out faster and grossed more ticket revenue than the Beatles' show there six years earlier.

The group, whose hits include "We're an American Band" and "The Locomotion," broke up in 1976. Neither the group nor its new manager expect to reach those kinds of dizzying heights again. But they do think they have a place in the rock world.

Fishof wants to properly kick off the tour. "They need an event. Events are what made Grand Funk," he said, noting the then-unknown band's breakthrough performance at the Atlanta International Pop Festival in 1969. "I'm in the midst of creating a huge event in Detroit, but I'm not ready to announce anything yet." Fishof said it probably will take place in April. A live album and video may result. He also plans to begin talks with Capitol and other labels about a new recording contract. "They've got the material," Fishof said, "and once we come up with a record, hopefully we can find the right people to let them do it."

In the meantime, Birmingham's Punch enterprises will continue to work with Capitol on reissuing most of the group's catalog. Punch Enterprises is Bob Seger's management team, which helped organize Grand Funk's 1996 affairs.

Brewer, who once retired from music to study law, sounds eager to get back on track. He has fond memories of last summer's tour. "It was fun," he said. "Now it's come time to do more of that. Then I'd like to get back in the studio."

Copyright © 1997 The Flint Journal.
Used without permission.

[A picture of Mel and Mark from a Grand Funk reunion concert]

Photo courtesy of David Staats (DS3298@aol.com)

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