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For the record, in case anybody cares, I will express my opinion once here. It's my opinion, you don't have to like it, I will not try to impose it on you, it's just my opinion:
Mark Farner is one of the greatest living rock 'n roll performers alive today. He's not the best vocalist, he's not the greatest guitarist, but put together what he does have makes him one of my favorite entertainers from the classic rock of my youth. That combination of style, performance, and talent are hard to beat.
But, no matter how good I or anybody else thinks he is, HE IS ONLY ONE-THIRD OF GRAND FUNK RAILROAD. To me, it doesn't matter if you're talking musically, personally, stylisticly, -- any way at all. He is (oops, excuse me) ... was only one-third of the band. However Mark and a subset ... let me emphasize that... *A SUBSET* of GFR fans think otherwise.
In fact, Mark has been quoted in more than one public interview, saying as much. He has said that when he is on-stage he has to own the stage -- he doesn't like sharing (the spotlight? ) with anybody else. He must be in control of the stage and the material being played or he becomes unhappy. Now, I don't know about anybody else, but as a musician, I could not work with somebody like that. The ego is just too big.
And, speaking of big egos, what kind of person -- musician or otherwise -- comes up to you and essentially says:I'm more important than you, so I deserve to make more money than you. That was actually one of the conditions Mark put on Don and Mel to come back and tour with them. Could anybody work with someone like that? I know that I would not be able to do it.
Which brings me to another one of my opinions. I've played in bands before. I know how songs are created and come to life. I have *never* been in a band where one of the other members came in with charts prepared for how they wanted each performer to play their part. I might even dare say that I've never heard of ay rock band doing that with a new song.
What do they do instead? They jam. They all work equally, together, making suggestions, adding little breaks and other things creatively, on the fly. What am I trying to say here? I'm saying there are no "Mark's songs," there are no "Don's songs," there are *ONLY* Grand Funk Railroad songs. Each member of the band had some type of input on each and every song and all band members "own" equal parts of their music.
Recently, on-list, the topic of who owns the Grand Funk Railroad name came up, My opinion is that the name is owned by the corporation called Grand Funk, Ltd. Mark, Don, and Mel are equal share-holders in this corporation. Two thirds of the entity known as Grand Funk Railroad asked the last third to join them in new tours for 2000 and beyond and he refused. So, whether you like it or not, two thirds of the organization wanted to continue the tour and, with a majority vote they decided to continue using the Grand Funk Railroad name -- which they have every legal right to do.
Some people say, that "that's fine but it is not morally correct." Some people say that they should not mislead the fans into thinking that Mark is still with the band. But, I would counter that Don and Mel have no intetion of misleading anybody. I've listened to a number of interviews now, and the subject *always* comes up: "Why isn't Mark playing in the band? "
In every instance Don and they guys all just say that he decided not to play on this tour. And, I have talked to Don personally on this subject. He has always said that he wants to make sure that those who might expect Mark know that he isn't in the current line-up. He told me directly: we're *not* trying to mislead anybody. But, make no mistakes, this *is* (as far as he is concerned) Grand Funk Railroad. And, they will be playing Grand Funk Railroad Songs.
Like most everyone else I have heard express the opinion, I too would like to see Mark, Don, and Mel together again. But, in my opinion, it ain't happening anytime soon. So, you are going to have to find some way of dealing with it because no matter how much you rant, rave, and repeat yourself, you're not going to change anybody else's mind. So, instead, find some way to deal with it -- quietly, and preferably off-list.
I also asked some of our Detroit members if they had seen any print ads for the Palace. No one has replied to me, but I would believe that -- at a minimum -- they have a picture on them that would would make it pretty obvious that the band has a new lineup. I think that someone would have to be pretty illiterate to not know that something is different with the new Grand Funk. The hard core fans know exactly what has happened. The average guy on the street (who out-number us probably 10000 to 1) won't know and won't care if Mark is there or not. As long as they play their favorite songs, most people would not care if it ws Moe, Larry, Curley, and Shemp up there on stage.
One more thing -- again in my opinion -- the thoughts and ideas that that are expressed by Mark on his Web site scare me. As I said in another recent post to the list, there are some Web sites that I just refuse to go to any more. This is one of them. I have never -- in my entire life -- seen anyone so afraid of their government as to suggest that everyone should arm themselves with as many and as big of guns you can to protect yourself when the government comes after you.
In some of the statements I have read there in the past, Mark seems to be preparing for another Revolutionary War! And (*in my opinion*) some of the statements are close to treasonous. It wouldn't surprise me at all to find that Mark is under investigation by the FBI or the CIA and that scares the stuffing out of me
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Posted to the mailing-list on
Wednesday, March 7th, 2001