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Mark Farner's "Letter to Roadkill"


Reproduced here, trying to maintain the look and feel of the original, as best as is possible within the limits of computers, the Internet, and HTML is the original letter that Mark Farner wrote -- and sent through his Web-Master, Steve Lisuk -- to the "roadkill" mailing list.

There has been absolutely no editing or reformatting of an kind done to the text. It is presented in its original form so that the reader can form an intelligent opinion on the content of this piece without any bias that could be blamed on this Web-site and its author.





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Date:	Tue, 31 Aug 1999 18:06:28 -0700
To:	grand-funk@roadkill.com
From:	Steve Lisuk 
Subject: letter from Mark
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Reply-To: Steve Lisuk 


Dear Roadkillers and Loyal Fans, 

After several months of "hearing about" and seeing things on the internet
in reference to GFR breaking up and all the innuendos pointed at me, I
figured it was about time that you hear from me personally for my side of
"the story". I have stayed silent because I felt this was personal
business, but my partners in Funk and their spouses have not. So here
goes... First, let me say that I absolutely appreciate all the support you
have shown GFR and to each of us individually, especially in these last few
years. It goes without saying that Iíve enjoyed meeting many of you at the
shows. The greatest part of my job is being able to perform in concert for
you the fans and to feel the emotion and the energy that flows back and
forth from the audience to the band, from the band to the audience. It is
truly a fulfilling experience. Thank You from the middle of my heart for
your kindness as well as your support. 

Now allow me to share some inside info on the so called "break-up"  of GFR
and I will do my best to be brief. Although there were many little things
that all contributed to the problems between the three of us, Iím just
going to hit the highlights.

1. After the Brewer caused break-up of GFR in the seventies I pursued a
solo career for some 16 years writing, recording and touring, the only one
of us three doing anything to keep the image of Grand Funk alive through
media interviews, performing and overall profile, and continuing to make a
living for my family, thanks to good folks like yourselves. Those of you
who came to see me know I promoted my solo act as Mark Farner of Grand
Funk. After all to bill my solo performances this way is only the truth. I
did not lie and tell  folks they were going to see the original " Three
Amigos ". I couldnít compromise my integrity like that, as some others do.
I even wrote and suggested in a letter to Mel and Don that they had every
right to go out and tour as I do advertising as Mel Schacher and Don Brewer
of Grand Funk. Grand Funk is the three of us together, accept no
substitutes. In fact my management, Bobby Roberts Co. caught a promoter
advertising one of my solo shows as Grand Funk here some seven weeks or so
ago and we canceled the date without any repercussions from the talent
buyer because of the specific language  concerning false advertising used
in the contract he signed. ( If you ever hear of any false advertising of a
Grand Funk show I would appreciate it if you would please notify my
management immediately, address it to bobby @ bobbyroberts.com ).  Thanks! 

2. When Mark Don & Mel as the original GFR got back together in 1996,
during a meeting with Punch Andrews and Bill Blackwell ( first management
of the reunion ) Brewer made a request that I wouldnít tour solo, so as to
not be competition for the group effort. I made it very clear that I would
devote two years of my time solely to GFR and then return to my solo career
vowing not to let all my solo work be in vain. After all GFR was only
together 7 years prior to the Brewer break-up.  I was solo for 16 years. 

3. I also made it absolutely clear with Don and Mel that I would have no
part of alcohol and or drug abuse within the rank and file of the Band. I
was assured by my "partners" that there were no problems. Mel on several
occasions said to me how glad he was that that part of his life was over,
and that he did not do drugs any more. 

 We hit a few bumps out on the road, but seemingly nothing we couldnít get
past. Being on stage and performing as GFR was, and always will be, the
best part of my experience because of you fans.  However,  there were still
some problems off stage in reference to camaraderie and respect.

             Being an honorable man, I fulfilled my commitment to Mel and
Don for the original two years. Because of the change in management, and
the first year being sparse of play dates, I stayed on an additional year.
During that third year we became even more distant on and off stage; some
crappy attitudes were developing. I told Mel and Don in May of 1998 that I
would return to my solo career in 1999.   At that time there seemed to be
an understanding, as there was little said about it. 

During the next few months our management came to me and suggested that I
do 20-30 dates with GFR in 1999 and perform 30 or so dates solo. I was
considering such a compromise and thought it may be workable.

This is where the story becomes difficult and hurtful. As you know I am a
proud father of four sons. One of my boys, Jason came to me and wanted to
work for me out on the road. When I asked him why, his response was " I
want to try and make up for some of the shit I put you through". Jason left
home at 17, dropped out of school and went down the rocky road with the
pride of life at the helm. You fathers know that when Jason came to me on
his own, that was music to my ears and I was compelled to trust him. Jason
had been in trouble with the law concerning drug use and I felt a sincere
desire on his part to get away from the temptations in his personal life. I
called my trusted friend and road manager Kuch and asked him to invent a
job for Jason,  if necessary, and that I would of course bear the financial
burden. Jason came on as my personal valet. 
I discovered one night in August on the road that Jason was still doing
drugs - the environment I thought I was taking him out of was found by him
on the road. I was only wishful thinking, eh? Not only my son, but some of
the crew and to my complete surprise Mel Schacher was doing drugs. It was
all revealed to me in confidence by my comrades within the rank and file of
the organization.  I was tipped over emotionally. Iím sure you know what it
feels like to be violated in the most tender area of trust by a confident
and friend. It happens to us all in life. Not to validate the act at all,
but so you can associate with where I was coming from after that point.
 
I went to Don and told him about Mel, and he said "Itís no big deal". I
said, "Itís illegal!" That, I have a problem with! I expressed how a drug
bust may effect my solo career ( my first concern ) and how I took Jason
out on the road to try and avoid drugs. Well I guess it still remains just
"NO BIG DEAL", as I havenít heard any thing to the contrary. I thank God
that the public was not made aware of it through the media; it could have
caused irreparable damage to my character. There was obviously no regard
for that. When Mel found out that I knew about the drugs, he went to
Jasonís room and threatened him physically, because he thought Jason told
on him. When I found out about Melí s confrontation with Jason, I was
livid!  I had to calm myself down before requesting Mel to come to my room
to talk. ( I wanted to kick his ass up between his shoulders) After
composing myself, I called Mel to my room. When I asked him about the
confrontation he said " Jason is old enough to take care of himself ". I
explained how a father should feel about any one attacking their son and
that I would not stand for any more such nonsense, and he left.
 From November of 1998 to April of 1999 there were several letters sent to
me from Don Brewer that expressed his and Melís frustration with me for not
touring with them, although I had more than honored my commitment to them.
Don wrote in a letter 1/26/99 " There is no more upward swing in our
careers, so letís finish this Grand Funk thing".   "Letís take whatís left
on the table ( meaning the money ) and when itís gone itís over". In my
opinion, which I am entitled, much of what was said in his letters was
arrogant, manipulative and threatening legal jargon ( I guess two years of
law school paid off ).   Never once did they offer any understanding or
apologies for events from the past. I have been " painted " as the bad guy
for the last several months by Mel/Don and their spouses. In May I received
a letter from their attorney threatening me even further with a law suit if
I were to tour as Mark Farner of Grand Funk Railroad. Melís wife Dena
(another supposed friend of mine), told our manager that "she would spend
the rest of her life burying that son of a bitch!" - meaning of course,
yours truly, and why does she slander my deceased mother, referring to her
as a bitch? 
  
Don, at the onset of our dialog in reforming Grand Funk Railroad, insisted
that I sign an agreement that would indemnify him against any law suit
arising from him  walking off stage during a performance. This, the
agreement said would be in the event a promoter brought a law suit against
us for not completing the contracted show. What reason, you say, would Don
have to walk off stage during a Grand Funk performance? He wanted me to
sign this agreement to not say the words, God, Jesus, or any religious
saying. Give me a break! In the first place I would not for any reason give
up my first amendment rights as a participant under the supreme law of the
Constitution of the United States of America, and secondly, if there was
that kind of contention going into our would be reunion,  how successful
would that endeavor be? I believe people that donít want anything to do
with God, are running from Him. You can run, however you canít hide. He
loves us enough to pursue us no matter what kind of smoke screen we are
capable of putting up and hiding behind.
  
As for "Sunnyís", book some of you inquired as to why I poo-pooed it. Well,
I was made aware of  it the day before the deadline of when all the stories
were to be turned in (to give you a time line). At that time I asked her
what charity the proceeds were going to. She said, "Iím putting up the
funds for it and Iíll keep what little profit there is, since itís only
being sold to internetters". My first problem was the motive, because as I
said to her " if it were a righteous cause, I would think differently of
it, but as it stands you do not have my endorsement". I told her if it
were, as she alleged, that "it was only for the internetters" it could have
been posted on the GFR site a story at a time, and could have been
downloaded by all for free. I have always had a  problem with other people
(outside of Mark, Don, and Mel) who capitalize on the efforts made by the
group. I have no problems with Mel or Don writing a book. I knew there were
ego problems here when she said (speaking of Don who was signing autographs
for fans) "yea, it wasnít so long ago when he was standing in the wings
watching me sign autographs". As if she could possibly put her local radio
personality status on the same level as her international Rock Star
husband. Somethiní in the milk ainít cream.
 
I believe you can draw your own conclusions. There is apparently
bitterness, hatred, pride, jealousy etc. coming from the other two and
their spouses. I would hope that they will get over it, and understand
their part in the erosion of the band. I do still love both Mel and Don...
I just donít like working with them under these conditions. I believe that
inside they are both good people. It appears that Don and Melís strategy
was to intimidate me, attempt to back me in a corner and try to force me to
tour with them. Well yíall, that doesnít work with me, and it shows a total
lack of respect. I doní t know about you, but I choose to work with people
I enjoy, people that are respectful to one another, care for one another,
are humble enough to admit mistakes and ask forgiveness, and most important
of all, who love one another.
 As most of you know I am still touring as Mark Farner of Grand Funk
Railroad. Overall weíve had wonderful shows and even went to Bulgaria for a
couple of concerts that were sold out. The people over there were just
awesome! I have a band of talented guys that care about each other and we
are united in our thinking, weíre brothers of a kind. We walk in agreement.
Iím having a great time with guys that donít drug and that enjoy touring
with me. If youíre so inclined, weíd enjoy having you come to the shows.

As far as the future goes, I would never close the door on touring as Grand
Funk Railroad again with Don and Mel, under certain parameters (if there
were changes in attitudes and habits).  I have expressed that very thing in
letters back to Mel and Don and in reference to our relationship, I have
urged them to "let the healing begin".
 
In the past few months it was pointed out to me, by friends, that  there
were accusations  written about me that were false, and things being said
like,  "it sucks" that GFR broke up ( I wonder who said that).  We have
heard from Don and Melís attorneys a few times, and over all nothing has
changed. I heard that Mel was gonna " go up and have coffee with Mark and
straighten things out". Still only hear say. Thatís sad.

In closing, again thank you for your support. If you come to see me youíll
see an energy packed  Mark Farner show. Youíll hear some of my Grand Funk
songs as well as my solo recordings. It is not a Grand Funk Railroad
concert, and as I have said that show comes from only the three original
dudes that could give it to you, Mark, Don, & Mel. 

The Good News is that God has saved us by His son Jesus Christ, and itís
for free! You donít have to pay for it, all you do is pray for it. His love
is unconditionally given to all with no strings attached. No religious
ceremonial B.S., no joining anybodyís club, donít have to read or write,
donít have to smell good, donít have to have all your teeth, donít have to
suck up,  donít have to bow down, donít have to kiss anybodyís ring, donít
have to kiss anybodyís ass, donít need to go to some monument men have
raised up, because there is a savior that God has raised up.  His name is
Jesus Christ, in Him ALL things are given freely!. You may not know him now
in this life, but you will meet Him one day, and know that He is LOVE and
He is LORD.  If you donít have the joy and peace you surely seek, I would
encourage you to pick up a Bible ( the Living Bible is good for the
beginner) and read the Book of Proverbs and the Book of John in the new
testament. This will give you a good start on knowing the peace and joy God
has given us. We have everlasting life through the faith of Jesus Christ,
not our faith, but His, He willingly sacrificed himself for us because He
loves us all. He is the only begotten Son of the most high God, He is the
Savior,  He is Jesus Christ. 

May God our creator , bless you and your families abundantly. I love you all.

Sincerely,

Mark




Mark has shared some of his other thoughts on the Internet as well: thoughts about the "white man," Mark and guns, and more. Learn more about Mark Farner. at his "official" Web-site.


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Grand Funk Railroad Web

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