It all started back in the mid-60s when a popular
Detroit, MI disc jockey by the name of Terry Knight
was checking out a local band called The Jazz Masters.
Terry enjoyed the band so much that he asked if he
could join them. The band agreed and, playing on
Terry's large radio show following, they renamed
themselves Terry Knight and the Pack with Terry acting
as front man and lead vocalist. The drummer in the
band was Don Brewer.
The Pack was playing around Detroit at a time that
the "motor city" was fairly well known for its ability
to produce musical talent. Several name musical acts
came out of the Detroit music scene at that time.
Terry Knight and the Pack eventually developed a large
local following and started doing some recording that
also found significant local success. The Vietnam
war was escalating at the same time and the Pack's
guitar player (Kurt Johnson) was drafted. Mark Farner
was then "drafted" to join the band on lead guitar.
The Pack lasted for several years in and around
Detroit. And, even though their large local following
had them in the recording studio several times, they
couldn't quite make it into the Top-40 national music
scene. Toward the end of the band's career, Craig
Frost replaced the Pack's keyboard player but, in 1968,
the band fell on hard times and broke up.
Mark and Don stayed together for a while to do some
recording but found themselves wanting to do something
a little different. They moved back to their home town
of Flint, MI -- a smaller industrial town with several
large factories just up the road from Detroit -- and
recruited Mel Schacher (formerly with the group ? and
the Mysterians) to play bass. It was here, in Flint,
MI, that the trio started putting together a different
sound -- a powerful, bluesy sort of music that had a
strong and funky beat. In looking for a name that fit
their new style of music, Mark, Don, and Mel had to
look no further than their home state for a state-wide
landmark called The Grand Trunk Railroad. Since their
music had a funky quality to it, the Trunk was changed
to Funk and a legend was born ...
Grand Funk Railroad.
Terry Knight signed on as the band's manager and took
out a $500 loan to get the band into the studio for a
demo tape. Then, Grand Funk hit the festival circuit
starting with their incredibly powerful performance at
the 1969 Atlanta Pop Festival. The demo, combined with
the growing demand from their new and vocal fans,
landed the band a contract with Capitol Records before
the end of 1969. The demand for Grand Funk's music
was so great that Capitol had to rush the release of
their first album.
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