Grand Funk Concerts Through the Years
Maybe you were able to attend one of these concerts that Grand Funk performed at through the years:
And, before we get too far along, let's get rid of a long standing Grand Funk urban legend.
1996 -- Reunion
1996 will certainly go down in the record books as a landmark year in music history. After months of rumors and speculation, after a few sparse magazine and newspaper interviews, after denial by some key music industry sources, and after dozens of messages traveling through the Internet, rumor has turned into reality with a long-awaited Grand Funk Railroad reunion.
Mark, Don, and Mel reformed the original Grand Funk Railroad and put on a whirlwind mini-tour that included several east coast and midwest cities.
The word is also out that many previously unreleased Grand Funk songs, and several new songs, will be released on a new series of CDs. It has even been rumored that Capitol will re-release most of the band's old LP catalog in CD format.
By all reports, the mini-tour was a huge success and, after taking some time out to fulfill some other commitments and for some work in the studio, the band will be back on the road for a full concert tour in 1997. Watch for some of that good old "rock 'n roll soul" coming from the "American band" to a town near you. In fact, you can read a January 1997 Flint Journal article detailing some of the further reunion plans.
1997 -- The Year of the Funk!
If 1996 was the year that will "go down in music history," 1997 will certainly be "The Year of the Funk!" David Fishof, of David Fishof Presents, Inc., has finally revealed his plans for the continuation of the Grand Funk Railroad reunion. As the band's new manager, David recently wrote to this Web site's author, several members of the Grand Funk Railroad mailing list, and several other Funk fans from around the Internet detailing his plans for the come-back tour of the year.
You should read the text of this important tour announcement and find out where you can see Grand Funk Railroad perform. And, check out this black and white scan of the concert poster promoting the first Bosnian benefit concert held April 20, 1997 in Auburn Hills, MI.
Mr. Fishof has written to you, the fans, again and given us some new Grand Funk news. Please read his note and find out how you can help keep the band "back on track." And, Capitol Records has announced yet more plans to re-release the band's records in CD format with a, not one- but, two-page promotional flyer which they sent out as the center-fold in a recent newsletter to their distributors.
And, don't forget to pick up your copy of the new, double, live CD titled Bosnia. This album was recorded at the Bosnian-relief concert performed at Auburn Hills, MI in April of 1997.
1998 -- The Year They Keep Shinin' On!
If 1996 was the year that will "go down in music history," and 1997 was "The Year of the Funk!," then 1998 is the year "They Keep Shinin' On!" And, the tour continues.
In early 1998, Grand Funk ended their year-long relationship with David Fishof Presents, Inc. and signed on with The Bobby Roberts Company as their new manager. Bobby Roberts is a long-time manager of several popular country acts and is entering the field of rock 'n roll by managing the band. They hope to have some sixty Grand Funk concerts scheduled before the end of 1998. Watch out -- "the Railroad" is now barreling towards your town full steam ahead! And, check out this black and white scan of the concert poster promoting the Independance Day concert to be held July 4, 1998 at Pine Knob in Detroit, MI.
1999 -- The Anniversary Year
Thirty Years of Funk!
In 1999 the band has finally started receiving some well-deserved recognition. Two excellent magazine articles were written about the band -- One in Vintage Guitar Magaizine and another in DISCoveries Magazine. Also, two books were published about the band -- One by Don Brewer's Wife, Sunny Quinn, titled Tales of the American Band -- Grand Funk Railroad; The other by rock-author Billy James, titled An American Band -- The Story of Grand Funk Railroad.
1999 is also proving to be a Funk-sessful year for the American Band in other ways. This was the year that VH-1, the cable music channel, produced an excellent and well-received episode of their popular Behind the Music program about Grand Funk. And, on another front, MCA / Hip-o Records re-released the all-time classic, Zappa-produced, epic recording Good Singin' Good Playin' on CD. And, with the success of the Bosnia CD as well as MCA's Good'Singin' Good Playin', Capitol has finally released the long-promised and often delayed "box set" -- or anthology -- entitled Thirty Years of Funk: 1969 - 1999. And, with promising early sales figures on this 3-disc set, Capitol has (once again :-( ) promised to re-release the remainder of the GFR catalog over the next two years. And, be on the look out for a special re-release of We're An American Band on both CD and vinyl!
Unfortunately, 1999 is also the year that Mark Farner decided he needed to continue work on his solo efforts. So, one of the most successful classic rock reunions of the 20th century has been put on hold while Mark tours with a group of musicians (including his brother, Ricky) and plays a great deal of Grand Funk music with a few of his more well-known solo songs thrown in the mix.
Although Bobby Roberts still represents Mark Farner (there are rumors that he is/has changed management) as a solo act, Grand Funk, Ltd. -- the band's corporation -- has severed ties with them. If and when Mark decides to rejoin GFR, they will be with a new booking agency.
2000 -- New Beginnings
Grand Funk, as did the Phoenix Before, Rises From the Ashes Once
Don and Mel have spent the better part of two years waiting for Mark Farner to come back to the band. They asked over and over again when Mark would return -- all the while refusing offers for Grand Funk Railroad performances and continue with the very successful reunion. Unfortunately, having the taste of the solo life once more and finding out that he was just one of three votes in the GFR's musical direction -- he no longer had control -- Mark has decided that he can not perform as part of Grand Funk Railroad at this time.
Continuing to get requests for shows with Grand Funk, and, both wanting to continue playing (It is rumored that there were even some offers on the table for corporate sponsorship of a 30 year reunion tour in 1999), Don and Mel did what any bright, smart business men would do -- they replaced Mark. And, by the end of the year 2000, they were ready to show the world a new Grand Funk Railroad.
Don and Mel recruited Max Carl on vocals. Formerly of bands such as: .38 Special and Jack Mack and the Heart Attack. Max is a multi-talented performer who is equally competent on guitar, keyboards and drums. On lead guitar, they brought in Bruce Kulick who toured with KISS for twelve years and has credits with Meatloaf and Billy Squire. KISS, you may remember, claims that GFR was a major influence in their music. And, it shows in his ability to replicate the many well know solos from GFR's popular song list -- but, with an added special edge that somehow makes it a litte different, better, and his own. And, Tim Cashion is on keyboards and has credits with Bob Seger and Robert Palmer. He may look like the shy one in the group, but don't let his shy look fool you. His style, like Bruce's, is somehow different. He has all of the major keyboard parts down with a slightly different edge that tells you it's his own special style.
And, on December 2, 2000 this new incarnation of the American Band made their debut appearance. The venue was an event called "Holiday By the Shores" in West Palm Beach, Florida. They played to a "packed house" of some 2500 people on an outdoor stage. And, by all accounts, They had the crowd "in the palm of their hands."
Together, Brewer and Schacher have created a new dynamic and multi-talented band. The five members will continue to carry on the Grand Funk tradition and will continue performing Grand Funk songs. But, they are all looking forward to making new Grand Funk music, do some recording, and to keep Shinin' On as a new chapter in the legacy of the American Band: Grand Funk Railroad.
By the way, when interviewed recetly, Mark was asked if the original three members would ever play together again. His response was "Never say never." We'll see ...