Flint’s Mark Farner Blasts Grand Funk Railroad on Band’s 50th Anniversary
The man who wrote 'Footstompin' Music,' 'I'm Your Captain,' and other Grand Funk Railroad staples is blasting his former bandmates on the band's 50th anniversary.
This Early Railroad
Grand Funk Railroad was formed in Flint, Michigan in 1969 by Mark Farner, Don Brewer, and Mel Schacher. The band was actually known as 'Grand Trunk Railroad' in its early days but opted to change 'Trunk' to 'Funk' after objections from Grand Trunk Western Railroad, which was then headquartered in Michigan.
The band was well-received in its early days, seeing nearly immediate success in both record sales and concert attendance. The band churned a string of successful albums through the mid-70s, generating hits like 'I'm Your Captain' and a remake of the Soul Brothers Six song 'Some Kind of Wonderful.'
The band endured numerous personnel changes and went on hiatus in the late 70s and again from 1983 to 1996.
Farner Calls Grand Funk 'A Fraud'
Today, you won't see Mark Farner on stage with his former Railroad bandmates. Original members Don Brewer and Mel Schacher continue to tour, legally using the name Grand Funk Railroad, after wrangling with Farner in a series of lawsuits.
In the video below, Farner tells Rock History News that the current iteration of the band should be called 'Grand F-A-U-X Railroad.'
"It's really dishonest," Farner says. "As legal as it may be, it is completely dishonest to the fans and the fans are taking a slap in the face."
Farner tells host John Beaudin that without him singing lead, concertgoers aren't really getting the 'Grand Funk' experience they had come to know in previous decades.
He goes on to compare today's Railroad to other bands that have lost most, if not all of their original members. He draws a comparison to a "Fake Foreigner," saying the band is touring oftentimes with no original members.
"The fans don't get the truth," he says. "They get screwed again. And I think the fans have been screwed enough, man. Why not tell people the truth?"