M A R K
F A R N E R
G R A N D F U N K R A I L R O A D
M A R K F A R N E R 'S
A M E R I C A N B A N D
MARK FARNER INTERVIEW
SPECIAL ELECTION EDITION
CLICK BELOW TO LISTEN IN ITS ENIRELY
Legendary all-American frontman and guitarist, Mark Farner, was the engine that pulled the original Grand Funk Railroad repeatedly to the top of the charts, and today he’s a platinum recording artist 30 times over. At age 71, Farner commands the stage with the same intensity and outpouring of love as he did during the summer of ’69 and his fans are still flocking to see “the Captain.” The rock patriot’s synergy and open heart still come through in epic hits that defined a generation including— “I’m Your Captain” (Closer to Home)” “We’re An American Band” “Heartbreaker” “Bad Time To Be In Love” and recut covers of “The Loco-Motion” and “Some Kind of Wonderful.” Being viewed as a “Rockstar” is only one facet of the legacy of this Michigan-born son.Mark is as real as they get: he’s a husband, a father, and grandfather, and in his fourth decade of marriage to wife Lesia. He’s a true family man.
“I think our fans originally connected to our songs because we were sincere” Farner said. “My lyrics were about Mother Earth, stopping the war, and all about love. They still have a point of reference with me in their heart.”
After the 1969 Atlantic Pop Festival put Grand Funk Railroad on the fast track, the band topped the Billboard Chart twice with both the anthem “We’re an American Band” (1973) and 1974’s “The Loco-Motion.” The Flint, Michigan trio reached the top 10 again with “Some Kind of Wonderful” (No. 3) and “Bad Time” (No. 4) before GFR disbanded for the first time in 1976. Farner briefly rejoined Grand Funk during the 1980s and 1990s and he has collaborated with many other artists over the years. However, his focus has been to forge an enduring solo career based upon bringing his message of love to his fans in all corners of the world.
“Love is unconditional,” he explains. “Just like when you hold a baby, the love transfers. I feel that love from the audience when I’m on stage.”
The son of a World War II veteran, four-time bronze star recipient and career fireman, Farner also knows the importance of brotherhood and commitment. On his mother’s side, he champions his Cherokee heritage and the fact that his mother was the first woman welder in the United States to weld on a tank during World War 2. It just so happened to be the same type of Sherman tanks his father drove. Farner’s work on and off the stage is focused on honoring service personnel and veterans and offering support to American farmers, individuals with disabilities, and downtrodden populations.
Farner, the rock patriot that he is, works tirelessly to honor our nation’s service personnel and Veterans wherever they are stationed. He wants everyone to remember the huge sacrifices our men and women in the armed services freely give; all to protect our amazing country and freedoms.
Over 50 years later something magical still happens when Farner takes the stage. His voice is still strong and on key, his guitar playing still slick and lighting quick, and his trademark prancing still commands the stage and mesmerizes his audiences around the world.
“I love playing live where I can connect with people of all backgrounds,” he said. “It’s all about the fans…and all about love.”
For more information about
Mark Farner Official Website
Mark Farner's American Band on Facebook
YouTube: Mark Farner
Mark Farner's Mid-Michigan Flood Relief
Mark Farner Launches Mid-Michigan Flood Relief GoFundMe (Petoskey, Mich.) Legendary rock and roll guitarist and front man, Mark Farner, is helping those closer to home. This weekend he launched a GoFundMe campaign for his Michigan neighbors called the Mid-Michigan Flood Relief. The goal is to raise $25,000 to donate to the American Red Cross’ efforts to the areas affected by the Midland County flooding. Farner and his wife, Lesia, were the first to donate with $2,000.
Link to the Mark Farner Mid-Michigan Flood Relief GoFundMe here… gf.me/u/x4b4v6
Mark Farner, 1977
No Frills, 1978
Just Another Injustice, 1988
Wake Up..., 1989
Some Kind of Wonderful, 1991
For the People, 2006
With Grand Funk Railroad
On Time (1969)
Grand Funk (1969)
Closer to Home (1970)
Live Album (1970)
E Pluribus Funk (1971)
We're an American Band (1973)
Shinin' On (1974)
All the Girls in the World Beware!!! (1974)
Born to Die (1976)
Good Singin', Good Playin' (1976)
Grand Funk Lives (1981)
What's Funk? (1983)
Closer to Home, 1992 (best-of)
Heirlooms: The Complete Atlantic Sessions, 2000 (re-release of Farner's two first studio albums)
Red White and Blue Forever, 2002 (mini-album)
Live!! N'rG, 2003
Mark Farner the Rock Patriot, March 9, 2003 Live Extended Versions
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CHRONICLES, TRUTHS, CONFESSIONS AND WISDOM FROM THE MUSIC LEGENDS
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Featuring over 45 intimate conversations with some of
the greatest rock legends the world will ever know.
CHRIS SQUIRE... DR. JOHN... GREG LAKE... HENRY MCCULLOUGH... JACK BRUCE … JOE LALA… JOHNNY WINTER... KEITH EMERSON... PAUL KANTNER... RAY THOMAS... RONNIE MONTROSE... TONY JOE WHITE... DAVID CLAYTON-THOMAS… MIKE LOVE... TOMMY ROE... BARRY HAY... CHRIS THOMPSON... JESSE COLIN YOUNG... JOHN KAY... JULIAN LENNON... MARK LINDSAY... MICKY DOLENZ… PETER RIVERA ...TOMMY JAMES… TODD RUNDGREN... DAVE MASON... EDGAR WINTER... FRANK MARINO... GREGG ROLIE... IAN ANDERSON... JIM “DANDY” MANGRUM... JON ANDERSON... LOU GRAMM... MICK BOX... RANDY BACHMAN… ROBIN TROWER... ROGER FISHER... STEVE HACKETT... ANNIE HASLAM… ‘MELANIE’ SAFKA... PETULA CLARK... SUZI QUATRO... COLIN BLUNSTONE… DAVE DAVIES... JIM McCARTY...
THE ROCK STAR CHRONICLES
-By Literary Titan (5) STARS
The Rock Star Chronicles, by Ray Shasho, is a splendid book written by a music enthusiast who has poured their heart and soul into it. It’s a story of a boy who loved rock music, and his obsessive passion of it earned himself the name Rock Raymond. He went to school but instead was schooled in all matters of music while his peers were buried chin-deep in coursework. He then became a radio DJ and has now compiled a book on all interviews he held with Rock gods who raided the airwaves back in the 70s and 80s. It’s a compilation of interviews with outstanding vocalists, legendary guitarists and crazy drummers in the rock music scene. Each interview gives a reader an in-depth view into their personal lives and the philosophies that guide their lives which all serve to humanize these great icons. For readers who are old enough to call themselves baby boomers this book will bring old memories back to life. Millennials, on the other hand, may think of this book as a literal work of the Carpool Karaoke show.
The Rock Star Chronicles is a book I didn’t know I was waiting for. To come across a book that will talk me into trying something new. One brave enough to incite me to venture into new frontiers. This book made me a believer- I am now a bona fide Rock and Roll music fan.
Ray Shasho masterfully gets the interviewees talking. He smartly coaxes answers from them with crafty questions designed to get a story rolling out of them. The artists talk about diverse issues ranging from music, politics, and their social engagements. Having been on the music seen all his life, Ray Shasho knows the buttons to press, how to get them comfortable about talking about their lives.
The book’s cover is befitting of its subject matter with the leather look offering a royal background to the golden letter print. It speaks to how high a level rock music holds in the pecking order- arguably, modern music as we know it has originated from blues and rock music. The second noteworthy thing is the use of high definition pictures to reference the musician being interviewed in every sub-chapter. This ensures that the book is for both original rock and roll lovers and aspiring new ones. Together is makes for a refreshing and consistently enjoyable read.
I recommend this book to rock music enthusiasts, aspiring musicians wondering what it takes and all readers curious to learn new things by going back in time.
- Ray Shasho
By Literary Titan
The Rock Star Chronicles uses your interviews with rock legends to humanize them and preserve their contribution to the genre. Why was this an important book for you to write?
I was fortunate to have lived through two of the greatest decades for music. It was a time when radio played incredible music and rock concerts were a bargain and a happening thing to do. Rock groups featured incredibly talented musicians with guitarists and lead singers in the spotlight. There has never been a generation to match that period of music expertise and staying power. I wanted the reader to understand and realize how great a talent they really were and still are. Especially to wannabe musicians and the young. Many of the artists I have interviewed have passed on and others nearing retirement. It was important to me to tell their stories at a vulnerable period in their lives and be recognized as the greatest music legends the world will ever know.
What is one interview in this book that stands out as the most exciting one you had?
Ian Anderson of Jethro Tull has always been a rock hero to me. He has written and performed complex music and always had an incredible stage presence. Going to a Tull concert back in the day was a huge event. I will admit the first time I interviewed Ian Anderson I was quite nervous. I remember when the phone rang for the interview, I thought, that’s Jethro Tull calling me! During the second interview I got him to chat about politics, religion, ancestry, and world events. I tried not to ask the same mundane music questions that have been asked of him many hundreds of times. He was intellectual and I was on my best game that day.
What do you think is one thing modern musicians have to learn from the icons of the rock and roll genre?
Bands must perform live. All the legends started performing at school dances, bars, clubs, and anywhere they could be seen by an audience big or small. If they are talented eventually someone will give them a break, but it will not be easy. Having a You Tube video with a lot of page views is a start, but it will never have the impact of playing in front of live audiences.
What do you find is a common misconception people have about music?
People that pay big money to watch an artist lip sync on stage and still call it a great show. Music lovers who go see a legendary rock band and there are no original members in the band. Ringo Starr would never bill himself as The Beatles, instead he created an All-Starr band. All generations need to do a little homework before purchasing expensive tickets to concerts nowadays. My book will certainly help identify who the real legends are.
Music is a universal language that we all share and cherish.