Showing posts with label Hippiefest. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Hippiefest. Show all posts

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Dave Mason Is Feelin’ Alright In An Interview With Music Journalist Ray Shasho

Dave Mason with his good friend Jimi Hendrix
 By Ray Shasho

Dave Mason headlines Hippiefest 2011 at Ruth Eckerd Hall in Clearwater on Saturday August 27th.
Dave will be sharing the stage with an impressive lineup of classic rock hitmakers.
Joining Dave Mason will be Mark Farner the inspirational leader for Grand Funk Railroad (“We’re An American Band,” “I’m Your Captain,” “Some Kind of Wonderful” and “The Loco-Motion”), Rick Derringer(“Rock and Roll, Hoochie Koo,” “Hang On Sloopy”), Felix Cavaliere(“Good Lovin',” “Groovin'” and “People Got To Be Free”) and Gary Wright (“Dream Weaver,” “Love Is Alive” and “Really Wanna Know You”).

Order your tickets right here for an outta sight night of kicking out the Jams.

Songwriter/Guitarist/Vocalist Dave Mason cofounded the band Traffic after Steve Winwood left the Spencer Davis Group. In 1967 Mason left the band after the release of the Mr. Fantasy album. Mason rejoined the band for awhile in 1968 and recorded “Feelin’ Alright,”a song that became Mason’s trademark.“Feelin’ Alright” was covered by Joe Cocker in 1969. Mason went on to join Delaney & Bonnie & Friends in 1969 and released his debut solo album Alone Together  producing the hit single-  “Only you know and I know” The album reached gold in the U.S. hitting # 22 on the record charts.

Mason shared his extraordinary musical talents with a list of legends- including George Harrison, (Mason appeared on Harrison’s critically- acclaimed album All Things Must Pass) Eric Clapton’s Derek & the Dominos,The Rolling Stones, Leon Russell, Cass Elliot, Fleetwood Mac and his good friend Jimi Hendrix. Mason played his 12- string acoustic guitar on "All Along the Watchtower" and sang on “Crosstown Traffic.”

Dave Mason hit superstardom throughout the 70’s with a handful of highly successful albums reaching platinum and gold status - It’s Like You Never Left, Split Coconut, Certified Live,Let it Flow and Mariposo de Oro. Top 40 hits “We Just Disagree” and “Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow” were spawned from that triumphant period.

In 1978 Mason performed in front of more than 300,000 people at California Jam II.
Mason and Traffic bandmate Jim Capaldi reunited for a tour that produced the 1999 album Live: The 40,000 Headmen Tour.  Traffic was inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame in 2004.

Here’s my recent interview with renowned songwriter/musician/humanitarian Dave Mason.

Dave, I want to thank you for spending some time with me today, where do you call home nowadays?

“No problem thank you, I live near Santa Barbara in California.”

I understand that this is your first Hippiefest tour. I talked with Mark Farner the other day and he let me know that he and Rick Derringer were actually really good friends. Are you buddies with anyone that you share the bill with?

“Not really, I’ve played shows with all these guys but back in the Traffic days it would be Gary. When Gary(Gary Wright) had a band called Spooky Tooth.”

When I do a Dave Mason search on the web, I see a lot of involvement in charity work. What sort of charity events are you involved with?

“I have a charity that I helped start and I’m very involved with it that we do for veterans. And that is we help people transition out of the service to start their own business. It’s called Work Vessels for Veterans at”

You also participate in various benefit concerts and celebrity golf classics including partnering with Michael Bolton. Do you play golf Dave?

“No I don’t play golf. Michael Bolton’s charity is for abused women and I’ve done that with his charity for about the last five or six years. And for 14 years he was doing it in Stanford Connecticut and then last year I kind of talked him into trying it somewhere else so we moved it to the Ojai Valley Inn Golf Course and this year we’re combining his charity with the Work Vessels charity and the event out there and on the 23rd of September then I have The Feelin’ Alright Second Annual Golf Tournament in Virginia at Fort Belvoir and that is with a group called (CAMMO) which does a lot of work with vets and music and there’s a number of them that have been signed to recording contracts and it’s pretty interesting you know, last year we had a band that the drummer had titanium legs and those guys were really good. And they’re getting a lot of results with post traumatic stress through the music. So it’s interesting work and a great group of people.”

Music has gotten a lot of our servicemen through tough times over the years especially during wartime.

“I did a Toys for Tots show in Atlanta back in 1977 and I was getting ready to walk up on stage and this Marine came up to me and said “You know man, me and my buddy were stuck in a foxhole for three days and we would have gone absolutely nuts if it weren’t for a Jimi Hendrix tape and a Dave Mason tape.”

You’re doing great work for our vets Dave. Sometimes our veterans are not treated with the respect that they deserve are they?

“The way that our vets are treated when they come back is shameful, they’re kind of swept aside a little bit, I mean you know you’ve got the Veterans Administration and all that stuff but there’s a lot that still could be done, anyways that’s why we pick up the void. There’s a number of us, a number of organizations out there that try to fill those holes, fill that gap.”

Bless you man for all you do.
I want to talk some about your music; your first band was actually called The Jaguars back in the early 60’s and was reminiscent musically to The Shadows and Ventures?

“Yes, that was my first band The Jaguars. I worked a little instrumental version called Opus To Spring when I was about 16 and a local record store put a record out on it. We only did the one recording with that band and then that’s all we did with that. There was another band called The Hellions with Jim Capaldi we had a record out on Pye records that was produced by Kim Fowley, the guy that did ‘They’re Coming to Take Me Away Ha Ha Ho Ho He He.’” And we did a Jackie Deshannon song called “Daydreaming of You.”

And I heard you guys played the famous Star-Club in Hamburg, Germany where The Beatles played?

“No we never got to Hamburg we played some little town outside of Hamburg and played  Saturday nights, we use to play for about eight hours on Saturday nights, fifteen minute songs, fifteen off, fifteen on, fifteen off.”

So you knew Jim Capaldi (Drummer and a founding member of Traffic) because of The Hellions?

“Jim and I knew each other for a long time. Jim (Capaldi) grew up 12 miles from me. Yea, Robert Plant also grew up around 12 miles away and John Bonham.”

You met Steve Winwood when he was in The Spencer Davis Group?

“Yea he was in The Spencer Group and The Hellions use to play up in Birmingham which is 25 miles from Worcester and through that we met Steve and Chris Wood and basically we just hung out for a year or so just run into each other and then at one point Steve had decided he was going to leave The Spencer Davis Group. And during that time during that break I’d sung on a couple of their recordings, ‘Somebody Help Me’ and most of Traffic was on ‘Gimme Some Lovin’ and it’s pretty much all of us singing in the background of ‘I’m A Man.’
I kind of played Roadie for a couple of months with them and then we formed Traffic.”

Then you guys rented a cottage in Berkshire?

“A famous jockey had a racing stable down there so we kind of commandeered this cottage sitting in the middle of nowhere. It’s where they trained and canter the horses. There was no gas, no electricity and no running water in the place. We lived there like that for about six months.”

Man that was primitive living. If you didn’t have electricity how did you plug into the amplifiers and rehearse your music?

“We had a generator.”

Those were the good old days huh? (All laughing)

“Yea whatever we were kids, I was 18 years old and you think there’s not anything you can’t do.”

So how did Traffic get their big break?

“Well Steve already had three, four, top ten records so he had kind of an entree in that way and then I started writing and Jim and Steve started writing and my writing I pretty much did on my own and then the problems started to happen when the stuff that I was writing was the stuff picked for singles. And their biggest hit at the time was the first song I’d ever written and was kind of a fantasy tune called ‘Hole in My Shoe’ and that got to number two in England and was really their biggest single hit. After the first album I left and the reason I left was because I couldn’t really deal with the fame so quickly it was just a little overwhelming for me. So I actually left and did a couple of things worked with starting to produce an album for a group called Family, ‘Music in a Dollhouse’ and then I got to know Hendrix and spent a little time recording with him and some of it was on Electric Ladyland.
Then I did a little stint with what was known as a satirical group called The Scaffold, it was Paul McCartney’s brother (Professionally known as Mike McGear) and I did a number of shows with them and so just roamed around playing with different people and then at one point I just took a little bag and a guitar and worked this little island called Hydra (Greece) and I really didn’t have any money at the time but it was a great time and that’s where I wrote ‘Feelin Alright.’”
Then I met up again with them in New York and they were working on the second album, and then he had five songs and I had five songs so it was like okay let’ s get back together again. And I thought it was a really good second album it was a good transition from Fantasy (Mr. Fantasy debut album) it had a lot of kind of Fantasy stuff on it but giving a lot more cohesive I thought musically. And after that album pretty much again my songs were being picked for the singles and that’s just what caused the riff with Winwood. And I pretty much just spent days where he’d never talk to me.”

Wow that’s a real shame. Unfortunately I hear a lot of stories like that in bands.

“Yea, even marriages break up.”

Bands are like a family with lots of emotion and drama.

“The kind of difference is that sometimes it makes things really good though you know. When you’ve got kind of an edge going in there you can create some really good stuff rather than following one thing all the time but at any rate whatever that’s the way it was so at that point I just decided there wasn’t much point to staying in England or Traffic so I just upped and moved to America."

It’s amazing even though you hailed from England your accent is all but gone man.

“The way they talk where I grew up, I mean I can’t even understand some of the people.”

I always found it fascinating when the early Beatles talked in their Cockney accents, but then when they sang on a record it was gone.

It’s because they were copying all those American singers that’s why. America is the home of all contemporary music. Jazz, Blues and Rock & Roll it comes from here.”

You know it’s amazing how many musicians that I talked with from the 60’s that had never met Jimi Hendrix. I always figured that at one point or another there would have been a moment spent with him. What was Jimi Hendrix Like?

“He was just a pretty quiet guy as a matter of fact. Most of the time that I spent with him I never saw him basically without a guitar in his hands.”

And you worked on the ‘All Things Must Pass’ Album with George Harrison?

“Well I knew George for quite awhile he gave me my first Sitar. And McCartney I use to go down to the Sgt. Peppers sessions and hang out or stay in the studio while they were recording and spend a good time with George. Nice Man. But playing on All Things Must Pass, I couldn’t recall what tracks that I played on to be perfectly honest with you.”

So what’s on your plate these days Dave?

“Well I tour a lot and obviously the charity for the Vets. Trying to grow the charity is very important for me. And basically just keep on rolling down the road and singing.”

Do you have a CD being released soon or involvement in new collaborations?

“At this point, there’s no point in me putting anymore CD’s out because there’s just no outlet for it, there’s no promotion for it, there’s no radio anymore ever, there’s no way for anyone to know that you’ve got something new out.”

Well you’ve got me Dave. (Laughter)

“I mean national radio, it’s somebody goes in and puts a cart in and pulls it out after thirty days and then puts another one in and there’s nobody home.”

I know exactly what you mean Dave. I was a radio deejay in the late 70’s early 80’s. My dream was to become like one of those deejays from back in the 60’s. Radio is not about the music anymore it’s basically all about advertisers. And who wants to listen to radio to hear back to back to back commercials.

“Yea, there’s just nothing there and no way to get anything promoted. There’s no way for anyone to really hear something or know if they’re even going to like it. So basically anything new that I have is just going to go on my website and you can go there and download it. And until something comes along where you can promote properly it’s economically not feasible to do another CD.”

My column is only about Classic Rock Music and Classic Rock Artists. And my articles are viewed globally on the internet with the sole intention of keeping that dream alive and the fire burning.  

“I appreciate that.”

My favorite Dave Mason tune unfortunately was a song that you didn’t write. And it was your biggest hit “We Just Disagree” written by Jim Krueger. I own that awesome performance of the song that you did on Burt Sugarman’s The Midnight Special.
Dave I just want to tell you man that you’re a legendary artist, great songwriter and studio musician and just a classy guy and thank you so much for spending time with me today I really appreciate it. 

“You’re quite welcome.”

Keep on doing what you’re doing and I'll see you at Hippiefest in Clearwater.

“I will Ray thank you.”

Dave Mason will be headlining Hippiefest 2011 on Saturday August 27th at Ruth Eckerd Hall in Clearwater.  So let your freak flag fly!

Dave Mason’s website is
Dave Mason Charities Work Vessels for Veterans
CAMMO -Giving our veteran artists a place to thrive
2nd Annual Dave Mason’s “Feelin Alright” Golf Classic

Special thanks goes out to Jeff Albright of The Albright Entertainment Group.

Order author Ray Shasho’s new book Check the Gs The True Story of an Eclectic American Family and Their Wacky Family Business at
Its My Big Fat Greek Wedding meets Almost Famous meets Seinfeld.

Contact Ray Shasho at

© Copyright All Rights Reserved

Grand Funk Railroad’s Captain Mark Farner Raps With Music Journalist Ray Shasho

Mark Farner with Ray Shasho

By Ray Shasho

Hippiefest 2011 cruises into Ruth Eckerd Hall in Clearwater on Saturday August 27th with a Groovy stage lineup of Legendary Classic Rock Musicians. Grand Funk Railroad’s Coolest singer/guitarist/songwriter Mark Farner will join Dave Mason(“We Just Disagree,” “Hole In My Shoe,” “Feelin' Alright,” “Only You Know and I Know”), Rick Derringer (“Rock and Roll, Hoochie Koo,” “Hang On Sloopy”), Felix Cavaliere (“Good Lovin',” “Groovin'” and “People Got To Be Free”) and Gary Wright (“Dream Weaver,” “Love Is Alive” and “Really Wanna Know You”) for an outta sight night of kicking out the Jams.
So load up the van let the hot chick ride shotgun and get truckin’ over to Clearwater and “Let’s Party Man!”  
Hippiefest 2011 launches August 3rd from San Diego.
Mark Farner was the inspirational leader for the hard rock band Grand Funk Railroad. The band along with Black Sabbath is considered to be the Grandfathers of Heavy Metal music. The string of hits that the band produced included “We’re An American Band,” “I’m Your Captain,” “Heartbreaker,” “Footstompin’ Music,” “Mean Mistreater,” “Walk Like A Man,” “Some Kind of Wonderful” and “The Loco-Motion” to name only a few.
The band has sold over 50-million records worldwide. Mark Farner accepted an invitation to play with Ringo Starr’s All Starr Band in 1995.
Mark’s voice is as strong as ever on his most recent release “For the People.”

Here’s my recent interview with Grand Funk Railroad legend Mark Farner.

Hi Mark, how are you doing?

“I’m doin’ but not mildewin’.”

(Lot’s of laughter from both of us)

I’m calling from little Michigan. The Sarasota/Bradenton area here in Florida probably has more Michiganites than Florida natives living here. How’s everything?

“Good Brother got a sunny day here in Michigan and it’s almost 70.”

Mark, the first thing I’d like to talk about…I have a 23 year old son and when I first heard the news about Jesse I was heartbroken. How is Jesse’s progress? (Mark Farner’s world turned upside- down when his son Jesse (at 21) fell and sustained a near fatal- fracture to theC-5 vertebra in his neck.  The last update before this interview was that he remained paralyzed but was starting to show improvement by lifting his head off of the pillow).

“Jesse is doing good. He’s got a little movement now in his shoulders. He can actually when he’s sitting in the chair, he can actually lift his shoulders up which is, he wasn’t able to move this when he came home from the hospital. He couldn’t even move his head so he’s gaining on it little by little, but the best gain is the fact that his night nurse and him have fallen in love.”

Wow Mark you’re kidding me that's awesome.

“No dude it is like unbelievable. But it’s happening and it’s real. She was engaged to be married when she first started working here and she is of course no longer engaged to be married and she’s just goo goo ga ga over Jesse and he’s the same way about her. I’m not kidding you, these two wow… and it’s just unbelievable.”

That’s a great love story. You know I’m an author, I just wrote a book maybe I can write the story. How old is she Mark?

“She’s 25 I believe and he just turned 22 so she’s got a few years on him but that’s all to his benefit.”

That’s great news Mark, I’m very happy because I was really worried and my heart and prayers go out to Jesse and your family. And I wasn’t aware that he could sit up in the chair at this point?

“Oh yea, he’s got the puff and sip, we use a sling to get him from the bed into the chair and during that time he has to be disconnected from his life support and so it’s a swift motion and we’ve got the Hoyer lift in the ceiling, we got one used, you know medical equipment is expensive, I don’t care if it’s used or not. We got this to make it as easy as we can on him, get him into the chair and once he’s in the chair he can drive it with his puff and sip that he put’s in his mouth with a straw and he can manipulate that thing and turn it around on a dime. It’s amazing to see what he can do with that chair.”

It sounds like to me that he’s going to come out of this, it may take a little time but the progress he’s made so far is extremely encouraging and again my prayers are with your whole family.

“I appreciate it Brother Ray.”

I think Hippiefest 2011 is one the best lineups ever.

“I appreciate that yea, I can’t wait to throw down with these Brothers. You know Rick Derringer and I are buddies from way back.”

Yea, Rick lives about 10 minutes from me here in Bradenton. You’ll have to come down after the tour and visit with him.

“If I ever get a chance I’ll be there because I am a fishing fool. I love Florida fishing.”

One guy I could see you hanging out with would be Ted Nugent.

“You know our schedules are such we’ve always wanted to be hanging out together, we do on the phone and we even collaborate a little bit but as far as doing the governor’s hunt, when I would do the hunt he would be on the road and when he would do the hunt I would be on the road. It’s just the way it worked out.”

You had a supportive family growing up because you quit school to go into music?

“Actually I was laid off. Yea, I was laid off from high school and this was Flint Michigan you know, the town that invented layoffs. But I was asked to leave; it was because of an altercation with one of the teachers who was the football coach. I use to play ball before I played music. When I was on the team that team was tight we were all buddies that hung together and we never lost a game. We were just undefeated because we were tight. We played together. Anyway we got into a confrontation and he threw me up against the wall and my head busted open on this brass picture frame and I reached back and felt the blood and when I pulled my hand around to in front of my face and I saw the blood on my hand it just immediately went into a fist and started traveling for the teachers eye. And you know I mean seriously that is what it was, it was reaction to aw man I’m hurt BAM -you know and that was it. Then I went to night school after I was asked to leave school because I went to the school board meeting after the algebra teacher who was the football coach said if they let me back in school (because I went with an attorney to this meeting to get back into school after I was thrown out) and he said if they let me back in he was going to quit his job. He didn’t want me back in that school dude.”

I really felt that the rock and roll hall of fame should have been in Michigan. Not only were there so many legendary rock artists that hailed from Michigan, there was also the genius of Motown.

“Yea, I hear ya. The music that came out of this state, it was like a music capital in America. And I think largely due to the fact that people from every state in the union moved into Michigan to get the jobs, auto factory jobs and higher paying jobs. My mother and her family moved from Leachville Arkansas where my granddad had a tailor shop down there he was a tailor, but moved to Michigan to get a job at Buick. And Turnsted was hiring, Fisher body was hiring, my mother was the first female welder to weld on Sherman tanks made by Fisher body in Flint Michigan. And my dad was a tank driver in the 7th Armored Division.”

It’s such a shame what has happened to cities like Flint and Detroit economically.

“It is coming back more like Ann Arbor or a college town and the University of Michigan, The Mott Foundation putting a lot of money into Flint, God Bless them. But we need more than anything is money that works for us, the money that we use works for the families that own the Federal Reserve, the European families that have no patriotic interest in this country what so ever. And you think about the Federal Reserve bank in New York is owned by five merchant banks in London that were chartered by the bank of England and the bank of England started in 1694 under the crown of those families surrounding the crown that were the descendants of those families that control this country by the issuance of our currency. And if you think about it, it’s the same powers that we declared ourselves independent from in 1776, but they’ve been whipping our butts ever since 1913 for telling the king to go shove it up his.
Our money doesn’t work for us it works for foreigners. And until our money works for us again we’re just going to watch this thing keep going down, down, down, down, down. When we finally wake up and say hey we got to have our money system back and work for this country and we got to patronize our factories and our products and we got to protect our workers and not allow all this crap that’s going on but that’s the reflection of those who are actually governing those families who owned the Federal Reserve that are actually governing this country and even using the war machine against their enemies.”

I watched an interview you did with Mike Huckabee on Fox news. As you know he’s decided not to run for president disappointing many of his followers, do you have anyone in mind that you may support for the next presidential election?

“If Ron Paul ran again at least he’s somebody that wants to audit the Fed which is pointing in the right general direction. Our money has to work for us and if it did we would be exporters of peace and goodwill because this is the collective heartbeat of the majority of us Americans. When we get the collective heartbeat of this country back, that’s what I petition for with my music, I want to provoke people to think about this.”

I should probably turn my Q&A from politics into the music. How did Grand Funk Railroad get their gig at the Atlanta Pop Festival that led to your first record contract in 1969? (An estimated 180,000 rock fans- jammed the Atlanta International Speedway to watch the two-day event).

“Attorney’s that we were using at the time which was the same attorney’s as our manager Terry Knight - there in was the big conflict but they had some legal work, it was there law firm in New York City that was doing the legal work for this concert. And they proposed to those who were putting this concert on that Grand Funk Railroad opened the event at noon and go on for free. They didn’t even have to pay us, just let us go on and open and so they agreed to it and the rest his history Brother. It worked!”

I heard on the way to the Festival your U-Haul carrying all the equipment flipped over?

“Yea, a friend of ours lent us the van and we rented where they use to chain that bumper hitch to your bumper and you would pull the U-Haul places, well that’s what we had. And I woke up, I was sleeping and riding shotgun and I’m up there at the front end of this van and the guy says I’m fine, I’m fine so I try to catch a little snooze and I look up and say “Dude that’s I-75 that way.” So he turns right at the same speed that we we’re going and tried to make the turn and that U-Haul didn’t fare so well. It came off the chains rolled down through the ditch…oh my God.”

You guys must have been panicky.

“Oh man because we knew that stuff was pretty fragile, you know tube amplifiers with big heavy transformers on the chassis. Well the transformers completely ripped right off the chassis of the amps. Our roadies had to solder those amps back together and the transformers were left outside sitting on top of the boxes. And they just made the wires work. So they soldered it all back together and when we went on stage it was amazing but that stuff was working, it was pumping.”

Grand Funk’s original manager-producer Terry Knight, was it a safe assumption to say that he was both good and bad for the band?

“Yea, he was an excellent promoter, his scruples were just bad. He could take advantage of someone without conscious. You know, I’m just not made that way, that ain’t the way I roll so it’s offensive to me to have encountered some people like that but it sure has been a lesson. And now I kind of know what I’m kind of looking for and I have spiritual discernment, thank God to head some of it off at the pass. But you can’t take away from the guy’s creativity; my God, you know the album covers and the presentation of Grand Funk Railroad to the people and his hype. But the idea of keeping us from the press to create a mystique that was really giving him the opportunity to tout himself as being the mentor and creator of Grand Funk Railroad. And it backfired in a lot of ways because critics just hated us. But for him it was successful in that it gave him that platform, he took out a Billboard/ Cashbox ad, a full page you know where you open up with the centerfold of him flipping the bird to everybody. That was his ego, the money that he made I don’t know what it cost him but that was a lot of scratch for that ad. It’s too bad about that but it kind of indicates a personality flaw there."

Did he mess you guys up at all with receiving royalties for your music?

“Well, yea, he published all my songs and told me that I needed to publish my songs through his company which he had affiliations throughout the world and what have you, I didn’t know I was twenty years old my mother had to sign the contract because I wasn’t legal. But if he would have just come right out and said, “Do you want all your money or half of it,” I think I could have made a pretty sane decision based on that. Outside of that and anything short of that I got snookered."

Mark, I need a good rock and roll story from back in the day?

“I’ll tell you one about Janis Joplin getting into the helicopter after we played West Palm Beach, The Stones were supposed to close out the show. So we went back in the helicopter with Janis because she’d stayed and watched the Grand Funk show. She played prior to us. We watched her and she stayed and Janis and I always hung together. So I’m down and I’m going up to the hotel and went where’s Janis? Where’s Janis? And nobody knew where she was, so I go back down to the chopper and it was darker than inside of a boot and I look up in there and she’s rubbing on the seat and I crawl up on the ladder and I said, “What the hell are you doing?” and I looked and she’s got Hershey bars and she’s smearing chocolate all over those seats and I said, “What the hell are you doing?” She said, "Well The Stones are on next and I want to mess up Mick’s britches," because they all used to wear those white satin pants.
And there was this brown spot on the back of his white pants, there was no way to avoid it.”

(Laughing hard) That was a great story.

I think Grand Funk Railroad’s appearance at Shea Stadium in 1971 was a monumental point in the band’s career. You sold-out the show in just 72 hours breaking The Beatles record. And your magnificent performance of I’m Your Captain/ Closer To Home ranks in my Top 10- defining moments in rock and roll history. Talk a little bit about the Shea Stadium experience.

“Well we were picked up on a heliport at east river, took off and flew directly over Shea stadium. Humble Pie was on stage which was set up at second base. And as we flew over you could see the bleachers were flexing with the rhythm of the music. I didn’t know what song it was but I could tell they were rockin’. Man I had goose bumps on my goose bumps upon goose bumps. And when we landed in the parking lot where the limousine was supposed to have met us it was empty. And I asked the guy. “Are you sure this is where we’re supposed to be?”  So one of the guys that was with us ran down to the corner phone booth, this was long before cell phones, and he makes the call and within two or three minutes the parking lot was full of cops with lights and sirens going. We all jumped in cop cars and rode into Shea stadium with the lights and sirens going and when we got out the people went nuts. It was crazy.”

The performance by Grand Funk Railroad, especially by you Mark was so electrifying.

“I appreciate it. Yea they energized with that compassion, there’s something about when you have something that has brought people together a song like I’m Your Captain, when they started singing they were loader than the PA I guarantee you and this was the day before monitors.”

Could you hear yourselves playing, I know The Beatles use to have a hard time hearing themselves over the screaming crowds.

“It was a little difficult but with our West amplifiers we could hear. But when we started singing “I’m getting closer to my home,” the audience and sheer volume overcame the PA system. It was louder than we were.”

I’ve been to hundreds and hundreds of concerts Mark, and I’ve never seen a crowd so in sync to the show like that Shea stadium crowd was.

“Well it was a very fulfilling moment and the emotional continuity, the synergy, because there were a lot people thinking in the same direction right there in New York City that night. And that’s what makes this consciousness, the evolution in our consciousness and moments like that. We were all elevated to this place. To be there was like Woodstock II, another consciousness another moment that brought people a little closer to reality.”

Mark thank you very much for everything you do man. And again my thoughts and prayers go out to Jesse and your family. No doubt he’ll get stronger and stronger every day.

“Say a prayer for him. Thank you Brother Ray.”

Watch Mark Farner perform all of his Grand Funk Railroad classic hits at Hippiefest on Saturday August 27th at Ruth Eckerd Hall in Clearwater. Tickets for the show can be purchased right here. It’s Gonna be a Gas Man!

I want to thank Jeff Albright from The Albright Entertainment Group for arranging this interview and so much more.

Order my new book called Check the Gs The True Story of an Eclectic American Family and Their Wacky Family Business.  Its My Big Fat Greek Wedding meets Almost Famous meets Seinfeld.

A must read for the Baby Boomer generation! Order your copy NOW at

You can contact Ray Shasho at

 © Copyright All Rights Reserved