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Grand Funk Railroad

PostPosted: Wed Jun 06, 2012 1:59 pm
by Chris
Grand Funk Railroad - July 21 at 9pm

My Take
Grand Funk Railroad has a lot of hits but has sparked the most controversy of the jam with their 9pm playing slot. I definitely think Night Ranger should have the 9pm slot but I also know that GFR has been around for a long time and has played its share of festivals and will be ready to deliver a good performance. I think the fact that the band has played Moondance several times in recent years also played into the reaction of their signing. I know a lot of long time jammers will be happy though as GFR are a true classic rock band and are playing on a full night of classic rock music along with Night Ranger and Heart. I will mention again that the band not only plays their hits but also the #1 hit "Second Chance," the song that singer Max Carl sang on for 38 Special back in the late 80's.

Setlist - October 7, 2011 in Gretna, LA
Bottle Rocket
Rock 'N Soul Music
Footstompin' Music
Shinin' On
The Loco-motion (Little Eva cover)
Walk Like a Man
Inside Looking Out (The Animals cover)
Second Chance
Drum Solo
Devils Daughter
Star Spangled Banner > Electric Blues > Band Intro > Electric Blues
Some Kind of Wonderful
I'm Your Captain (Closer to Home)
We're An American Band

Below is my preview of the band when they performed at Jam 18.

Don Brewer – Drums and vocals
Mel Schacher – Bass
Max Carl – Vocals
Bruce Kulick – Guitar
Tim Cashion – Keyboards

Grand Funk Railroad formed in 1968 in Flint, Michigan from two area bands. Drummer/vocalist Don Brewer and guitarist/vocalist Mark Farner came from Terry Knight and the Pack and bassist Mel Schacher came from Question Mark and the Mysterians. Taking their name from the Michigan Grand Trunk Railroad, the band hired Terry Knight to be their manager. After recording a demo and playing the Atlanta Pop Festival in 1969, the band landed a recording deal with Capitol Records. The debut album On Time in 1969, behind the #48 hit “Time Machine,” would reach #27 on the charts. Their follow up album in 1970, Grand Funk, had the #11 hit Heartbreaker as well as radio favorite “Inside Looking Out.” Later in 1970, their third album, Closer to Home, reached #6 behind "Closer to Home (I'm Your Captain)", which hit #22. A second album would come in 1970 with the live album that was simply titled Live Album. Behind the #47 hit “Mean Mistreater,” the album would reach #5. Two cover songs, Traffic’s “Feelin’ Alright” and The Rolling Stones’ “Gimme Shelter” would help the next album, Survival, hit the top 10 and also go gold in 1971. That year the band also broke The Beatles’ attendance record at Shea Stadium with a sold-out show. The following year, the band had a #29 hit with “Footstompin’ Music” from the #5 album E Pluribus Funk. The band finally took a break in 1972 and released a compilation album titled Mark, Don, and Mel. The band fired manager Terry Pack and hired Craig Frost to play keyboards. He played on the Phoenix album from that year. The album reached #7 and contained the #29 hit “Rock ‘N Roll Soul.” The band would hire Todd Rundgren as producer and their biggest success would follow with the 1973 album We’re An American Band. The title track would hit #1 and helped propel the album to #2 on the charts. The album also contained a 2nd top 20 hit with “Walk Like a Man.” The band would not suffer a slump on the next album as 1974’s Shinin’ On album reached #5 and had another #1 hit, a cover of Little Eva’s “The Loco-motion,” as well the #11 title track. Another cover song would help their next album, All the Girls in the World Beware , go gold. “Some Kind of Wonderful,” a Soul Brothers Six song, would reach #3 on the charts. Another song, “Bad Time,” would hit #4. This would prove to be their last gold album of new material. Two albums from 1976, the live album Caught in the Act and Born to Die, would contain only minor hits and the band would break up in 1977. The band reformed in 1980 with Dennis Bellinger replacing Schacher. This form of the band would release two albums, 1981’s Grand Funk Lives and 1983’s What’s Funk?, but neither would sell well. Schacher, Brewer, and Farner would reunite for a very successful tour in 1996 and would continue on the road until 1999 when Farner would leave. In 2000, Brewer and Schacher would hire guitarist Bruce Kulick, vocalist Max Carl, and keyboardist Tim Cashion. This form of the band continues to play around 40 dates a year and will be making their second appearance at Moondance Jam.

Did You Know?
Grand Funk Railroad is celebrating their 40th Anniversary in 2009.
The band has sold over 25 million albums.
The band has 12 gold albums and 10 of those have gone platinum.
The band sold more albums in 1970 than any other American band.
Both albums from 1970, Closer to Home and Live Album, are double platinum.
Brewer started his first band (The Red Devils) when he was 12.
Brewer is also a member of Bob Seger’s Silver Bullet Band.
Brewer toured with Bob Seger on his last tour.
Schacher toured the country with the band Question Mark and the Mysterians at age 16.
Carl sang lead on .38 Special’s #1 hit “Second Chance.”
“Second Chance” was 1987’s Billboard Adult Contemporary Song of the Year.
“The Loco-motion” song has been in the top 5 in three different decades.
Little Eva’s version was #1 in 1962, Grand Funk Railroad’s version hit #1 in 1974, and Kylie Minogue’s version was #3 in 1988.
“The Loco-motion” was written by Carole King and Gerry Goffin.
Kulick was a member of Kiss from 1984-96.
Kulick still appears at Kiss conventions.
Kulick toured with Meatloaf in 1977-78 on his Bat Out of Hell tour.
Kulick also formed the band Union with vocalist John Corabi.
Cashion toured as a backup vocalist for Robert Palmer.
Cashion also has toured with Bob Seger.
“Shinin’ On” was featured in the remake Bad News Bears movie.
Poison covered “We’re An American Band” on their Poison’d! album.
Todd Rundgren produced two albums for the band, We’re an American Band and Shinin’ On.
Craig Frost still appears occasionally in concert with the band.
“We’re an American Band” is #99 on VH1’s 100 Great Hard Rock Songs.

Billboard Top 100 Hits
1969 Time Machine #47
1969 Mr. Limousine Driver #97
1970 Heartbreaker #72
1970 I’m Your Captain (Closer to Home) #22
1970 Mean Mistreater #47
1971 Inside Looking Out #40
1971 Feelin’ Alright #54
1974 Gimme Shelter #61
1972 Footstompin’ Music #29
1972 Upsetter #73
1972 Rock & Roll Soul #29
1973 We’re an American Band #1
1973 Walk Like a Man #19
1974 The Loco-Motion #1
1974 Shinin’ On #11
1974 Some Kind of Wonderful #3
1975 Bad Time #4
1975 Take Me #53
1976 Sally #69
1976 Can You Do It #45

My Take
It is hard to imagine that a band with as many hits as Grand Funk Railroad get so little respect in today’s music world. Perhaps if Mark Farner was still singing for them they would still get the respect they deserve. However, Farner’s replacement, Max Carl, is a solid singer and he does the songs justice. He also brings with him another #1 song, “Second Chance,” from his days with .38 Special. The last time Grand Funk Railroad played Moondance Jam, Carl sang this song and I hope he does again this year. The band also brings with them Bruce Kulick, a member of Kiss during the non-makeup years. I saw Kulick speak at a Kiss convention and I could tell he truly loves music and wants to make the fans happy. These two, along with keyboardist Tim Cashion, are not just replacements but accomplished musicians in their own right. As for Schacher and Brewer, they continue to do what they have done for 40 years by bringing Grand Funk Railroad’s classic songs to the stage. They played at my first Moondance Jam in 2005 and I remember their high energy show, led by drummer/vocalist Brewer. He definitely enjoyed himself on the stage that day. I think Grand Funk Railroad, like Foghat, could play much later in the evening if they still toured with all original members. The lineup they have now though is very solid and have been together since 2000. They are going to get the final day of Moondance Jam 18 off to a great start.

Videos – “I’m Your Captain (Closer to Home)” from 1971 Shea Stadium concert – “We’re an American Band” live with current lineup – “Shinin’ On” live with current lineup ... re=related – “Sky High” live with current lineup ... re=related – “I’m Your Captain (Closer to Home)” live with current lineup “Rock & Roll Soul” live with current lineup – “Footstompin’ Music” live with current lineup – “The Loco-Motion” live with current lineup – “Some Kind of Wonderful” live with current lineup