An American man with an American band


Former Grand Funk Railroad member performing Saturday at the Montgomery Performing Arts Center; concert connected to Buckmasters Expo 2018

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Mark Farner has three words for you, Montgomery: “Are you ready?

This longtime rocker is known around the world as a founding member and former guitarist and frontman of Grand Funk Railroad.

On Saturday, Mark Farner’s American band showcase decades of success at the Montgomery Performing Arts Center for a special Buckmasters Expo-related night.

RELATED ARTICLE: 25th Annual Buckmasters Show This Weekend

“The last time I was in Montgomery we had a street festival,” Farner said. “It was James Brown, War and Grand Funk. It was a gig. Man, it was a good gig. I remember it was a great crowd. Enthusiastic people, and I love rockers whatever. ‘he is coming. “

Tickets cost $ 35 and are available through mpaconline.org or at the MPAC box office. Call 334-481-5100.

Country music star and host of “Headhunters TV” Nate Hosie will be Farner’s guest.

You know Farner’s music through Grand Funk Railroad – songs like “I’m Your Captain”, “Some Kind of Wonderful”, “The Loco-Motion” and, of course, “We’re An American Band”. But they don’t stop there. Farner said he recently released a new four-song EP with his American band, which consists of his brother Ricky on bass and vocals, Hubert “H-Bomb” Crawford on drums and Bernie Palo on keyboards.

“I am still writing. My mind is always open to new things, ”said Farner. “However, the amount of other information that goes into it on a daily basis regulates the amount that can come out at any given time.”

Choosing songs for a setlist is a challenge, given the long list of hits that Farner is connected to. He decided to let his fans help him through an online poll, around which they built the American group’s setlist.

“Some are obscure, but a lot of people like them,” Farner said.

Farner is a husband and a father. He and his wife Lesia raised five sons. When he’s not making music, the Flint, Mich. Native is also a pine farmer. At 69, he keeps an active life.

“I have 80 acres,” he says. “We reduced it to 80 and moved on to where our kids could be in a better school system… We grow beautiful pines, and we also do our garden. I cut firewood all the time and stay active. I’m approaching 70 years old and I always feel pretty good when I take the stage. I still have energy. I can still hit the notes. I like the lifestyle. Farming has been a way of life for me my whole life.

He is also quite a good dancer, and not only on stage at his shows.

“My wife and I are going to push the coffee table to the side, light some Motown and tear it up,” Farner said. “It’s a good thing whenever we can get our blood flowing through our veins, exercise and have fun at the same time, man.” Why wouldn’t you want to? “

Years of the Grand Funk Railway

Since leaving Grand Funk Railroad twice (in 1976 and 1999), the one burning question that fans keep asking Farner is when is he going to do another reunion show with them?

Farner said he had been trying to achieve this for almost 20 years.

“I’m a Beatles fan, and while these guys were still sucking some air, while all four of them were still alive, I kept saying, ‘Why didn’t they just bury the hatchet and wouldn’t they do it for the fans? ‘ I really wanted to see them live, man. I really wanted to see them badly. And now I think, those gauges! “Farner said. “And now I’m in this situation, and I’m like, ‘those gauges!’ Why don’t they do it for the fans? They don’t think about the fans enough.

The group was formed in 1969 in Flint, Michigan, and is still active with two other founding members, Don Brewer and Mel Schacher, as well as other members. A glance at GFR’s official online biography does not include Farner’s name.

Farner said Brewer gives a “never say never” response whenever asked if Farner will be invited to a meeting. “For the past 20 years he’s been saying that,” Farner said.

Farner’s faith

Farner isn’t shy about most things, but ask him about his faith, he’ll tell you about a journey that went out of this world and back.

“When I had my pacemaker, I died,” Farner said. “I went to heaven and I know what it is. I can’t remember the state of mind I was in when I was there, because you can’t bring this stuff back in. the combination of bones. It would overload. It would be like plugging a 110 fan into 220. It’s too much information. I know humanity’s debt awareness is what keeps us from knowing who we are and what’s in us. Heaven is within us. It’s not beyond the clouds in the stars somewhere. It’s right here, now. Because I made this discovery , I cannot be in debt. I will not allow myself to be in debt to another person or anything. Nothing is going to override the freedom I have. Love is unconditional, and Jesus did it for us all, not just for those who would say this or that. It was given for free, so no one could brag about it. We all leave. You leave. Everyone leaves. When we leave. the bone suit, we’re back to where we started, in the very essence of love. Wow, what an experience. It’s safer than your mom’s womb, man.

American made

Farner is a staunch supporter of American pride. A “die-hard American,” who admits that it has been difficult to watch the number of foreign imports increase in the state known for the Big Three of cars made in the United States.

“It’s like a different country now,” Farner said. “People got into the money world and kind of forgot about Detroit. They really turned away from the one thing that would have boosted our economy and got us out of it. Just think if everyone was driving cars made in the United States. United States. Our economy would be so strong. But we haven’t taught people to be patriots. ”

That’s why everything he sells on his markfarner.com site is American made.

“I won’t put my name on anything else,” Farner said. “I am a patriot, and I will fight. All of my stuff is made in the USA and I thank the fans for helping me support our country. It’s a little way I can help, and that’s how the fans help me. “

Jesse, Farner’s son

To note: This interview was conducted on June 18. On July 4, Farner’s 29-year-old son Jesse passed away. Farner, a proud father who helped as a caregiver for Jesse, discussed his son’s life during the interview. We have included this part here.

In 2010, Jesse broke his neck while on a camping trip. In the years following the accident, the young mechanic remained quadriplegic, confined to a wheelchair.

His father described Jesse as a “serious person,” but said Jesse liked being able to drive remote control vehicles. With the help of his friends, Jesse was able to operate on them with his mouth. “His friends figured out how to put all the controls in one joystick,” Farner said.

Earlier this year, Farner said his son won first place at an RC event in Traverse City, Michigan.

“Out of 58 other competitors, he won first place in front crawl and first place in climbing,” said Farner. “He calls me and says, ‘Daddy, I made enough money to go home!’ He earned around $ 45 for each class. I was pretty proud of him that he did it with his mouth, and those other contestants had the use of their arms and legs. ”

In a statement on Facebook after Jesse’s death, the family posted:

“Jesse regained his independence after his long earthly journey ended on the night of July 4. For us, his family, he was the bravest soul we have ever had the privilege of loving. son, a brother, a friend cousin, uncle, and a comrade for many. His absence of body leaves a great void but …

His Spirit lives strong in our hearts. “

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