Skip to content

Episode 032–Mark Farner, “I’m Your Captain” and “Footstompin’ Music” with Bruce Hilliard

In this part 2 of 3 interviews with Mark Farner, he talks about the writing of two of Grand Funk Railroad's biggest hits, I'm Your Captain and Footstompin' Music. He talks about the inspiration behind both, one from a a prayer and one from being stoked about his new organ, a Hammond B3 that is.

I'm Your Captain/Closer to Home, one of the band's signature hits, got extensive radio play even though it was 10 minutes long. Some stations played the 5 minute edited version, eliminating most of the orchestral fade out section.

Drummer Don Brewer is quoted as saying: “At the time, rock bands had experimented with orchestras, and we said, ‘Let's put an orchestra on this thing, we'll just play endlessly, and we'll get Tommy Baker, our friend down in Cleveland, to write the score for it, and we'll put an orchestra on it. It was a new thing for us, kind of new for the day – there hadn't been too many bands using orchestras. When we recorded the song in Cleveland, we didn't have the orchestra there, we didn't know what the final outcome was going to be, we hadn't even recorded the string arrangements, we just recorded the end of the song on and on and on over and over, knowing they were going to come in and put an orchestra on it later. When we finally heard the song about two weeks later, it just blew us all away. It was a religious experience.”

Farner's depiction of a Viet Nam War veteran event relates a touching story and gives insight as to what a proud American, a caring person with a cause, he is. He leaves the meaning of the song up to you, the listener.

And as for Footstompin' Music? That songs speaks for itself.


  1. KittyO on 05/20/2018 at 10:02 PM

    Loved how we could listen to the whole songs and paint a picture in our minds!!!!
    Kitty and Dori

    • Bruce Hilliard on 07/17/2018 at 11:02 AM

      Closer to Home had strings added after GFR did their parts. Not as an afterthought…but done later in a different studio. I wish I’d had about a full day to talk with Mark.

  2. Sara J Strickland on 05/21/2018 at 1:43 AM

    I love Mark Farner songs

    • Bruce Hilliard on 06/09/2018 at 8:32 PM

      Thanks Sara,
      I’m hooking up with Mark tonight in Everett. He needs to know about your love! That’s his specialty.


    • Bruce Hilliard on 07/17/2018 at 11:19 AM

      He writes from the heart.

  3. link 188bet on 06/12/2018 at 10:50 AM

    You actually make it seem so easy together with your presentation however I find this matter to be actually
    something which I believe I would never understand.
    It kind of feels too complex and extremely extensive for
    me. I am taking a look forward in your subsequent
    publish, I will try to get the hang of it!

  4. 188bet on 06/12/2018 at 7:11 PM

    Having read this I believed it was extremely enlightening.
    I appreciate you taking the time and effort to put this article
    together. I once again find myself personally spending a lot of time
    both reading and leaving comments. But so what,
    it was still worthwhile!

    • Bruce Hilliard on 07/17/2018 at 10:54 AM

      Our goal is to provide links to even more information regarding our guests and their work.

Leave a Comment