Who played a guitar with customization that included foam rubber, masking tape and glow-in-the-dark paint, watched Janis Joplin massage helicopter seats with chocolate bars and taught Frank Zappa how to shoot a handgun? Hint: Take the obvious answer.
Mark Farner turns 70 on September 29, 2018 and lives life like a rockstar. Well…he is a rockstar. He prides himself on a phenomenal career as a musician, being a family man and a person of love.
After Grand Funk initially disbanded in 1976, Farner released his first self-titled solo album in 1977, and his second, No Frills, in 1978 (both Atlantic Records). In 1981, Farner and Don Brewer launched a new Grand Funk line-up with bassist Dennis Bellinger and recorded two albums, Grand Funk Lives and What's Funk?. Farner went solo again with 1988's Just Another Injustice on Frontline Records. His third Frontline release was 1991's Some Kind of Wonderful, which featured a revamped version of the Grand Funk classic of the same name. Farner enjoyed success with the John Beland composition “Isn't it Amazing”, which earned him a Dove Award nomination and reached No. 2 on the Contemporary Christian music charts.
In the 1990s, Farner formed Lismark Communications with former Freedom Reader editor Steve Lisuk. Soon after, Farner began reissuing his solo albums on his own record label, LisMark Records.
From 1994 to 1995, Farner toured with Ringo Starr's Allstars, which also featured Randy Bachman, John Entwistle, Felix Cavaliere, Billy Preston, and Starr's son, Zak Starkey.
In the late 1990s, Farner reunited with Grand Funk, but left after three years to resume his solo career. He currently tours with his band, N'rG, which plays a mixture of Grand Funk songs and Farner's solo offerings.
Farner had a pacemaker installed October 22, 2012, having struggled with heart troubles for the prior eight years.
Now he makes his way to the Historic Everett Theatre June 8th.
This episode features a newer song “Take You Out” and a 1975 release “Some Kind of Wonderful” with the shared vocals of drummer Don Brewer and Farner.
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.
Legendary all-American frontman and guitarist Mark Farner was the engine that pulled the original Grand Funk Railroad to the top of the charts, and today he’s a platinum recording artist 30 times over. At age 69, Farner commands the stage with the same intensity and outpouring of love as he did at 20 during the summer of ’69, and his fans are still flocking to their captain. The rock patriot’s synergy and open heart come through in epic hits that defined a generation— “I’m Your Captain (Closer to Home),” “We’re An American Band,” a recut of “The Loco-Motion,” and “Some Kind of Wonderful”— and “rock star” is only one facet of this Michigan-born son’s legacy. Farner is also about as real as they get: He’s a husband, in his fourth decade of marriage to wife Lesia. He’s a family man with five adult sons. And he’s a caregiver.
“I think our fans connected to our songs because we were sincere,” Farner said. “My lyrics were about Mother Earth, stop 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 the anthem “We’re an American Band” (1973) and 1974’s “The Loco-Motion.” The Flint, Mich., trio reached the top 10 with “Some Kind of Wonderful” (No. 3) and “Bad Time” (No. 4) before GFR disbanded for the first time in 1976. Although Farner joined up with the band during its 1980s and 1990s reunifications and has collaborated with other artists over the years, he’s forged an enduring solo career focused on bringing a message of love to his fans in all corners.
“Love is unconditional,” he said. “Just like when you hold a baby, the love transfers. I feel that when I’m on stage from the audience.”
The son of a World War II veteran/four-time bronze star recipient and career fireman 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 women welder in the United States to weld on a tank during World War 2. It just 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 service personnel and Veterans everywhere. He wants everyone to remember the huge sacrifices the men and women of our armed services give up to protect our amazing country and our freedoms.
In 2010, Farner’s youngest son Jesse, then 21, was injured in an accident that left him quadriplegic. This life-changing event motivated Farner to intensify his career and keep his message of love, hope and connection burning bright. Facing what many of his generation also face—providing and caring for a loved one—Farner’s lasting faith continues to inspire and guide him.
“I love playing where I can connect with people of all backgrounds,” he said. “My family and I are so grateful when fans share that they are praying for us and praying for Jesse. We have challenges like most people – we get through the day with each other and focus on the power of positive energy.”
Mark Farner's American Band
Christa Deánā (Duh-nay) is a Christian Singer/Songwriter from Philadelphia who sings with conviction and power. Her songs speak to the journey of a woman after God's own heart. Each song is deeply rooted in a personal, yet extremely vulnerable relationship with God. It's the beauty and emotion in her voice and the candor in her lyrics that help inspire others to go all the way, every day, with God.
Dedicating herself to music as a child, she won first place in the Young Artist Competition for the city of Allentown, PA. A gifted writer, Christa Deana performed her first original song at 11 and went on to write over 50 more. Her vocal ability also developed young, securing her lead oratorios from classics such as Handel’s Messiah, Mendelssohn’s Elijah, Vivaldi’s Gloria, and lead songs in Gilbert and Sullivan’s The Pirates of Penzance. In addition to writing and singing, she has toured with several choirs that took her to Romania, Turkey, France, Spain, England, and all over the US. During this journey she found a love for conducting and excelled as a choir director for several choirs. She has worked with The Lesser Light Collective as a soloist, writer, and conductor, directing the choir for their performance at Washington Adventist University.
Christa Deánā inherited perfect pitch, excellent natural timing, a powerful vocal instrument and a creative soul. But she’s been diligent to cultivate her gifts, obtaining her music education degree from the University of Valley Forge. Not content to simply make her own music, she pulls beautiful music out of her students and collaborators. She is currently a music educator and worship leader at various facilities and churches. She is also the co-owner for ChristaCourt Productions.
Currently, she is focusing on spreading the word about her new single, “If God Doesn't Want It” and releasing an additional new single on her birthday, May 29, 2018 called “Here” and a self entitled album with all new original music Fall 2018. As she continues to tour and spread the message of the power of God, she's ecstatic of what's ahead. Join the mailing list and follow her on social media to stay up to date on what's to come!
Madelyn Victoria’s debut single release, He Only Loves Me on the Dance Floor reached #1 on the national country AM/FM chart, New Music Weekly, making it one of the biggest debut singles of 2016. The self-penned song won an Akademia Award for Best Country Song in April 2016, earning her numerous other award nominations and a spot on the CMT.com Top 50 Most Popular Artists chart. The video for “He Only Loves Me” reached the Yallwire.com Top 5 Most Watched Videos chart, while her youtube cover of George Strait’s “Amarillo By Morning” received over 100,000 views in just 2 days, after being featured on Country Rebel’s website. Her cover of Johnny Cash’s Folsom Prison Blues matched that number, after being featured on the same site. But, for the young Texas native, nothing can compare to walking in the footsteps of her legendary idols. Her latest video release, the original I Can Be Your Senorita has already received over 10,000 views.
“I got my first real six-string
Bought it at the five-and-dime
Played it 'til my fingers bled
Was the summer of sixty-nine
Me and some guys from school
Had a band and we tried real hard
Jimmy quit, Jody got married
I should've known we'd never get far”…Summer of 69
What Bryan Adams wrote of, the memory of a “let's start a group!” 1969 garage band, is a tale that rocks on to this day. For those that have been involved with a band start up, or shared in any dream with your friends before life had other ideas, know that it's something special that you just never forget. And, know that resistance isn't always a show stopper.
Liv Taylor, Matt Taylor and Mike Spano are lead vocalist/guitarist, drummer and lead guitarist respectively. They are all 19 years old, have day gigs and share in the courage to create something beyond the norm, perform it and make it better each day. The “lather, rinse, repeat” formula responsible for the success of the light bulb, the Beatles and preventing stinky dogs applies here. (And, never before have those elements been used in one sentence.)
Hats off to Liv, Matt and Mike for their first interview. Best wishes to their latest song Things I Wish You Said. Cheers to the first 6 months of Indifferent Matters, and to their future. If you don't take a chance, you won't have one.
Born in San Antonio, Texas, Jeremy Parsons grew up soaking in the sounds of Texas music in the dancehalls of the Lone Star State. Jeremy was always a fan of music, but it wasn't until his later high school years that he discovered his knack for it. Driven by his passion, he taught himself to play the guitar and began to write and perform music.
Jeremy's early influences include Hank Williams and George Strait. His spin on original writing combined with his unique voice award him a sound of his own.
Over the past decade, Jeremy has played all over the U.S. and in Europe, including numerous venues in Texas. Pulling from the example of Texas performance artists, Jeremy loves to interact with his audience. He captivates the crowd with his genuine personality, unique humor, and heart-felt love of his occupation.
Jeremy draws from his personal experiences to create songs that are keenly perceptive and meaningful. His current single, “Burn This House Down,” paints a poignant picture of heartbreak and acceptance that still remains relatable. This song will stick with you long after your first listen. The song is currently in the IndieWorld Country Top 40. The video is nominated for a Monkey Bread Tree Film Festival award, an IMDB-sanctioned film festival.
Swedish rock star Nina Söderquist has toured with Björn Skifs (Blue Swede, “Hooked on a Feeling” 1974) and Badrock, rocking arenas around the world. During her 25 years in the industry, Nina has lived and worked all over the world. She says she started as an entertainer at age 12 performing in a talent show but my nickel says she was born singing. Nina has worked with dance bands, soul, jazz, pop and cover bands, to finally landed in rock music.
Her big breakthrough came in autumn 2007 in London when she took a lead role as Lady of the Lake in Monty Python's musical Spamalot. Her music speaks for itself and the below links will take you there.
Nina is a “field artist” as a captain in the Swedish Armed Forces. She has entertained troops from several countries internationally performing in Afghanistan, Kosovo, Liberia and Mali.
On September 22nd, 2017, Nina and friend Björn Skifs released the duet Goodbye, written by Nina. We were hoping to get the exact definition of “ooga chucka” from Nina but that may remain a mystery until lead vocalist Björn makes an appearance on the Better Each Day Podcast Radio Show.
This is the second half of episode 024 containing outtakes, serious thoughts, musical topics ranging from Anne Murray to Alice…
Ed Roman is an Award-winning singer/songwriter, performer and multi-instrumentalist from Shelburne, Ontario, Canada. Blurring the lines between pop, rock, folk,…
For five decades, The Beach Boys — America’s first pop band to reach the 50-year milestone — has recorded and performed the music that has become the world’s favorite soundtrack to summer. Founded in Hawthorne, California in 1961, The Beach Boys were originally comprised of the three teenaged Wilson brothers: Brian, Carl and Dennis, their cousin Mike Love, and school friend Al Jardine. In 1962, neighbor David Marks joined the group for their first wave of hits with Capitol Records, leaving in late 1963, and in 1965, Bruce Johnston joined the band when Brian Wilson retired from touring to focus on writing and producing for the group.
The Beach Boys signed with Capitol Records in July 1962 and released their first album, Surfin’ Safari, that same year. The album spent 37 weeks on the Billboard chart, launching the young group known for its shimmering vocal harmonies and relaxed California style into international stardom. The Wilson/Love collaboration resulted in many huge international chart hits, and under Brian Wilson’s musical leadership, the band’s initial surf-rock focus was soon broadened to include many other themes, helping make The Beach Boys America’s preeminent band of the 1960s.
Hailing from Waynesville, OH, Richard Lynch is an American country music artist who has compiled a long list of country…
Sir Elton Hercules John, CBE (born Reginald Kenneth Dwight; 25 March 1947), is an English singer, pianist, and composer. He has worked with lyricist Bernie Taupin as his songwriting partner since 1967; they have collaborated on more than 30 albums to date. In his five-decade career Elton John has sold more than 300 million records, making him one of the best-selling music artists in the world. He has more than fifty Top 40 hits, including seven consecutive No. 1 US albums, 58 Billboard Top 40 singles, 27 Top 10, four No. 2 and nine No. 1. For 31 consecutive years (1970–2000) he had at least one song in the Billboard Hot 100. His tribute single “Candle in the Wind 1997”, re-penned in dedication to the late Princess Diana, sold over 33 million copies worldwide and is the best-selling single in the history of the UK and US singles charts. He has also composed music, produced records, and has occasionally acted in films.
Elton John announced his final tour Farewell Yellow Brick Road in January. It's scheduled to begin September 8 in Allentown, PA.
A long time ago in a 1960s Galaxy far, far away there was a teen dance club between Seattle and Tacoma called the Spanish Castle Ballroom. Built in 1931, it was a caricature of an ancient Moorish fairytale storybook castle highlighted with neon lights. It was located an area known as “Midway” located just outside of city limits in unincorporated county land (now Sea-Tac) in order to escape the towns’ efforts to minimize nightlife.
In late ‘50s through the ‘60s the venue featured touring attractions from Roy Orbison to Johnny Rivers and the Beach Boys. Several local bands, the Wailers, the Sonics, the Kingsmen (“Louie Louie”) and the Amazing Aztecs (Merrilee Rush of “Angel of the Morning” fame on vocals and keyboards) also performed.
Pat O’Day, one of Seattle’s legendary DJs of the era tells a story of a skinny little kid that hung out there and offered to help out. In those days guitar amplifiers were small, too small to crank up and play at the volumes the bands played. To make matters worse they would plug two guitars into one amp. Consequently, the amps blew up and that would be the end of the music for the night.
According to O’Day, one night a skinny young kid came up to him and said, “I always have my amp in my car. It’s a big Gibson so if the amps ever blow you can use mine…as long as I can stand in back and play. Don’t worry, I know all the licks they do.”
O’Day, recalling the incident in a 2011 interview goes on the explain that 2 or 3 weeks later, sure enough Tiny Tony and Statics were playing. They blew their amps. So who came to the rescue? The skinny kid showed up and asked O’Day if the band needed his amp. The up and coming promoter said, “Yeah, go get it.” The band played on.
Years later Pat O’Day, by this point one of the owners if Concerts West, the largest concert company in the world at the time, was sitting in a dressing room with client superstar Jimi Hendrix. Jimi asked him, “Do you remember where we first met?”
Pat asked, “With the attorneys?”
“Do you remember the kid at the Spanish Castle that loaned you the amp when the band’s blew up?”
The kid was James Marshall Hendrix, a.k.a Jimi Hendrix, later the writer of “Spanish Castle Magic” from the album Axis Bold as Love.
Stillia's First American Interview Enter Stillia. Fresh and tasteful records with punch, “I get it” music. Click the following links…
Co-founders Glenn Frey (Detroit, MI), guitarist, and drummer Don Henley (Gilmer, TX) were later joined, but not all simultaneously, by Bernie Leadon (Minneapolis, MN), Randy Meisner (Scottsbluff, NE), Don Felder (Gainesville, FL), Joe Walsh (Wichita, KS) and Timothy B. Schmit (Oakland, CA).
Early on Frey and musician friend J.D. Souther shared an upstairs portion of a duplex with Jackson Browne. Names and places that seemed chaotic at the time have culminated in what appears to be a carefully crafted novel years later. The Byrds, the Flying Burrito Brothers, Linda Ronstadt, Poco, Tom Petty, Joni Mitchell, and Crosby, Stills and Nash are among the names of fame. As with episode 16 starring Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, Gainesville Florida seems to incubate rock stars at a remarkable per capita rate.
True success doesn't just happen. You don't find success. Just like every other natural process on earth, success is something you grow. You plant it, you nurture it and one day you reap the rewards of your work. The Success Grower shows you how. A must read.” -Ken Davis, International Speaker, Award Winning Comedian, Trainer of Communicators “Armed with a picturesque analogy woven beautifully throughout, Schinnerer adeptly ties truth and story together to create this “life manual.” Through parable, he reveals pivotal life elements everyone can benefit from in a poignant way so we can actually hear – and hopefully, heed. Easy to read from start to finish, this work will change lives for years to come.” – Sarah Beckman, Professional Speaker, Certified Communications Coach, Author
There were many legends that passed this year. Many musicians including Chuck Berry, Fats Domino, Al Jarreau, Mel Tillis, J. Geils and Walter Becker. There were others but I chose Tom Petty for the final episode of 2017. He was loved and respected by many and one of my personal musical influences.
2017: It's a Wrap It's a huge ordeal to relate the full story of Christmas music in less than a…