Sunday, March 29, 2009

Fantasy Camp ‘09 April 29-May 3

Mark Farner puts his soul into the Music
(Rick Diamond / Image Direct)

Fantasy Camp ‘09

Corporate types looking to live like a rock star will get some help from artists including Velvet Revolver bassist Duff McKagen, former Grand Funk Railroad guitarist Mark Farner and ex-KISS guitarist Bruce Kulick at the latest installment of organizer Dave Fishof’s Rock ’n’ Roll Fantasy Camp in Hollywood April 29-May 3.

Campers get treated like rock royalty for five days – forming bands, rehearsing, attending master classes, recording an original song at Capitol Studios and taking part in a concert at the Whisky A Go Go.

Registration is available at

And for tag-along spouses, a companion package for $699 includes access to the Fantasy Camp evening activities, dinners, master classes and the concert at the Whisky.



Saturday, March 28, 2009

A1 Artist Spotlight.Com/Mark Farner

A1 Artist Spotlight.Com

Listen to full podcast interview HERE

A1 Artist Spotlight featured a phone interview with Mark about
his CD For The People.

Mark Farner’s newest CD is called For the People. He is the self proclaimed Rock Patriot. As a proud citizen of the United States of America, Mark Farner is telling the Americans that there is a big problem going on in this county and you better wake up to it before all your freedoms are taken away.

The title track “For the People” and “Where Do We Go From Here” in my opinion should be required listening by all American citizens.

These two songs are the most important songs any American can hear this year. If Bob Dylan put these songs out the media would be screaming about what Dylan has written.

They’d be telling you in the papers, on the radio, and on TV, “this is the most important song Bob Dylan has written since “The Times They Are A Changing”. Well this may be the most important song since “The Times They Are A Changing”, but Mark Farner The Rock Patriot wrote it, and hardly anyone is playing it.

Thanks to Mark Kerr’s Blues Nation podcast, I’ve got to hear the song “For the People”, a lot. What’s wrong with the radio stations? Why have they not taken the time to play these important songs?

This is not some guy their listeners have never heard of, this is Mark Farner the man who gave us “I’m Your Captain”, “Footstompin’ Music” and “We’re An American Band”. The leader of Grand Funk Railroad, one of the biggest American bands of all time.

The media has ignored this record but you can save the day. Call your local radio station and demand them to play these songs. Mark said the reason he wrote “For the People” is to provoke people to think about where we are as a nation and how we got here.

Mark’s tired of the media and the government telling us lies about everything. The war, the oil, the money. Who is really in control of these things? Why are we as a nation doing what the people of America do not want our government to do?

Who is really running this country, the government or rich Europeans that control our banks? What ever happened to “by the people and for the people”?





Grand Funk, the self proclaimed American Band, was pure rock band. In 1974 as they were working on their album Shinin’ On and were thinking that they may need one more song to complete it.

Mark Farner as a lark began singing ‘Everybody’s doing a brand new dance now’, which with standard reaction other members of the band thought, ‘Yeah, Grand Funk doing the Locomotion’.

After thought they said Why not and turned out this version of the ’60’s pop classic. The Locomotion became the group’s 2nd Number 1 single and their biggest selling single.



Tuesday, March 24, 2009


By Art Thompson

Whenever the words “aluminum” and “guitar” are put together, it’s usually in regards to Travis Bean or Kramer, who were the best-known makers of alloy axes. Those companies weren’t the first, however. In fact, Bean was predated by some seven years by a small outfit called Messenger, which, in 1967, began building 6- and 12-string guitars that featured aluminum-magnesium necks running though a medium-depth hollow body.

Messengers sported distinctive cat’s eye soundholes and three finishes:
Morning Sunburst, Midnight Sunburst, and Rojo Red. Some models had built-in fuzztones, and all suffered from being equipped with cheap DeArmond pickups. Some models were wired for stereo output with a switch that let you route both pickups through one jack. To enhance resonance, the metal neck/chassis assembly was tuned to resonate at 440Hz.

The principals of the company—which was known as Musicraft Inc., and was located at 156 Montgomery Street, San Francisco—were Bert Casey and Arnold Curtis. Intending to expand Messenger production, Casey and Curtis relocated to Astoria, Oregon, in 1968, but the company quickly disappeared.

Messenger’s claim to fame is tenuous, but these alloy oddities remain high on the must-have list for some collectors—probably due to their use (in modified form) by Mark Farner of Grand Funk Railroad.

So little is known about Musicraft/Messenger that we probably wouldn’t have much more to add to the story had it not been for Detroit photographer Ken Settle, who sent us the following recollections of his tumultuous relationship with a Messenger.

“As a 13 year old in 1972, I was a big fan of the primal power of Mark Farner’s guitar playing,” says Settle, “and I tried in vain to find out the name of that strange, duct-tape covered hollowbody guitar he used. One night, while discussing it with my cousins, Paul and Randy, Paul suddenly said, ‘I know where Mark Farner lives.’

“Soon, we were driving though the verdant farmlands of South Eastern Michigan until we arrived in the tiny farming town of Parshallville, and approached the white, wooden fence of Farner’s huge farm estate.

“‘Go look at the name on the mail box,’ Paul suggested. I chuckled as I read the name aloud: ‘Ivan K. Baum.’ Then I heard the vicious sounds of an angry dog, and froze in fear as a snarling Doberman deftly slid under the fence and headed toward me. ‘Tish, get back here,’ boomed a nervous voice. The dog halted, and the fellow quickly attached a leash.

“Gathering my composure, I asked, ‘Do you know the name of that tape-covered guitar Mark plays?’

“‘It’s a Messenger,’ the man tersely responded, as he and the dog headed up the long driveway to the house.

“My search for a Messenger finally paid off when I answered a local newspaper ad. The seller brought the guitar to my house, and I immediately noticed a thin, rawhide strap tied around the neck, just above the nut. The guy said it was a gift headband from his departed girlfriend, which he had promised to never remove.

The guitar produced the unique voice I heard in Farner’s tone, so I bought it with the money I made from selling a mid-’60s, Olympia White Fender Mustang.

“When I changed the Messenger’s strings, I learned the sentimental ‘headband’ was there for a much different reason: The combination of improperly sized Grover tuning pegs and a faulty nut doomed the E string to pop out of its slot without the rawhide strap holding it down. I also discovered the D’Armond pickups were noisy, and they couldn’t hold their own against a humbucker-equipped guitar. I wanted my money back!

“I called the seller, but his phone had been disconnected. I advertised the guitar in the local Tradin’ Times, but I received no calls. I even took it to every pawnshop in Detroit, but no one would give me a dime for it. Finally, I tried to seed interest by calling local pawnshops, and saying I was looking for a Messenger like the one Mark Farner made famous. That afternoon, I walked into Sam’s Loan on Michigan Avenue.

“‘Hey, do you guys want to buy a Messenger guitar?’ I asked. The pawnbroker looked up, and said, ‘Mark Farner, right? I’ll tell ya son, I’ve been in this business 40 years, and never once has someone called looking for an item, and then it comes walking into my shop the same day. I know when I’m being scammed. Now, get your guitar and scoot!’”

More than 30 years hence, Settle still owns this Messenger, and he has come to appreciate its peculiarities. “I like its nasally, but mellow tone when played through a clean amp—think of the intro to Grand Funk’s ‘I’m Your Captain,’” he says. “I also like the built-in fuzz—which sounds as loud and ratty as two Jordan Bosstones connected together—how the metal neck rings like a huge tuning fork when it’s removed from the body, and the chilly embrace my hand receives from the stone-cold metal neck. But that wayward E string still tests my nerves!”

(hey was that Mark with Trish the Doberman?)



Sunday, March 22, 2009


See Mark Next Weekend Live!

Grab your blackberries and add this event!
Saturday, April 4th - Noon - 6

Santa Anita Park
285 W Huntington Drive
Arcadia CA 91007

Mark Farner will be performing LIVE
Refreshments, Contests, Prizes and...
The Miss Hawaiian Tropic Model Search

Opening for Mark:
Steel Rod



Saturday, March 21, 2009


Assault After Grand Funk Railroad Show
The cop's pistol looked huge and aimed right at the head of Grand Funk Railroad's lead singer, Mark Farner.

The late night Halloween show on October 31, 1969 at the Houston (TX) Music Theater with Grand Funk Railroad and the opening act, some guys from Austin called ZZ Top had gone well. As the roadies were loading up the equipment, I went up to the box office to see how my wife Cookie was doing closing the shows books. Went up to the door , knocked and waited to be let in.

From inside I heard my wife Cookie cry out my name in distress. I looked through the one way glass and could see her struggling with the Houston Police Officer who was suppose to be guarding her while she counted the money. But, I could see through the glass that he wasn't guarding her, he was trying to assault her !

Pounded really hard on the door and yelled, "OFFICER, OFFICER !" It seemed to throw him off long enough for Cookie to roll out from under him and run to the door to let me in.
It was obvious that the dude was blitzed drunk as he was standing there weaving and holding on to the counter for support.

I approached the officer and in my most authoritative voice proclaimed, 'OFFICER, YOU ARE NOW OFF DUTY...YOU CAN GO HOME NOW !"
He was dazed as I led him across the room and out the door.

I then went to the phone and called the Houston Police Headquarters and told the desk Sergeant what had happened and that they should send an officer to make sure the guy didn't try to drive in his condition. I said no, we did not want to file a complaint, just called to let them know that their fellow officer needed some help, pronto.

No sooner had I hung up then there was a pounding on the door and a roadie outside yelling that a cop had a gun at Mark Farner's head back at the loading dock. Oh s**t !

I ran full tilt back to the stage entrance and sure enough there was that drunk Mexican cop holding his gun at Mark Farner's head mumbling about f***ing long haired hippie freaks and such.

Terry Knight, the band's manager and Don and Mel, Marks band mates and the rest of the road crew were standing around frozen in fear of what could happen next if the gun were to go off. Oh s**t !

I have no idea of how I knew to handle this situation as it wasn't until several years later that Waylon Jennings told me that guys like us don't have problems, we have, "situations".

So I just strode up and again in my most authoritative voice said, "OFFICER, YOU ARE OFF DUTY, HOLSTER YOUR WEAPON !!."...

With that distracting him ,I walked up and took his arm with the pistol in it and lifted it off Mark's head and up to the ceiling., repeating, OFFICER YOU ARE OFF DUTY, HOLSTER YOUR WEAPON...WHERE IS YOUR CAR ?...its TIME TO GO HOME, WHERE IS YOUR CAR ?.
At that point he put the pistol back in the holster and pointed out to a lone car way out in the parking lot.

As I was walking him out to the car, Houston PD cars came flying in from every direction heading right for us. They immediately took over the "situation" and a burly Sergeant asked if I wanted to file a complaint. I said no as I did not want to have to come back to Houston and a court case involving a f'd up police officer as, hey, nobody got raped, or shot.

About two months later we received a letter from the Houston Chief of Police informing us that the officer in question was given a two week suspension (no doubt with pay) and was receiving counseling. Go figure.
Bob Gately



Tuesday, March 17, 2009


2009 is the 40th Anniversary of Mark Farner's career
as a platinum recording artist. Mark continues to rock in
venues through out the US.

Mark Farner legendary singer, songwriter, and guitarist
for one of the biggest American rock bands of the seventies,
Grand Funk Railroad.

Grand Funk Railroad sold 25 million records and played to
sold out arenas around the world, they accumulated 17 gold
and 11 platinum records.

Some of their biggest songs are:
Closer To Home (I’m Your Captain)”, Mean Mistreater”,
“Time Machine”, “Inside Looking Out”, “Footstompin’ Music”,
“Rock & Roll Soul”, Walk Like a Man”, “The Loco-Motion”,
“Shinin’ On”, “Some Kind of Wonderful”, “Bad Time”,
“We’re An American Band” and To Get Back In.

That instantly recognizable voice of Mark Farner is still going strong today.

Here he is from that huge event at Shea Stadium:



Friday, March 6, 2009

Mark Trivia From

During his time with Grand Funk Railroad, Mark Farner was known for his unique sound and unique-looking guitars. The guitar he is most identified with was made by Messenger. It had an aluminum neck and on-board electronics, including a built-in fuzz tone.

In his sophomore year in high school, Mark and friends poured a bottle of "skunk" perfume in a radiator vent of the school's heating system. The entire school population had to be evacuated and classes were canceled for the rest of the day.

One of Mark's favorite pastimes from childhood was riding a horse bareback through the woods while hanging on to just its mane.

Mark played the tuba in the Preston Elementry School Band.

As part of the tradition of his Native American roots, Mark wears a medicine bag on his side when he performs on stage.

Mark is part Native American from the Cherokee tribe.

In 2002, Mark Farner performed in A Walk Down Abbey Road, a tribute to the Beatles.

Mark participated in Volunteers For America, raising funds for the New York Port Authority after the Authority's devastating loss on September 11, 2001

Mark was expelled from high school in his senior year after hitting a teacher who shoved him into a brick wall, causing his head to bleed badly. He attempted to finish high school at a local junior college but his constant work in bands at night made it impossible. Mark never completed high school and never got his diploma.

In addition to touring with his own band, N'rG, Mark also participates regularly with the Ringo Starr All Starr Band and as a member of the Rock 'n' Roll Fantasy Camp, where amateur musicians rub shoulders and perform with celebrity rock stars.

When asked how he came to write one of his mega-hits, Mark said one night just before going to sleep he prayed for a song that would reach out and touch the people God wanted to touch. He woke up abruptly in the middle of the night with words in his head and instantly wrote them down. The next day he picked up a guitar and finished what would become one of his most popular songs, I'm Your Captain.

In the lean years after Grand Funk Railroad, Mark ran an alternative energy store in Michigan, selling solar power panels and wind mills.

Mark used VO5 mens hair dressing to grease his long hair back to keep from being expelled from high school.

Mark began playing guitar at the age of 15, after a broken finger and bad knees ended his football career.




From the Orleans Blog

Here comes the sun!
In case you had not yet heard, RPM (Rock & Pop Masters)
is doing a SuperShow in the SUN & FUN of …

Weston, FL
Saturday, March 14th - 7 PM
Weston Regional Park (more info)
RPM featuring David Pack (Ambrosia),
Mark Farner (formerly of Grand Funk Railroad), Jeff Scott Soto (Journey),
Joe Bouchard (Blue Oyster Cult), Joe Lynn Turner (Deep Purple/Rainbow),
and Robert Pabst & Jayne Bogaert (Domino)

While we always love playing with David Pack, Joe Lynn Turner and Joe Bouchard (and have many times),
this is the FIRST time we’ll have Mark Farner and Jeff Scott Soto on the bill … as well as Robert and Jayne from Domino, who opened the Orleans shows in Holland last spring.

PLUS — there will be a Special Unannounced Mystery Guest Artist!



Monday, March 2, 2009

Rock 'n' Roll Greats - Mark Farner: In Concert

Mark Farner: In Concert

With a prowess in the live concert arena that marks
him as an extremely powerful performer, Mark Farner
has left behind a lengthy legacy for himself.

This release presents the full live experience,
offering a selection of his most popular songs,
including "Some Kind of Wonderful," "Locomotion,"
and more...

Get Your Copy HERE

Screen Format: Color Language: English


Anniversary T-shirts

Anniversary T-shirts
40Year's Funkin'

Title Tune From "For The People"


© Mark Farner •

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