Mark Farner IS the engine that took the original Grand Funk Railroad, one of rock music's most successful groups, to the top of the charts. As their lead vocalist, lead guitarist and principle songwriter the group made a beeline to rock stardom following their show-stealing performance before 180,000 people at the Atlanta International Pop Festival in 1969. Capitol Records was soon on board releasing the band's appropriately titled first album, On Time, which included such timeless Mark Farner compositions as Time Machine, High On A Horse, Heartbreaker, Into The Sun and Can't Be Too Long. Within weeks it was certified RIAA Gold. As they say... The rest is history!
Mark Farner took time out of his busy schedule to do an interview in advance of his performance this Thurday night at THE AMP in Pompano Beach, Florida along with Blood Sweat & Tears and Chuck Negron of Three Dog Night. Here is the interview in it's entirety...
Q: AT WHAT POINT IN YOUR YOUNG LIFE DID YOU KNOW THAT YOU WANTED TO MAKE MUSIC FOR A LIVING?
A: When I was a kid, my mother got me some guitar lessons with a local teacher. before I was to complete the lessons, the teacher shot himself in the foot with a shotgun. He was climbing a fence while holding the shotgun, which is something you would never do. The lessons stopped, but he told me to join the high school band and to watch them and see how they played chords and formed rhythems. Thats what I did. I became the singer of the band because the other guys could not sing well. I drapped the guitar cable behind the amp, it wasn't connected. I gave the illusion that I was playing the guitar, but I really wasn't. As I began to learn chords and actually sound good, I plugged in.
Q: WHO WERE SOME OF THE ARTISTS THAT INFLUENCED YOU AT THAT TIME?
A: Jimmi Hendryx. As a vocalist, Arether Franklin was an inspiration. as a guitarist, Steve Cropper was someone to admire. I mean, here is this white guy playing so soulfully. it just blew me away!
Q: YOUR VOICE IS ALSO YOUR INSTRUMENT. WHAT DO YOU DO, IF ANYTHING, TO MAINTAIN YOUR VOCALS?
A: Eat healthy. Me and my wife always try to eat as healthy as possible. We grow our own garden and can our own tomatoes and such.
Q: TELL US ABOUT THE RE-RELEASE OF MF 432. IS THERE A DEFINITE RELEASE DATE YET?
A: it is just another day in the life of rock n' roll. We should know more on Monday as to a more definite release date.
Q: While we know that MF stands for Mark Farner in the title, what does 432 mean?
A: 432 is the harmonic intonation of nature. It is the natural tuning of the universe. A4-440 is what most musicians use to tune their guitars to, but A4-432 just makes the guitar not sound louder, but more harmonically rich and smooth. This is the tuning that I use.
Q: ANY TALK OF A GRAND FUNK RAILROAD REUNION?
A: That is completely up to Don Brewer. I am up for it.
Q: AFTER THIS CURRENT TOUR, WHAT IS NEXT FOR YOU ON THE HORIZON?
A: Keep recording and writing.
many thanks go out to Kay Renz and Lesia Farner for making this interview possible.
For more information about Mark Farner and up-coming tour dates, please log on to his website at http://www.markfarner.com