Ex-Grand Funk Railroad Singer Mark Farner Says He’d Still Reunite with Former Bandmates Despite Conflicts

Founding Grand Funk Railroad lead singer/guitarist Mark Farner hasn’t played in the group since the late 1990s, but in a new interview with Guitar World, he admitted that he’s still open to reuniting with his former bandmates, even though he has plenty of reasons not to be.

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Grand Funk Railroad formed in 1969 and initially broke up in 1976, although they reunited with a different lineup in the early 1980s, before the original group came back together for another reunion in the ’90s.

[RELATED: Behind the Song: “We’re an American Band,” by Grand Funk Railroad]

The last time the band’s original three members — Farner, drummer/singer Don Brewer, and bassist Mel Schacher — played together was during a reunion tour that ran from 1996 to 1998, but Farner says some legal finagling initiated by Brewer led to him being pushed out of the group.

“Don came to my room one night after a concert and said, ‘Hey, Mark, we need to sign individual ownership of the trademark for Grand Funk Railroad into the corporation,’” Farner recalled. “[T]hen he goes, ‘We’re going to have a protective umbrella.’ And look, I didn’t finish high school, and Don had taken law school classes, so I figured, ‘OK, he’s out to protect the band.’ I honestly thought Don was out to protect our best interests. Well, man, he had me fooled.”

Farner said he agreed to sign the documents after he’d had a few drinks after the show, adding, “I signed on the dotted line, and I signed the whole damn thing away.”

After that, Brewer and Schacher had the legal power to vote Farner out of the band, which they did. Since then, Farner has focused on his solo career, while Brewer and Schacher have continued on in Grand Funk Railroad with a lineup that also features ex-KISS guitarist Bruce Kulick, singer Max Carl, and keyboardist Tim Cashion.

Farner told Guitar World that despite his conflict with his former bandmates, he’d still like to reunite the original lineup, but Brewer and Schacher aren’t interested.

“Brother, for the last 24 years, I have been trying with everything I’ve got to put it back together,” he said. “I present it to Mel and Don every year, and it gets shot down. It ain’t me holding it up; it’s Don Brewer. People tell me, ‘Oh, Don is the never-say-never kind of guy,’ but it doesn’t happen. It’s all hot air.”

He added, “If Don meant it, the fans would be seeing the real Grand Funk Railroad. They’d see the band they’ve been waiting on all these years, and we’d be satisfying them.”

Farner currently has four solo shows on his 2023 tour schedule, scheduled for October 14 in Santa Fe Springs, California; October 19 in Saint Charles, Missouri; October 21 in Holland, Michigan; and November 11 in Des Plaines, Illinois. Farner will be opening for Blue Oyster Cult on October 14 and for the recently reunited Bachman-Turner Overdrive on October 19.

Photo by Scott Dudelson/Getty Images

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