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Grand Funk Railroad-Best pt 2-Don Brewer, Mark Farner

When we left off in part one with Grand Funk Railroad‘s drummer/ vocalist/ songwriter Don Brewer and former singer/ guitarist/ songwriter Mark Farner, the band had exploded with the release of their third studio album in eighteen months, Closer to Home. Amidst all of the hard-earned record and concert ticket sales for the trio, behind the scenes several coincident tectonic plates were adrift in opposite directions,  putting tremendous pressure on the band members. Composing that much original material in that brief period of time, while simultaneously touring almost non-stop, was about to draw down composer Mark Farner’s creative well like a bucket with a hole in it. Like it or not, the story of the original Grand Funk Railroad is entwined inextricably with deejay-wannabe singer-band manager-record producer Terry Knight, who had a vise grip on every aspect of Grand Funk’s career while earning a notorious reputation along the way.

Severing the relationship with Knight was an ugly divorce but, when the band realized that Knight had been taking 90% of the music royalties while leaving the three musicians to divvy up the last ten, they made their move. Enter young music wizard Todd Rundgren who, while only in his early twenties had already engineered and produced The Band Stage Fright and Badfinger‘s Straight Up while establishing  a successful solo career with the brilliant Something/ Anything?. Rundgren brought some polish to Grand Funk’s freight train in the studio, which also encouraged singing drummer Don Brewer to step up his game with songwriting and step up to the main vocal microphone with the #1 hit title song We’re an American Band in 1973 as well as the follow up, Shinin’ On. -Redbeard