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Mark Farner Letting Fans Pick What He Plays

Of the Oakland Press

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Earlier this year, former Grand Funk Railroad frontman Mark Farner used his Web site to poll fans about which songs they wanted to hear him play.

The top choice overall was “I’m Your Captain,” but there were some surprises on the list — specifically Grand Funk deep cuts “Sin’s a Good Man’s Brother” and “Country Road,” from 1970 and 1971, respectively.

“You think about how many years it’s been and, like anybody would, ‘Man, I haven’t touched that for 30 years. Can I still do that?’” says Farner, 59, who resides in Petoskey. “Then you start into it and get the band into it and it pushes you to remember, and all of a sudden it’s like you’re back there writing the song.”

Farner has been doing some remembering on another front recently, too. He’s feeling sentimental about the impending closing of New York’s Shea Stadium, where Grand Funk performed in 1971 — selling out in 72 hours, breaking a record held by the Beatles. Farner says that Sid Bernstein, who promoted the original show, asked him to reunite with bassist Mel Schacher and drummer Don Brewer — who still operate a version of Grand Funk— for another concert there this year, but his former bandmates weren’t interested.

Still, Farner says, “I might just show up there to look around, ’cause I was there, dude, right on second base. I mean, the Beatles played there — we just happened to outsell them and still hold a record for it. It’s a real hallmark of my career.”

Mark Farner and Mitch Ryder perform at 8 p.m. Friday (July 11) at the General Motors Rockin’ on the Rivefront concert behind the GM Renaissance Center in downtown Detroit. Admission is free. Call (313) 567-3126 or visit www.gmrencen.com.

Web Site: www.gmrencen.com

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