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Interview:
Mitch Ryder, Mark Farner bringing he energy to Happy Together tour
 

By GARY GRAFF
Digital First Media, @GraffonMusic

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The Turtles' annual Happy Together Tour has always been a haven for warm pop memories from the 60s. But Mitch Ryder says he and former Grand Funk Railroad frontman Mark Farner are happy to bring some Detroit and Michigan rock energy to the proceedings.

"I jump the energy level up a whole hell of a lot, 'cause I don't want Mark to get a hall pass," says Ryder, 69, whose short set focuses on his seminal hits with the Detroit Wheels, including "Jenny Take a Ride," "Little Latin Lupe Lu" and "Devil With a Blue Dress On." "Mark does a real strong show, so we both light fires and it's up tot he rest of the guys to come 'em down.

"(The tour) needed an injection like that. We bring a mindset that is all about energy, and the audience we're getting is at the age where they can remember my stuff but they also know Farner's stuff, so it's like they're getting the best of both worlds."

The Happy Together run has been part of a busy year for the South Lyon resident, who's also done his regular tour of Europe and is planning a documentary from that trek once he sifts through more than 100 hours of filmed performances, interviews and other footage. His primary project, however, is a musical, tentatively titled "Hid Your Love Away," for which he's finished the book and written a batch of songs he says is "probably the best lyrics I've ever written.

"The melodies are catchy, the lyrics are universal. It's a little old school if you look at it for the first time; it's not like a lot that's out there now. The formula seems to be pick a top-selling group that's got 50 million platinum records and music everyone can recognize and then write a flimsy story around it.

"This is more substantial than that. It's a labor of love. I'm picking it apart, choosing the best characters, the best dialogue, trying to get it ready. The problem is, I don't know how to do that, but before I wrote my book ('The Promise'), I didn't know how to do that, either. I think I can handle it."

The Happy Together Tour with the Turtles featuring Flo & Eddie, Chuck Negron, Mark Farner, Mitch Ryder and Gary Lewis & the Playboys

7:30 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 2

DTE Energy Music Theatre, Sashabaw Road east of I-75, Independence Township

Tickets are $15-$35 pavilion, $15 lawn with a $44 lawn four-pack

Call 248-377-0100 or visit www.palacenet.com


Web Site: www.palacenet.com

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