Grand Funk Railroad‘s frontman Mark Farner has recently made an interview with KSHE 95. During their interview, Farner remembered their tour with Led Zeppelin in 1969 and explained how the well-regarded band had been kicked off the stage during their performance. He also expressed that he agrees Led Zeppelin‘s live performance not that good.
Sometimes shortened as Grand Funk, Grand Funk Railroad was popular during the 1970s as it toured extensively and played to packed arenas worldwide. The band was especially known for their crowd-pleasing arena rock style, which has been also proved in a way by Led Zeppelin throwing the band off the tour because Grand Funk outshined them during the opening act. Mark Farner looks back at that day and tells all about it during their conversation.
Grand Funk Railroad survived on the tour for only 2 days
“When we opened for Led Zeppelin, we were on the tour for two days. We started in Cleveland, Ohio, and man, we really put it to them,” starts telling Farner.
“The audience loved us, they just absolutely loved us, and then we went to Detroit, our stomping ground, Olympia. And Led Zeppelin manager Peter Grant comes out and stops the show, he told Jerry, he picks him up by the collar – ‘Stop the show, I’m gonna pull the power.'”
So tells Grand Funk Railroad‘s frontman Mark Farner how they really pulled the power all of a sudden. Right after, the promoter Terry Knight comes and literally shoos them out the stage saying ‘due to contractual agreements, Grand Funk has to leave the stage now. Get the hell out of here!’
“We started making exit, all these boos, and then the bottles of whiskey, bottles of wine, bottles of beer. Oh my god, the show stopped right there for an hour and a half before Zeppelin took the stage,” continues Farner telling.
“But that gave time enough for at least half the audience to empty out, and so Mel and I went out and sat in the theater, in the seats about halfway and watch Led Zeppelin for a few songs.”
So, after being kicked off, Grand Funk Railroad frontman also tells what he thinks of comments about Led Zeppelin not being good of a live band. “More theatrics than actual spot-on jamming playing,” says Mark Farner. But even during expressing his agreement to that, you can understand this is not because of what Led Zeppelin did to them, but only his honest opinions from his kind answer.
I’m Your Captain
Afterward, Mark Farner also talks about one of the most beloved songs of Grand Funk Railroad, ‘I’m Your Captain.’
“I was in Cleveland, and the band leader there, Tommy Baker, we were playing that day, James Brown was in the studio, and Mitch Rider and some other people. But we were doing this TV show, and I was talking with the band leader, and he said, ‘I heard you playing a song. What is that?’ And I said, ‘Well, this is a new song I just wrote, it’s called ‘I’m Your Captain’.’
He said, ‘Play me a little bit.’ I played him a little bit, and he’s like, ‘Oh my god, dude, when you get to the last verse there, just go with the refrain over and over. And when you think you can’t do it again, do it some more, I’m telling you, I’m hearing stuff when you’re playing that, I’m hearing the magic in my head right now.’
Tommy Baker, the bandleader from the Upbeat show in Cleveland, Ohio, he heard and conducted the Cleveland Symphony at Cleveland Recordings, and on an 8-track Scully they put that stuff down.”
Tells Farner how the song, which belongs to Grand Funk Railroad‘s hit debut ‘Closer To Home,’ came out. You can hear the whole conversation of him down below.