If you grew up in the 1970s as a teenage rock and roll fan, odds are you had at least a few Grand Funk Railroad albums in your vinyl collection. Of course, there were the ones like myself who had every Grand Funk album ever released. Even if you weren’t a rock and roller, chances were pretty good that you had a few of their singles. Without a doubt, pretty much everyone who collected 45 rpm singles had the legendary single “We’re An American Band” somewhere next to their turntable.
“We’re An American Band” went all the way to number one for the band in 1973. It sold millions of copies. It stands as one of the greatest rock and roll songs ever released in classic rock history. Today, the rock and roll gods granted me the opportunity to speak with Don Brewer of Grand Funk who not only composed that song, but sang that classic lead vocal behind that powerhouse drum kit.
Don Brewer stands as one of the founding members of Grand Funk Railroad. Along with Mark Farner and Mel Schacher, the group became one of the most popular bands of the 1970s. The group was formed in 1969 out of Flint, Michigan. After having appeared at the Atlanta International Pop Festival in 1969, the band generated so much buzz they were signed to Capitol Records. Within two years the group sold out Shea Stadium in New York faster than Capitol Records recording artists the Beatles had previously sold out Shea.
In 1972, the band added keyboardist Craig Frost to the lineup of Don Brewer on drums, Mel Schacher on bass, and Mark Farner on guitar. Still to come was a collection of hard-biting rock and roll albums followed by a series of number-one singles and top 10 hits. From 1969 to 1976, Grand Funk Railroad released eleven studio albums and two smoking live records. The band broke up after the release of the 1976 album Good Singin’ Good Playin which was produced by Frank Zappa.
In 1981, Grand Funk Railroad reunited and went back into the studio to record the album Grand Funk Lives. However, Mel Schacher and Crag Frost were not part of the project or the final Grand Funk album released in 1983 called What’s Funk?
The original trio of Don Brewer, Mark Farner, and Mel Schacher reunited in 1996 for a few years of live shows but eventually broke up again. In 2000, Don Brewer and Mel Schacher decided to turn back on the power amps, tune those drums once again, and head back onto the road. For the past twenty-three years the band has featured the same exact lineup consisting of Don Brewer on drums and lead and backing vocals, Mel Schacher on bass, Max Carl on lead and backing vocals and guitar, Bruce Kulick on lead guitar and backing vocals and Tim Cashion on keyboards.
Grand Funk has indeed lived on. In this very cool and exciting interview below, Don Brewer talks about the band’s start as well as the creation and recording of the song “We’re An American Bad.” We also discuss some of the later 1970s Grand Funk Albums and deep album tracks as well as many other Grand Funk related topics. Thanks Don!
You can follow the band’s current 2023 tour and find out if they’re coming to your town….. at their website link below.
An Interview With Don Brewer Of Grand Funk Railroad article published on Classic RockHistory.com© 2023
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