Mark Farner’s American Band is performing on June 9 at the Historic Everett Theatre. Farner, who left Grand Funk Railroad in 1998, also makes contemporary Christian music. (Photo courtesy of Moxie Publicity)

Mark Farner’s American Band is performing on June 9 at the Historic Everett Theatre. Farner, who left Grand Funk Railroad in 1998, also makes contemporary Christian music. (Photo courtesy of Moxie Publicity)

Former Grand Funk frontman brings his American Band to Everett

Mark Farner, the 1970s band’s singer-guitarist, promises “nothing but good vibes.”

For years, Historic Everett Theatre manager Curt Shriner has wanted to book Mark Farner.

The stars have finally aligned.

Farner, the frontman for Grand Funk Railroad during its early-1970s heyday, is performing on June 9 at the theater on Colby Avenue.

“He was the driving force behind Grand Funk Railroad,” Shriner said. “He’s the engine that made it go.”

Farner, 69, will play Grand Funk’s biggest hits — such as “We’re an American Band” and “I’m Your Captain (Closer to Home)” — and songs he’s written with his American band. Joining him on stage will be his brother, bassist Eric Farner, as well as drummer Hubert Crawford and keyboardist Jimmy Olson.

“We’re going to give them a lot of love,” Farner said. “That’s a promise.”

Grand Funk Railroad, founded in 1969, featured Farner on guitar, Don Brewer on drums and Mel Schacher on bass. The Flint, Michigan, band sold millions of records at the height of its popularity.

Farner quit Grand Funk in 1976, then returned for a time during the 1980s and ’90s before falling out with his bandmates over legal issues. He embarked on a solo career in rock and contemporary Christian music.

Farner got into music at age 15, when a knee injury cut his football career short. His mother, knowing that he had an inkling for the spotlight, bought him a guitar.

“Five years later, I’m standing in front of 180,000 people in Atlanta, Georgia, playing the songs that I wrote,” Farner said.

Though never a critical favorite, Grand Funk Railroad was highly successful as a touring band.

Farner still enjoys fielding questions about his former band’s most famous songs.

He wrote “I’m Your Captain (Closer to Home)” in 1970 after waking from a dream. The 10-minute track is about a ship captain lost at sea who longs for home but fears a mutiny by his crew.

The lyrics “I’m getting closer to home” are repeated for the last four minutes of the track, possibly indicating the captain’s death. Orchestra strings gradually rise and drown out Farner’s voice.

Farner is hush on the deeper meaning of the song, which became an anthem for some Vietnam War veterans, instead preferring to let fans interpret the song however they see fit.

“Whatever that song means to them, that’s what it means,” Farner said.

Like the captain in the song, Farner has faced hardships of his own. His youngest son, Jesse, was left a quadriplegic by a 2010 accident. Farner himself had serious heart problems and now has a pacemaker.

None of it has deterred his passion for music. He performs out of love for Grand Funk Railroad’s fans.

“We give it up to love before we go on stage,” Farner said. “Nothing but good vibes.”

Evan Thompson: 360-544-2999, ethompson@heraldnet.com.

If you go

Mark Farner’s American Band is performing with Medicine Hat at 7 p.m. June 9 at the Historic Everett Theatre, 2911 Colby Ave., Everett. Tickets from $50.

More about Farner at www.markfarner.com

Talk to us

More in Life

Dave Dodge stands on a speaker while playing his guitar during Nite Wave’s show at Tony V’s Garage on Saturday, June 8, 2019 in Everett, Wash. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
Curtain falls on Tony V’s in Everett — at least for now

The nightspot was hit hard by the coronavirus epidemic. It might reopen when the county hits Phase 4 of the state reopening plan.

Lennon Wiltbank’s art adorns an abandoned, soon-to-be-demolished home and spreads joy in her neighborhood.
For this Bothell artist, ‘Happiness is flowers’

Lennon Wiltbank’s art adorns an abandoned, soon-to-be-demolished home and spreads joy in her neighborhood.

The Capitol Steps bring their political humor to the Edmonds Center for the Arts Oct. 20 and 21. (Capitol Steps)
Theater, dance and comedy shows around Snohomish County

Events listed here are contingent on whether each jurisdiction is approved to… Continue reading

Pink Martini — with vocals by China Forbes — will perform Nov. 12 at the Edmonds Center for the Arts. (Pink Martini)
                                Pink Martini — with vocals by China Forbes — will perform Nov. 12 at the Edmonds Center for the Arts. (Pink Martini)
All about music: Schedule of concerts around Snohomish County

The events listed here are contingent on whether each jurisdiction is approved… Continue reading

Everett Meaningful Movies presents the documentary “Slay the Dragon” via Zoom on Aug. 8. (Magnolia Pictures)
Schedule of special film screenings around Snohomish County

The events listed here are contingent on whether each jurisdiction is approved… Continue reading

The octopi at the Seattle Aquarium have missed you. The aquarium is back open in Phase 2 of the governor’s reopening plan. (Seattle Aquarium)
Family and kid-friendly events around Snohomish County

Most events listed here are contingent on whether each jurisdiction is approved… Continue reading

Rob Schouten Gallery’s “New Paintings” exhibit features Alfredo Arreguin’s latest work, including “Fragrance,” on display in August in Langley.
                                Rob Schouten Gallery’s “New Paintings” exhibit features Alfredo Arreguin’s latest work, including “Fragrance,” on display in August in Langley.
                                Rob Schouten Gallery’s “New Paintings” exhibit features Alfredo Arreguin’s latest work, including “Fragrance,” on display in August in Langley.
Art events, galleries and exhibits around Snohomish County

Most events listed here are contingent on whether each jurisdiction is approved… Continue reading

Pineapple Shrimp Ceviche. Ceviche includes raw seafood — in this case, shrimp — that is “cooked” with lime juice, so buying good-quality fresh shrimp is a key element of this recipe. Those with health concerns prohibiting them from consuming raw seafood can saute the chopped shrimp in a tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil in a pan and then chill in the refrigerator before mixing with the rest of the ingredients. (Lauren J. Mapp/The San Diego Union-Tribune/TNS)
Pineapple recipes offer a slice of summer sunshine

Here are three tropical dishes that either don’t need to be cooked or don’t require turning on the oven.

USA, Washington, Royal Slope. Glamping at Stillwater Creek vineyard
Northwest’s sauvignon blanc offers summertime refreshment

This white wine is ideal alongside grilled chicken, sushi or poached white fish, lentils and green vegetables.

Most Read